The internet has become an important part of our every day lives. Many people regularly use it to find information, to communicate by email, and to complete transactions.
All local and mobile libraries have computers with free internet access - you can book half hour or hourly sessions. Contact your local library for more information about this free service. Use the following link to get contact details for your local library or to book a computer session through Libraries NI website.
Many people are still missing out on the benefits of the internet – because they lack the know-how or the confidence, or they don't have access to a computer or an internet connection.
If you have a friend or family member who needs support getting started with the internet, follow the link below.
If you want to access the internet at home, you'll need an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and a modem to connect to the ISP. ISPs often provide a router which lets you share an internet connection over a local area network. This means more than one computer or device in your house can use the broadband connection at the same time. The router is connected with cables and a hub or switch. Some devices can also use WiFI to connect to the router.
As ISPs often improve their services, it is useful to have updated information about what they can offer. Go to your ISP's website and see if they use an online checker where you can find out what services are available in your area. You might need to use your postcode or telephone number in the online checker.
It is helpful to get recommendations from a reliable source, or from friends who have an ISP. When you are researching the ISP on your own, get accurate, detailed information about their services.
Make sure you have the right computer and software to work with any chosen ISP as some ISPs require specific browsers and some services don't work with AppleMac hardware or software. To get some connection speeds you'll need a specific modem.
Find out what your ISP offers and decide what you actually need. Consider how long you expect to be online, the size of the files you will be transferring and when you are most likely to be online. It is not recommended to select an ISP by price alone.
'Metered' access gives you "pay as you go" internet. It might also include a monthly fee. Generally metered internet access is at local call rates and you may get some free hours each month.
Connecting to the internet during the day can be more expensive than at evenings and weekends. Consider an 'unmetered' tariff if you will be going online a lot during the daytime. Monthly subscriptions for 'unmetered' tariffs also mean you don't need to worry about telephone bills for the time you are online.
If you want to use the phone whilst you are online, you can choose a broadband connection or get a second line installed specifically for internet access. A broadband connection allows online access all day:
If you are thinking of building your own website, choose an ISP that offers hosting space as part of the package.
Find out what technical support is available and how much the ISP charges for this service. Ask what the ISP does to prevent or manage system failures.