Broadband buyer's guide
The guide lists the selection criteria for subscription types and things to remember when making a contract, as well as issues related to information security. A glossary explains the key terms related to broadband subscriptions.
Choosing a subscription
- The availability of different types of broadband subscriptions in Finland varies depending on the region. Mobile subscriptions are available almost throughout the country. There are more regional differences in the availability of fixed subscriptions.
- FICORA's MONITORi service is an easy way to check which subscription types are available at your home address.
- You can also learn more about the selection of subscriptions by visiting operators' websites and contacting their customer service.
Fixed or mobile subscription?
- Both fixed broadband and mobile broadband are available at a large number of homes. Think about which type of broadband suits your needs the best, or do you need them both.
- Fixed broadband subscriptions are connections using telecommunications cables that you can use only at home or in some other fixed location. Fixed subscriptions are provided using different techniques. The quality of all fixed subscriptions is more or less the same. This is relevant especially in areas where the coverage of the mobile phone network is poor.
- Besides at home, you can access mobile broadband (e.g. internet used on the mobile phone, via a USB modem or via a mobile router) anywhere within the coverage area of your operator. The speed and connection quality of mobile broadband vary more than those of fixed broadband.
- In the advertisements of broadband subscriptions, the operators often mention the maximum speed of the subscription. However, the maximum speed does not always describe the actual speed of the subscription correctly. Ask the seller what is the speed range of the subscription. In the case of a fixed subscription, the minimum speed and normally available speed are mentioned in the contract terms.
- When talking about broadband subscriptions, download and upload speeds are mentioned separately. Download speed determines how fast websites and their contents download to your computer. Upload speed is the speed at which information is transferred from your subscription to the internet. Upload speeds are especially important if you intend to make video calls or play games online.
- Each subscription type has a maximum speed. However, the speed of a broadband subscription, and especially mobile broadband, generally varies. The mobile broadband speed varies depends on the network (2G, 3G, 4G) and simultaneous users on your area.
What speed do you need for the services you use?
When choosing a broadband speed category, consider for what activities you need the broadband. Below is a list of available broadband speed categories and suitable services for each category.
Speed / Services
- 2 Mbit/s Browsing (e.g. online banking or news sites), listening to music, watching videos (low quality)
- 10 Mbit/s Besides the above-mentioned activities, watching high-quality videos (HD quality) and video calls (e.g. Skype)
- 50 Mbit/s Besides the above-mentioned activities, downloading large files (e.g. games, films) and sharing the broadband connection with other users or devices
Is it difficult to get a functioning connection?
- If you are experiencing dropouts or slow speed with your mobile broadband connection, you can improve the connection with a mobile router or an antenna. Further information: FICORA's antenna guidelines
- If the operators in your area cannot offer you a subscription on reasonable conditions, follow the instructions on FICORA's website: Everyone is entitled to 2 Mbps broadband
Making a contract
Features of broadband are described in the contract
- The essential features of your broadband subscription are described in the contract you receive in connection with the purchase or activation of the subscription. Pay attention at least to speed, any limits on data transfer, delivery time, pricing and contract period.
- Keep all contract documents because they determine the features of the subscription as well as the customer's rights and the operator's obligations in case the service does not perform as agreed. Read more about subscriber connection agreements
- There may be significant differences in the pricing of different operators or different types of broadband subscriptions, so it's best to compare the prices.
- Think about how much you use broadband. In the majority of the subscriptions, you pay a fixed monthly fee for either a limitless use of broadband or for a certain amount of data transfer determined in the contract. In some subscriptions, you may also pay for what you use. Compare subscriptions to find out which is the most affordable one for your intended use.
- There are often offers on subscriptions. Check whether the subscription price remains the same during the entire contract or whether it is a sale price that increases after a certain period of time.
- Go through all that is included in the subscription price. Make sure that you do not pay for devices or additional services that you do not need.
- Besides the price of the subscription, the operator may also charge other fees that add up to the total amount of the invoice. Check whether the operator charges for additional services, such as paper invoices.
- The prices of using mobile broadband abroad are not the same as in Finland. Note that using broadband abroad is usually not included in the fixed monthly price.
- Pay attention to the period of the contract. Consider for what duration you are willing to be bound by the contract.
- A contract that is valid until further notice may be terminated at any time with a two weeks' notice.
- A fixed-term contract cannot be terminated without a specific reason which means that, in principle, you must pay for the subscription until the contract expires. A fixed-term contract period may be no more than two years.
- If you are planning to change operators, make sure that you are able to terminate your previous contract before making a new one. This way you will not have to pay for several subscriptions at the same time.
- When making a contract, consider whether you need a monthly limit in euros for your use. Setting a limit for usage or balance may be necessary in particular if the price of the subscription is based on the use. Read more about balance and usage limits
- If you are planning to use mobile internet abroad, note that such use is usually not included in the monthly subscription price and may cause additional costs. Within the EU, there is a maximum tariff for data download but in other parts of the world, there are no such price caps. Read more about using your mobile phone abroad
Look after your information security
- Make sure that the devices connected to your broadband, such as a computer modem, router and television, are protected. Otherwise, your subscription, devices and data are vulnerable to misuse.
- Follow the information security guidelines and learn more www.kyberturvallisuuskeskus.fi
- Ask your operator for more information about information security and consult an expert, if necessary.
Information security of devices and software
- Make sure that there is updated antivirus software and firewall on your computer. If your computer does not already have antivirus software, you can obtain it from your operator or directly from an electronics store, for example.
- Keep your computer and all software updated. Turn on automatic updates on your computer. Read more about the safe use of services
- Check the settings of devices when you start using them and change the default passwords. Read more about the safe use of devices
Security of the WLAN network at home
- If you use a wireless local area network (WLAN) for broadband, which means that you connect a WLAN base station to your broadband, protect the wireless network with a password and encrypt the traffic. An unprotected network may be used by anyone. Read more about WLAN security
- Use different passwords for your devices and for different online services. Change the passwords regularly. A strong password is sufficiently long and complicated. It should not be a word, but rather a sentence or abbreviation including numbers, mixed-case letters and symbols. Read more about passwords (in Finnish)
- Check that the devices you use enable all the features of your new broadband subscription.
- If you purchase new devices in connection with the new subscription contract, take the subscription features into account when selecting the devices. For instance, using the 4G technology features in mobile broadband efficiently requires a device that supports such technique. Note also that fixed broadband connections provided using different techniques may require different types of modems. Pay attention to this especially when you are moving to another apartment.
- Consult your subscription operator when selecting devices.
- 2G technology - Second-generation mobile telecommunications technology intended primarily for voice transmission. Mobile broadband works, but it is slow.
- 3G technology - Third-generation mobile telecommunications technology providing fast transmission of voice and data.
- 4G technology - Fourth-generation mobile telecommunications technology providing extremely fast transmission of large amounts of data.
- Ethernet - Fixed broadband connection. Ethernet connection does not require a modem because you can connect your computer, for instance, directly to the internet.
- Fixed broadband connection - Broadband connection using telecommunications cables. Fixed broadband connections are provided using different technologies (see Ethernet, cable modem, optical fibre, xDSL).
- Cable modem connection - Fixed broadband connection that transmits data using cable television network. You need a cable modem that is connected to the TV outlet at your home.
- Tied contract - A tied contract means that the equipment (e.g. USB modem) and a subscription are sold as a package. A tied contract is often fixed term which means that you commit to pay the charges over a fixed contractual period. Further information
- Additional antenna - You may improve your mobile broadband connection with an additional antenna connected to the router. For this purpose, there are desk antennas and effective outdoor antennas that can be mounted on your rooftop. Further information
- Upload speed - The speed at which information is transferred from your subscription to the internet.
- Mobile broadband - Wireless broadband that may be used within the coverage area of 3G and 4G networks. You can use mobile broadband on the mobile phone or tablet, for instance. You can also use mobile broadband on your computer using a USB modem, mobile router or a SIM card inserted into the computer.
- Modem - Device enabling access to the internet in xDSL and cable modem networks.
- USB modem or Dongle - Small modem connected to a computer via USB port that allows you to access mobile broadband on the computer.
- Housing company subscription - A housing company can purchase a shared broadband subscription for all apartments. The housing company adds the expenses to the maintenance charge regardless of whether the resident uses the broadband.
- Surf stick - Small modem connected to a computer via USB port that allows you to access mobile broadband.
- Speed range - Range of data transfer speed presented in contract shows the maximum and minimum speeds of the subscription. Minimum speed is the speed guaranteed by the operator. The speed varies usually more in mobile broadband than in fixed broadband and therefore the minimum speed is usually lower.
- Firewall - Program or device intended to prevent unauthorised or inappropriate access from one network or a part of a network to another.
- Coverage map - Map that shows the areas where the operator's 2G, 3G and 4G networks function.
- Prepaid - You pay for the use of the prepaid subscription in advance. Usually you need to buy a starter pack for prepaid subscription that includes a certain amount of data transfer, a SIM card and sometimes a surf stick, for example.
- Router - Device that directs traffic between networks based on network addresses. A router is often included in the same device as the modem and the WLAN base station.
- Download speed - Download speed determines how fast websites and their contents download.
- Internal network - Communications network within a property or a building that consists of generic cabling and an antenna system, for instance. The property owner is responsible for ensuring that the internal network functions properly.
- Fibre optic connection - Fast fixed broadband connection that transmits data using optical cables. The subscription speed may be e.g. 100 Mbit/s.
- WLAN - With a WLAN base station, you can make your fixed broadband connection into a wireless local area network or share the broadband connection to several devices.
- xDSL (e.g. ADSL or VDSL) - Fixed broadband connection that transmits data using fixed telephone network. You need an ADSL or a VDSL modem that is connected to the telephone outlet at your home.
- Universal service - Everyone in Finland is entitled to have a functioning telephone subscription and a broadband access at home. Read more