Choosing a Broadband Package
When you are deciding which broadband package to sign up to, there are 2 main things you should consider.
1. How many people will be using the broadband at any one time?
The more devices connected to the broadband at any one time, the better the connection you will need to have. If you live alone and only connect one device at a time, you will not require the same type of connection as a large family who all want to connect devices to stream movies, video call with friends, online game and shop online at the same time. For example, if streaming a movie on Netflix uses around 3Mb/s as standard and 2 people in your household want to stream at the same time, you would require a connection providing at least 6Mb/s.
2. What types of activities will you be carrying out?
It's a good idea to consider what you intend to use the broadband connection for. Some activities use a large amount of data (such as online gaming), whereas others use much less (such as browsing news websites).
Deciding between a capped or unlimited broadband package
When you carry out activities online, whether this is by using your broadband connection or your mobile data, you will be using data.
Provided below are examples of how much data could be used by engaging in different activities online.
These are for reference only and the actual data usage will vary depending on factors such as
the length of the film being downloaded, the type of content being streamed or the length of a document being downloaded for example.
You may want to consider the examples below when deciding whether you need an unlimited service.
Deciding how fast your connection needs to be
When considering how fast your connection needs to be, you need to consider how many activities will be carried out at any one time. For example if you have several members of the household online at any one time, you will require a faster connection than if you only carry out one activity at a time.
If you have a faster broadband connection you will be able to download quickly and stream video with less chance of buffering. In addition, a faster connection will support more users and more activities being carried out online at any one time.
Provided below are some example connection speeds required to stream videos on Netflix, Prime Video and Youtube. These are illustrative only and may change from time to time.
To view the source of this information and for further help please click on the images
Deciding on a broadband technology
4G Broadband uses a router to connect to the mobile network in order to receive the connectivity. It is not a suitable option for everyone as you will require a strong mobile signal where you live in order to receive a suitable connection and will be impacted by the number of other users in your area. However, for those who do not want a landline connection for their connectivity and aren't particularly heavy users it could be a good option.
Copper broadband is available to almost every household in the Isle of Man, if they wish to have it. Copper services are affected by line length, meaning those who live in rural locations close to the end of a line will suffer from a poorer connection than those closer to the exchange. If you are a light user however, this may be sufficient for your needs.
Fixed Wireless Access broadband is available in selected locations across the Island. It may be a good option for those living in rural areas in particular as it does not require a fixed line connection. It will, however, require line of sight with one of the masts to relay the signal to your property.
Full fibre broadband will probably be able to deliver the fastest broadband as it is not impacted by line length, only by contention i.e. how many users the total bandwidth for an area is shared between.The higher the contention rate, the more your internet connection is likely to be impacted by slower speeds. Your usage requirements will determine the most appropriate package for you with the top packages most likely being suited to heavy users and those who require a fast connection. Lighter users will not use these packages to their full extent. Fibre broadband is not yet available to everybody in the Isle of Man.
Satellite broadband first became available in the Isle of Man in 2020. It can be a good option for those who live in rural areas and cannot receive the connection they want from a fixed service. You may notice a delay on satellite broadband, caused by the signal being relayed between the satellite dish at your property and the satellite orbit. However, this should only be an issue if you require an instant or real time connection for activities such as real time remote monitoring or online gaming.
Broadband Service Providers
In the Isle of Man there are a number of ways that you can receive a broadband connection to your home.
- Copper Broadband (ADSL)
- Fibre to the Cabinet (VDSL)
- Fibre to the Home
- Fixed Wireless Access
- 4G mobile router
Not all of these options will be available in all areas of the Island, so please speak to your chosen service provider first to see what’s available where you live.
You require a landline with an ADSL or VDSL broadband. However, if you would like to have a broadband connection but don’t want the landline, you do have a number of options, including:
Fibre to the Home, Fixed Wireless Access, Satellite and 4G. These can all be purchased without the requirement for a landline, but you are free to purchase one in addition if you wish.
The image below highlights which service providers are currently offering broadband, according to the technology.
Please contact the providers directly with any enquiries. Whilst the Commission will endeavour to keep this up to date, service offerings can change quickly and may not be reflected on our website straight away.
Switching Broadband Provider
You can switch between any of the broadband providers using the Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) process which was introduced in 2017.
Please note that this process only applies when switching providers for copper or fibre broadband. If you are looking to switch to or from an alternative technology broadband, you should simply cancel the subscription you no longer require (after checking your contract end date) and resign with your chosen provider.
Things to Consider Before Switching
Before cancelling your contract, ensure that you are not still within your contract period as you could face early termination charges.
In addition, check that there are no outstanding payments, as your current broadband provider will probably want you to repay this before you switch.
Before switching your broadband service provider, you may wish to consider what services are on offer from each of the service providers and decide which package suits you best in terms of price and service offered.
The process to switch broadband services is as follows:
- Contact your current broadband provider, advise that you wish to cancel your broadband service and let them know which service provider you have chosen to move to. You can do this by email, letter, over the phone or in person. This authorisation should come from the account holder and there may be some additional security checks required by your current broadband provider at this point.
- Your current broadband provider will issue you with a MAC code and this should be within 2 working days of receipt of your request.
- The MAC will be valid for 30 days and should be provided to your chosen new broadband provider.
- The broadband migration will usually take place 5 working days after you issue the MAC to your chosen new broadband provider. If this date doesn’t suit you, you may request an alternative migration date.
- You can cancel the migration at any point up to the agreed migration date.
Things to Note
You should not encounter a loss in broadband service whilst carrying out a change in broadband service provider and your current broadband provider should not cease your broadband service on the basis of you requesting the MAC.
You should not feel pressured to remain with your current broadband provider when you have asked for the MAC.
Switching broadband provider is free of charge.
Identifying Issues with a Broadband Service
When you sign up to your broadband service, you can expect to receive information which provides you with an expectation of the service you will receive. This could be an estimate of what broadband speed you should receive and what activities it will support. If you are not provided this information, you can ask for it.
This speed estimate will be for the broadband speed that will be delivered to your property and it does not reflect the speed you will actually experience. The reasons for this are that there are many factors within your home that can and do affect your broadband experience. A non exhaustive list of factors can include:
- Interference with wireless devices such as baby monitors or other electrical devices
- The location of your router and whether there are any obstructions to the signal
- The age of your router and other devices that you are using
- How many devices are connected at one time
- The type of activity you are carrying out – for example, browsing the latest news will not use as much of your bandwidth as downloading a film
It is important to note that your service provider has a responsibility to deliver a broadband service to your property. Anything which affects your experience beyond that is the responsibility of you as a consumer.
If you would like some assistance in identifying whether there are any factors within your home which are impacting on your broadband experience, you can ask your service provider if they offer any assistance in this area. Alternatively there are other independent companies who will visit your home and carry out a home “health check” and offer practical advice on what you can do to improve your service. Please ensure you check whether any charges will apply first.
Things You Can Do
1. Restart the router
2. Check for any service issues with your ISP - Visit the service issues page of your ISP’s website. Alternatively, your ISP will be able to tell you whether there are any network issues which could be causing (perhaps temporary) reduced speed. Alternatively, they should be able to try and identify what the cause is and provide you with some advice as to things you could do to try and improve the speed. Please be aware that if you request an engineer call out, there may be a charge if the issue is found to be within your control and not with the network, for example if your router is not set up correctly.
3.Try wiring your router to your device - If you are using a wireless connection, using an Ethernet cable to directly wire your device to the router can help improve your speed, rather than using wireless.
4.Ensure your web browser is up to date - Web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome release updates periodically. Installing the most recent version of the web browser you use has two benefits. It should provide you with increased security whilst using the internet and also work faster. Visit the Get Safe Online website for help doing this.
5.Password Protection - The number of devices connected to your internet impacts on the speed you receive on each device. If you do not password protect your wireless internet, anyone close by can access your broadband. This could be a security risk, but equally it could slow down your own broadband speed. Include a password to protect your broadband. Including a mix of capital letters, symbols and numbers will make your password more secure.
6.Check for router interference - Other electrical devices can cause interference with your wireless router and this can impact on your broadband speed. Some electrical devices which can cause interference include: halogen lamps, electrical dimmer switches, speakers, fairy lights, TVs and monitors. Try not to keep your router on the floor where possible and keep it away from items such as those listed above to try and avoid interference.
7.Use the main phone socket - Using telephone extension leads can cause interference. If you can, plug your router into the main telephone socket. If this is not possible, make sure you use a new, high quality cable with the shortest line length possible. Also check that the cables are not tangled or coiled.
8.Phone line interference - Your phone line could be interfering with your internet. Check that you have the most up to date main phone socket and micro filters into every phone socket in your home. They look like little white boxes and split the phone and broadband signals so that they don’t interfere.
9.Broadband accelerators or filters - Broadband accelerators or filters can help to filter out interference or stabilise your line, making it more reliable. These devices should be available from your ISP.
10.Router upgrade - Just as with web browsers, routers are also being upgraded and improved. Your ISP should be able to advise whether upgrading to a newer version could help improve your speed and/or things such as line disconnections.