Need a temporary broadband service while you're in short-term accommodation? Or maybe just to plug the gap until you move overseas? We explore your options and track down some great deals.
Alternatives to no-contract home broadband
Other options you might want to consider instead of home broadband include:
- Tethering your phone. Most mobile phone contracts allow you to use your data allowance to get online on your laptop and other internet-enabled devices.
- Student broadband. If you're a student you can sign up for a nine-month contract. So you won't have to pay for broadband during the summer holidays.
- Mobile broadband. Sign up for a dongle or MiFi on a one-month rolling contract and you can cancel with 30 days' notice. And you can take your broadband connection with you wherever you too.
The catch is mobile broadband and tethering is that your usage allowance will be much more limited than no-contract home broadband.
Which no contract broadband provider is fastest?
Virgin Media's cable broadband technology means its the fastest no-contract broadband provider, with a top-of-the-range service that gets you an average download speed of 362Mbps and average upload speed of 21Mbps.
However, as you'd expect it's not cheap. At the time of writing, the M350 service that offers that speed costs around £50 per month, if your'e just signing up for broadband and not a home phone.
And there's a one-off £80 installation charge to factor in, too.
Which no contract broadband provider is cheapest?
If you're on a budget and want a fixed-line service, Direct Save Telecom's or Now Broadband's no-contract broadband deals are pretty appealing.
Both feature unlimited usage, and come in at a reasonable monthly price with set-up costs that won't break the bank.
However, they're not as fast as Virgin Media, whose no-contract broadband is probably better suited to busy, multiple occupancy homes.
Can I get home broadband without a contract?
You can get fast, reliable broadband in your home without tying yourself to a long-term contract. But your choice of providers is relatively limited.
Most home broadband packages lock you in for 12, 18, or even 24 months, but a few suppliers, such as Now TV and Virgin Media, offer fixed-line home broadband on a 30-day, rolling-contract basis.
That means there’s no commitment, and you can stop and start your service whenever you want with 30 days' notice.
Your other option if you really want to avoid committing for a long time is to sign up for a mobile broadband deal, which are also available on short-term, rolling contracts.
But be mindful that although mobile broadband is a more viable alternative to fixed line home broadband than it used to be, it's still generally not as fast or reliable.
Which providers offer no-contract broadband?
You can get no-contract broadband from Virgin Media, Now Broadband and Hyperoptic.
Here's a snapshot of what each has to offer:
- Virgin Media - All Virgin Media home broadband and TV packages are available on 30-day contracts.
- Hyperoptic - Offers 30-day standalone fibre broadband and broadband and phone bundles.
- Now Broadband - Standard and fibre broadband packages available on a rolling-contract basis.
- Direct Save Telecom - Offers no-contract standard and fibre broadband deals.
- Various other mobile broadband providers - read more about them here
The good news is that short-term broadband packages get you exactly the same service as if you signed for a longer-term contract.
That means that your broadband speed, monthly usage allowance and connection quality will be the same.
And you'll get the same extra features that your chosen provider offers on long-term contracts, such as security software and free voicemail.
Should I get no-contract home broadband?
Broadband with no contract costs a bit more than broadband with a standard 12-month contract. But a no-contract deal makes a lot of sense if you'll be living at a particular address for less than a year.
Examples of situations when we'd recommend no-contract broadband include:
- You're living in rented accommodation with a short-term let
- You're a student who needs a connection during term time
- You require a broadband for a short stay at your holiday home
- You're going to be emigrating to another country and need a serviceable connection to tide you over until you leave the UK
Other advantages of no-contract broadband include:
- There are no cancellation fees
- You may not need a credit check
- You can cancel and take out a better deal when one comes along
If you’re living somewhere long-term, on the other hand, you’ll probably get a better value for money by signing up to a full-length contract - take a look at our broadband page to see your options.
Are there hidden costs with no contract broadband?
For some contract-free broadband packages, you may have to pay a connection fee, or pay for a router.
It's also worth noting that most contract-free broadband deals also cost a little more per month than if you signed up for the same package on a longer-term contract.
And you generally won't get the free gifts or vouchers that providers sometimes offer with full-length broadband contracts, either.
Can I get broadband with no contract and no landline?
You can. But your options are limited, since most broadband is delivered through your phone line.
You can find contract-free, landline-free broadband from these providers:
- Virgin Media - The only fixed-line provider to offer broadband-only deals on a short-term, one-month basis.
- Three Broadband - Three offers a home broadband service that's requires no landline and instead relies on mobile internet technology. But it's only available in select locations.
Mobile broadband - 4G and 5G broadband from mobile networks, like EE and O2, doesn't require a landline either - and there are lots of options for one-month deals.
You can find 4G home routers, no-contract dongles, Mi-Fi, and more. The downside is that it can get quite expensive, and it usually has restrictive download limits.