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Can I get broadband without a phone line?

By Luke Albiges
Friday, May 4th 2018

While it's true that most traditional broadband options require a phone line, there are still a few services out there that can get you online without one. The question is, is it worth it? Let's take a look.

Only Virgin Media offers true broadband-only

If you want to get broadband without a phone line in this way, there's pretty much only one provider to consider: Virgin Media. Once you enter your postcode, Cable will perform a live look-up and check all the available Virgin Media deals in your area.

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Why do most broadband deals come with line rental included?

So why do you even need a phone line to get broadband, especially if you're using a fibre provider? Well, the majority of fibre broadband services don't actually run fibre cables directly to your property - they only go as far as the local street cabinet. The last stretch from the street cabinet to your house travels along existing phone lines.

For this reason, providers such as Hyperoptic that offer full FTTP (Fibre-To-The-Premises) packages, are the only ones that will allow you to have broadband without a regular phone line, since they connect you directly into their network without needing to fall back on those old copper wires to fill the gaps between location and exchange. And unfortunately, these providers offer very limited coverage.

Providers advertising broadband-only still require a phone line

You might have seen some standard broadband packages flagged as 'broadband only', but that's something of a misnomer as in the vast majority of cases, a phone line is still needed by these packages, and line rental will be included in the price. All it really means is that there are no inclusive calls (not that this matters if you're not going to use the landline anyway).

If you don't want a phone, that's fine as you don't need to have one connected in order to use your broadband. This way, you can dodge nuisance calls (if that was your goal in considering going phoneline-free) while still keeping your broadband options open.

Other ways to get broadband without a phone line

As mentioned above, if you don't have or want a phone line, Virgin Media should be the first provider to consider, as the alternatives are only going to be more expensive and less convenient. If Virgin isn't an option where you are (don't forget to check those smaller FTTP providers as well), you may need to look into satellite and mobile solutions instead.

a pile of mobile sims

Mobile internet is something many of us are familiar with, thanks to inclusive data on many mobile contract and PAYG deals, and with increasingly large data options now available from some providers (up to 50GB with some providers), this can provide a serious alternative to a wired connection. The downside is that there are as yet no unlimited data options.

You can use a mobile internet connection by using a dongle or a MiFi device (that creates a mini wifi bubble around it), or by tethering to your mobile, depending on how much data you have to play with. EE even now offers a home router for use with its mobile data packages. Just bear in mind you will need to have a reliable 3G or 4G signal in order to benefit from a mobile internet connection.

Satellite broadband, as provided by the likes of Tooway, is typically used to connect properties in extremely remote locations. Getting a dish installed can be a costly process, and severe latency limits the usefulness of satellite broadband for all but the most basic online tasks.

Going broadband-only won't save you money

If you were hoping to cut costs by removing line rental from the equation, we've got bad news for you – you're not going to make any savings that way. With the majority of providers using the same network, competition is fierce, which helps to keep the price down. The alternatives to using a landline-based connection are almost universally more expensive and less convenient.

child and parent saving money

It all depends on your own situation, but if you do have (or can get) a phone line, that's typically going to be the best and cheapest way to get your broadband. Plus, as mentioned, you don't even need to use it as a standard home phone line – you can use it exclusively for your broadband if you'd rather.

Conclusion

While you can get broadband without a phone line, it's generally cheaper and easier to have the phone line as well, even if you don't plan on using it for calls. Any standard broadband package will either include or require a phone line, since it's still necessary for the majority of providers to be able to supply you with broadband.

The alternatives are typically more expensive and less reliable than traditional broadband options, with FTTP fibre lines such as those used by Virgin Media the exception and best widely available option for getting broadband without a phone line.

However, with no money to be saved by potentially cutting line rental out of the equation, the only people who really need to worry about how they can get broadband without a phone line are those who physically don't have and cannot get a phone line at their property, which is likely to be an extremely small percentage of the country.

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