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 12-36 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.
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.
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 long-term 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.
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:
Make sure you don’t miss out on any deals by checking to see what monthly contract broadband deals are available in your area.
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). For example, Virgin charges a £35 setup fee plus a £45 rolling contract fee for a start.
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.
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.
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Most broadband providers offer a 12-month contract as standard.
Other than one-month contracts, the shortest broadband contracts on the market are for nine months, 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.
Some providers also offer longer contracts, usually 18 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.
Yes, more often than not you’ll be able to choose fibre or ADSL broadband when looking for a no-contract broadband deal, although providers are slowly phasing out their ADSL deals. If you’re not sure which is right for you, our guide to broadband speed should help you decide.
Yes. Virgin Media offers its no contract deals with or without a landline and calls, and these are cheaper than choosing a broadband and phone package. The other option is to choose a 4G/5G mobile broadband deal, but make sure you check the quality of the mobile signal in your location before you commit.
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/5G 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.
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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.
No. Broadband providers only have two options: rolling contracts, or long-term contracts of a year or more.
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.
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.
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, e.g., cash vouchers, gift cards, and free subscriptions to streaming services.
Yes, you can get fibre broadband without a contract. But, most providers reserve the fibre packages with the highest speeds for customers on long-term contracts.