Alan Stainer runs an IT company specialising in technical advice and support and website design, based in the Horsham District. In each column he’ll look at issues affecting computer use.
Some areas of the UK still have no broadband access and some individuals cannot get broadband even if it is available, either due to financial circumstance or some other physical limitation. Dial-up internet access using your phone line is often used in these situations.
On September 1 2013 BT stopped providing dial-up internet access to its customers. The reason being that it is no longer economically sustainable with so few customers using the service. There is an alternative option in place for existing BT customers, in the form of PlusNet (a subsidiary of BT) which does still offer dial-up internet access.
It begs the question though, how long before PlusNet and all the other dial-up providers also decide that it is no longer sustainable and pull the plug on dial-up internet access altogether?
So what can you do if you cannot get broadband or dial-up?
If you have a good 3G or 4G mobile phone signal in your area, there are a few options. 1) You can set up your 3G or 4G enabled smartphone as a WiFi hotspot.
2) You can buy a 3G or 4G adapter for your PC or laptop.
3) You can buy a separate 3G or 4G mobile WiFi hotspot to connect multiple devices.
If your home PC does not have a WiFi receiver don’t worry. You can buy USB dongles to enable WiFi on your computer.
If you do not have good mobile signal strength where you live, 3G and 4G may not be an option for you. Luckily, there are still some alternatives. Many places now offer free public WiFi. West Sussex County Council recently announced that all libraries within the county will have free WiFi available for people wishing to use their smartphones, tablets and laptops. Just be careful on a public network.