What do we mean by ‘free’ broadband? Is there really any such thing? And if so, how do you get it? BroadbandChoices takes a look.
How to find broadband deals with no set-up fees
To start, enter your postcode into our postcode checker.
Compare broadband deals in your area
By doing so, we'll be able to show you all the broadband deals available at your address. You can then use our filters on the left-hand side to find a deal that matches your needs.
The latter are cheaper, with average speeds of 10-11Mbps, although fewer providers offer these as fibre becomes more prevalent.
At the top of the deals table, use the drop-down tool to sort the deals by setup costs.
This will push all the broadband deals with no upfront cost right to the top of the page where you can see them. Take your pick and just click on a deal you like to sign up.
If you can’t see any deals you like right now, check back in a week or two. Special offers pop up all the time that could be worth your while - including ones with the upfront costs slashed.
Which providers offer broadband deals with no upfront cost?
There are plenty of providers that offer broadband with no upfront costs. These deals are often time limited and may be part of special promotions, meaning a provider may offer no setup costs for a set period before reinstating them.
Current providers offering no setup costs include:
- John Lewis: The department store’s broadband is backed by PlusNet, with customers having to pay their first month in advance, but there are no additional setup fees. If you want a new phone line, you’ll have to pay £49.99.
- Virgin Media: The provider known for its super fast broadband currently has deals that ask for no upfront cost. However, this is time limited, meaning if you want in on the action you need to move fast.
- Vodafone: The mobile network with its own broadband service has no upfront fees for customers. But check whether you can get faster speeds before opting for its cheaper deals.
- Onestream: With its UK based customer support, Onestream has become increasingly popular and is now available without having to pay an initial fee.
- PlusNet: The provider that specialises in low cost deals serves up some great no upfront deals, usually for slower ADSL broadband. As with John Lewis, you’ll have to pay for a new phone connection if you don’t already have one.
Is broadband without an upfront cost cheaper in the long run?
Deals with free setup aren’t always the cheapest packages overall. There may be broadband deals on offer with slightly higher upfront costs but a slightly lower monthly charge, which ends up balancing out at a lower overall price.
To see what the lowest-cost deals really are, sort your results by total first year cost. Or, take a look at today’s cheapest broadband deals, selected by us.
One handy way of cutting your broadband bill is paying for your entire contract upfront.
There are a few providers that let you pay for everything upfront in one big lump sum and will offer you a discount for doing so.
Alternatively, you can pay for a year of just line rental upfront and get a discount on that too.
What sort of upfront costs might apply with internet?
Some providers almost never charge for installation. Others waive installation fees every now and then as part of a limited-time promotion to entice new customers.
You’re most likely to have to pay installation if you don’t have an active line at your address. Or if you’re signing up for an ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises service.
The latter are increasingly prevalent, so be sure about added costs before you sign up.
Household-name providers pretty much always waive fees for routers. But you may be asked to pay upfront if you’re signing up for a smaller providers, especially locally based ones.
Sometimes providers will charge a small sum to cover the cost of delivering the equipment to your address.
What are the pros and cons of no upfront cost deals?
- An immediate saving, meaning you don’t have to fork out more than you can afford at the time you enter into the deal.
- Can be more expensive in the long run.
- Lots of providers use upfront costs to lower monthly fees, so be clear about overall cost before you choose a no upfront fee option.
Can I get fibre broadband without paying upfront?
Absolutely. Fibre broadband is now the most common way of getting connected in the UK and the deals reflect that. You can currently get Virgin Media and Vodafone fibre broadband without having to pay an upfront fee.
Can I get free broadband?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as completely free broadband. What you can get, however, is a broadband package with nothing to pay upfront. That means a free connection, free installation, and a free router or other equipment. All you need to pay are the monthly bills for your broadband service.
Can I get pay-TV with no upfront cost?
Most TV providers usually charge an upfront cost to cover equipment or engineer visits. But you can get broadband and TV packages with free installation from TalkTalk, which doesn't charge any setup costs for its basic TV package, and EE.
Other providers will waive pay-TV setup fees occasionally, but only for time-limited promotions.
To find broadband and TV bundles with nothing upfront, use our postcode checker to see what's in your area, and sort the deals by setup cost. You'll see free installation deals first, followed by the ones with the cheapest setup costs.
Can I get broadband without a credit check?
Now Broadband, Plusnet and DirectSaveTelecom offer home broadband deals without a credit check. And evidence suggests that you've also got a good chance of getting TalkTalk broadband, even if you've got an impaired credit rating.
BT also has a special package for people on certain benefits that doesn't require a credit check. Or you can opt for PAYG mobile broadband, which also means you won't have to pass a credit check