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What to remember when looking for cheap internet deals

Are you looking for a new cheap internet deal, but can't decide which of the offers is best for you? Are you a little suspicious of companies seeming to offer great service for such a small price? Read on for some advice about making your decision.

Price per month

Many big internet providers lure potential customers in by citing a price per month which is only valid for the first three or six months of a twelve or eighteen month contract. Virgin Media, for example, advertises its supposed 30 Mb speed broadband £9.25 per month at shop.virginmedia.com/broadband/up-to-30mb.html, only to show in the small print that the cost jumps up to £18.50 after six months.

What is the real "speed"?

You'll see many companies offering cheap internet deals with apparently fast internet speeds. The aforementioned Virgin Media speed of 30 Mb for £18.50 per month, for example, or PlusNet's even more extraordinary 20 Mb for £6.49 per month (with the first four months free!) at plus.net/free4/. However, the actual speed that you'll receive depends on the location of your house, as many companies will acknowledge - and on how much the company restricts your speed during peak hours, which many companies do not acknowledge.

Usage limitations

Many of the extremely cheap internet deals come with usage limitations, restricting the amount of GB which you can download from the internet per month. For casual users, this will never be a problem. For more intense users who want to enjoy films, music and games regularly, this might cause a snag. PlusNet's package only allows 10 GB per month, for example, but Orange, whose deal is only fractionally more expensive at £7.50 per month, offer an unlimited usage allowance. Read more at orange-redirect.co.uk/MoneySupermarket-amazon40/, where you can also get a £40 Amazon.co.uk voucher if you sign up with them.

Technical help and customer support

Unfortunately, most of us have had to deal with the technical departments of internet companies at some time or other in our broadband experiences. It's worth doing a bit of research into the standards of a company before you sign a contract with them: AOL (aolbroadband.co.uk), for example, are rightly renowned for an extremely poor standard of customer service.

So what's the best deal?

If you're looking for a company which combines the best speed possible for your connection (with no interruptions at peak times), an unlimited download allowance, honest and consistent prices, and great customer service, we recommend that you look no further than Be Broadband (bethere.co.uk). Their deals seem a little more expensive than the competition, but don't be dissuaded: the quality of the service is really worth the extra few pounds per month. Be Broadband also has a great landline package, allowing you to rent your line at the reduced cost of £10 per month.

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