The internet seems to be an ever-growing property as more and more people sign up for access and more and more companies run a website, with some even relying on their site for income.

Broadband is by far the most popular form of access these days with benefits far outweighing the dial up system used previously.

The main reason for this is speed – broadband can reach upload and download speeds that far outperform dial up capabilities. This means users can transfer data a lot more quickly and also allows for better streaming quality whether it’s for songs, films or videos. It’s also a lot more valuable to gamers who can now link up with players all across the world to play games – something that has proved highly successful for the likes of Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft. It also isn’t restricted to PCs and Macs, as next generation consoles can also join in.

Another advantage broadband has over dial up is the fact that it doesn’t clog up a phone line. Previously, internet users would be unable to make or receive a phone call while browsing the internet unless they had a separate line. This means that users can have broadband access available at all times whether they’re using it or not, saving on dial up and connection times. Unlike previous systems this doesn’t increase costs – broadband is normally paid for monthly to the ISP, such as Sky broadband, whilst dial up providers often charge users on a pay as you use basis.

A quick internet connection can also have benefits for communication purposes – as well as forums and instant messaging – it’s now possible to download software such as Skype that enables voices calls over the internet, with the option of using webcams at the same time to have an all-seeing, all-hearing conversation. This can be useful for friends or family who haven’t seen each other in a while, travellers on the other side of the world and also for businesses who want to cut down on travel costs and carbon emissions by having reliable video conferences.

There are differences in the internet packages the likes of Tiscali, BT and Sky offers and it’s up to the user to find one that best suits his needs.

You need to have the right line installed and have the right hardware, but for the majority of the UK this is now in place with ISPs often helping to provide modems when needed.

With 1.7 billion people – around a quarter of the world’s population – currently believed to have signed up for internet usage – and around 150 million of these with broadband it’s clear to see that online activity is a hugely popular activity and one that is expected to grow even further in the coming years.

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