How to get the best broadband deal

Whether you’re working from home, watching Netflix, or zooming with your friends, a decent broadband connection is essential.

There’s plenty to choose from, including big names like Sky, BT and Virgin Media and smaller providers like Plusnet, Now and Truespeed.

Here’s how to get the best broadband deal.

What kind of broadband do you want?

“Superfast” broadband or fiber is the fastest broadband, but also the most expensive.

ADSL broadband, which is delivered to your home via a normal telephone line, is cheaper and more widely available. But although ADSL broadband speeds have increased over the years, they are still slower than fiber.

What is available at your address?

The broadband deals you can get depend on where you live. Comparison websites such as Uswitch, Moneysupermarket and Compare the Market have postcode checkers that show you what’s available in your area.

Rules set by regulator Ofcom mean broadband companies must quote an average speed, based on the download speed available to at least 50% of peak-time customers for residential use.

A broadband speed of 34MB or more is usually sufficient for shared homes and families who may all be using different devices at the same time. If you live alone, a standard ADSL connection of around 10MB will probably be fast enough, unless you game online or have a lot of internet-connected gadgets.

Would you like to combine broadband with a telephone package and pay TV?

Most broadband providers offer “bundles” where you pay a combined price for a phone line, phone calls, broadband and TV channels. You normally need a phone line to get broadband anyway – providers must include the phone line in the advertised cost.

When it comes to TV, the value of a package largely depends on the channels you watch. If you mainly watch Freeview or Netflix channels, a TV package might not be worth it.

Limited vs unlimited?

Most broadband plans offer “unlimited” data, which means you can use the internet as much as you want without worrying about additional costs.

However, there are also a handful of “limited” plans. Although these may be cheaper, you will be charged additional fees if you go over your monthly limit. Thus, it is almost always better to opt for an unlimited offer.

The duration of the contract

Generally, the longer you commit to a broadband contract, the lower the monthly cost will be. Broadband contracts are usually for 12, 18 or 24 months.

Shorter 30-day “rolling” contracts cost more each month and may come with set-up fees. However, these offers can be a good option if you want to test out a broadband provider or if you plan to move soon.

When comparing different broadband contracts, you’ll need to do some math to find the cheapest deal. Add up the monthly costs over the term of the contract, add the installation fee, deduct any refunds, then divide the figure by the term of the contract to get an effective monthly cost.

Trade with your current supplier

If you already have broadband and are considering switching providers, contact your current provider first and try to negotiate a better deal.

The best time to do this is when your current contract ends, and you can use offers from competing companies as a starting point for negotiations.

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