Getting BT fibre-optic broadband

BT Home Hub 3
Don't use one of these...

Hint for anyone planning on moving to BT‘s fibre optic broadband – forget the packaged HomeHub3 and go for a router capable of 300Mbps throughput on the wifi. We’ve gone for a NetGear though there are plenty of alternatives.

Reason being that most areas have 40Mbps (max) broadband speed with a quoted rise to 80Mbps within a few months, peaking at 300Mbps. Some areas already have 300Mbps.

The HomeHub3 is only capable of transmitting a wifi signal of 130Mbps. Therefore, even though it could theoretically be yanking 300Mbps up the “pipe” from the internet, it can only get it to your computer at less than half that speed. In other words, the kit BT are shipping is already out of date.

The WNR2200 we went for is small, white (therefore colour-coordinated to please my other half) and sits perfectly on top of the supplied BT fibre modem. It’s also only about £50 if you pre-purchase via PCWorld’s (*spit*) website and collect it in store – saving you £60! Though there was another option, even cheaper – £25, from a manufacturer I’ve not heard of before.

If you have an existing ADSL modem router… pass it on to someone else. It’s useless with fibre. You need a cable modem, i.e. one with a “WAN” input socket on the back, not an ADSL one. OK, technically you don’t need the “modem” part of it as BT supply that, but that’s what to look for on the boxes.

Confusingly, lots of retailers started labelling all of their ADSL kit as appropriate for “BT Connections”. Obviously, this is no longer the case as it depends on whether you’re using ADSL or fibre now.

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Broadband Genie

Broadband Genie
Broadband Genie

Joe’s made a couple of comments on some of my older posts and he asked me to have a look at his website. I admit, the first time he left a comments I thought “spam”…  but the fact is he read the blog post and wrote a pretty darn lengthy and appropriate response. Not the acts of a spammer, just of a guy who’s interested in blogs and happens to work for a web-based company.

I’ve been buried with coursework over the last few weeks and I’ve been meaning to review his site for ages, feeling guilty every time I saw the email reminding me “starred” in my inbox. So here it is!

Joe’s site is Broadband Genie and it is genuinely useful. It’s not so much a sales site as a consumer advice one and therefore I’m happy to give it the once over. Now is an ideal time to have a look, actually, as there’s a special section on all the package deals on mobile broadband being offered by a few of the netbook and laptop retailers.

I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a website before, but here goes!

First impressions are good. It’s well-enough laid out that you could think it’s commercial. However, it isn’t. It’s funded by people clicking on links to providers once they’re decided – using the information on the site – which one they want to go with. The links are sponsored and BG get a little kickback.

Having looked through everything (well, a lot of it!) I’d say their claim to be unbiased is a true one. All the information you could need to decide on a UK broadband provider (home or mobile) seems to be here and in a nice, easily-readable format. There’s also a regularly-updated blog and a forum where you can air your views publicly.

If you’re in the market for a new broadband provider, this certainly seems to be a site worth visiting to help you come to a decision.

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