A small number of 'no contract' broadband packages exist in the UK market, giving you more freedom to switch provider when a better deal comes along.
It's also a useful option if you're planning to move house in the near future, need broadband for a second home, or simply don't want to be tied down to a monthly bill that you can't shake for 12 or 18 months.
Here we'll show you some of the best no contract broadband deals around, and highlight exactly what you need to be aware of before signing on the dotted line.
NOW TV (www.NowTV.com) offers all of its broadband packages on a rolling 30-day basis. That goes for Brilliant Broadband with download speeds up to 17Mb, Fab Fibre up to 38Mb, and Super Fibre up to 76Mb. There's also the option to add a 30-day TV Pass, for things like Sky Cinema and kids' telly, which is always a nice extra.
Monthly prices are the same whether you get a one-month or 12-month deal, though if you go for the one-month no-contract option you'll be charged an extra setup fee.
Top Now TV deals
|Entertainment Pass + Brilliant Broadband Combo (1 month)||Sky Cinema Pass + Brilliant Broadband Combo (1 month)||Sky Sports Pass + Brilliant Broadband Combo (1 month)|
|£343.88 Total first year cost||£379.88 Total first year cost||£722.88 Total first year cost|
|£24.99 p/m for 1 month £44.00 setup costs 1 month contract||£27.99 p/m for 1 month £44.00 setup costs 1 month contract||£51.99 p/m for 1 month £44.00 setup costs 1 month contract|
|Up To 17 Mb||Up To 17 Mb||Up To 17 Mb|
|Pay as you go||Pay as you go||Pay as you go|
|Channels 91||Channels 89||Channels 85|
All of Virgin Media's services are available on a 30-day basis too. That includes broadband up to 100Mb, 200Mb, or 300Mb; its broadband-only packages; home phone; and of course its high-tech TV service, complete with up to 245 channels and TiVo.
It costs a little more for shorter contracts, with both higher monthly bills and setup costs. That said, if you only expect to be connected for a few months, you'll still pay less than the cost of cancelling mid-contract.
Wireless broadband provider Relish offers 30-day rolling contracts. You'll get truly unlimited downloads and speeds of up to 50Mb, so it's pretty similar to a fixed-line connection. The only problem is that Relish's network is limited to central London.
Another option is Plusnet (www.Plus.net). Its Unlimited Broadband package - with download speeds up to 17Mb - has a no contract option that gives you the choice to cancel your broadband with just 10 days' notice and no penalties.
The downside is that, again, your bill will cost a little extra, and you'll have to pay more for installation and activation.
Alternatively, you could look into mobile broadband. It's available from mobile phone operators, on either a contract or pay-as-you-go basis. One-month contracts provide the best value balance between cost and flexibility.
With mobile broadband, you'll be able to take your connection with you wherever you go - and by using it instead of home broadband, you'll be able to save a bit on line rental.
With the exception of Relish (see above), mobile broadband packages have far lower monthly usage limits than traditional packages. Out-of-bundle costs can be very high, so you need to be careful you don't exceed your download allowance. Price-wise, it's comparable to a fixed line connection, even though you'll have a download limit and slower speeds… but, again, it may still be your overall cheapest option if you only want broadband for a few months.
What are my other options?
Not interested in any of these providers, but don't fancy giving up your fixed line in favour of mobile broadband either? Use our postcode checker to find out what else is available where you live.
Connection and disconnection fees
A lot of UK providers use the BT Openreach network of phone lines, and have to pay a fee to BT to activate your broadband connection.
Most won't charge you for this when you sign up, but, to cover their own costs, they will add the fee to your bill if you disconnect within a year - even if you're moving house. And, you guessed it, you'll probably get charged a connection fee if you're going 'no contract'.
The fee might also be higher if you're the first broadband user in a new home, as the cost of connecting you will be higher in the first place. Cable broadband companies like Virgin Media don't have the excuse of dealing with BT, but you should always check the small-print anyway when it comes to disconnection or deactivation fees.
Some providers will also ask you to return or pay for the router you were supplied with, especially if you've cancelled within a year of signing up.
Monthly vs yearly contracts
Monthly contracts can be a bit pricey, but many people consider them worth the extra cost because of the flexibility they offer - especially if you don't need broadband for very long.
Longer contracts of 12, 18 or even 24 months will generally mean a lower monthly bill, and, depending on your circumstances, could be the best bet for you - at least in terms of cost.