12 month broadband contracts used to be the norm, but many UK broadband providers no longer offer them. Some big ones like BT and Sky prefer their customers to commit to longer contracts lasting 18 months. Fortunately, 12 month contracts are still available from some providers, and they tend to be more affordable.
This page will tell you everything you need to know about 12 month broadband packages, including which providers offer them, what additional services can be included with them, and whether this type of deal is right for you.
All broadband deals come with a contract, whether it’s on a rolling month-to-month basis, or lasts for 12, 18 or 24 months and beyond.
12 month broadband contracts are pretty self-explanatory, lasting a minimum of 12 months.
If you want to leave your 12 month broadband contract part-way through, it’s likely that you’ll have to pay an early exit fee, which could be pretty hefty, depending on your provider.
At the end of your contract, your provider will keep supplying you with broadband and billing you each month, but you’ll be free to leave and switch to another company for a better deal without being charged, or to sign up for a new deal with your existing supplier.
If you’re unsure how long you’re tied to your existing broadband contract, or what the terms for cancelling are, our guide to understanding your contract may help.
Not all UK broadband providers offer 12 month contracts. Here’s our rundown of some of the best deals on offer from those that do:
Onestream: Relative newcomer Onestream offers a choice of 45Mbps or 67Mbps packages on 12 month contracts with the choice of having a calls package or going broadband-only.
NOW Broadband: NOW Broadband has a range of reasonably-priced 12 month broadband plans that can often be combined with NOW TV memberships to form TV bundles.
12 month broadband contracts are the middle ground of broadband contract lengths, offering less of a commitment than lengthy 18 or 24-month deals, without the freedom and flexibility of a one-month rolling deal.
All have their pros and cons and if you read on we’ll explain who would benefit the most out of a 12 month contract.
Some providers offer ‘no contract’ broadband packages, which run on a rolling basis, from month to month. This type of deal gives you both freedom and flexibility, as you’ll be able to cancel your subscription at short notice (usually 30 days) without incurring a penalty.
No-contract broadband packages are ideal for people who think their circumstances might change within the next 12 months, or for those who know they’ll be moving house in the near future. Despite being called ‘no contract’ broadband, you will still need to sign an agreement.
A limited number of providers offer 9-month broadband contracts, designed for students who will be moving out of their homes for the summer months, and won’t need a full 12 month’s provision, although these tend to cost the same overall as a 12 month contract.
Fixed-price broadband is also a good option for longer contracts. You'll pay a fixed amount each month for the duration of your contract and with assurance that the price won't increase during your fixed term.
For everyone else, if you don’t want to sign up for a 12 month broadband contract, longer-term contracts of either 18, 24, or 36 months are alternative options.
Generally, you’ll pay much more for the flexibility of a no-contract or short-term broadband agreement, and less for committing to a longer period. Most people looking for affordable broadband will opt for the middle ground of a 12 month contract.
If you’re looking for a great 12 month broadband deal, there are a number of things to take into consideration to ensure you select one that’s affordable and right for your individual needs.
Here are some things to look out for when comparing 12 month wifi contracts:
Download speed – This refers to how quickly you’ll be able to transfer data from the internet to your devices, affecting how smoothly you’ll be able to stream content and how easily you’ll be able to browse the web. Different types of broadband and different providers offer different download speeds, and what’s right for you is influenced by a range of factors, including how many people are in your household and the type of things you do online. If you’re not sure what broadband speed is right for you, our guide can help.
Upload speed – Upload speed refers to how quickly you’ll be able to transfer data from your devices to the internet, and is less important than download speed for most broadband users. If you upload a lot of large files or do a lot of online gaming, however, you’ll need to consider what average upload speed comes with your package. As providers don’t always make it obvious, this could involve a little research. For more information about upload speeds, read our guide.
Monthly download limits – Almost all broadband packages are unlimited, but it’s worth asking about limits, as a small number of packages put a cap on the amount of data you can download each month, or throttle your usage at busy times of day.
Price – For most people, the affordability of a broadband deal is the determining factor. A low monthly fee is a good starting point, but make sure you’ll be receiving an adequate speed for your needs for this price, and check things like installation costs and early exit penalties to determine whether a cheap deal is all it seems.
Broadband with free gifts and offers – Broadband providers often offer incentives like free gifts and the inclusion of other products like TV services within their broadband deals. Time your switch right and you can save money on your monthly bill and bag a freebie too.
Inclusive calls – Call packages are usually not included in broadband deals. The default is generally a pay-as-you-go set up, in which you just pay for any landline phone calls you make. Call charges for this type of arrangement can be high, so if you use the phone a lot, it’s worth looking at whether you could make savings by signing up for a deal that includes free anytime or evening and weekend calls.
Reputation – The providers featured in our comparison tend to be household names, but it doesn’t hurt to read up on a company before taking the plunge and signing a contract. Our broadband reviews are a good place to start.
Increasingly, a number of UK providers now offer true broadband-only deals, by which we mean broadband without a functioning phone line. If you only use your mobile phone to make calls, a broadband-only package is ideal. On the other hand, if you still rely on your landline, then make sure you get a broadband and phone deal with inclusive calls.
If you’re a regular landline phone user, it may be cost-effective to look at 12 month broadband contracts that bundle together internet and call packages. There are some great deals available with things like free anytime, or free evening and weekend calls. Time restrictions will apply, so make sure you read the fine print before signing up.