Understanding no contract and rolling contract broadband
- Our top pics for no contract broadband deals in January 2021
- What does no contract broadband mean?
- Is no contract broadband right for me?
- Which providers offer short-term broadband?
- Are there any downsides to no contract broadband?
- What other contract lengths are available for broadband?
- Can I get fibre broadband with no contract?
- Can I get no contract broadband with no landline?
- What alternatives are there to no contract broadband?
- Frequently asked questions
If you’re a student, planning on moving house in the near future, or going through an uncertain time in your personal or professional life, you may want to explore ‘no contract’ broadband options. These allow for more freedom and flexibility than standard 12-24 month deals, but come with some important considerations.
This page will tell you everything you need to know about short-term broadband deals - what they are, where to get them, and who they suit.
Our top picks for no contract broadband deals in January 2021
We’ve looked at all the deals this month and these really stand out and shouldn’t be missed.
What does no contract broadband mean?
Though a limited number of pay monthly or ‘no contract’ broadband deals are available, it’s becoming more difficult to find one, as most providers prefer you to commit to a period of at least 12-months.
The term ‘no contract’ broadband is misleading, as you’ll still have a contract with your broadband provider which will run on a rolling basis from month-to-month. The difference is that, with a month’s notice or less, you can cancel this contract at any time without being charged an exit-fee. With long-term contracts, you’ll usually be charged a fixed penalty if you want to leave early.
No contract broadband gives you greater flexibility, for instance if you want to move house or end a contract at short notice because you’re unhappy with the broadband being provided.
Is no contract broadband right for me?
No contract broadband is great for students living in halls of residence or shared housing, people who rent their homes on short contracts, and for people who know they’ll be moving house in the near future. Read our guide to broadband and moving house to make your move as seamless as possible. Rolling contracts are also a good option for people who aren’t sure what their circumstances will be in the short-term - perhaps if they’re looking for employment and may need to relocate without much notice.
Some people just don’t like being tied into a contract, and enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with being able to cancel their broadband provision at short notice. Or they might want to try out a new provider or service, but cancel without paying a penalty if it doesn’t meet their needs or expectations.
Which providers offer short-term broadband?
As no contract broadband has become less popular in recent years, your choice of provider is limited. Not all providers offer short-term broadband contracts, but we’ve found some great deals from the following:
- Hyperoptic: If you’re after incredibly fast speeds and are lucky enough to live in an area where its available, Hyperoptic offers a few short-term contracts well worth a look. You’ll get identical upload and download speeds, which is useful for working from home when you’re working in the cloud.
- Direct Save Telecom: Direct Save Telecom may not be a household name, but it’s one to keep in mind. This no-frills, budget-friendly provider has monthly rolling broadband deals available for both ADSL and fibre connections. You won't see the same speeds as Virgin (ADSL is about 11Mbps, fibre either 35 or 63Mbps, depending on the package), but you will enjoy a much lower set-up fee.
- NOW broadband: Owned by Sky, NOW Broadband offers a range of no contract broadband deals with the added benefit of no credit checks - perfect if you’re worried about your financial history. There are also some great TV bundles on offer from this brand.
- Virgin Media: This brand leads the pack in terms of flexibility, as all of its current broadband packages are available with a pay monthly option. You’ll also find the fastest broadband speeds in the UK with Virgin Media, with an average of 362Mbps in some areas.
Make sure you don’t miss out on any deals by checking to see what monthly contract broadband deals are available in your area.
Are there any downsides to no contract broadband?
It may be tempting to sign up for a short-term broadband contract as it gives you the freedom to cancel and switch providers at any time. This can be really helpful if you’re going through an uncertain period in your personal or professional life, or if you’re planning on moving house soon.
There are a number of downsides to no contract broadband, however, which should be carefully considered before you sign up for this type of provision.
It’s still a contract: You’ll still be signing a legal document, and must give notice if you want to end the commitment - even if only a month in advance.
Higher monthly rates: No contract broadband offers greater flexibility, but this comes at a price. With most rolling or short-term contract deals, you’ll pay a much higher monthly price for your broadband connection than if you’d taken out a contract of 12-months or longer.
Set-up costs: Generally, a 30-day rolling broadband contract comes with much higher upfront set-up fees than broadband with a longer contract, as regardless of type, all broadband provision needs the same equipment (a router, phone line and – in some cases – fibre activation).
No new customer benefits: With one month contract broadband, you’re unlikely to enjoy the range of incentives that you can expect with a traditional broadband contract deal, so you’ll miss out on sweeteners like cashback, shopping vouchers, and free gifts.
How much notice do I need to give for a rolling broadband contract?
Most rolling broadband contracts operate on a month to month basis, so you’ll need to give 30-days notice if you want to end your deal. Some short-term broadband deals offer a 14-day cooling off period when you first sign up, too. Read the small print before signing up to find out what notice period will be required for your deal. Our guide to understanding your contract might be useful for figuring out the details.
|Provider||Contract length||Notice period|
|Virgin Media||Monthly||30 days|
|Direct Save Telecom||Monthly||28 days|
|NOW Broadband||Monthly||30 days|
What other contract lengths are available for broadband?
Most broadband providers offer a 12-month contract as standard.
The shortest broadband contracts on the market are 9-months in length, designed for students who may spend their summers at a different address. These are usually available in the late summer or early autumn as students are headed off to university.
6-month broadband contracts used to be available through some providers, though these are now virtually impossible to find.
Some providers also offer longer contracts, usually 18 or 24 months in length, which come with more attractive monthly rates if you’re prepared to commit to a long period with the same broadband company.
Can I get fibre broadband with no contract?
Yes, more often than not you’ll be able to choose either fibre or ADSL broadband when looking for a monthly contract broadband deal. If you’re not sure which is right for you, our guide to broadband speed should help you decide.
Can I get no contract broadband with no landline?
It is possible to sign up for short-term contract broadband without a landline if you opt for a mobile broadband deal with either Hyperoptic or Virgin Media. For standard and fibre broadband deals without a contract, a landline connection must be installed regardless of the type of contract your broadband is supplied with.
What alternatives are there to no contract broadband?
If you only need broadband for a short time, but you don’t want to pay set up costs or commit to a month-by-month arrangement, there are some temporary broadband options that will get you connected.
4G tethering: Tethering allows you to create a ‘hotspot’ with your mobile phone, using it as a temporary mini-router to connect other devices like laptops and tablets to the internet. This is a great option for occasional use, but if you use tethering to stream video or download large files, you’ll find that your data is soon eaten up. Connecting several devices at once can also be difficult, so it’s only really helpful for personal use.
Mobile broadband: Broadband with a portable router is a good short-term option but instead of being able to use your existing mobile deal, you’ll need to sign up for a new one. As with tethering, data is also usually very limited.
Free public WiFi: Step back in time and visit a cafe or public building with a WiFi connection. The obvious downside to this solution is that you won’t be able to use the internet at home, and you may end up spending a fortune on expensive coffee! If you want a few tips for finding and connecting to public WiFi, our guide to WiFi hotspots will help.
Frequently asked questions
What is a rolling contract?
A rolling contract works on a month-by-month basis. You’ll be able to get out at any time, simply by giving 30 days notice. There are no fees for breaking the contract.
Can I find a 6 month broadband contract?
No. Nowadays, broadband providers really only have two options: rolling contracts, or long-term contracts of a year or more. Short-term broadband contracts of 3 to 6 months are not available.
Are there any hidden costs in a no contract broadband deal?
Use our price checker tool to see all the costs laid out clearly. You will have to pay a higher installation fee for no contract broadband, and your monthly costs will usually be higher, too. However, there should not be any hidden costs involved.
Can I get no contract broadband without a landline?
Yes, this service is offered by Virgin Media. However, as Virgin Media broadband does not cover the entire country, you will have to check to see if it is available in your area.
Should I get a rolling contract if I'm living somewhere long-term?
It’s really not a good idea if you’re sure that your circumstances won’t change. Ultimately, rolling contracts will cost you more per month in exchange for not paying cancellation fees. This trade-off will work if you are only living somewhere for a short period. However, if you’re settled in a home, then you’ll just be paying more without any real benefit. You’ll also find that long-term contracts usually come with some freebies and perks to sweeten the deal.
Can I get fibre optic broadband without a contract?
You can if you live in an area with Virgin Media broadband available. However, most providers reserve fibre optic and high-speed broadband for customers on long-term contracts.