Which fibre broadband package to pick?

There are four essential things to consider before you sign up for a new fibre broadband service or switch providers.

IS YOUR HOME READY?

Make sure your home is fibre broadband-ready. Contact the service provider you want to sign a package with to check, or find out from fibre broadband network builder NetLink Trust's website http://www.netlinktrust.com/ under "Coverage Check".

CHOOSE A PLAN THAT BEST SUITS YOUR NEEDS

Will you have multiple devices that need to be connected? Do you stream high-definition movies, make video calls or store images and videos in the cloud?

As a rule of thumb, place the router in the middle of the house, and in an elevated position. This could be the living room or a walkway. In a double-storey house, the router may even be placed along the stairs to ensure coverage across two floors.

If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you probably need a faster plan rather than the basic 100Mbps plan. Higher-speed plans will address the issue of a surfing slowdown, which happens when multiple devices share the same household connection. The lag is most noticeable in video streaming and online gaming.

Throttling, or the slowing down of services, is also common. If you want a smooth video or peer-to-peer file-sharing experience, you should look for plans that promise "no throttling".

IS YOUR HOUSE BIG, WITH MULTIPLE STOREYS?

Wi-Fi signals degrade over distance and with obstruction from objects such as furniture and books. Metal surfaces and glass panels can even reflect Wi-Fi signals, weakening the strength of the connection.

As a rule of thumb, place the router in the middle of the house, and in an elevated position. This could be the living room or a walkway.

In a double-storey house, the router may even be placed along the stairs to ensure coverage across two floors.

You may need to link additional wireless routers and signal extenders to eliminate Wi-Fi blind spots. StarHub offers a fibre broadband link and a separate cable broadband link using two different routers at one price - from $39.90 to $59.90. This is to ensure there are no blind spots in the house.

INTERIM SOLUTION PROVIDED EVEN WITH DELAYS

NetLink Trust will need to activate the fibre termination point in your home before your service provider can deliver fibre broadband connections. You will be given an appointment with NetLink Trust at the point of service sign-up.

In the event of a delay, StarHub customers will be offered cable broadband access for free while waiting for the fibre links to be set up.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'Which fibre broadband package to pick?'. Print Edition | Subscribe