How to find the best broadband deal?
Compare broadband deals and providers based on speed, price, usage and free extras
The availability of quality broadband providers and a wide range of deals in the current UK market now offer consumers more choices than ever.
However, comparing all the major & growing telecom firms and their 500+ deals is not an easy task for beginners as well as experts. Only, the right way of comparison could help you get the perfect deal for you.
For instance, you would find most packages come with up to 17Mbps speed while you would also find fibre optic broadband plans which allow you to pick speeds betweeen 38Mbps and 300Mbps. Which speed is ideal for your needs?
However, speed is just one of the many criteria that helps you spot the best broadband for you. You may just need decent speeds delivered by an ADSL package or would like to prefer ultra fast speeds of 100Mbps+, depending on your online activities that require superfast speeds such as HD streaming or online gaming or sharing broadband connection on multiple devices.
Likewise, you would also seriously consider other things like monthly usage allowance, contract length, pricing and other value added services that come with your package.
Unless you compare as many deals as possible from top providers , you may end up buying a wrong package, especially, when you do not properly weigh up your priorities.
Explore all the options that broadband deals come with
- Bundle deals
You can optionally add phone, TV and mobile broadband, if your provider also offer these services. This way, you can save money as these companies offer so many special offers exclusively for those who take multiple services. Bundling also helps you save your time because you deal with a single company, when it comes to making payments or asking any help regarding technical or other issues.
- Broadband and phone deals
Most operators offer phone (i.e., line rental) with broadband on a single deal. When compared to broadband only plans, these bundles offer more features and extras that could add value to your money. Some of the telephone and broadband packages come with free broadband for up to 18 months and free connection, when you take broadband including line rental.
- Line rental saver
You can also make great savings on line rental by paying rental for 12 months in advance.
- Broadband without line rental
Fixed broadband like ADSL requires you to pay line rental. However, you may prefer to use phone line from another company, then you can opt for stand-alone deals. Remember, still you will need to pay line rental to one firm or another.
- Cable broadband allows you to take broadband without line rental, if you want to reduce the cost. Only mobile broadband comes without line rental, but it uses entirely different technology. You will find the tariff and features also vary when you compare different technologies.
- Broadband, phone and TV deals
Sky, Virgin Media and BT also include TV that offers on-demand vidoes, high-definition movies, sports channels, catch up TV programmes etc via your broadband connection. Usually, you are provided with free settop box to watch these contents on your TV set, when you buy these services on a bundle.
- Broadband and TV deals
In this option, phone is not included. It is more likely that these offers may not include discount and special pricing that usually make broadband, phone and TV bundles more attractive, however, you can still claim free wireless router and free set-top box on these deals.
Choose unlimited broadband usage
A few packages would come with data usage restrictions. You are allowed to use certain amount of data per month that varies from one package to another and you will need to pay extra when your usage exceeds this limit.It often happens that online activities like streaming videos and downloading huge files and movies could quickly use up the set monthly data within a fortnight or even before, means you will need to use internet in the expensive territory zone for the rest of the month. This is not certainly good, especially, if you are keen on cutting additional costs.
Unlimited broadband is the wise option to choose, in such circumstances. Unlimited internet literally means you can upload or download as much data as you like. Though it sounds attractive, the unlimited access is entirely not without restrictions. There is still fair usage cap on a month and you are also not allowed to make excess downloads during peak hours. If you breach these rules, your provider is likely to reduce speeds and even warn you if you frequently violate this fair usage code.
The good news is ISPs offer generous amount of fair usage per month , so, there is no need to be panicky over exceeding the fair usage limits.
However, if you are unsure of how much data you would use in a month or download a lot of music tracks, movies and large files or watch online TVs, it is wise to go for a unlimited broadband service.
Look out for the special offers that come with promotional discounts, free gifts, cashback, rewards and vouchers
We often launch exclusive, online offers that come with free gifts such as gift cards, cashback and shopping vouchers.
You can find all the broadband deals with free gifts on this page or just use our broadband postcode checker to find more deals on special offers.
New customers usually get this kind of incentives such as discounts, gifts and free broadband for up to 18 months, when they sign up online.
Make sure you consider the caveat before you decide
You can be often misled by advertised speeds such as ‘up to’ 17Mbps or 50Mbps. These speeds do not refer to the actual speeds received by majority of customers. Before you sign up, your provider should tell you the estimated speed that you are likely to get at your location without prompting, as per Ofcom’s trade practice. It is consumer right to get this information before you enter the contract with them..
You should know, speeds drop over copper lines due to the distance between your home and local exchange. Slow broadband can also be caused by other factors like high contention (ie., when more people share the same line), traffic shaping (i.e., when ISP reduces speeds at peak hours) and technical problems (like line noise) within your premises.
From your side, make sure that you use the latest, high speed modem router, short cables and proper wiring methods.
Although the standard 17Mb speeds are enough for most of the basic online activities, fibre broadband is the best option if you get reduced speeds over copper lines or if you require faster speeds as multiple users access your broadband connection.
If your service comes with set monthly usage cap or limit, make sure that it allows you to do all online things without exceeding the limit. If your usage is just limited to email, browsing and occasional streaming & downloading, 20GB of data is likely to be enough for your monthly usage.
This may not be case for those who spend a lot of time in watching videos on YouTube & other streaming websites.
A high definition video or watching DVD online can use up more than 4GB in a couple of hours, this leads us to the conclusion that choosing the plan that includes the required monthly data is as much important as faster speeds.
People often tell about frustrating experiences they had while trying to contact the support team during times of technical issues. Poor customer service comes next to slow speeds, when it comes to top reasons for customer dissatisfaction with UK internet providers, according to latest Ofcom survey.
The good news is, the report also shows most ISPs have improved their customer support in the recent years.
Reviews, experts and customer ratings should also come of great help to identify the right service provider for your needs.
How to make sure that your new broadband provider is reliable and the best?
All major broadband providers currently offer their services via advanced ADSL 2+ (from 17Mbps speeds) or superfast fibre networks (30Mbps+ speeds) in most areas across the UK.
If you live in areas where your chosen service is available, you can get speed estimate from your new provider, before you sign up.
A few genuine factors like how far your premise is from the exchange or cabinet and whether you access the web during peak or non-peak times can also affect the quality of broadband your receive, irrespective of specific provider.
Broadband and phone services can be affected by technical issues and other network factors. Although no provider is 100% perfect, best in the industry can offer you very reliable service with least technical and customer support related issues.
When something goes wrong with your connection like fault line for which the provider is solely responsible, you can always contact your provider’s customer support which is available both on telephone and on website.
As for the dedicated 24/7 UK based customer support, Plusnet, Sky, Virgin Media and Zen offer award-winning customer service so you can be rest assured that your issues would be resolved without any delay.
More things you need to know
Broadband Only or Bundles?
While choosing the right broadband deal for you, you will need to decide whether you want to add other related services such as home phone, TV or even mobile.
It is a proven fact that you can make significant savings and also benefit from exclusive special offers when you take a broadband & phone bundle instead of subscribing to broadband only deal.
As big providers like BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin Media also offer digital TV as part of bundled packages, you can further increase savings when you take one of the triple-play packages which include broadband, TV and home phone from such providers. What’s more you can also add mobile SIM from the same provider for an £5 extra a month.
Standard broadband (ADSL) or Fibre optic broadband?
After deciding which services you want to add to broadband, you have to then assess what speeds and monthly data usage you would require for your online activities.
Copper based ADSL 2+ broadband
It is the most popular and widely available broadband in the UK.
Typical achievable download speeds can be up to 11Mbps, however, the distance from exchange and the network congestion can easily affect the speeds. Upload speeds are usually less than 2Mbps even on high speed connections.
However, the selling point of ADSL 2+ broadband is its affordable cost and value for money and the availability of wide range of pricing and specifications which can fit the needs of most homes and individuals
Fibre based superfast broadband
However, if you are a regular and heavy user with high bandwidth usage or have multiple users sharing broadband at your location, you may need superfast broadband delivered via BT’s fibre networks and Virgin Media’s cable network.