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The cheapest broadband deals for November 2017

By Dan Howdle
Tuesday, November 7th 2017

Cable.co.uk's in-house consumer telecoms expert picks out the cheapest broadband deals in November 2017 in five different categories.

Round up the five cheapest of anything and there will be very little – beyond a few pennies – to actually choose between them. That’s why we’ve rounded up the cheapest in five different categories: Flat-out cheapest (ADSL or non-fibre), cheapest entry-level fibre, cheapest fast fibre, cheapest with inclusive TV and cheapest deal with a free gift and/or cashback. Essentially, you can choose your poison.

Flat-out cheapest deal: Direct Save Telecom, 17Mb, no set-up fee, PAYG calls, £17.95 p/m

There’s always a healthy amount of competition to win the title of ‘UK’s cheapest broadband deal’ and as such winners change rapidly. At the time of writing, however, it’s Direct Save Telecom’s (DST’s) Broadband Unlimited Plus, offering basic broadband, no set-up costs, PAYG calls and a 12-month contract, all for £17.95 per month.

What you tend to find is that the longer the contract lasts the cheaper the deals can be. Very cheap deals tend to be on 18 or 24 month contracts so that providers can offset the low profit margin with your longevity as a customer. It’s interesting (and unusual) then that DST’s Broadband Unlimited Plus only requires you sign up for 12 months. After that you’re free. Free to do what you wanna do. To have a good time. To party. We digress.

As with almost all ultra-cheap broadband offers you shouldn’t expect the very best equipment. That’s not to say it won’t do the job, but, you know, basic is basic. BT, for example, offers you a much better router, but it’s also a lot more expensive outside of sale time.

If all you want to do is watch a bit of Netflix, surf the web and natter on Facebook and there are only two or three internet users in your household, and you want to pay as little as possible, pick this one.

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Cheapest entry-level fibre deal: Plusnet Ultimate Fibre, 38Mb, £15 set-up (£10 off), PAYG calls, £24.99 p/m

Our broadband is ten times faster than this – pointlessly so. In fact, the only reason we have broadband that fast is because being ‘the broadband people’ we’re supposed to. Probably. In any case it is a monumental amount of overkill.

38Mbps is actually the sweet-spot for most households in 2017 – fast enough to satisfy a family of four or five people who like to be on the internet at the same time. It's entirely not pointless, unlike our broadband.

Plusnet also (again – it won last year too) just came out as the UK’s best broadband provider according to a survey of 20,000 broadband customers conducted by yours truly (Cable.co.uk). Plusnet’s customers are very, very happy. Apart from the minority of grumpy ones on Trustpilot (but that’s the same for all providers).

Under 25 quid a month is a good price, especially when you consider that Plusnet is offering £10 off its usual set-up cost, bringing an already-cheap £25 down to just £15. To put that into perspective, BT and Sky both generally charge around £60 for the privilege of connecting your fibre. Want cheap fibre? Want to be one of those happy customers? Choose this Plusnet deal.

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Cheapest fast fibre deal: Origin Unlimited Fibre Max, 76Mb, no set-up fee, £29.99 p/m

The whole 76Mbps thing is getting a bit long in the tooth, to be fair. With BT’s own entry-level Infinity fibre now clocking in at 52Mbps it’s hard to think of too many instances where you’d be better off getting one of the more expensive (but not a lot faster) 76Mbps services, as offered by numerous providers.

But with Origin taking the price of its 76Mbps Unlimited Fibre Max down to a shade under thirty quid, and while we respect that thirty quid is a lot of money for some households, it’s a lot of broadband for that money.

Unlike DST’s basic 17Mbps (non-fibre) ADSL offering (above), here you're going to be tied in for a bit longer – 18 months rather than 12 months. That shouldn’t be a factor if you’re sure this is what you want, but should you be likely to change your mind or if your situation is likely to change in some dramatic way during that time, you might want to think about getting a shorter contract deal. Buying yourself out of a contract can be pricey.

Origin offers a fairly bare-bones service here – this deal is really all about megabits per buck – so you won’t get any inclusive calls via your landline and there aren’t any freebies thrown in for signing up (see further down for those). Those caveats aside, if you want fast and cheap, pick this one.

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Cheapest broadband with TV: TalkTalk Broadband & TV, 17Mb, PAYG calls, £19.95 p/m

Well, you said cheapest, not best. Not that we’re trying to deride TalkTalk or its offering in any way, but its basic broadband and TV option probably isn’t much more telly than you’re already getting. It’s all Freeview, 80 channels with 15 of them in HD. Its set-top box also comes with iPlayer, ITV Player and All4 apps installed on it, so if you don’t have a smart TV that can do the same, that could be pretty handy.

This deal’s basic 17Mb broadband package is exactly that: Basic, just like the TV. But for £19.95 for broadband, a phone line, line rental, a router and a set-top box, you can’t really complain, can you? After all, if you want premium channels like Sky Atlantic you know exactly where to go (the clue’s in the name).

Virgin Media and Sky are battling it out to be top dog, providing the most channels to the most rooms in your house at the highest quality and with the most capable set-top boxes. Meanwhile, BT is hoovering up half the sport and gathering a sizeable share of the screenable content. TalkTalk is getting pretty left behind in the TV stakes, but it would be fair to say it’s not really trying.

The only thing TalkTalk is trying to be is cheap, and in that it succeeds admirably, offering quite a lot for very little. If you want basic broadband and basic TV for very little money, pick this one.

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Cheapest broadband deal with free gifts/cashback: Plusnet Unlimited Broadband, 17Mb, PAYG calls, no set-up fee, £19.99 p/m

Plusnet’s attempting to split the difference between ultra-cheap and instant rewards with this basic 17Mb ADSL (non-fibre) offering that drops £50 cashback on new customers. There’s also no set-up fee, where usually Plusnet would charge you a tenner.

It’s not the cheapest 17Mb deal out there in terms of monthly premiums, but why not ‘do the math’ as Americans incorrectly say: It’s a 12 month contract, so if you claim that cashback (more on that in a sec) you can divide that 50 quid by 12 and knock it off the monthly cost. If you do that (it comes to £15.82 p/m), this is actually the cheapest deal in the UK right now, albeit via some creative mathematics. Yes, ‘mathematics’ – take that America.

What you will need to remember, though, is that cashback vouchers always need to be manually claimed. They won’t automatically arrive in the post or be credited to your broadband account. You need to reach out and claim them once you’re all set up and running. Providers will tell you this is so no one can game the system, claiming their cashback then cancelling during their cooling off period. It’s probably just a coincidence then that around half or customers forget to claim them… yep… just a happy, happy coincidence.

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