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Best broadband deals for May 2016

  • Sky Broadband Unlimited

    • Up to 17Mb download speed
    • Unlimited usage
    • Pay for calls you make
    12 months free unlimited broadband & £100 M&S voucher
    £10 after 12 mths See Deal
  • BT Unlimited Infinity 1 + Weekend Calls

    • Up to 52Mbps fibre broadband
    • Unlimited usage, 100GB BT Cloud
    • Inclusive weekend calls
    New customers only, £125 BT Reward Card - Ends Today, Cable.co.uk exclusive £30 Cashback & Save £168 over 12 months
    £25 after 12 mths See Deal
  • SSE Ultrafast Fibre Broadband + Talk Anytime

    • Up to 76Mb fibre broadband
    • Unlimited download usage
    • Inclusive anytime calls
    18 months free fibre broadband
    £30 after 18 mths See Deal

Our top tip

Compare, compare, compare – shopping around is the only surefire way to get the best broadband deal available.

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How to get the best broadband deals

Finding the best broadband deals…

By postcode

First things first: You need to know what you can actually get where you live. That’s why the broadband postcode checker at the top of this page has pride of place. It’s the first thing you need to know before you can make any further decisions.

At the right speed for your household

Next you’ll want to think about speed, but rather than thinking in megabits per second (Mbps) which are pretty meaningless in and of themselves, instead think about the people in your household and what they tend to do with it.

A good broadband deal for a single person, for example, provided he or she is not addicted to downloading videogame and movie files, is probably something pretty basic. A single person doesn’t need all that much, even if they intend to stream movies in HD. A good non-fibre (ADSL) connection should do fine.

If you have a moderate to large family, all with different habits, however, you’ll need to factor in that there will be times when everyone will want to be online, doing their own thing, all at the same time, and should start with a fibre package as a minimum.

Don’t forget to factor in line rental

All broadband packages in the UK either demand you pay line rental as part of your package (your broadband arrives from the local cabinet and into your home through your phone line, it’s unavoidable), or they demand you pay someone else. For example, some Plusnet packages advertise ‘broadband only’ but really what they mean is you still have to pay line rental, albeit to your phone line provider, which might be someone else.

The one exception to this is Virgin Media, which offers true broadband-only deals. However, you may find this works out about the same, money-wise. Virgin’s broadband-only deals tend to be comparatively costly.

If you’ve chosen fibre

If you can get a fibre broadband deal and the size of your household can justify it, there’s plenty to choose from. Virgin Media has its own network and offers the fastest widely available service; the rest of the fibre providers use the Openreach network, and while they all offer the same speeds, additions like TV and calling packages will help you choose what’s right for you.

Remember to shop around

Ultimately, though, it’s good to shop around. That is, after all, what comparing broadband is all about. Find out what you can get, decide what you want, then jump in. Cable.co.uk provides you all the tools you need.

Broadband-only deals

With no landline and no line rental

Internet providers use the term ‘broadband-only’ quite loosely, as in most cases it just means you don’t get an inclusive call plan with your package; and line rental is still a requirement.

If you’re looking for broadband deals with no landline and no line rental to pay, your options are, unfortunately, quite slim, as Virgin Media is the only fixed-line broadband provider to offer such a service. You can see which broadband-only deals are available where you live by entering your postcode at the top of this page.

Without a phone line or contract

If you can live with having to pay line rental on the condition that you can cancel your service at any time, broadband-only deals with no contract are a little easier to come by, with a handful of lesser known providers including Tentel and Direct Save Telecom offering such services on a rolling, monthly basis.

However, be aware that broadband deals such as these are usually only offered on standard broadband connections (non-fibre) and may require slightly higher upfront and monthly costs compared to those on a 12-month or longer contract term.

With low monthly costs

Should affordability be top of your checklist, you can compare cheap broadband-only deals using the tools on this page. Once you’ve entered your postcode into the availability checker you can organise all the deals available according to their monthly or first-year costs – this makes it quick and simple to identify the cheapest broadband-only deals.

With unlimited usage

If you’re after unlimited broadband-only deals, you’re in luck, as the majority of providers offer this as standard with most, if not all, of their broadband packages.

Of course, a broader choice can make finding the best deal a little harder, but the Cable.co.uk tools are designed to alleviate that strain by providing you with all the important information upfront and as much detail as you need to make an informed decision.

So what should you be on the lookout for? Well, the best unlimited broadband-only deals are those with ‘truly unlimited’ usage – these packages will never restrict when or how much you use the internet and are best suited to large families and active online users.

The alternatives are plain, unlimited broadband deals – these impose some restrictions on usage (traffic management – which might affect your speed if a lot of people are online in your area), but typically only affect a very small minority of users engaged in very specific types of online use.

For the average user they don’t pose any trouble, so don’t be put off if a plain unlimited broadband-only deal ticks all your other boxes.

Broadband-only deals without phone

As we’ve already discussed, most broadband-only deals still require you to have an active phone line because that’s how the internet reaches your home. However, you don’t necessarily have to use it to carry calls if you don’t want to – hence why most providers don’t supply you with a physical phone as standard anymore.

You still need to pay line rental even if you don’t plug a phone into the wall and use the landline to make calls. Broadband services – except those supplied by Virgin – use that same phone line to funnel internet connectivity into your home… yes, even if it’s fibre.

Broadband and phone deals

With line rental included

Line rental will make up a significant proportion of your monthly broadband and phone bill, but most providers aren’t as upfront about this expense as they should be.

Knowing how the cost of line rental will impact monthly and annual prices is essential to finding the best deals, which is why you can use the Cable.co.uk comparison tools to compare broadband and phone deals with line rental included.

With TV bundled in

Often, the best deals are reserved for broadband, TV and phone bundles from a single provider. Bundles typically offer a notable saving against a pick and mix of the same services from two or more separate suppliers.

Broadband, TV and phone deals are prominent among providers such as BT, Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, with varying prices, availability, TV channels and additional features distinguishing their respective bundle line-ups. You can compare what’s on offer in your area using the tools on this page.

With superfast fibre speeds

If speed is of the upmost importance to your next internet and landline service, you can compare the best fibre broadband and phone deals right here.

Fibre broadband and phone deals are admittedly more expensive than their standard broadband (ADSL) counterparts, but with top download speeds coming in at more than 10x faster, the added monthly cost can be well worth it.

To find the best fibre broadband and phone deals, you first need to know what’s available in your area, and indeed whether your street is equipped for fibre optic broadband at all; the answers to both of these questions are just a single postcode check away.

From Sky

Sky broadband and phone deals are among some of the UK’s most popular, and are available with or without its signature satellite TV service. A supplier of both standard and fibre broadband, Sky offers packages suitable for singles, couples and families, all on comfortable 12-month contracts and often at discount prices for new customers.

From TalkTalk

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, TalkTalk is considered one of the cheapest broadband and phone providers available. Its standard contract is a little longer than competitors at 18 months, but the lengthier commitment helps secure you the more competitive rates.

From Virgin Media

Virgin Media broadband and phone deals offer the UK’s fastest widely available download speeds, but as a fibre-only service, availability is more limited. Unlike its broadband-only service, which is available on a 12-month contract, Virgin broadband and phone deals require a minimum subscription of 18 months, although for new customers they’ll likely work out to be more affordable than the provider’s standalone internet service. You can check availability and compare prices using the tools on this page.

From BT

With a share of around a third of the UK market, BT is the nation’s biggest provider of broadband and phone deals, so the chances of its services being available in your area are pretty high. BT’s level of clout often gives way to some seriously attractive offers, particularly for new customers. BT’s services span both standard broadband and fibre so you’re sure to find a suitable package.

From Plusnet

Plusnet prides itself on good customer service and has a pretty straightforward package line-up that doesn’t skimp on speed or usage, which is unlimited as standard. Prices are fairly competitive if you’re a new customer, but you’ll need to commit to an 18-month contract if you want fibre optic speeds.

Broadband and phone deals from alternative providers

If none of the UK’s leading broadband and phone providers have quite what you’re looking for, don’t worry; you’re far from being out of options.

Alternative broadband and phone providers include well-known names such as EE, the Post Office and John Lewis, not to mention newcomers and rising stars such as SSE and Origin Broadband.

No matter what you’re looking for in a new provider, you’re sure to find it when you compare all the broadband and phone deals in your area. Enter your postcode at the top of this page to kick off your search.

Fibre broadband deals

By postcode

To find the best fibre broadband deals, you need to know which providers are operating in your area and, above all else, if your street is fibre broadband-ready at all.

All you need to find the answers to these questions is your postcode and a fibre broadband availability checker – don’t worry, you can borrow ours, it’s at the top of this page.

Ensuring you’re getting the best fibre deal

We can’t tell you what the best fibre optic broadband deal is because it really comes down to your budget and the average online activity of your household. That said, buyers often find the best fibre broadband deals to be those that offer a balance of performance, extra features and affordability.

Our best advice is to have a clear idea of what you need before you go hunting for offers; if you don’t, the chances are you’ll end up overbuying. First-time fibre broadband buyers don’t need to max out on speed; an entry fibre package will likely have all the oomph required. If you’re an existing fibre broadband customer, you probably have a pretty clear idea of what speed you need (hint: it’s probably not the fastest on offer).

Once you know the sort of package you’re after, you can compare all the latest fibre broadband deals using the tools on this page.

For those after the fastest fibre available

The fastest fibre broadband widely available in the UK has a download speed of up to 200Mbps. It’s available from Virgin Media as part of its VIVID broadband collection, but there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to get it, since fibre broadband services (particularly those from Virgin Media) aren’t as readily available as standard broadband connections.

To discover whether Virgin Media is available in your area, enter your postcode into the availability checker at the top of this page. Even if you can’t get the UK’s fastest broadband speed, you can still compare the fastest fibre deals in your area and see all the latest offers from Sky, BT, TalkTalk and more.

Fibre ‘broadband-only’ deals

Fibre broadband-only deals aren’t all that common and providers have different interpretation of what ‘broadband only’ means. What you’re probably after is a fibre broadband service without a phone plan and with no line rental to pay – if that’s the case, you really only have one option, and that’s Virgin Media.

What some providers push as ‘broadband only’ is a fibre broadband package that’s bundled with a phone line but doesn’t come with an inclusive call plan – if this is what you’re after, you’re going to need to pay a monthly line rental fee on top of your fibre broadband subscription.

Finally, certain providers – including Plusnet and Origin broadband – offer fibre broadband as a standalone service, but only on the basis that you have an active landline with another supplier. Whichever way you look at it, you still have a phone line and the monthly line rental fee that goes with it.

No matter which of these you're after, you can compare all the fibre broadband-only deals available in your area using the tools at the top of this page.

With phone bundled in

Fibre and phone deals are everywhere and they’re usually where you’ll find a provider's latest deals and special offers.

Some of the better fibre and phone packages are those that come with free calls as standard, whether that is during evenings or at the weekends, but a number of providers will only include these as paid extras along with free anytime calls and discount or inclusive calls abroad.

A more generously equipped phone plan will inevitably cost more than a bare-bones package, but you can find the best deals currently available by comparing fibre and phone deals in your area.

With TV

Fibre and TV deals are a prefect pairing if you plan on watching TV and movies on demand as the faster speeds make for a smoother streaming experience and enable HD films to download in a fraction of the time they would over a regular broadband connection.

You have several options when it comes to choosing a Fibre broadband and TV provider, including Sky, Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk. Each has its own array of fibre speeds, TV channels and extra features, and you can explore all of them easily with the Cable.co.uk comparison tools.

Fibre from Sky

Sky Fibre deals regularly include offers of half-price and even free broadband, not to mention cashback rewards and free gifts on certain bundles.

Sky’s entry-level fibre broadband speed is available with either truly unlimited usage – an ideal option for families and active internet users – or a more modest monthly usage limit for single or infrequent users. If you want Sky’s fastest fibre package, you’ll have to order by phone.

Its prices may not always be the cheapest on the market, but its services are among the most popular and new customers are sure to seize a great offer when they compare Sky Fibre deals online.

Fibre from TalkTalk

TalkTalk fibre deals offer top speeds at competitive prices, so the provider is an obvious contender for anyone seeking an affordable fibre optic service.

‘Flashy’ is one way to describe TalkTalk’s typical fibre broadband deals, as the provider routinely rolls out big cashback rewards on top of half-price offers. Don’t get blinded by glitz though – it’s important to examine the costs and commitment inherent across all broadband deals, no matter how attractive they appear at first glance.

For the complete picture and a comprehensive comparison of prices, compare TalkTalk fibre broadband deals using the tools on this page.

Fibre from Virgin Media

Virgin Media fibre deals aren’t available everywhere so you should check broadband availability by postcode before your set you heart on any of the packages in its fibre line-up.

If you can get Virgin fibre broadband, don’t expect to find the same sort of deals you see with a lot of other providers – Virgin doesn’t make a habit of knocking money off its packages or offering vouchers, cashback or other rewards when you sign up to one of its broadband-only or broadband and phone services.

The best Virgin Media fibre deals are reserved for its broadband, TV and phone bundles – or Big Bundles as it likes to call them, so if you’re in the market for all three, you might find a bargain.

Fibre from BT

BT Infinity fibre deals are usually some of the most rewarding – perhaps simply because the UK telecoms giant can afford to splash out on new customers.

No matter what speed or usage limit you’re after, you’re likely to find a chorus of discounts, big cashback rewards and added savings on services such as BT Sport and BT Mobile, but don’t forget to dig a little deeper when you compare the latest BT fibre deals since short-term savings don’t always guarantee long-term value.

You can see how the latest BT Infinity deals stack up against the competition using our comprehensive comparison tools.

Fibre from Plusnet

Plusnet fibre broadband deals are often quite limited but also to the point, offering straightforward discounts that usually translate into long-term value for money.

Its contracts may not be as short as some of its competitors, but Plusnet’s good reputation for customer service signals greater buyer satisfaction, and that may warrant the longer commitment.

With unlimited usage as standard and superfast download speeds to match the bulk of its rivals, Plusnet will probably appear on the shortlists of a number of fibre broadband deal hunters. See how its latest offers compete with other providers using the Cable.co.uk comparison tools.

Alternative fibre broadband deals

If you’re seeking fibre deals from alternative providers as apposed to the UK’s biggest, there are plenty to choose from – but you need to know what’s available in your area first, so enter your postcode at the top of this page to find out.

Choosing a less mainstream fibre broadband provider, such as Direct Save Telecom or Origin Broadband, doesn’t mean compromising on speed, as most alternative providers offer packages between 38Mbps and 76Mbps, and usually with unlimited usage as standard.

However, most do tend to offer a more ‘no frills’ service, which means you may not get the same vouchers, rewards, software and other perks.

Broadband and TV deals

How to choose the best broadband and TV deals

Adding a TV subscription to your broadband package unlocks a host of premium entertainment channels and flexible on demand viewing options.

From the leading on demand entertainment offerings of Sky, to BT’s sought-after sport coverage, each of the UK’s biggest TV providers has its own draws, including Virgin Media’s intuitive user experience and TalkTalk’s extensively customisable subscriptions.

Choosing the best broadband and TV deal really comes down to your viewing habits and desired channel choice, as certain providers have a more substantial offering than others.

Use the tools on this page to find the best broadband and TV deals in your area. When you have a clear view of which providers offer the most and which packages fall within your budget, finding the perfect package is easy.

Why you’ll probably need to add phone too

Providers don’t typically bundle broadband and TV together without throwing home phone into the mix as well. This is because most broadband providers use phone lines to deliver internet connectivity to your home, even if it’s a fibre broadband service.

Although a lot us now favour using our mobiles over landlines, if you can get an inclusive call plan bundled in with your broadband and TV, you might as well take it – after all, free calls during evenings or at weekends can still be useful – even if you have to sit on the stairs to make them.

Be wary of hidden costs when choosing a ‘budget’ broadband and TV package

Beyond the premium priced broadband and TV packages available with the likes of Sky and Virgin Media are the cheaper subscription TV and internet options offered by providers such as TalkTalk and EE.

However, while cheap broadband and TV packages can appear good value at first glance they’re likely to have a comparably paltry offering of channels and extra features. Most budget services consist of little more than Freeview entertainment on a nifty set-top box with pause and rewind functionality.

Of course, if you’re not satisfied with such a limited line-up of entertainment, a budget provider will happily sell you a host of upgrades to give you a more worthwhile subscription and before long you may end up paying a lot more than you intended.

Use our comparison tools to see exactly what you’ll get for your money from the latest broadband and TV deals.

Fastest broadband deals

How to get the fastest broadband deal

The fastest broadband deals available to you depend largely on where you live and which providers are operating within your area.

You can find out the speeds you can get using the availability checker on this page, but remember that those advertised by providers are the maximum achievable and not a guaranteed minimum. Most providers will give you a personalised estimate when you go to sign up, so you’ll have a more realistic idea of what you’ll get before you commit to buy.

Deciding which fast broadband deals are the best

The best fast broadband deals are those that never actively restrict your speed – yep, some broadband packages will slow you down at certain times of day or if you’re engaged in particular online activity such as peer-to-peer file sharing. This is called traffic management and the only way to avoid it is to choose a truly unlimited broadband package.

Discover the best fast broadband deals available in your area using our dedicated comparison tools.

Cheapest broadband deals

How to find cheap broadband and phone deals

No matter what your budget, affordability should be high on your agenda when seeking out the latest broadband deals – there’s simply no sense in paying over the odds.

Finding cheap broadband and phone deals is a case of weighing up total monthly costs and that means comparing broadband and phone deals with line rental included. You can do this with one click on our comparison page; we’ll do all the maths for you and show you what you’ll actually be paying each month on all the broadband and phone deals available in your area – that makes it easy to identify the cheapest.

Getting a broadband and TV deal for less

If you want to bundle TV into your broadband package, you’re likely to find a host of offers available in your area – providers love it when you sign up to multiple services, which is why some of their best deals are only available with bundles.

For cheap broadband and TV deals, you’re going to have to focus on the entry-level packages offered by providers, such as Sky’s Original Bundle or Virgin Media’s TV M+ package.

While these may not offer exhaustive lists of subscription channels nor all the bells and whistles available, they will be more affordable month-to-month and you can always upgrade them later if you fancy a wider viewing choice.

Finding the cheapest broadband providers

Trademark cheap broadband providers include TalkTalk, Fuel Broadband and Direct Save Telecom; seek them out and you’re sure to find low prices. However, before you do, you may be surprised at just how affordable big name providers can be too.

The fact of the matter is that broadband providers always offer new customers the best deals so if you go for a package from BT, Sky or Virgin Media, for example, you’re likely to get a broadband deal for less than you might expect.

Find all the cheap broadband providers and deals on offer in your area using our cost-conscious comparison tools.

Broadband deals with cashback, vouchers, gifts and special limited offers

Cashback broadband deals

Broadband deals with cashback are not all that common among some of the big name providers and, unsurprisingly, are one of the more popular offers among customers. Cashback broadband deals free up money for you to put towards your first couple of bills or to spend somewhere else entirely. It’s a bit like getting a discount on your monthly subscription, except you get access to the savings in one lump sum.

However, adjust your expectations before you sign up to such an offer – no one is going to slip you a wad of twenties once you’ve sealed the deal. Monetary rewards are usually issued as a cheque, prepaid card or as a billing credit to your customer account, and only once the package has been installed and activated. You can compare cashback broadband offers and get more information on our comparison page.

Broadband deals with free shopping vouchers

Broadband deals with free shopping vouchers are one of the most common among broadband providers and are typically affiliated with major supermarkets and leading online or high street stores. The value of these vouchers can differ between packages and their respective providers, but some deals offer coupons with values in excess of £100, which is enough to sweeten most broadband deals.

Shopping vouchers are usually only redeemable once your broadband connection is up and running, so you will have to wait a couple of weeks before you can put them to use. Your provider will instruct you on how to claim your vouchers once you’ve signed up.

Deciding if free gifts are really worth it

Numerous providers offer new customers free gifts for signing up to a broadband package, and we’re not talking about free pens. Free gifts could include extra tech, internet security software or inclusive subscriptions to popular music, TV and movie streaming services.

Incentives like these can be attractive but shouldn’t be what drives your deal search; always be sure you’re getting a suitable broadband package for your money first and foremost – everything else is secondary.

Seizing special limited broadband offers

Sometimes, the best deals are the ones that appear from nowhere – we’re talking flash sales and other special limited offers. The trouble is that staying on top of this sort of thing is a full-time job, but that’s where we come in.

We update all the results on our comparison pages daily, so when you compare deals with us, you can be confident that you’re getting the latest packages at the best prices – you may even come across some Cable.co.uk exclusive deals which we’ve set up with leading providers, just for you. Group hug.

Broadband deals for bad credit

Getting broadband without a credit check

If you’re worried about the impact your credit history will have on getting a broadband deal, don’t be. While broadband providers are entitled to carry out a credit check if you’re signing up to their services, they can still approve your contract at their own discretion, so its worth contacting a provider if you’re interested in one of their packages. Broadband deals with no credit checks whatsoever aren’t unheard of though, so if you are still concerned, you may want to consider a broadband deal from Direct Save Telecom or Tentel – neither of these providers carry out credit checks on new customers.

The best broadband deals for bad credit

There is a difference between ‘thinking’ you won’t be able to get the broadband deal you want, and the reality. A lot of folks with less than stellar (even dire) credit histories can get good deals from the big providers. So try them first.

If no luck there, broadband deals specifically for bad credit include those with flexible, one-month contracts that renew on a rolling basis until you choose to cancel them. Packages such as these are usually slightly more expensive month-to-month than those with a longer minimum term, and in some cases you may need to pay a bit extra upfront.

You can compare flexible broadband deals in your area using the tools on this page.

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