All about broadband with no upfront cost
In this guide
- Broadband with no upfront costs in July 2020
- Broadband with free installation
- Providers of broadband deals with no upfront costs
- Pros and cons of broadband with no setup fees
- Free broadband installation without a phone line
- Frequently asked questions
One of the most common perks you'll find with broadband is no upfront costs. Let's see what this means, and how it can help you save money.
Best broadband with no upfront costs in July 2020
John Lewis Broadband + Evening & Weekend Calls
£40 e-gift Card£19 p/mZero one-off cost Buy Now
- 10Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
- Inclusive calls
TalkTalk Fast Broadband
£22.95 p/mZero one-off cost Buy Now
- 11Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
- PAYG calls
Vodafone Superfast 2 Fibre Broadband
£25 p/mZero one-off cost Buy Now
- 63Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
- PAYG calls
Broadband with free installation
Often, when you sign up to a broadband contract, you'll need to pay an installation and setup fee. This covers the price of your router, as well as associated costs. Depending on your provider, this may involve the postage of the router to your home, or an engineer coming to install it.
Fortunately, many providers offer deals without installation fees. That means you won't pay any more than the monthly price of your contract. Finding one of these deals offers you a quick and easy way to save a bit of money on a new broadband contract.
Providers of broadband deals with no upfront cost
This is where things get a little bit complicated. Some providers always offer broadband with no setup fee, while others will throw it into a special deal from time to time.
Our comparison tool will help you see which providers currently offer broadband with free installation in your area.
Providers who almost always offer no setup fees
- Vodafone: The mobile phone giant specialises in very competitively priced broadband. In addition to offering broadband deals that are easy on the wallet, they rarely charge money upfront.
- TalkTalk: TalkTalk is another low-cost provider. You'll find plenty of good value deals, and you'll rarely be expected to part with any cash upfront.
- SSE: This energy company has branched out in the last few years into no-frills broadband. You won't find fancy add-ons like some competitors, but if you want a basic broadband connection, you'll find it here. SSE never charges for installation.
- Shell Energy Broadband:Another energy company to have made the switch into the home internet market, Shell Energy is also committed to providing broadband with no upfront costs.
- John Lewis Broadband: This broadband offering comes from the famous department store chain. John Lewis rarely charges any fees for broadband installation.
Providers who sometimes charge setup costs
If you see a broadband deal with no setup fees from one of these providers, sign up quickly to avoid missing out. Deals change all the time.
- EE: More often than not, you'll pay an installation fee for broadband from EE. However, packages without setup costs do appear from time to time.
- Post Office Broadband: Post Office Broadband offers a user-friendly, budget service aimed primarily at older users. You’re more likely to find free setup on their standard broadband. These speeds will often be enough for light users.
- Plusnet: While Plusnet does sometimes charge installation fees, they are usually low. You can expect to pay around a tenner, which represents big savings in comparison with companies like Sky or Virgin Media.
Providers who almost always charge a setup fee
Three of the UK's biggest and most famous broadband providers are extremely unlikely to offer you a package without installation fees. Look for other money-saving deals on their contracts to try to recoup some of the costs.
- BT: A BT deal without upfront costs is rarer than hen's teeth. On the other hand, the company often throws in perks to offset the cost. These might include cashback or shopping vouchers, so look out for them when signing up.
- Sky: As one of BT's main competitors, Sky usually offers similar deals. That means that installation fees tend to be about the same (expensive!), but special offers like cashback or vouchers are common.
- Virgin Media: Since Virgin Media is the only provider in the company offering cable broadband, setup is more complicated than with other companies. An engineer will visit your home to install the cable, and you will almost always pay for this.
Pros and cons of broadband with no setup fees
It might seem a bit strange to talk about pros and cons - but in fact, there are a few things to consider. Whether you choose a broadband deal with no upfront costs or not will depend a lot on what kind of package you're looking for.
- It's cheaper in the beginning: This is obviously the main attraction for most people. Some companies charge a small fortune for broadband setup. If you're eager to get home internet access, the prohibitive fees can be a real hurdle.
- It's great if you just want broadband: If you're not looking for a bundle deal of broadband and TV, then one of these deals will probably suit you. A no-frills company that offers nothing but a broadband connection could be just what you need.
- You'll miss out on bundles: Companies like TalkTalk or EE may offer bundles of broadband and TV with no setup costs. However, their modest selection of Freeview channels really can't compete with the likes of Sky or Virgin Media. If you want the full broadband and quality TV experience, you'll have to bite the bullet and pay upfront.
- You'll miss the highest speeds: Hands down, the widely available provider with the highest broadband speeds in the country is Virgin Media. Having said that, the speeds offered by most providers will be more than enough for the average household. If you're a hardcore gamer, though, you might want to reconsider.
Free broadband installation without a phone line
With the exception of Virgin Media, all providers require you to have a functioning landline installed at your property. Without a phone line, you’ll be unable to use broadband. This doesn't mean that you have to have a landline up and running, complete with handset.
Due to this, setup fees can vary depending on whether or not you already have a phone line installed. Some providers may offer free installation, but that doesn't include setting up a phone line. Check in advance; if you don't have a phone line in place, you may have to pay a fee regardless of the offer.
Frequently asked questions
Can I get a totally free broadband deal?
No. In the past, some providers used to advertise ‘free’ broadband, but this was just a marketing trick designed to fool potential customers. Ofcom has now put a stop to this.
If installation is free, will I still get a router?
Yes. All broadband deals come with their own router. You might be asked to return this at the end of the contract.
Can I install home broadband myself?
It depends on your provider and your deal. In some cases, it might be as simple as plugging in the router and switching it on. Other times, it's more complicated, and an engineer will come to your home to do it for you.
If installation is free, can I still get gifts or cashback?
It always depends on the deal. Some providers may offer plenty of incentives to sign a contract. This could be a mixture of free installation, gifts, cashback, low prices...it all depends! Check what's available at the moment, and remember that deals come and go all the time.
How much does broadband installation cost?
It depends on the provider. If you don't find a broadband deal with free installation, you could pay as little as £10 in upfront fees. At the other end of the scale, prices can top £80. Always read the terms and conditions carefully before signing up to a deal.
Can I get fibre optic broadband with free installation?
Deals may be available for fibre broadband with no setup fees. However, some providers tend to charge an installation fee for fibre, while offering ADSL (standard broadband) with no upfront costs.