How to get online

Getting online is becoming increasingly important. We bank online, shop online and even socialise online, and with more and more public services going digital, it is important that we can access these services.
Accessing the internet is getting easier and easier, with connections available in a wide range of places and through a wide range of devices to suit differing needs.

Broadband connection

To get online and access the internet from home, you will need to connect to a broadband provider through a laptop, tablet or smartphone. The broadband provider will supply a box, known as a router, which will need to be installed in your home and you can then connect your device to either with a cable or wirelessly. To find out which providers are available in your area, use the checker below:

Broadband availability checker

Low-cost broadband

If you receive certain benefits such as: Universal Credit; Pension Credit; Employment and Support Allowance; Jobseekers Allowance, or Income Support, you may be eligible for a reduced-cost tariff for broadband access. There are a range of different deals available certain broadband providers. Further details, including eligibility and a how to apply, can be found through the these links.

Using a mobile device

If you have a smartphone, you will be able to access the internet through the device without the need of a separate broadband connection. This is done using the signal the phone receives over the mobile network and has a range of different speeds (3G/4G/5G) available depending on what device you have, what tariff you are on and your location. Generally, both contracts and pay-as-you-go tariffs will enable you to access the internet on your phone, but you will need to check your allowance and what costs there may be if you go over this amount with your network.

If you don't have a smartphone, but still want to get online when out and about, you can get a tablet that is able to accept a SIM card, just like a phone. You would then need to get a data-only SIM card from a network.

Local internet access

If you do not have your own device, you may be able to use a computer in your local library to get online. Just check with them in advance to see what their process is for using them. If you have a device, such as a laptop or tablet, and no broadband connection at home, you may also be able to use a free Wi-fi at your local library. As with using the computers that are available, it is always best to check with them first before arriving. Wi-Fi is also available in an increasing number of places such as coffee shops and cafes for you to use when you are visiting them.