How to compare and buy student broadband
How do I compare student broadband deals?
With the new university year looming on the horizon it’s the right time to start looking for student broadband. Here’s how to find the ideal student broadband deal.
It’s easy to compare student broadband deals
We’ve made comparing student broadband as straightforward as possible. The cheapest monthly price is listed at the top, but you can re-order the lists however you like. Once you’ve chosen your deal, click the blue button to visit the provider’s website.
As with all broadband services, availability is key. You can only sign up to providers that are available in your area. To find out which providers and packages are available to you, simply enter your postcode in our checker at the top of the page. It’s worth noting that many student broadband deals will no longer be available by the end of October, once the full university term gets underway.
Check the detail
Before you choose, make sure you study the deals to see what’s included. You can find more information by clicking on the deal name on the left-hand side of the column.
Do you get free broadband in halls of residence?
If you’re approaching the first year of university, then you don’t need to worry about student broadband as most halls of residence have broadband already installed. However, if you’re starting your second year, it’s likely that you’ll be moving into a shared house, in which this case, you’ll need a broadband connection.
Many student broadband packages are subject to nine-month contracts
The best student broadband deals are on short, nine-month contracts. These contracts generally run from October and can terminated in June, leaving the summer months free of bills. If you’re intending to stay for the summer, you may be better off looking at longer contracts.
Upfront fees may be high
Many providers offset the risk of short-term contracts by charging a high upfront fee for installation and set-up. A provider may also ask you to pay for a couple of months in advance, just in case you drop out of university (we know you won’t) or some other difficulty arises.
Why choose a student broadband deal?
There are several great reasons for choosing a cheap student broadband deal. Here are three that we think are the best.
You don’t have to pay for broadband in the summer
After spending nine months attending lectures and doing your own washing, it’s understandable that you’ll want to flee back home for the summer. When you do, you don’t want to be paying for a broadband service that you’re not using. Luckily, the nine-month contracts offered by some providers solve this problem by keeping the summer months free of bills.
A cheap way to get online for student households
If you’re trying to get online on your lonesome, it can be an expensive endeavour. Equally, if everyone in a student house is paying for their own broadband service, you’ll all be paying out more than is necessary. It’s worth clubbing together, plus, some providers will allow you to put more than one name on a contract, which will help protect everyone involved.
Fast broadband lets you do more online
There are two types of student broadband: traditional, copper-cable broadband and fibre optic broadband. Traditional broadband is more widely available, but is nowhere near as fast as fibre. Fibre speeds range from 38Mbps to 152Mbps, whereas most traditional broadband speeds hover around 16Mbps. Faster broadband means all your downloadable content, from movies to music, will transfer more rapidly.
Pros & cons
- No summer broadband bills
- Cheap for student groups
- A range of broadband speeds
- Installation can be expensive
- Availability is limited
- Bundles are usually subject to longer contracts
Which student broadband deal is right for me?
If you haven’t yet decided who is the best broadband provider for you, here are three additional options you may wish to consider.
Avoid line rental by choosing broadband-only
Line rental often applies with student broadband. This is due to the majority of providers using the BT network, which operates via the established telephone infrastructure to carry broadband. The only provider who offers broadband without a phone line (and therefore, without line rental) is Virgin Media: a company that operates its own, private fibre broadband network. By dropping line rental, you could save up to £17.99 a month on your student broadband bill.
Longer contracts are available if you intend to stay
Nine-month contracts are ideal if you want to head home for the summer. Not everyone will want to, however. For those who wish to remain in their student digs, many providers offer longer contracts that stretch to the full year and even beyond.
Bundles are available if you want more services
Broadband is just one service of many. It’s likely that you’ll want a TV service to complement your broadband and home phone. If this is the case, you may wish to consider a bundle. Some providers offer the chance to take multiple services in one package at a reduced overall rate, with some even offering the ability to take them on a short, nine-month contract.
What will I need?
You’re almost ready to choose a student broadband package. Before you do, there are two things you need to be 100 percent certain about.
Make sure you can afford the monthly payments
Student broadband offers a cheap option when you split the bill between multiple students. But what happens if one or two of your housemates renege on payments, drop out of university, or simply refuse to pay? If this happens, and the account is in your name, you’ll need to be able to continue to pay the monthly broadband bills. Failure to pay will result in penalties that may impact your financial capabilities in the future.
Make sure that broadband isn’t already included in your household bills
Some landlords may include broadband access in the rental agreement for your student household. If broadband is already supplied to your future property, you won’t need to take out broadband yourself.
How do I switch?
In order to switch, or to sign up for student broadband for the first time, there are three main steps to take.
Check your rental contract
Broadband may already be present at your property when you move. The landlord may include the service with your monthly bill, or the infrastructure for fibre from a particular provider may already be in place. There may be other restrictions, so be sure to check before you sign up.
Sign up for student broadband through our comparison page
Once you’ve chosen a deal on our comparison page, you can sign up by clicking the blue ‘see deal’ button on the right. This will take you to the provider’s website where you can finalise your purchase. Once purchased, you’ll be given an activation date.
Cancel any existing services
If you’re entering your third year at university and have had broadband before, you will have to cancel any existing broadband products to avoid paying for multiple services.
Six essential questions before you buy
- Am I entering my second year of study?
- Is a nine-month contract right for me?
- Do I want a home phone?
- Would I prefer to go broadband-only?
- Can I split the bill?
- Will I be solely responsible for payments?
If you can get all your future housemates together before you buy student broadband you can determine exactly what type of package you require. By working out what type of activities your broadband service will be used for ahead of time – such as streaming movies, downloading games, or listening to music – you can avoid purchasing an unsatisfactory package.