How to compare broadband deals
By comparing all of the packages from all of the major providers, finding the best broadband deal, and switching you could save more than £326* a year! And you could get even more if you pick a broadband deal with cashback or a free gift. Or, if you're looking for broadband for your office or place of work, you can compare business broadband packages.
Choosing the right package
You wouldn't buy a Smart car to tow a caravan, so why settle for the wrong kind of broadband package? We can help you find your perfect bundle - but before we get started, have a think about the following:
- Speed - The faster your broadband, the slicker and more enjoyable your online experience should be. Also, as a general rule, the faster your broadband, the more people you can have online at the same time.
- 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.
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 - Average speed usually around 10Mb / 11Mb - If you’re just checking emails, browsing websites, shopping and reading news, you don’t really need fast broadband. Standard packages with advertised speeds of around 10Mb are enough for light internet usage.
- Superfast - Average speed usually between 35Mb and 67Mb - 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 - Average speed between 76Mb and 362Mb+ - 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.
Should I get unlimited broadband?
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 25GB - 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 and heavy - Unlimited - Anyone who regularly streams TV and movies online, plays games or shares a house with three or more people 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:
- BT - The UK's biggest and most well-known broadband provider, offering ADSL, fibre optic (formerly BT Infinity), and home phone and TV options too.
- Virgin Media - Has some of the fastest nationally-available broadband around, reaching speeds of a humongous 350Mb, and offers phone and extensive telly as well.
- Sky - Offers ADSL and fibre broadband, lots of calling options, and some top TV tech.
- TalkTalk - A budget-friendly provider with ADSL, fibre, home phone, and even a bit of TV.
- Plusnet - Known for its Yorkshire-based customer service team, low prices, and surprisingly fast download speeds.
- EE - Has ADSL, fibre, loads of home phone options, an unconventional TV system, and extra bonuses for EE mobile customers.
- Post Office - One of the cheapest providers around, offering both ADSL and fibre broadband at incredibly low prices.
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 average speeds of around 10Mb. You need an active phone line, which means paying line rental. Compare ADSL deals here.
- Fibre optic broadband - Superfast broadband delivered by fibre optic cable carrying data at the speed of light. Most fibre broadband, including BT fibre, still needs a telephone line but offers average speeds of 67Mb. Compare fibre deals here.
- 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 average speeds as high as 362Mb 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 - Apart from Virgin Media, all the major providers require you to have a landline for broadband. All-in-one broadband deals that include phone and TV will normally bag you the best value.
- 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.
Broadband without line rental
Most packages come with line rental included as standard - your broadband is delivered through phone lines in most cases, so it's kind of essential. However, a couple of providers run on different kinds of networks which mean they're able to offer broadband on its own. Virgin Media and Relish both do this, and all mobile broadband of course works without a landline.
The downside to these broadband-only deals is that they aren’t available everywhere - the networks that offer them are usually much smaller. And, price wise, they aren't necessarily cheaper than a low-cost deal that includes a landline.
Still, if you really don't want line rental, take a look at our broadband-only deals here:
*Saving based on switching from separate broadband and phone services to a comparable bundle. Separate services assume standard ongoing annual costs. Example: Sky Original TV with fibre broadband and calls with line rental - total annual cost £688.80 vs. BT's "TV Starter + BT Superfast Fibre Unlimited + weekend calls" TV, fibre broadband and weekend calls - £7.50 a month for 12 months - with line rental total first year cost £361.83. Total first year saving £326.97. Terms and conditions apply. All prices subject to geographic availability and offer dates. Information correct at 01/04/16.