Over the last couple of months, we have relied on our broadband much more than we usually do. During the lockdown we have used the Internet to work, socialise, get fit, learn new skills and teach our children. Speedy internet access and a reliable broadband connection are essential especially as many of us also stream a large percentage of home entertainment. In fact, broadband has become such an important factor in people’s daily lives that it’s one of the top must-haves on most homebuyers’ wish lists.

With fast broadband an essential for most buyers, here’s what you need to consider when purchasing a property.

Check the broadband speed

It’s free and easy to check the broadband performance in a particular area. You can do this by asking any Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as Sky, TalkTalk, BT or Virgin to name just a few, to check the broadband coverage. You can do this either online or by calling the sales line. Make sure you speak to more than one provider to get the best speed.

Check the following:

Download speed: this is the speed at which information is transferred from the Internet to your device, for example music, films, TV, photos. The speed at which they download will be dependent on your speed.

Upload speed: this is the speed that information is uploaded from your device to the Internet, for example emailing or uploading files, photographs, home movies and music.

Response time: the response time is measured in milliseconds and it means the speed at which you get a response after you’ve sent a request.

You’ll usually find that upload speeds are slower than download speeds as providers prioritise the former.

Types of broadband

The nationwide average speed is 18.5Mbps with upload speeds of around 4.3Mbps and download speeds of around 46.2Pbps.

There are several types of broadband which will vary in price. Cable broadband is fibreoptic, mobile broadband uses 3G or 4G (and soon 5G) which don’t require a phone line, and ADLS broadband uses a telephone line. If you use ADLS you will also have to pay a line rental fee to BT but it tends to still be the cheapest connecting type.

There are, and you have three different kinds to choose from, all of which vary in price and each with their own pros and cons. There’s cable broadband (otherwise known as fibre optic), mobile broadband (which uses 3G or 4G mobile phone signal) and ADSL broadband (which requires a telephone line).

Because ADSL requires a home phone line, there is usually an additional monthly line rental fee to pay on top of your broadband package costs to BT. Despite this, ADSL remains the cheapest type of connection currently available. 3G and 4G can be costly because if you go over your allowance you will have to pay for the additional data making it quite limiting.

The fastest broadband tends to be fibre optic. It is usually a very reliable connection as it links directly to a BT cabinet nearby. Packages are more expensive, but you could notice your download speed double or even treble overnight. Fibre optic is ideal if you have family with several people using the Internet at the same time regularly streaming and gaming. Not all properties have this facility so check with the service providers to see if it’s available in your new or prospective property. If you live alone or with a partner and only use the Internet to browse online and stream one device at a time, ADSL should be sufficient.

If you’re moving into a new home, you should pre-arrange your broadband so that you’re up and running on the day of moving.