Shared student housing and all the fun that goes with it, can be a tricky thing to negotiate. For all the excitement of flying the nest in the pursuit of big academic dreams, it also brings home the reality of domestic compromise.
Amongst all the chaos here lies broadband, of course, and a basic human right for the modern kid, never mind student! So it’s not a utility to get wrong if your wide-eyed household is charged with choosing a setup.
With democracy comes politics and because internet provision can be so contentious, this guide from Broadband Genie intends to quell any fallouts with advice on the most important factors to consider.
Left to your own devices
As anyone knows, with broadband, speed matters. Pretty much the most critical rule of thumb is lots of bandwidth and especially for shared domesticity between independent users.
While the budget will, of course, be an issue in student households too, the money will be well spent on as much bandwidth available basically. Remember that demand is going to be intense and usually at the same peak times, so it will have to cope.
Multiple users won’t just mean the live-in housemates but potentially guests family visitors too, which inevitably means lots of connected devices. All this makes for busy WiFi activity alongside wired services like streamed TV - all of which will grind a slow setup to a halt.
Strong Fibre Diet
While the cooking may be questionable, no student home should be free of fibre. Broadband of this variety is today, the only viable option for achieving the kind of bandwidths and speeds required.
For HD video streaming and online gaming, this is a must for single households let alone shared environments.
Thankfully this is pretty much the de facto standard from most providers. You can get fibre broadband from any BT line provider (such as Sky, TalkTalk, and BT itself). There’s also Virgin Media, which delivers faster speeds than most competitors.
Beyond buying fibre, think about choosing an ISP that is known for consistency of speed. Students won’t appreciate a connection that peaks and falls in average speed and so strong, predictable reliability is vital. Check out Broadband Genie’s guide to fibre broadband for more information.
It’s worth remembering that being a student qualifies you to certain concessions and yes, cheeky offers! Broadband providers often market certain packages here and sometimes they have better solutions at better prices too.
For example, BT sells exclusive student deals that deliver fibre-based speeds of 36Mb, 50Mb, and 67Mbps. Guaranteed day or night speeds and unlimited data allowance is importantly joined by a powerful WiFi hub for improving signal in big shared homes.
Crucially, however, these packages are defined by shorter contracts, often nine months so they are designed to match student term times. The choice changes the monthly bills by only £2-3 and provides valuable flexibility. However, these are only available at certain times of the year and only offered by a handful of providers.
Of course, sometimes the best solutions may require more advanced setups. A provider such as Virgin Media offers high-speed fibre, but you will need a Virgin Media cable connection.
Alternatively, you may look into having a second phone line installed to effectively have two broadband connections for one address. If the student house has an existing BT line and then you add Virgin cable, then the two can be active in parallel.
These setups will all require installation work carried out to the property, which comes with extra considerations.
These kinds of special line or cable installations can vary in terms of the time needed to arrange or complete. Virgin suggest a 2-hour maximum install window, once a scheduled engineer arrives, while BT quote 4-21 working days subject to a provisional date at signup.
Perhaps most vital here is remembering to seek permission. Landlords or homeowners must give consent, while sometimes neighbouring properties that maybe share a driveway or garden will need consulting.
Broadband contracts also require only one person named on the contract, with any equipment or installations signed for by a tenant aged over 18. So this means shared homes need to find consensus on who takes responsibility.
Student households will need to arrive at informal, or possibly formal, agreements to honour this commitment. Try to remember that if anything goes wrong, damages incurred, illegal usage or simply missed payments and early terminations will all be liable to the original account holder.
Money can be a source of tension within any shared household, but for struggling students, this could cause big issues. Broadband bills need paying like any other and providers don’t tend to waive them for beer expenses!
A great last tip here for managing all domestic bills is to use an app or online tool. Something like Splitwise for iOS and Android is a good example for tracking debts between housemates and settling them quickly via Paypal.
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