What is broadband with no upfront cost?
By Dan Howdle
In this guide
- Broadband with free installation
- Broadband and TV with no upfront costs
- Broadband providers with no upfront costs
- If you don't have a phone line
- Can you still get free broadband deals?
- Frequently asked questions
Offering no upfront costs on broadband deals is one of the ways providers can make themselves more appealing than their competitors. In actual fact, broadband with no upfront fees is pretty common.
There are no hard and fast rules to speak of when it comes to who offers it and who doesn't – this changes all the time. For a rough guide, though, you need look no further than a short way down this page where we list the most popular providers and their general attitude towards upfront costs.
The term 'upfront costs' can include the cost of installation, but also covers other costs you'll pay before getting your broadband. These can include things like the cost of posting you your broadband router.
Broadband with free installation
To find out what broadband deals with free installation and/or free setup are available where you live, just follow these simple steps.
- Use your postcode – At the top of this page there is a place to enter your postcode. This will then search our database to find the deals with free installation available where you live. We don't store your data, so you need not worry – it's completely safe and commitment-free
- Choose a deal – Once you've found a deal you like, click the button to go to the appropriate provider page where you can sign up
- Credit checks – Whether or not there are upfront costs, most broadband providers will perform a credit check on new customers. If, as well as upfront fees, this is something you'd rather avoid, we have a comparison of broadband providers with no credit checks
Broadband and TV with no upfront costs
If the broadband deal you've chosen has no upfront cost and you want to bundle in TV, the TV deal will usually be free too. Check out our page to broadband and TV with no upfront costs.
Broadband providers with no upfront costs
The situation when it comes to who offers free installation and who doesn't can change from one day to the next. However, generally speaking, the following is true…
Providers who almost always offer no upfront costs or setup fees
- Vodafone – Vodafone almost never charges any money up-front. It also commonly offers some of the cheapest broadband deals in the UK
- TalkTalk – TalkTalk rarely charges any money up-front. It too, on average, offers some of the cheapest broadband in the country
- SSE – SSE never charges for installation. Previously the company was only an energy provider, but has been offering good no-frills broadband since 2016
- John Lewis Broadband – Trading on its brand, John Lewis Broadband is usually found at the more expensive end of the market. However, it rarely charges for installation
- Shell Energy Broadband – Also a provider of gas and electric, Shell Energy Broadband will never charge you any upfront or installation fees
Providers who sometimes charge installation and setup costs
- EE Broadband – EE Broadband has been known to charge installation fees on some of its packages and not on others. All in all it's unusual to find an EE Broadband deal without some sort of set-up or upfront fee
- Post Office Broadband – Post Office Broadband tends not to charge for installation on its standard broadband deals, but does on its fibre plans. It provides a good no-frills budged broadband service, aimed primarily at older people
- Plusnet – While Plusnet will usually shy ways from expensive installation fees often levied by the likes of Sky and BT there will often be some sort of cost, usually around a tenner
Providers who almost always charge an upfront fee
- BT – BT will almost always charge for installation and/or set-up, though it will usually offset these costs with cashback and/or shopping vouchers for new customers. Keep your eyes peeled for these if you have your heart set on BT
- Virgin Media – Virgin Media will have to visit your home and install a cable coming in through one of the walls. It's a lot of work, and for this reason Virgin Media almost always charges for installation
- Sky – Sky seems to follow step with BT most of the time. If BT is charging for installation, so will Sky. If BT is offering vouchers or cashback, so will Sky. Sky and BT's installation costs are usually around the same amount – sometimes this can be very high
If you don't have a phone line
In some instances it matters if you have a phone line installed already. Some providers who don't list charges will charge you regardless for installing the phone line needed to bring you your internet, if you don't have one already.
Generally speaking all providers require you have a functioning landline installed at your property, and if you don't, they will have to install one as part of your broadband deal. The exception is Virgin Media, who, while they would prefer you have a Virgin Home Phone setup, does not actually require it. Virgin Media is the only broadband provider to offer true broadband only (broadband without a phone line).
About line rental
If you are taking out a phone line with your new broadband provider, you will have to pay line rental. Line rental is exactly that – the cost of leasing the line from the provider. Since 2016, line rental prices have been included in the advertised price of your broadband package. If you want to know how much of that price is line rental and how much is the cost of the broadband, most providers will separate out these setup costs once you reach the checkout.
Can you still get free broadband deals?
There are only two things you need to know when it comes to broadband deals that are entirely free:
- There aren't any – A few years ago some providers advertised free broadband deals, but the reality was you'd still pay the same as those that weren't free – they just rolled up the cost into the line rental. It was a con-job. Thankfully, Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, along with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) put a stop to it by ruling that all advertised prices must include line rental
- With bundles you could pretend – If you get a sufficiently high-end TV and broadband bundle from Sky or Virgin Media, you could pretend the broadband is free, since they tend not to cost much more than the TV package on its own
Frequently asked questions
What are setup costs? Are they the same as installation costs?
Installation costs refer to the specific fees associated with connecting your line and bringing a broadband signal into your house. Set-up costs can be installation costs, but also include things like the cost of your router, its postage and any other up-front fees. Some deals will have you pay the first month upfront, for example. This would be counted as a set-up cost.
If installation is free, will I get a router?
Yes. All broadband deals come with their own router no matter whether you're charged up-front fees or not. In some instances, where you already have a compatible router that's equal or better than the one supplied by your provider, you can ask them not to send you one.
If installation is free can I get gifts or cashback?
Yes. Most broadband deals aimed at drawing new customers will offer low prices, cashback or gifts, and no upfront costs in some unique mix. So there will be, for example, deals with no set-up fees and a cashback voucher, or super-cheap deals with no voucher, but also no set-up costs. You just need to see what's available on any given day.
How long does broadband installation take?
Between two and three weeks depending on whether you already have a landline or not.
Which provider offers fast broadband installation?
All UK broadband providers will get you up und running within two weeks if you already have a line, (Virgin Media cable line or Openreach landline) when subscribing to a service that uses it. If you don't have a phone line or don't have one of the type required for your new deal (you have a Virgin line, but are signing up to an Openreach provider or vice versa), then you can expect to wait around three weeks to get up and running.
What if I have bad credit?
If you have a poor credit rating you may wish to avoid the credit checks carried out by most providers. You can use our dedicated page to compare providers who don't do credit checks.
Do all providers use BT landlines?
Technically those are Openreach lines, not BT landlines. The term BT landline has just stuck around because it's easier for us to remember. Most do require one. Only Virgin Media doesn't as it's on its own network.
Which is the cheapest broadband provider in the UK?
It changes all the time. To find out who it is right now, head on over to our cheap broadband deals comparison page. The deals are sorted in price order, so the cheapest will be at the top.
What's the cheapest broadband and phone package?
Same answer as above: It's always changing. Our listings are in price order so if you want to know what the cheapest deal is right now, see our broadband and phone comparison. Just bear in mind that cheapest isn't always best.
Can I get fibre broadband with free installation?
Yes. All types of broadband – both ADSL (standard) and fibre – are available in deals with free installation.