Today’s best cheap broadband deals – including an exclusive to TechRadar readers
POP Broadband | 12 months | 11Mb avg speed | Line rental inc. | FREE activation | £16.80 per month
This is a frankly astonishing price for your home internet connection of the likes we very rarely seen. Your telephone line comes free, or pay an extra fiver a month to get unlimited anytime calls to UK landlines. There’s nothing to pay upfront, either. And the cherry on the cake…this price is EXCLUSIVE to TechRadar readers.
Plusnet Unlimited Broadband | 12 months | 10Mb avg speed | Line rental inc. | FREE activation | £18.99 per month + £75 cashback
This is our favourite of the new cheap broadband deals to have come to the fore over the last week or so. £18.99 a month and nothing to pay upfront makes Plusnet pretty competitive anyway. But it’s the £75 cashback cheque that they’ll send you that makes this effectively one of the cheapest ways you can get internet at the moment.
TalkTalk Unlimited Fast Broadband | 12 months | 11Mb avg speed | Line rental inc. | FREE activation |
£18.95 £17 per month (guaranteed)
For just a few extra pence on your monthly bill, you could go with this TalkTalk broadband deal instead. It’s knocked another couple of quid off its monthly price, to take it to a rater appetising £17pm. And that’s guaranteed for the whole year contract so you won’t get any unpleasant letters or emails telling you it’s going up when you hit month six.View Deal
All of the major players on the telecommunications scene now offer internet, TV and phone package deals. But if you don’t use a home phone and are happy with the standard TV channels, a cheap home broadband only contract is all you’ll need.
Use our postcode checker above to filter down the broadband deals available to you and whether you can go for superfast fibre broadband. Then use our comparison chart to home in on the perfect package – they all include a phone line, so you don’t have to worry about getting one separately. And keep scrolling if you want some in-depth information about broadband plans and the broadband only plans offered by BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and others.
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What broadband speed do I need?
If you simply want broadband for the cheapest price possible, you’ll need to go for a standard ADSL connection. When you compare the prices of the cheapest standard speeds and unlimited superfast fibre, you’ll see that you can save more than a fiver a month.
But if you’re in the habit of streaming TV and films from the internet, or have lots of people in your household all online at once, then it pays to upgrade to fibre optic to allay annoying lags and slow webpage loading times. Broadband speeds are represented in megabits per second, or Mb – the greater the Mb, the faster the broadband speed (although your actual day-to-day speed will vary depending where you live).
0-25Mb It’s not an acronym you see so much these days, but ADSL broadband is now the entry-level connection you can get for your home. With average speeds around 10Mb-11Mb – just over 1MB per second – it’s perfectly fine for small households who want to surf the web, handle their emails and stream non-4k catch-up TV.
25-50Mb Average fibre broadband speeds start at up to 36Mb, so more than double what you get with standard ADSL. It’s the sweet spot between fast speeds and good value and just the ticket for a family household where four or five members are all streaming, downloading and surfing at once.
50+Mb If you want to stream uninterrupted 4K Ultra HD content from Netflix or Amazon Instant Video, then it’s well worth going for superfast internet. The same goes if you know that loads of people will be using your router simultaneously. BT Superfast deals, for example, are at an average 50Mb. While only Virgin Media broadband can offer 100Mb and over – that’s an incredible 12.5MB per second.
Fibre broadband checker – can I get fibre broadband?
If you’ve read our advice above but are wondering whether fibre broadband is actually available in your area (it can currently be accessed by around 90% of UK households), then wonder no longer! Head to the top of this page, bash in your postcode and if you see fibre broadband deals on the list, then you’re all good.
What contract length should I go for?
Broadband providers can deal in 12, 18 or 24-month contracts, with some providers giving you the choice. If you’ve got commitment issues or aren’t sure how long you’ll be at your property, then it’s worth bagging one year deal. While getting an 18 month or two year deal often means that your price is guaranteed for longer.
If you need even greater flexibility, some companies offer 30 day contracts as well. Take Virgin for example. But bear in mind that they tend to charge higher set-up fees for the privilege.
Will I have to pay anything upfront for broadband?
There are only a few exceptions to the rule that you’ll have to pay at least a little something immediately when you sign-up for broadband. The best case scenario is that it’s just to cover the cost of delivering the router, but some providers also charge a set-up or activation fee to get you connected.
But if you head to our comparison charge above and use the filter on the left, you’ll see that some providers don’t charge a penny up front. This varies from time-to-time, with companies such as BT, TalkTalk and Plusnet running limited-time promotions where they remove these fees completely. So fingers crossed…
Can I get a phone line and TV channels with my broadband?
If you’re curious how much a combined broadband, phone and TV package might cost, you can use our filters in the comparison chart above to tailor the best broadband plan for you and your household. There are hundreds of combinations, allowing you to cherry pick the amount and type of TV channels you get or when you can make calls. So our table will take the pain out of choosing.
BT broadband only deals and speeds
BT Unlimited Broadband | Avg 10Mb
BT is still the most popular broadband provider in the UK. You get the Home Hub 4 with its standard internet, as well as a Reward Card that you can spend anywhere Mastercard is accepted (the amount varies from week-to-week, so check our comparison chart for more details).
BT Unlimited Infinity | 50Mb-67Mb
Infinity is the name BT gives to its fibre optic broadband service. Infinity 1 gives speeds of up to 52Mb (around 6.5 MB per second download speed), which is faster than most other companies’ entry-level fibre. Upgrade to Infinity 2 and crank the speed up to 76Mb. With both, you get the rangey BT Smart Hub router and a more bountiful Reward Card.
Sky broadband only deals and speeds
Sky Broadband Unlimited | Up to 17Mb
Sky Broadband Unlimited is one of the most competitively priced broadband plans on the market. Unlike the other Sky broadband packages that tie you in to 18 month contracts, Sky Broadband Unlimited is 12 months only.
Sky Fibre | 38Mb-76Mb
Opting for Sky Fibre is the cheapest way to get superfast broadband at 38Mb. But beware – if you go for its cheapest deal, you’ll be limited to using, downloading and streaming up to 25GB of data per month. Pay more for Sky Fibre Unlimited, or extra still for Sky Fibre Max giving you up to 76Mb speed (around 9.5MB per second) and a Sky Q Hub router.
Virgin broadband only deals and speeds
Virgin VIVID fibre broadband | 50Mb-300Mb
Thanks to the new VIVID 50 package, you can now get Virgin Media’s cheapest cable internet package for less than £30. But pay over £30 a month and you start to get some simply extraordinary speeds. Choose from 100Mb (12.5MB per second), 200Mb (25MB per second) or 300Mb (a jaw-dropping 37.5MB per second).
You can also choose VIVID 200 Gamer, which has better upload speeds and surpasses online traffic management to give you full speed even at peak times. Perfect for uninterrupted gaming.
TalkTalk broadband only deals and speeds
TalkTalk Fast Broadband | Up to 17Mb
Don’t let the name fool you, TalkTalk’s fast broadband offers only standard ADSL 17Mb speed. You can choose between 12, 18 and 24 month contract terms, with a lower monthly premium if you choose a year-and-a-half.
TalkTalk Faster Fibre | Up to 38Mb-76Mb
TalkTalk’s fibre optic broadband plans are some of the cheapest around. And with its maximum speed of around 9.5MB per second, you can pay extra for Speed Boost and a Super Router – the TalkTalk broadband plan to go for if you have a multitude of data-hungry folk in your home.
Plusnet broadband deals and speeds
Plusnet Unlimited | Up to 17Mb
Plusnet is owned by BT, but its prices are usually quite a lot cheaper than BT internet and Infinity. In fact, we often find that Plusnet has the cheapest broadband only prices in the UK.
Plusnet Unlimited Fibre | 38Mb-76Mb
You can choose between Unlimited Fibre and Unlimited Fibre Extra, where the latter gives you Plusnet’s fastest speeds. Either way, you’ll get unlimited usage, 365 days a year support and a Plusnet Hub One router delivered to your door for free.
Vodafone broadband deals and speeds
Vodafone Standard Broadband 17 | Up to 17Mb
Better known for its mobile phone deals, Vodafone is a competitively priced broadband provider, too. It used to be that you had to have your mobile with Voda to get the cheapest tariffs, but that’s all changed now.
Vodafone Unlimited Fibre | 38Mb-76Mb
Unlimited Fibre 38 or Unlimited Fibre 76 – there are no prizes for guessing what the numbers stand for in Vodafone’s two fibre optic broadband plans.
SSE broadband deals and speeds
SSE Everyday Broadband | Up to 17Mb
Already one of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies, SSE is offering cheap prices on broadband – which makes a change from its day job as one of the big six energy firms. There are special offers to be had if you use SSE as your energy supplier.
SSE Superfast Fibre Broadband | Up to 38Mb
You’ll have to go elsewhere if you need the very fastest broadband speeds, as SSE doesn’t have a 72Mb option. As with Everyday, SSE energy customers will see an automatic £25 credit on their next bill and there’s a 25% saving to be made on an additional landline phone package.
John Lewis broadband deals and speeds
John Lewis Unlimited | Up to 17Mb
John Lewis is a tried and trusted retailer, and now it’s dipping its toe into the already crowded broadband market. But it has a lot going for it – there’s no activation fee at all, and even the cheapest ADSL package includes a phone line and evening and weekend calls.
John Lewis Fibre | 38Mb-76Mb
John Lewis has two superfast fibre plans to choose from, and both give you unlimited use and free set-up. Fibre is the retailer’s 38Mb tariff and Fibre Extra accelerates things up to 76Mb.
Post Office broadband deals and speeds
Post Office Unlimited Broadband | Up to 17Mb
Yet another name that you’ll be more used to seeing in other contexts, and another internet provider giving weekend and evening calls. The Post Office tends to offer some of the cheapest broadband deals around.
Post Office Fibre Unlimited Broadband | 38Mb-76Mb
Yep, you guessed it – 38Mb and 76Mb fibre optic broadband are the two options available from the post office, with the latter called Unlimited Fibre Broadband Plus. Unlike its ADSL prices though, superfast broadband from the Post Office is on the dear side.