Post Off your Broadband

By: J Tillotson

The Post Office has been a mainstay of the British community for as long as any of us can remember. While they may have their problems with postal strikes and the like, the GPO remains an institution looked upon fondly by many of us.

With the advent of the internet and email, one would think the Post Office would become almost obsolete, but that isn't the case. In fact, far from it. While the ordinary letter can now be sent via the internet, the soaring popularity of online shopping means that the GPO is inundated with parcels from all over the world every day.

And now, finally, the Post Office is realising just what a commodity the internet is, and has jumped aboard. The familiar red and yellow logo can now be associated with broadband. And not just any broadband. The GPO has recognised something that so many other providers failed to; that not everybody can or wants to pay for their internet by direct debit.

Instead, Post Office customers can choose to pay for their broadband over the counter of their local branch - a tactic that is especially appealing to the 'silver surfers'; the over 50's who regularly use the net. Because many providers charge an extra fee if a bill is paid by anything other than direct debit, the Post Office's way is a boon for those who don't trust money coming out of their account, or who prefer to pay for bills as and when they arrive rather than on the same day each month.

Providers such as TalkTalk, who only offer one vague payment date per month - anytime between the 24th and 27th - and who charge a ?3.50 per bill fee for credit card or postal order payments, may do well to follow the Post Office's example.

As well as the convenient payment methods, the Post Office also has the advantage of being a subsidiary of BT, meaning the availability of the broadband service is an unrivalled 95%, compared to the average 60% for other providers.

The only downside of the GPO broadband service is the low download limit on the standard tariff. 5MB per month is enough for most light users, but a heavier user may need far more than this. It is possible to get a good deal with a larger download limit if you shop around and compare deals from different providers. Decide what you want from your broadband and make your comparisons.

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