The internet connects us with friends, helps us learn and opens up a whole world of round-the-clock entertainment. Broadband’s what powers the lot - so it fuels our homes just like gas or electricity.
Choosing the right package
You wouldn't buy a Smart car to tow a caravan, so why settle for the wrong kind of broadband? It’s our pleasure to help you find your perfect bundle - but before we get started, have a think about the following:
Speed - If broadband’s the internet’s engine room, then your speed’s like the oil that keeps it running smoothly. The faster your broadband, the slicker and more enjoyable your online experience should be.
Usage - Do you live with other people, or have a houseful of kids all connected to the Wi-Fi and gobbling up the gigabytes? As well as speed, you’ll need a generous usage limit - ideally, unlimited broadband.
Bundling - Most providers do broadband, TV and phone - some even do mobile phones as well. It’s nearly always cheaper and easier to bundle them all together in one package with just the one monthly bill to pay.
Video: Comparing broadband with us
What speed should I go for?
As a general rule, the faster your broadband the better your online experience will be. With a faster connection you can download and stream without ever hanging around, and it shouldn't matter how many people in your house use the internet at once. Not everyone needs superfast broadband, though. You’ll find cheap broadband deals with lesser speeds, and it’s only worth paying extra if you’ll benefit from something quicker. Here’s a simple guide to broadband speeds:
Standard - Up to 16Mb - If you’re just checking emails, browsing websites, shopping and reading news, you don’t really need fast broadband. Standard packages with speeds of up to 16Mb are enough for light internet usage.
Superfast - Up to 38Mb - If you want to stream TV and films, or download music and games, you’ll find this much easier with superfast broadband. It’s perfect for households of three or more people, who all want to be online.
Even faster - 76Mb+ - For larger families, with everyone connected - on tablets, mobile phones, PCs and consoles - even faster fibre broadband, or Virgin Media’s top-whack cable broadband, could be a worthwhile investment.
Usage limits explained
Everything you do on the internet uses data. For general browsing very little data’s needed, but streaming music and video, or downloading large files like movies and games, can quickly eat up your usage allowance. If you’re worried about exceeding your limit - and running the risk of being charged for extra data - then unlimited broadband’s your safest bet, and it won’t necessarily cost more. Here’s a quick guide to usage:
Light - Up to 10GB - If it’s only you using the internet and you just want to browse the web, use email, Facebook and so on, then you won’t need lots of data. A cheap broadband package with a usage limit should be enough.
Medium - Up to 40GB - For one or two people using the internet to browse sites, send email, check Facebook, play games and so on, plus occasional TV and movie streaming, you’ll probably need a bigger usage limit.
Heavy - Unlimited - Households of three or more frequent web users, and anyone who regularly streams TV and movies online, should definitely consider unlimited broadband. You’ll never have to worry about data usage.
We compare broadband, TV, home phone and mobile deals from all the main UK providers. Not everyone has the same pick of providers - that’s why we need your postcode - so we show the best broadband deals available where you live. There are smaller providers you might not know, as well as the big names you've heard of:
Fibre optic, cable or ADSL broadband?
Without getting overly technical, there are three main types of home broadband - ADSL, cable broadband and fibre optic broadband. Not everyone has a choice of all three, so we use your postcode to show only what’s available in your area. Some providers offer multiple types, while others are specialists in one particular technology.
ADSL - Broadband delivered down your telephone line is still the most common type in the UK, and normally offers speeds of up to 16Mb. You need an active phone line, which means paying line rental.
Fibre optic broadband - Superfast broadband delivered by fibre optic cable carrying data at the speed of light. Most fibre broadband, including BT Infinity, still needs a telephone line but offers speeds of up to 76Mb.
Cable broadband - Virgin Media’s different from other providers, with a cable broadband network that doesn't rely on BT’s infrastructure. You’ll get speeds of up to 152Mb and won’t necessarily have to pay line rental.
Building your bundle
Why stop at broadband, when you can save even more money with a broadband, TV and home phone bundle? It’s also a good way of simplifying things, because you’ll only ever have the one bill to manage, and if anything ever goes kaput then it’s just one provider you’re going to be dealing with. It makes sense to compare TV packages whenever you’re thinking of switching broadband - if nothing else, just to see what’s new.
TV - Whether live sport’s your thing or you’re a big movie buff, subscription TV providers like Sky, Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk can take your home entertainment to the next level.
Home phone - With the possible exception of Virgin Media, all major providers require you have a landline for broadband. All-in-one broadband, phone and TV deals will normally bag you the best deal.
Mobile - A few providers offer mobile phone plans on top of their broadband, TV and home phone bundles. You can save even more money when you take all four in one big, juicy bundle.