As we shift towards being more reliant on the internet for everything from day to day tasks to our entertainment needs, having a fast and consistent connection becomes all the more important.
Superfast broadband is the key to a productive online experience and it seems those of us lucky enough to be living in the UK can enjoy the best coverage out of the top five EU nations according to a report from Ofcom.
Superfast broadband is available to more households than ever across the UK, seeing a rise from around 60% at the end of 2011 to 73% today. This means the UKtakes top spot for coverage within the five leading European economies - EU5 - which also includes France, Germany,Italy and Spain.
People choosing to take up superfast broadband in the UK has reached nine in every 100 people, meaning the UK takes top place for this too, followed by Spain where six in every 100 have opted for it.
The UK also cites the highest weekly usage of the internet with 87% of people going online, the highest number of people who have bough goods online over the past year (77%) and the lowest proportion of people who have never used the internet, at 8%.
Ed Richards, Ofcom chief cxecutive, said: "This is excellent progress for the UK, but there is more to be done. We want to see even wider availability of superfast broadband across the UK, so as many people as possible can enjoy faster speeds to access the internet.
"There is also more progress to be made to ensure consumers receive consistently high quality of service, including faster line repairs and installations for broadband and telephony."
The aim is to have superfast broadband, supported by Government investment, available to 95% of the UK by 2017, but in the meantime you will need to use a postcode checker to see if it available in your area.
Superfast broadband, carried through fibre optic cables, is definitely an exciting progression for this digital age, but although for many it will revolutionise the way they use the internet, there will be others for which it is simply not necessary.
Superfast speeds are needed where people have large families with everyone online at the same time, as well as for those who stream a lot of television and films or use on-demand services regularly. For these needs it will make everything run smoothly and avoid any buffering and lag. It is also great for those that download a lot of data and play video games online.
However, if you are what is deemed as a light user, just sending a few emails and browsing the web, then you probably won't get much more out of superfast broadband than a big bill. It is completely down to the individual's personal usage as to whether the benefits outweigh the costs.
The next step is to check to see what is available in your area, before considering what your online needs are and then taking a look at what deals are on offer. Make sure to consider bundled packages too – ones that include broadband, television, telephone and sometimes mobiles – as these can offer good value for money. The main thing is not to get swayed by talk of fast speeds, low cost introductory offers or thousands of TV channels – just take what you need and make the most of your online experience.
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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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