How could faster broadband benefit us as a family?
For many residents the delays and frustration of dial-up connectivity to the Internet is something that they remember well. The advent of broadband has diminished some of those memories but for some their connection is still very slow.
More and more it is assumed that you will have access to the Internet. Many companies such as Netflix and ITunes now deliver their services across the Internet. This has meant that DVD rental and music stores are now becoming a rare sight on our high streets. Having access to fast broadband allows individuals and families to use opportunities that aren't otherwise possible.
The Lincolnshire Broadband Project is designed to bring fast and reliable Internet connectivity to the vast majority of residents in the county.
A good broadband connection to your home means there's a greater capacity to send and receive data. It means that data be received and sent far more quickly to and from your computer. This allows you to access the Internet, browse the web more effectively, download files faster and send and receive emails quicker.
- A broadband connection is "always on" - no waiting for dial-up connectivity if you still use this route to the Internet. This means that you are immediately more productive without having to wait for a connection.
- As broadband comes at a fixed price, you can budget effectively.
- Many websites are now "media-rich". This means that they don't just have text and limited graphics, but have interactive elements, streaming sound and video and other elements. They are designed to be used via broadband.
Share your broadband connection
With a high speed broadband connection, you can easily share a connection to the Internet amongst several PCs or other devices in your home. Most Broadband routers have wireless connectivity; you can use this for computers, mobile phone, Tablet PC’s and many games consoles.
Many homes now have several PC's, laptops, and other devices (such as Nintendo Wii's, Smart Phones and even e-book readers such as the Amazon Kindle) that can access the Internet. By setting up a simple Wi-Fi (wireless) network in your home, all family members will be able to access the Internet via a range of devices. This means that employment, education, leisure and entertainment possibilities are open to all the family.
For many people who work in offices the commute to work can be a chore. More and more companies are now embracing the flexibility of allowing staff to work from home. High speed connectivity allows links to internal computer and telephone networks giving you all the office facilities at home. With increasing fuel costs and companies aware of their Carbon Footprint, this is an attractive alternative. People with children or other care commitments may be able to use faster broadband to restructure their working days. This may benefit both them and their employers.
If you run your own business, faster broadband may enable you to run this from home. This could allow you to reduce your overheads by not renting expensive office premises and not having to commute to work. The use of web sites as the gateway to your company allows you to sell on line and compete on a much more even playing field with larger competitors.
Education & Online Help
For many school children, college and university students’ fast broadband allows access to a broad range of educational and research material in a variety of formats.
- Educational streaming media from the Open University and the BBC - http://www.open.edu/openlearn/
- Educational material for babies and toddlers from www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies
Most educational establishments have Virtual Learning Environments such as Moodle and Blackboard; these are used for teaching, catch up of notes, and handing in of homework.
It is now possible to undertake an enormous range of vocational and recreational courses in the comfort of your own home over the Internet.
Interestingly web sites such as YouTube are now becoming some of the most used informal help sites when trying to find out how to do everyday things. This could be changing an IPhone battery, to how to use software packages, or tuning in a new television.
TV, radio, music and interactive games online
From catching up on missed TV programmes via the many online channels, faster broadband allows a huge range of entertainment possibilities.
You can find over 5000 radio stations for free, at www.onlineradiostations.com. Alternatively, you could construct your own free play list at www.jango.com, or use the (now legal) service at www.napster.com to browse and play over 10 million tracks for a small fee. If you enjoy interactive games via your PC, many now allow you to play with other players worldwide via a good broadband connection.
Whilst it is easier to travel around the world, the cost of phone calls to distant friends and relatives can be prohibitive. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that allows you to make telephone calls using your broadband Internet connection instead of your (analogue) phone line. By using this service, and a simple, cheap microphone / earphone headset or a cheap Skype phone, a PC to PC call anywhere in the world is free. If you want to phone a land line, you can still make significant savings over your standard telephone line.
Other benefits and Services
- Online Shopping
- Online banking
- Buying Insurance
- Taxing your car
- Applying for a passport