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The Internet is a global telecommunications network which links millions of computers. To connect to the Internet you need a modem, a telephone line and an account with an internet service provider (ISP).

Wireless internet or ‘WiFi’ is the most common way to connect to the Internet in your home and when out and about. There is a wireless box which plugs into your telephone line. It transmits a signal to a receiver in your device/s (your compluter, laptop, tablet, smart phone or Smart TV). When you want to connect, the wireless box and your device talk to each other and send information to and from your device.

Broadband

Broadband is simply a permanent Internet connection that is faster than the one that you get with a standard modem and telephone line. The faster an Internet connection is, the broader its bandwidth is (how much data it can cope with). This is where the term ‘broadband’ comes from.

Having broadband makes all the difference when it comes to getting the most out of the Internet. The time that it takes to move to a different page on a website becomes much quicker; it should be almost instantaneous. Also, you can make telephone calls while you’re online and using the Internet. There’s no waiting to do either one or the other. However, often the faster your Internet connection is, the more it will cost you.

Can I get broadband?

The majority of homes can get ADSL broadband, which uses British Telecom’s (BT’s) copper-wire telephone network. This is available directly through BT or via a third-party. Cable broadband is less widely available through Virgin Media.

How much does broadband cost?

To get broadband, you usually need to pay a connection fee that will start from around £20. However, some providers will waive this fee if you sign up to get certain packages. The monthly fee then usually costs between £10 and £40 per month, depending on the provider and whether you sign up for any of their other services. Usually, you have to make a commitment to the provider for at least 12 or 18 months.

How do I get broadband?

If you opt for ADSL broadband, installation is fairly easy. The provider will give you a ‘microfilter’, so that you can use your telephone at the same time as the Internet, and a broadband modem, so that you can share the connection between more than one computer.

If you choose cable broadband, and you aren’t an existing subscriber to the provider, an engineer will probably need to come out to wire things up for you.

The video below explains how the internet works.