How to find the best broadband deal

Customers looking to compare broadband deals can often find themselves facing a host of broadband providers all claiming to offer the best or cheapest broadband around.

This page will help you compare broadband prices from all the main providers, including those offering home phone plans too.

Our aim is to supply you with clear information about the latest home broadband deals so you can make an informed decision before you choose your next package.

Choose covers the wider home broadband market wherever we can, meaning that customers can compare broadband prices from all major providers.

On this page, you'll find deals from providers including:

  • BT
  • Virgin Media
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Plusnet
  • Vodafone
  • NOW Broadband
  • Zen Internet
  • Shell Energy Broadband
  • Direct Save Telecom
  • iTalk Telecom
  • Hyperoptic
  • Gigaclear
  • Fibrus

As well as location specific providers like KCOM in Hull and Community Fibre in London.

The broadband and phone deals we list are frequently updated to ensure customers get a clear picture of the fixed-line broadband offers on the market.

Deals are listed by price or feature to make sure customers get an accurate comparison of packages found on the Choose site.

To find the best deals for you, simply filter the home broadband deals using the search tool.

This will allow you to compare broadband prices and helps you narrow down your options depending on factors including contract length, internet usage and what is available in your local area.

Which is the cheapest broadband package?

Most people looking to compare broadband are looking for the cheapest price. That's why we've made it easy to search and find the lowest broadband price available in a specific postcode area.

By entering a postcode into the search form above, and then ordering the results by Lowest Price, customers will be able to see the cheapest broadband packages available to them.

Our broadband comparison table, when ordered by Lowest Price, lists packages based on the monthly subscription fee - with the cheapest package listed first. If two packages cost the same each month, we then list the package with the cheapest out of contract price first. We also consider the initial setup fee cost too.

When comparing broadband providers by price, it's important to take a few factors into account before deciding on the best deal for you.

  1. Monthly subscription price
  2. Out of contract subscription price
  3. Contract length
  4. Setup fee

Most broadband providers offer a lower, or discounted price, for the minimum term, with the monthly price then increasing when the customer's contract period ends.

When a customer is no longer in contract, they're free to switch away, or they can also renegotiate a cheaper deal with their existing supplier if they're willing to sign up to a new minimum term.

Contract length is important here then, because while it means a customer is locked in for longer, it also means they'll get a cheaper price for longer too. Which can reduce the hassle of needing to switch or recontract for a better deal so frequently.

It's also worth considering setup fee. While most broadband providers don't charge an upfront cost for installation or for the broadband router, some do and where they do this can range from £5 to £35 depending on the provider.

Annual price rises

In terms of cheapest broadband, it's also worth being aware of annual price rises which have become more commonplace in the broadband market over the past two years.

Annual price rises, or mid-contract price rises, are where the broadband provider increases the monthly subscription price by a set amount once per year even when the customer is within their minimum term.

This is worth accounting for, because it means a monthly subscription fee could be increased during a minimum term, and the customer in that case won't be able to switch away.

Annual price rises usually take place in or around April, and while the exact amounts vary between providers, are usually based on inflation plus a set percentage, for example CPI + 3.9%.

CPI, or the Consumer Price Index, varies each year based on inflation. For January 2024 CPI was 4%. So, a lot of broadband prices will be increasing by around 7.9% (4% + 3.9%) in April.

To find out more about annual price rises and how much each broadband provider increases their prices by we have a full guide to mid-contract price rises, it also includes those providers who offer fixed deals and don't raise prices. Hyperoptic is one such provider.

What broadband special offers are available?

Many broadband providers have special offers available to new and switching customers. These can include:

  • Discounted monthly fees
  • Waived setup fees
  • Bill credits
  • Reward cards
  • Free goods

The most common of these are discounted monthly fees and waived setup costs. It's also become increasingly common to see broadband providers offer new customers vouchers or reward cards that are effectively prepaid cards loaded with money a customer can then spend wherever they choose.

Larger bundles, those that include TV with the broadband can even come with free TVs or cases of wine, on occasion.

In any case, it's always worth ensuring the broadband package you choose is right for your needs. It would be a false economy to pay more for a broadband package just because it offers a reward for signing up.

However, where providers offer money off or money back, it's worth including that in any calculation of cheapest cost, because if a provider offers a £50 reward card that can be spent on groceries or petrol for example, that's effectively worth two to three months free broadband.

Find out more about broadband special offers and how they work.

Is line rental included with broadband?

It's clear to see on the Choose site which home broadband deals include line rental and which ones don't.

All listings include a 'home phone' column and this will tell you whether a phone line is included in the deal, and also whether any inclusive calls are provided in the plan.

The roll out of fibre to the home broadband, or full fibre, by BT Openreach, means there are more packages available that either don't include a phone line or that rely instead on a digital phone line.

A digital phone line, often provided with full fibre packages, works the same as an analogue phone line, except it runs over the fibre broadband line instead. The biggest drawback to this to be aware of is the need for a power supply to use the phone.

Full-fibre and digital phone line providers will supply battery back-ups to ensure connectivity in the event of a power cut, but these are currently only free for vulnerable customers who are reliant on their telephone line.

There are also a few providers who offer customers the option to go without a phone line entirely. This includes Virgin Media as well as BT full fibre packages. However, in the case of Virgin Media, broadband without a phone line plans can often work out more expensive than those that bundle a phone line.

The changes to the way line rental is advertised in broadband deals mean that customers now have a greater overall picture of how much home broadband will cost them during their contract.

The monthly subscription price listed in the comparison table above includes any cost of broadband and line rental. Any packages that are listed without a phone line don't need a phone line in order to be installed or work.

Are all broadband packages unlimited?

Most providers offer unlimited broadband as standard in all their broadband deals, this now even includes affordable deals aimed at vulnerable customers. So we really don't see fixed-line broadband with any download or usage limits any more.

This even extends to "fair use policies", which used to stipulate how much a customer was allowed to download, with stricter rules in place during busier times of the day. Heavy users could see their broadband speeds slowed as a result.

However, these have been phased out by many providers, although that doesn't mean there are no usage issues to be aware of.

Many home broadband deals come with an "acceptable use" policy that gives customers information on what can't be done with the broadband connection.

For instance, it goes without saying that you violate the terms of acceptable use if you use the connection for anything illegal during your contract.

As well as this, some home broadband acceptable use policies stipulate that you can't use a connection beyond what would be considered reasonable use for domestic purposes.

This means that downloading or uploading too much data might flag up a warning on their system, but it isn't designed to penalise heavy users, so customers don't need to worry.

Finally, "traffic management" might be something you encounter in your search for cheap broadband deals.

Providers can limit your broadband speed at times to ensure that the network is available to all when it's in demand.

However, many providers do offer a truly unlimited broadband service.

If you're in any doubt about the provider you're about to choose for your home broadband service, see this guide for a full analysis of the major providers.

Which broadband speed should I choose?

Broadband speed is often the major difference between home broadband deals after price.

The speed of a fixed-line broadband connection is measured in megabits per second (Mbps), and those are the figures you'll see advertised when you compare broadband deals.

Thanks to a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority in 2017, providers must advertise which speeds are available to at least 50% of customers at peak times.

This prevents home broadband providers distorting their service by advertising "up to" speeds that could be wildly unobtainable for the vast majority of customers.

Fibre broadband is now available to over 96% of UK homes, which means most people will be able to get at least 35Mb broadband.

Fibre to the home is a new network being rolled out by BT Openreach that aims to replace the copper phone line network. It's currently available to 24% of homes though that's frequently increasing.

However, as many as 60% of the UK can get gigabit broadband speeds - that's 1Gb, or commonly sold as 900Mb. That's largely down to the fact Virgin Media have enabled their Gig1 package across their network of 16.1 million premises.

Most households who use the Internet to watch TV by streaming films or series, use online gaming with a Playstation or Xbox, and who share the connection with a number of different devices, will want to look at broadband speeds of 50Mb and up.

People who use the Internet less frequently, or smaller households with only one or two simultaneous users, will find 35Mb fibre and upwards adequate.

Anyone looking for the absolute cheapest broadband may find that with a basic broadband connection that offer average download speeds around the 10Mb mark.

Basic broadband is fine for very light users who only use the Internet occasionally for browsing and email. However, if your property is far away from the telephone exchange you might find that ADSL broadband speeds are below par and opt for fibre broadband instead.

Fibre broadband is delivered via fibre optic cables and is capable of much higher speeds than ADSL broadband lines.

Even then, though, there are differences, with FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) offering only a partial fibre service compared to FTTP (fibre to the premises).

Fibre home broadband is the best option for households with moderate to high internet usage, allowing plenty of speed for streaming services and gaming.

Customers can sometimes be seduced when looking at broadband special offers and opt for a faster connection than they need.

Remember that a higher broadband speed usually comes with a corresponding leap in pricing, so choosing faster speeds than you need can be costly.

It's worth doing a full comparison of deals, however, to see how much (or how little) distance there is between one fibre broadband price and the next package up.

Sometimes these leaps aren't as big as you'd expect, especially if a fibre broadband provider is trying to coax new customers on to a higher broadband speed contract.

How long will the contract be for?

Contracts for home broadband are often 12 to 18 months in length, although you might find some broadband deals tie you into a 24-month contract.

Longer contract lengths can lower the monthly cost of a fixed-line broadband deal but remember that this means you'll be locked in for longer too.

Shorter contract options, such as monthly rolling deals, are available with some providers for either higher monthly payments and/or a higher setup fee.

In addition, it's important to note what the price will be after the minimum term ends as this can often represent a huge leap between month 12 and month 13.

When you sign up online for broadband deals, providers are required to list the prices that will follow the end of a fixed-term contract. To make things easier when you order online, Choose show these prices clearly in our list of broadband deals.

Thanks to changes in regulation, new customers who sign up for broadband deals will be notified when their home broadband contract is expiring.

This allows customers to compare broadband deals and switch to a better deal without languishing on a provider's standard pricing tariff for longer than they need to.

Customers can use our comparison tool to find the top deals for broadband and phone before they switch to a new provider.

How do I switch broadband providers?

To switch home broadband provider, first check that you're out of the minimum term period with your current broadband deal.

It is theoretically possible to switch during your contract, but the penalties are often high and would outweigh any savings you might make from switching.

Do your research on the best broadband deals for your needs and be sure to use our postcode search facility to check which top deals are available in your area.

Availability of some of the best broadband offers depends on where you live as some providers only offer broadband in certain areas.

There can also be differences in price and service depending on how costly it is for the provider to supply internet to a property, especially in remote areas.

Once you've chosen your new supplier, sign up online and they often do the arduous part of contacting your old provider.

However, this only applies to companies which use the Openreach network such as BT, Sky, Plusnet, TalkTalk, NOW Broadband and Vodafone.

If you have an existing contract with a provider who operates their own network like Virgin Media, Hyperoptic or Community Fibre, you'll need to cancel your current contract by contacting them directly.

To ensure no disruption of service, it's best to cancel your old contract after your new broadband installation has been confirmed.

In the past, customers needed to acquire a MAC (migration authorisation code) from their old home broadband provider to give to their new one.

However, the fixed-line broadband system has become a process led by the gaining provider.

That means your new provider will do the majority of the work behind the scenes and often all you have to do is choose a new broadband deal and sign up.

How do I order broadband online?

It's easier than ever to sign up online for some of the cheapest broadband deals around.

Compare broadband prices using the Choose comparison tool and work out which broadband special offers are right for your home.

Then click through to the provider's website and follow their simple process to order online.

You'll need to provide address details plus other information including your existing provider (if applicable) and details about your personal circumstances.

Most broadband deals will be able to activate the connection remotely, and so the provider will post out your new broadband router and anything you need to get setup once the order has been confirmed.

It usually takes around two weeks to process a broadband order and get a new customer connected. Although this can be longer if an engineer needs to come to the property, or any new lines need to be installed.

Some providers offer faster turnaround times, for example Virgin Media say broadband can be up and running in 4 days but it depends whether the property has had Virgin Media before and if there is a previous account at the property they need to close down.

Community Fibre are also offering a 48-hour installation for anyone living in London on their network.

Typically though, expect to wait up to 14 days to get connected. That means too, if you're planning on moving house it's worth getting in touch with your provider and getting everything ready in advance of a move if you want to avoid any downtime.

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