Would you rather have broadband or central heating?

Woman looking at tablet on a sofa
Central heating and broadband? That's having your cake and eating it...
"A lack of central heating probably wouldn’t kill me, but it would make me unhappy, uncomfortable and possibly even ill"
  • | by Kristian Dando

If you could only pick one, what would you rather have this winter: broadband or central heating? It’s quite the conundrum.

On one hand, having a warm house is very nice and cosy. But would you trade it for access to an endless stream of internet content at your fingertips?

Thankfully it’s a choice which very few of us will ever have to make.

But theoretically, which would you pick? Two of our writers have been having it out on the subject. Here are their views…

Rachel England: central heating

Happy woman next to central heating

The leaves are turning red, the air is crisp and everything is pumpkin-flavoured. It’s my favourite time of the year, and yet the season also heralds the descent into winter, and if there’s one thing I thoroughly abhor, it’s being cold.

Welcome to my autumn paradox.

Having spent many years living in shonky student flats and draughty Victorian terraces, I have come to truly appreciate the virtues of a warm home: of curling up on the sofa while the wind rages outside and cosy afternoons pottering around the house while icy rain smashes against the roof.

My house is my very own haven away from the madding crowd - my comfortable personal space where I can relax and unwind.

Granted, a great deal of my relaxation comes in the form of mindlessly scrolling through the internet looking at 27 pictures of berries that look like politicians or falling down Wikipedia rabbit holes learning about the history of butter churning.

But I assure you my enjoyment of this superfluous #content would be greatly hampered if it was accompanied by chattering teeth and numb fingers. Plus, my foggy breath would get in the way of the screen.

Happy warm woman

Back in 1943, the American psychologist Abraham Maslow published his influential paper, The Hierarchy of Needs. Very top of the list are physiological needs, such as food, water and - you guessed it - warmth.

We live in hugely exciting times, tech-wise, but the bells and whistles of broadband won’t surpass the fact that humans are pretty frail beings that still need really basic stuff to survive.

Sure, a lack of central heating probably wouldn’t kill me, but it would make me unhappy, uncomfortable and possibly even ill.

Besides, the money I’d save on broadband and line rental (which is unbelievably still a thing, even in this day and age) could go on a data package with my mobile phone provider.

Broadband or heating? No contest. Spending a winter shivering under a blanket is far too high a price to pay for high-speed access to pictures of cats.

Kristian Dando: broadband

Man looking at computer

If it came down to it and I’ve have to pick one or the other, it would have to be broadband.

I can face the cold - it’s nothing that a few hoodies and blankets won’t solve. Besides, I live in a relatively balmy part of the UK, next to the relative warmth of the Severn estuary. That coastal climate will prevent things from getting too icy.

Boredom, however, is something I can’t endure.

And given the choice between a winter spent shivering under blankets or not being able to access to all of my favourite streaming sites, music, emails and idle chat with other socially isolated professional people, I’ll take the former.

What am I supposed to do - read a book?

Data on your phone is all well and good but there’s a limit.

Man using broadband

I, like many others of my age, consume content like a gannet.

My phone data wouldn’t last a week before running out, leaving me to get all my internetting done in work. Which has its limitations, if you get my drift.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs might have been bang on the money in 1943. But it’s 2016 now.

Maslow didn’t have a lifetime’s worth of obscure documentaries about things like Elvis’s eating habits, nostalgic TV programmes to view on a whim and endless sporting podcasts to listen to.

Plus, having broadband means that I can plot getaways to warmer climes and potentially even book them up from the comfort of my own home.

If I’m really pressed for warmth the pub isn’t too far away, with its glorious fireplace and pints of foaming porter.

And do you know what? I think a winter spent with no central heating would probably be quite character building.

Broadband wins every time.

So what's your view? Would you prefer to have broadband or central heating over the winter? Let us know why on Twitter or Facebook