How can I compare broadband packages?

Browse current deals from UK broadband providers and learn the key things to look out for when comparing broadband packages.

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*Average speeds are based on speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time (8-10pm). Speeds vary according to factors like location, and the speed you receive may differ from the figure in our comparison. Most providers will give a customised estimate based on your address.

How long is the contract?

Most broadband plans are offered on a 24-month contract. This can make plans cheaper, but restricts your flexibility if you plan to move house or decide you’re not happy with your current provider. Plans that run for shorter periods or on a month-to-month basis also exist, though typically you’ll pay higher installation costs, and might have to pay some extra fees for router delivery and installation.

How much data do you get?

While most providers in the UK have jumped on the ‘unlimited’ bandwagon, some packages put a cap on your data, measured in gigabytes (GB) per month. It’s also worth being wary of ‘acceptable’ or ‘fair’ usage policies, as these often stipulate that so-called ‘unlimited’ packages are anything but. In the small print it may include a limit to how much HD-video streaming you can do (or any other data intensive activity).

What’s the connection speed?

In most cases, you won’t have any real control over the speed – it will be the “up to” a certain speed, and is likely to vary based on your location and the condition of cabling and wiring. Even so, it’s worth knowing what is available in your area and what you’re getting, as you may be able to hold you provider to account for sluggish speeds.

What’s the monthly cost and minimum total cost?

While you’re likely to use the monthly cost as your basis for comparison, also look at the minimum total cost. Add-ons and installation fees and transfer costs can stack up. Some providers also offer a discount if you’re paying a longer contract, while others will let you pay it all up front for a large discount.

What comes included?

It’s a good idea to look out for what comes included with your broadband package, as it can vary quite a bit. Routers tend to come as a standard, but what else is your provider throwing in to sweeten the deal? Things to look out for include: free cloud storage, email services, free online security packages, exclusive access to TV or online content, offers relating to live events, and much more!

Are there any bundles?

Providers will often offer a discount if you bundle your broadband connection with other services such as pay TV, mobile phone or landlines. While this can save you money, it’s important to make sure that all the bundled services are suited for your needs and that you’re not just being sold a load of stuff you don’t need. Also be aware that many bundles sneakily tie you in to longer contracts. This is fine if you’re getting what you want, but can be a nuisance if you’re locked into a long contract you’re not fussed by.

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