Cheap broadband deals explained
If you’re on a fixed budget, you’re a student, or simply don’t use the internet much, you need to find an affordable broadband deal that meets your needs without breaking the bank.
This page will tell you everything you need to know about cheap broadband deals, from how to find them to the important points that you should consider when comparing cheap deals.
We’ll also fill you in on the best UK providers for cheap broadband internet, and how you can avoid paying over the odds for your home broadband deal.
Our current cheapest broadband deals in June 2021
We’ve picked the best deals this month for you to have a closer look.
What to consider when comparing cheap broadband deals?
When looking for cheap broadband, you need to balance the needs of your household with what you can comfortably afford to spend each month. It makes little sense to pay for things you don’t need, like a superfast connection if you rarely use the internet, or a combined phone and broadband package if you know you won’t use a landline to make calls.
Rather than comparing cheap broadband deals based exclusively on monthly price, there are also some other important factors to consider:
Data allowance: The good news here is that these days all providers offer unlimited broadband. In fact, you'd be very hard pressed to find a deal anywherethat isn't unlimited. Certainly we no longer list any. So, regardless of how much you spend, you should still be able to stream content and play games online to your heart's content without worrying about busting your data allowance – or your budget!
Broadband speed: Some of the cheapest broadband deals in the UK are for ADSL – often called 'standard' broadband. This is most suitable for single people, couples, and smaller households where nobody uses the internet to stream content or play games very often. Larger households or heavy users may be better suited to a fibre broadband deal, where provision is faster and more reliable. Choosing the right internet speed for your lifestyle will help you avoid connectivity problems and prevent you from paying over the odds for provision you simply don’t need.
If you’re not sure what broadband speed is best for you, our guide can help.
Hidden costs: Some deals offer fixed, affordable monthly rates, but also include extra costs like installation, delivery or activation fees – sometimes payable upfront. You may also have to purchase pieces of equipment such as a router, although that's unlikely. We always show the extra costs we're aware of , but do be sure to read the fine print on the provider's website if in any doubt.
Early-exit fees: Generally, broadband contracts run for 12, 18 or even 24 months and, in theory, the longer you can commit, the cheaper the price – although each provider tends to have it's standard contract length and won't vary from that. If you want to leave your contract early for any reason, most providers will ask you to pay off the remaining months in full. You might also be charged an additional early-exit fee. Make sure you read the fine print and opt for a rolling or short contract if you know you’ll be moving house in the near future. For more details about your broadband contract, read our guide.
Bundles: If you’re a landline phone user, or would normally pay for subscription TV from a provider like Sky or Virgin Media, you could save money by signing up for a combined broadband and TV or broadband and landline phone bundle. There are some great deals available, with incentives like free evening and weekend calls thrown in.
Limited time offers: Usually the most competitively priced broadband deals are limited time offers - especially those including free gifts such as vouchers or pre-paid credit cards. We wouldn't recommend rushing your decision but in cases like these if you don’t act fast, you may miss out. Where possible we make sure we show the expiry dates of any offers we list.
Which providers offer cheap broadband deals?
You might think cheap broadband means you won’t have heard of the provider, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Loads of well-known ISPs pride themselves for their less expensive packages.
|Broadband Provider||Average Speed||Prices From|
|Shell Energy broadband||11Mb||£16.99 per month|
|NOW Broadband||11Mb||£18 per month|
|Direct Save Telecom broadband||11Mb||£18.95 per month|
|Plusnet broadband||10Mb||£18.99 per month|
|John Lewis broadband||10Mb||£19 per month|
|Origin broadband||11Mb||£19.99 per month|
|TalkTalk broadband||38Mb||£22 per month|
- NOW broadband – Aimed at the cheaper end of the market, NOW Broadband doesn’t run credit checks on its customers, making it a good choice for those with a less than perfect credit history
- Plusnet broadband – Plusnet has long been known for its ‘no-frills’ service, with prices consistently at the lower end of the scale. Its customer service is excellent, with Ofcom revealing that the company receives very few complaints
- EE broadband – Owned by BT and known as the UK’s leading mobile network provider, EE also offers broadband internet deals under its own brand – usually with no extra fees or upfront costs
- TalkTalk broadband – As the only provider of the UK’s big four that pitches itself as a budget service, TalkTalk basic broadband is good quality and affordable. TalkTalk frequenly offers free gifts with its fibre broadband packages too
- John Lewis Broadband – John Lewis Broadband usually offers some cheap broadband deals that attract a more budget-conscious consumer. Interestingly it uses Plusnet as its network, so customer service shouldn't suffer
- Shell Energy – Although you may recognise the name, Shell are relatively new to broadband. They offer good value no-frills broadband packages, often at market-beating prices
- Vodafone broadband – The brand offers great value for money, with high-quality equipment and competitive speeds as standard. In fact they often price their high speed fibre optic broadband at the same price as their lower speed package. And if you're an existing Vodafone mobile customer you could save even more
- SSE broadband – Once purely an electricity and gas provider, SSE is now a broadband provider which is often remarkably competitive in terms of price. And if you're interested in the convenience of only having to deal with one utility company, then they offer broadband and home energy bundles too
- Sky broadband – Sky broadband tends to be slightly more expensive than other providers as standard, but when the brand runs special offers, they really mean business – so keep an eye out
- BT broadband – The quality of the brand’s service is reflected in the price, however, so it’s worth watching for cheap broadband deals and incentives during promotional periods. BT is particuarly known for offering some great pre-paid credit card gifts with their fibre broadband deals
- Virgin Media broadband – You get what you pay for with Virgin, so don’t expect too many cheap broadband deals. However, they do have some bargains on offer from time to time, so if you happen to see a cheap Virgin Media deal you should be quick to get it. Particularly when they choose to waive their activaion fees
Use our postcode checker to see what deals are available in your area.
Do Sky, Virgin Media, or BT offer cheap broadband deals?
Not often, but you might find free gifts or vouchers if you check regularly. You may also find cheaper monthly costs as limited time offers, particularly around Black Friday. And if you see any of these providers reduce or remove their extra costs, then you know it's probably a good deal.
What’s the cheapest kind of broadband deal?
Typically ADSL/standard broadband is going to be the cheapest option, with average speeds of around 11Mbps. Fibre optic broadband offers faster speeds and is a little more reliable than standard broadband, so this is usually more expensive - but you can get perfectly adequate provision on a standard broadband deal if you’re a single person or couple and you only use the internet for browsing and don’t stream content or play games online.
Does this mean I can’t get cheap fibre broadband?
Not at all. You can get some highly competitive fibre-optic broadband deals if you shop around - not only can you find low monthly rates, many providers include great incentives like free installation, free gifts, and shopping vouchers. But the absolute lowest prices will always be for ADSL.
Frequently asked questions
Can I get cheap broadband internet where I live?
Not all types of broadband are available in all parts of the UK. Use our cheap broadband checker to find the most affordable broadband deals in your area.
Is cheap broadband unreliable?
Paying less for your broadband doesn’t mean you’ll get an unreliable service. Most broadband providers in the UK deliver their ADSL / standard broadband internet along the same network of BT Openreach copper wires, so it’s usually pretty consistent across the board. It tends to be areas like customer service where the difference might be felt – if at all.
Can I save money with a broadband bundle?
You can make savings by signing up for a package that includes broadband and phone, or broadband and a TV subscription, even broadband and mobile phone provision. These savings will vary from lender to lender and deal to deal. Getting all of your telecoms provision through one provider is also helpful for budgeting as you’ll receive a single monthly bill. Also, some energy providers have entered the market recently, so you may even find a handy one-stop-shop approach by bundling most of your utilities into one deal with one company.
Will I save money if I get broadband without line rental?
Once quite rare, true broadband without landline deals, where a phone line is not offered to the property, are now becoming more common. Indeed, BT recently introduced broadband only packages as their default offering. And Virgin Media, due to its separate network has always provided the option of no landlines.
Other than that, the only other option would be to look at 4G or 5G mobile broadband, mobile tethering from a mobile phone, or satellite broadband. But none of these are cheap ways to avoid a landline. Even if you know you won’t use a landline once it’s been installed, it’s still likely to be cheaper to opt for broadband including line rental.
Will I get any incentives with cheap broadband packages?
Generally speaking, the very cheapest broadband deal is less likely to come with any extras. Not all cheap broadband deals are no frills, however. There are some affordable packages that include sweeteners like shopping vouchers, cashback, and gifts on top of low monthly payments. Some cheap broadband deals also come with no installation or delivery charges, and will include things like free routers to keep costs low.
Providers switch up their deals regularly to stay competitive, so it’s worth keeping an look out for any broadband deals with free gifts.