Continuing our series of broadband provider reviews, this week we took a closer look at Orange broadband.
In general, Orange offers good rates and good speeds. Its broadband offerings are divided into three different packages where the main difference is download speeds. The package that will best suit you will depend on how much you download and the kind of speeds you need.
The three different packages – Home Starter, Home Select, and Home Max – all come with a wireless modem as part of the package, and all require that you have a BT, or similar, telephone line. You will also have to pay a £30 connection fee and sign an 18 or 24 month contract.
However, there are significant differences between the three Orange packages:
Orange Home Starter Broadband
This package offers speeds of up to 2 Meg and has a download limit of 6GB per month. It costs £12 per month (£6 for the first three months) and you must cover the cost of your phone line.
Orange Home Select Broadband
Orange Home Select Broadband costs £20 per month (£10 for the first three months). You can enjoy speeds of up to 8 Megs and unlimited downloads, though you will be subject to a fair usage policy. This package includes a 'Livebox' which provides high wireless speeds, allows telephone calls and facilitates online gaming. Again, you must cover the cost of your phone line.
Orange Home Max Broadband
Orange Broadband Max costs £24 per month (£12 for the first three months). This is Orange's most expensive broadband package. It is identical to Home Select but the cost of your phone line is included in the £24 per month. Like Home Select, this package also includes free evening and weekend calls to landlines in Britain.
Orange broadband speeds are generally good. Speeds approaching 8 Megs are only available in certain areas so use the speed checker on Orange's website committing to one of the more expensive packages. In truth, it is unlikely that speeds will ever reach the 8 Meg level, but if you are within the Orange network you should enjoy speeds that are fast enough for most home users.
If you are a very light user then home starter isn't bad value at £12 per month. However, monthly downloads are capped so you may be able to find better value for this kind of package. More attractive are the Home Select and Home Max packages that provide high speeds and unlimited downloads.
If we were to recommend one, we would recommend the Home Max package if you can receive a good speed in your area. Between this package and VoIP, you should be able to cover all of your telephone and broadband costs for around £24 per month, or a little more, which is very good value.
The biggest drawback with the Orange packages is that they require that you sign an 18 month contract to avail of the best prices. This is a big commitment so you need to be sure that you are happy with the service before committing. So, if you decide on Orange, insist on a trial period and cancel if you are not happy. It may also be an idea to call customer service a couple of times during the trial to see if they are quick to answer your queries.