We know it can be difficult choosing the right deal or broadband provider. Our broadband comparison help section contains useful information and advice for making your next broadband purchase easy and stress-free.
There are several things to think about when looking for a broadband deal that suits your household:
Monthly cost – Often an important factor when choosing a broadband deal. If you’re currently in a contract, your provider may hike the monthly cost up once the fixed-term ends. For this reason, Ofcom has made it compulsory for providers to remind you when your contract is ending, so you’ll have time to find a better deal. There’s almost always a better price available if you shop around.
Broadband speed – The faster download speeds associated with fibre optic broadband and cable broadband allow for better quality streaming, but are slightly more expensive. Choosing a speed that’s fast enough, but isn’t faster than you need, is the best way of making sure you don’t pay over the odds. A cheap deal is a false economy if it doesn’t provide the speed your household needs. Not sure what speed will be enough? Our guide to broadband speeds will help you figure out what’s right for you.
Contract length – Although a few providers offer monthly rolling ‘cancel anytime’ contracts, most deals are offered as 12, 18, or 24 month contracts. If you’re happy to sign up for a longer period, you’ll often enjoy a lower monthly price. Broadband for students and renters in particular should be aware of early exit fees, as they’re more likely to need to cancel a contract part way through. This can be the full sum the provider would have received over the remainder of the contract.
Upfront and extra costs – Keep in mind some providers add other costs, and these can offset any savings you make with a lower monthly price. These typically cover things like delivery of a router, installation charges, or activation fees. If you don’t want to pay any extra costs (upfront or otherwise), you should have a look at our comparison of broadband with no upfront fees.
Bundle deals – Many broadband packages include additional services like landline phone call plans, TV subscriptions, and even mobile phone contracts. A broadband and phone deal, or a broadband and TV bundle deal, can save you cash along with offering the convenience of dealing with one provider.
Incentives – To sweeten deals, many providers offer rewards and incentives like cashback, bill credits, shopping vouchers or other free gifts. While they can make a package seem more enticing, they shouldn’t always form the basis of your decision when choosing which option you want. They’re usually limited-time offers – so you may feel pressured to buy before you’re ready. On the other hand, they can be represent great value and be well worth grabbing while you can! If you do go down that route, see our guide on how to claim your rewards.
We make it easy for you to compare broadband deals. Use the drop down to sort by price, speed or most popular and then filter based on what really matters to you. It’s that simple.
Most providers operate on the same network except for the Virgin Media and some independent providers like Hyperoptic. If providers are on the same network, the broadband speeds offered will be roughly the same give or take a few Mbps. To try and differentiate themselves, providers will offer improved customer service, incentives, upgrades or more reliable WiFi.
Below is a list of broadband providers and their strengths. For full reviews, see our broadband reviews. For the record, we think Virgin Media is the best provider but only if it's available where you live.
The higher the broadband speed, the faster you can download files and the higher quality your streaming content will be. Our guide to broadband speeds can help you determine what speed will meet your household needs. In the meantime, we’ve listed a few things for you to consider.
Singles and couples – If you live alone or as a couple, and don’t use the internet for much more than web browsing, you’ll probably be fine with a connection speed up to 30Mbps. In fact, the cheapest broadband (ADSL) should be adequate for you, with typical download speeds of around 10Mbps.
Average-sized families – If you live in a household of three or more, where multiple people use the internet at the same time, you’re likely to need speeds between 30-60Mbps. This is especially true if you’re playing games or streaming video online. A fibre internet connection is a sensible choice, as you can expect a more consistent, reliable service.
Student sharers and serious streamers – For larger households like student living together, or for serious streamers, you’ll need a fast and steady connection to avoid problems like buffering. Aim to have at least 60Mbps to ensure everyone can enjoy streaming film and TV, playing games, and downloading large files at the same time. A faster unlimited option won’t set you back much more than a standard connection and will be well worth the extra expense for heavier users.
Home workers and heavy downloaders – If you or any of your household work or run a business from home, or simply need to download lots of large files, a broadband connection of 100Mbps or higher is advised – where it's available. Really, the fastest possible home broadband is advisable if your work involves regular Zoom calls. And, while it's still early days, the roll out of Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) Broadband is accelerating, opening up access to speeds approaching 1000Mbps!
Broadband speeds that you see advertised are averages, measured at peak times during the evening, when the highest number of users are online. This means that you won’t be guaranteed to get that speed every time you use the internet.
By law, average broadband speeds must be available to at least half of users, in theory meaning you have a 50/50 chance of getting a speed either above or below the average advertised. At the level of individual customers it's not quite that simple and issues such as the distance from the cabinet and the demands of neighbouring properties always have a bearing.
Broadband is currently available to almost all areas of the UK. Use our quick broadband checker by entering your postcode below. Our broadband comparison will show you what speeds are available in your area.
If your broadband deal has come to an end, you can switch providers quickly and easily at any time, without any early-exit charges.
If you’re part way through your agreement and moving house, it may be possible to move your contract with you to your new home – assuming the service is available at your new address.
If you’re part way through a contract and simply want to switch to a new deal, you may have to pay for the remainder of your contract or pay an early termination charge. Your provider will be able to tell you what policy applies to your existing deal should you want to cancel your internet contract.
There is an exception to this however – if, while in contract, your provider attempts to raise prices above inflation (RPI), or doesn't warn you of any rise then you're free to leave and switch to another provider – as long as you don't leave it longer than 30 days.
Except for mobile broadband, all broadband is 'wired', in that it's delivered via a phone line or fibre optic cable to your property. A wireless router then sends signals to every room in your house and this 'WiFi' makes it possible for you to access the internet around your home, giving you more freedom than a wired connection.
You can still use a cable to connect directly to your router, giving you a 'wired' connection. This can help if you're suffering any problems with the strength of your WiFi signal. It may even be slightly faster. However, WiFi deals have become the preferred option for most households (the term has almost become synonymous with broadband itself), allowing for multiple devices to be online at the same time. It's just so convenient.
Although a few providers offer rolling ‘cancel anytime’ contracts, it’s most common in the UK to sign up for between 12 and 24 months. In theory, if you’re happy to sign up for an extended period you’ll often enjoy a lower monthly rate – but that's not always the case. If you decide to go for a longer contract, you should check what exit-fees might apply should you ever want to cancel part way through. Generally the shorter the contract, the less they're likely to be.
If you’re a student, you might be interested in a contract that will see you through term-time. Some providers offer 9 month broadband, so you won’t have to pay for provision during the summer holidays. You’re more likely to find them during August or September when students return to university, but the selection can be limited with only a few providers offering relevant deals.
If you only need internet provision in the short term, some providers offer no contract deals, though you’re likely to pay more than if you sign up for a longer term. Some providers simply charge a large one off fee, meaning they have some buffer should you opt out very early on.
Broadband isn’t the only service you can access through a telecoms provider. Many offer phone and TV packages, which means you can say money and have the convenience of a single bill each month.
One of the most common bundles is a broadband and phone package. Since most providers require you to have a landline, you usually get a phone line anyway, so combining the two makes a lot of sense, especially if you make a lot of landline calls.
If you do sign up for an internet and phone package, you’ll have the option to include weekend and evening calls. Choose add-ons such as international calls or unlimited any time minutes if you regularly use your landline. If you don’t use your phone very often, you might find it’s cheaper to use your mobile instead. But remember, with a few exceptions such as BT, you'll still be paying for line rental, whether you use it or not.
Combining your broadband and TV makes a lot of sense and can save you money on your monthly bill. They’re available from the following providers:
BT TV – BT generally offers three broadband and TV bundles – a combination of its fast Fibre 2 FTTC broadband and either Entertainment or Sports options. Or beefed up versions of either. Plus they often come with a reward card as an incentive. See our BT TV channels guide.
Sky TV – Probably the most well know subscription TV service, Sky offers a huge choice of channels with some of the most popular shows. It also offers a wide choice of broadband, TV and phone combinations! See our Sky TV channels guide.
If you would normally pay for any of these services individually, it could work out cheaper to combine them, along with being more convenient to manage.
People usually look for a broadband without a landline when they know they won’t use their phone once it’s installed. They may also believe that going without a landline will get them a discount on their monthly broadband payments. Unfortunately you’ll usually still have to pay line-rental because that’s how the internet is delivered to your home from the exchange – in the case of FTTC at least. Two interesting exceptions to this are BT and EE Broadband who have recently started offering broadband products without any obligation to take on a landline.
The only other widely available ISP not requiring a phone line to deliver your broadband is Virgin Media, which has always been the case since they operate on an entirely separate network and a conventional phone connection simply isn't required.
You’ll find there are several providers who regularly offer free gifts or incentives. Some of the most popular offers include:
No set up costs – Providers will offer incentives like free installation, activation or delivery to sweeten the deals they provide. You’re more likely to find these on 12, 18 or 24 month contracts. Often providers will draw attention to their 'free' routers, but not charging for the router is now practically standard practise.
Free gifts – Some options include bonuses like free gifts to encourage new customers to sign up. These might include things like shopping vouchers from the likes of Amazon, Tesco, or M&S along with more specific items like games consoles. Free gifts are great, but you should always consider all aspects of a contract carefully before signing up.
Black Friday broadband – Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping events in the UK calendar where prices on many different items and services are slashed by retailers. Broadband provision is no exception, with a wide range of offers such as cashback on monthly payments to free gifts and no upfront costs. Black Friday happens a few weeks before Christmas, with the date changing each year, so keep your eyes peeled for bargains.
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