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 January 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 packages 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: Most people choose an unlimited broadband deal, as these allow you to use the internet as much as you like, including streaming content from sites like Netflix, IPlayer, and Amazon Prime. If you’re only an occasional internet browser and never stream content or play games online, you may be able to save some money by opting for a limited package which caps the amount of data you can use. If you go over your limit, however, costs are likely to be very high.
Broadband speed: Some of the cheapest broadband deals in the UK are for ADSL / standard broadband, which is most suitable for single people, couples, and smaller households where nobody uses the internet to stream content or play games. 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 internet habits will help you avoid connectivity problems and prevent you from paying over the odds for provision you don’t need.
If you’re not sure what broadband speed you need, our guide can help.
Hidden costs: Some deals offer fixed, affordable monthly rates, but also include upfront costs like installation fees. You may also have to purchase one-off pieces of equipment like routers, on top of your on-going charges. Read the fine print, and ask your provider for clarification if you’re not sure about upfront charges.
Early-exit fees: The average broadband contract runs for 12-months, though longer contracts of 18 or 24-months are available from some providers. Generally, the longer you can commit, the cheaper the price. If you want to leave your contract early for any reason, however, most providers will ask you to pay off the remaining months in full. You might also be charged a hefty 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: Some of the most competitively priced broadband deals are limited time offers, so if you don’t act fast, you may miss out.
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|
|Post Office broadband||11Mb||£17 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||£20 per month|
|EE broadband||10Mb||£21.50 per month|
|TalkTalk broadband||38Mb||£22 per month|
- Post Office – One of the most well-known names, The Post Office office incredibly competitive prices for their standard and fibre broadband deals.
- 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.
- Direct Save Telecom – Direct Save Telecom offers broadband without the whistles and bells, providing cheap broadband deals without any extras, along with a very basic router.
- 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.
- 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.
- John Lewis broadband – Once considered a prestige provider with prices to match, John Lewis broadband can now boast some cheap broadband deals that attract a more budget-conscious consumer.
- Shell Energy – Although you may recognise the name, Shell are relatively new to broadband. They offer good value no-frills broadband packages.
- Vodafone broadband – The brand offers good value for money, with high-quality equipment and competitive speeds as standard.
- SSE broadband – Once purely an electricity and gas provider, SSE is now a broadband provider which sits mid-range in terms of price.
- 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.
- BT broadband – The quality of the brand’s service is reflected in the price, however, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for cheap broadband deals and incentives during promotional periods.
- Virgin Media broadband – You get what you pay for with Virgin, so don’t expect too many cheap broadband deals. So if you happen to see a cheap Virgin Media deal you should be quick to get it.
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 might also find cheaper monthly costs as time limited offers, particularly around Black Friday.
What’s the cheapest kind of broadband deal?
Typically ADSL/standard broadband is 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.
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 pretty consistent across the board.
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.
Will I save money if I get broadband without line rental?
True broadband without landline deals, where a physical phone line is not installed to a property, are very rare. The only types that fit this description are 4G or 5G mobile broadband, 4G or 5G mobile tethering, or satellite broadband, all of which are more expensive than broadband delivered by 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 a broadband with line rental deal.
Will I get any incentives with cheap broadband packages?
Generally speaking, a cheap 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 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 eye out for any broadband deals with free gifts.