Fast broadband is a necessity and it shouldn’t cost the earth. Here’s how to find the best cheap broadband deals in the UK.
Broadband doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. With access to the internet now recognised as essential as other utilities like water, gas and electricity, most providers offer a cut-price broadband package or two. Choosing one could save you a small fortune in bills.
But first, you should make sure a cheap broadband deal is right for you. If your internet use is fairly light then it might very well be. Perhaps you don’t live in a busy home with lots of devices connected, and don’t need super fast speeds. You can see the best broadband deals currently available here.
Read on and we’ll explain everything you need to know about cheap broadband deals.
What do I get with a cheap broadband deal?
The cheapest broadband deals will give you the basics. In other words, you’ll be able to connect to the internet. But don’t expect extras like free gifts, speedy connections or other services bundled into the offer. Because of their low prices, super cheap broadband deals are very much no-frills affairs.
How to compare cheap broadband deals
You can compare cheap broadband deals here. All you have to do is answer a few simple questions on how you use the internet, how many people will be using it and whether or not you want any other services like TV and a landline.
We’ll then present your results, which you can fine-tune by entering your postcode and order them by price, speed or cost per month. You can also use the filters on the left to only see certain speeds, contract lengths, monthly prices and so on.
It’s the easiest way to find the perfect cheap broadband deal for you.
What is the fastest cheap broadband deal?
It depends on what you consider fast and what’s a ‘cheap’ broadband deal for you. At time of writing, 4th Utility is offering 50Mb/s for £15 a month, which sounds pretty good to us.
However, deals vary by region, so you’ll have to enter your postcode to see which are available to you. Prices change regularly too, so good deals might not hang around long.
No contract broadband deals
Most broadband deals tie you in for 18 months to two years.
But here’s the good news: you don’t have to sign up to a lengthy contract to get broadband. Some companies offer ‘no contract’ broadband deals, meaning you only sign up for one month at a time. The contract will auto renew every month unless you decide to cancel.
So you can get broadband without being tied into a long-term commitment. This means you can shop around and switch quickly if you see a better deal. And it’s also ideal if you’ll be moving soon and don’t want to be tied into a broadband contract you won’t see out.
The downside? No contract broadband deals can be more expensive because of the flexibility. But not always. The 4th Utility deal we highlighted above is a 30-day contract and costs £15 a month for an average speed of 50Mb/s. Proof that you don’t always have to pay extra for a flexible deal.
If you’re new to switching, find out how to switch your broadband provider, including who to inform and when.
Providers that offer low-cost broadband plans
Plenty of providers offer low-cost broadband deals, including some of the biggest names around.
- TalkTalk. If you’re after a bundle with a landline and TV services as well, you could save even more money.
- Vodafone. It might not be the cheapest provider, but its fast broadband deals are some of the most reasonably priced.
- BT. Also not terribly cheap but may reward long-term commitment.
- Sky. Can be expensive but occasionally offers great sales and incentives. Also often does good retention deals for existing customers who want to leave (see our broadband haggling guide for more).
- Virgin Media. Again, can be pricey but have occasional incentives on its ultrafast fibre broadband.
- Plusnet. Plusnet prides itself on its customer service and its broadband and phone packages offer great value.
- NOW. Owned by Sky, Now offers broadband from as little as £20 a month.
- Hyperoptic. With 33Mb/s broadband costing just £19 a month, Hyperoptic offers great value for money.
- Shell Energy. If you’re willing to sign up to an 18-month contract, Shell Energy will provide 11Mb/s speeds for £17.99 a month.
- 4th Utility. Fast speeds, cheap prices and flexible tariffs. What’s not to like
- Trooli. If you want faster speeds without a huge price tag, check out Trooli. It will mean committing to a contract though.
No upfront cost broadband
‘Free’ broadband might seem too good to be true and of course it’s not really free. It just means there are no upfront costs.
Most providers have an initial charge when you’re getting set up. This could be to cover installation, the router you’ll need and delivery costs. But some waive these fees, either as part of certain packages or as a special offer, which may be time-limited.
No upfront cost broadband may seem very tempting but make sure you look at the monthly cost too. Some deals with no fees to pay upfront could end up costing more in the long run, so factor in all costs before you make your decision.
Can I get a low-income broadband deal?
You can. Some providers offer social broadband tariffs. These cost less and are for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits.
You’ll need to prove you’re on the relevant benefits in order to qualify for these tariffs. They usually cost between £10 and £20 a month.
Some providers might refer to these social tariffs as ‘essential’ or ‘basic’ broadband.
They also won’t charge you to switch tariffs or leave at any time and won’t put the price up mid-contract.
Cheap broadband FAQs
Can I trust a cheap broadband provider?
You should be able to, yes. Just because they offer cheap broadband, that doesn’t mean they’re any less reliable than rival providers. They should be regulated by Ofcom, just like more expensive providers. And they’re are often part of a bigger company (NOW is part of Sky; Shell Energy an offshoot of energy giant Shell).
Some smaller providers only serve hyperlocal areas, which helps them provide faster speeds and keep their costs down. And those that operate nationwide will use the same Openreach network as the bigger players, so the service they provide should be no different.
Just make sure you check out some reviews before you buy. And remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Can I get cheap full fibre?
Full fibre is the quickest and most reliable broadband connection that’s widely available. And unfortunately it comes with a higher price.
Full fibre uses fibre-optic cables from the exchange all the way to the home – it’s often referred to as ‘fibre to the premises’ or FTTP. That makes it faster than ‘fibre to the cabinet’ (FTTC), which uses the older copper cables for the last part of the connection from the cabinet in the street to the home.
Getting full fibre also means you don’t need a landline for your broadband connection.
For the higher speeds and more stable connection of full fibre, you can expect prices to start at around £30 a month.
What is the cheapest type of broadband?
The cheapest type of broadband is ADSL. ADSL connections use older copper cables also used for telephone lines. This means slower speeds and less reliable connections than their fibre-optic equivalents.
With ADSL, you can expect speeds of around 10-24Mb/s. Whereas fibre connections offer around 30Mb/s-1Gb/s.
If you’re only using the internet for basic tasks like browsing, emailing, social media and online shopping, an ADSL connection should be fine. But if you live in a busy household with lots of devices connected, involving streaming video from services like Netflix and gaming, you might find a fibre connection better suited to your needs.
To help you work out your ideal speed, find out how fast your broadband needs to be.
Is cheap broadband slower?
Some cheaper broadband might be slower than the more expensive plans. But there’s not that much price difference between the standard fibre connections and slower ADSL.
Remember, fibre covers less of the UK, so in some places your only choice might be ADSL broadband. But if you have the choice between the two for a similar price, fibre should be the better bet.
Is it cheaper to get Wi-Fi without a landline?
Most broadband connections use the same copper cables as your phone line. So include the cost of line rental in the price even if you don’t use a landline.
You can save money by choosing a broadband plan that doesn’t include a landline calls package – if you don’t have a landline phone plugged in, it’ll be no hardship. But some households in areas with poor mobile reception rely on their landline as a lifeline. So think carefully about how you would cope without it before calling time on a home phone.