The Internet turns 25 this week! Considering that it’s now an integral part of daily life for billions of people around the world, I thought I’d delve into the details of getting connected after moving to London. Getting the “internet set up” is one of the top issues facing expats arriving in the city and certainly one of the biggest aspects of the Settling- In Service that we provide to LR clients. In many ways, the internet is not just a convenience, but central to a successful relocation.
- You get to connect with folks back home and let them know you’re loving London!
- It’s a massive help in getting organised with other things in London: Setting up bank accounts (Internet banking), utilities, rental agreements, transport around London, schools if necessary.
If you have a job waiting for you in London, then you’ll no doubt have internet access at work, but it’s not always convenient or prudent to use company time and resources for your personal needs and if you have an accompanying spouse and family, they will definitely need the connectivity at home.
Choose Internet Service Providers After Moving to London
I’ve approached the search for top-notch ISPs in London from a purely expat angle: What I would do? What steps I would take to find out about the Internet and getting connected after my move?
- Start your search on the Internet! I found two useful Wiki pages on the Internet in the UK and ISPs in London. They’re well worth the read and will give you a firm starting point from which to launch your search
From there I discovered that there are two types of Internet available for new arrivals:
- Fixed line broadband service providers
- Mobile broadband service providers
Now it can be tricky to get set up with a fixed line Internet connection if a) you’re in the process of moving, and b) you haven’t yet set up a bank account or arranged for a fixed line. However , you need to do this as fast as possible because Mobile Broadband rates can be expensive in London. You’ve also got a choice between an ADSL, fibre optic or cable line into your home depending on the ISP you decide on.
From the Wikipedia articles, I narrowed my search down to 6 ISPs that service the Greater London area, have good reviews online and are able to get me connected in the shortest time possible. I also visited a website called Broadband Genie which gave me excellent comparative figures and covered topics such as home lines, mobile connection, contracts, cable/satellite TV packages and had reviews on most products. The only problem with the site is that you’ll have to know your postcode to get comparisons, and if you haven’t moved to London or found a rental yet, this is impossible. I also like the website ISPreview – great for comparative shopping .
Today, I’ll discuss 3 ISPs that are worth taking a look at after your move; tomrrow I’ll discuss the rest and talk about the specific process that you’ll have to go through to get signed up.
- Virgin Media -Super snazzy site, great deals. I like the fact that their mobile packages are reasonably priced and there is a Pay As You Go option, which may be ideal for the first few weeks after arriving in the UK.
- TalkTalk – I like their SimplyBroadband package – no frills no fuss and relatively generous mobile data packages. You’ll definietly have to have a UK bank account sorted first to get set up with these guys.
- Sky Broadband – Perfect if you want to set up a good satellite TV package as well. They also have reasonable international phone prices and numerous Sky WiFi hotspots across the UK.
Be aware that there are also neighborhood ISPs – and you can sign up with one of them quite quickly, but their prices may be slightly higher than a national brand.
I think my biggest bugbear with ISPs (and this is a wordwide issue) is getting stuck with a lengthy contract but not wanting to pay the premium prices of a Pay As You Go option. It’s also noteworthy that actually getting a contract if you don’t hold a British or EU passport can be lengthy and somewhat frustrating. It helps immensely if you can show proof of a rental contract, bank account and employment contract, but you may need someone experienced to help you organise it after you arrive.
Tomorrow, I’ll be chatting about BT – the major national communications provider in the UK and going through the process of applying for an Internet connection and telephone line in London.
Until tomorrow – Belinda