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Need For Speed : 4 Super Fast UK Broadband Packages

Earlier today we heard how, according to Ofcom's annual international communications report, only one out of five hundred UK households had access to superfast broadband, one that goes beyond the ADSL2+ theoretical limit of 24mbps.

We therefore set out to find out who, in the UK, are providing super fast broadband packages and at what costs; there are a few surprises when it comes to pricing and a clear winner.

Be Broadband was the first to introduce ADSL 2+ in the UK to the masses, offering 24mbps internet access for £24. It was purchased shortly after by Telefonica and became the provider of everything fixed for O2 and Tesco.

It offers a package that is called Line Bonding, one which merges two ADSL broadband lines at the customer's exchange together to form one big fat virtual pipe with up to 44Mbps going up and 5Mbps going down.

The trick is done through a smart wireless modem and the service, as expected, comes with free support, but costs a whopping £65 per month, a cost which includes a £85 connection fee and excludes the cost attached to renting TWO BT landlines.

Be Broadband Super Fast broadband will suit those looking for a quick and easy way to double their connection speeds without opting for a more expensive leased line.

The other route is to use Virgin Media (opens in new tab) which is currently offering a 50Mbps broadband access from as little as £12.50 per month for the first 6 months, rising to £25 per month, assuming that you subscribe to its Virgin phone line as well at a cost of £12.24 per month.

Installation and activation - worth £60 - come free and Virgin media is also throwing in a number of goodies like a 802.11n Netgear Wi-Fi router, 100 photos free every month, internet security, automatic backup and unlimited online storage.

Virgin Media uses fibre-optic which does not have the same limitations as copper-based ADSL which is why there is now a broad consensus amongst internet service providers that fibre is the way forward.

But there's more, Virgin Media will introduce 100Mbps broadband very soon, something that will put it far ahead of the competition, especially as it plans to roll it very quickly and at a very affordable price (from £35 per month).

Arguably, the other option (opens in new tab) is to use BT Infinity, BT's own Fibre optic broadband solution that is currently being deployed across the country and promises download speeds of up to 40Mbps.

BT Infinity is cheap compared to bonded ADSL 2+ and Virgin Media's offers. Its unlimited iteration with line rental and unlimited anytime free calls costs £37.97 per month, discounted to £29.98 for the first three months of the 18-months contract. There's no activation fee included and you get free engineer installation.

BT also throws in a free Home Hub and unlimited Wi-Fi minutes included which means that you could have access to the internet at over one million Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK. The downside is that not everyone will have access to Infinity as BT is still rolling the technology.

The other solution is to use Sharedband bonded broadband solution. It is available direct (opens in new tab) and allows you to connect four lines altogether for £20 per month over and above the costs of the lines plus £49 initial installation fee.

Because Sharedband signed an agreement with D-Link late last year to ship Sharedband firmware on all its router, we suspect that you should be able to use the D-Link DIR615 (opens in new tab), a cable router, with Sharedband.

This opens the tantalising prospect of using four 100Mbps Virgin media lines at £35 per month each to achieve speeds of up to 400Mbps downstream and 40Mbps upstream which is simply unheard of at any price range.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.