Your guide to comparing home broadband deals
What key things should I look for when choosing a broadband package?
When searching for a broadband deal there are some important fundamentals to consider, including the desired speed, availability in your area, and your budget.
ADSL or fibre: Most home broadband packages use either ADSL or fibre optic broadband technology. ADSL is cheaper and widely available, but fibre optic broadband is much faster.
Availability: Broadband coverage varies, so it’s important to begin your search for a package by finding out what’s available in your area.
Cost: In addition to the monthly running costs, take note of setup fees, installation and any one-off charges which may be applied if you leave the provider.
Bundles and extras: Do you need a telephone line, or inclusive calls package? What about a TV service? Is a free Wi-Fi router important? Does the service offer extra features you need, or come with a restriction which might get in your way?
How do I compare home broadband deals?
Using our comparison table you can quickly filter deals and sort the results using the table headers.
Price: The monthly price shown next to a deal is the cost of the broadband and, if the package includes a phone, the line rental. Click offer details and pricing to view extra fees, such as setup costs, and view the effective cost including discounts and upfront charges.
Speed: This is the maximum speed of the package, based on the type of broadband technology. When joining a provider you will be given an accurate speed estimate so you have an idea of what to expect.
Data limit: If a broadband package has a data limit it means you cannot upload or download more than this amount each month without having the service restricted or being charged extra. To avoid this choose an unlimited broadband deal.
Contract length: A contract of 12-24 months is typical, but short term deals are available. You’ll be charged for cancelling early so select an appropriate contract length for your situation.
Special offers: Broadband deals can include monthly price discounts, free gifts and free setup. These can save you a lot of money, or at the very least sweeten the deal by throwing in a nice extra.
What do I need to watch out for when comparing?
Setup and installation cost: Many broadband deals have an upfront cost. If you already have an active phone line or the necessary equipment this may be a fairly minimal charge, but if an engineer visit is required the fees may be significant. Look out for broadband with free setup to save a few quid.
Out of offer costs: When comparing deals with monthly price discounts, take note of the cost after the offer ends so you don’t get any unwelcome surprises in the bill. The best offers last for the entire length of the contract, at the end of which you can freely switch to provider and take advantage of another special offer.
Long contracts: The cheapest deals may lock you in for up to two years. But be wary about signing up for this long if your living situation is uncertain. Cancelling early will mean paying a fee, and this can be quite pricey if there’s a long time left to run on the contract.
Bundled calls: Many packages give inclusive calling on the phone line, but this is only useful if you actually use the landline for calls enough to make it worth the extra cost. If not, look for a deal without inclusive calls and maybe save a little extra on the monthly price.
How do I check which home broadband providers are available in my area?
To view broadband deals by availability, enter a postcode into the postcode box on the comparison table. This will filter the packages to show the services in your location.
Will the price of broadband change depending on my address?
The price can change with location, but this is rare and only a small percentage of homes and businesses will be affected. If your property is served by a “market A” (sometimes called market 1 or non-LLU) exchange then you will find some providers are not available, while others charge a higher price.
Which is the best broadband provider in the UK?
The highest rated provider in our most recent home broadband survey was Plusnet. It had the best scores for customer service, tech support and value for money, was most recommended by its users, and considered to be most trustworthy.
Which broadband supplier is best for my household?
While Plusnet had the top score in our user survey, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best provider for you. When selecting an ISP you need to consider the points outlined above to choose the service which offers the features you need at the right price.
The best place to start is using your postcode to filter by area. Then once you know what type of broadband is available you can consider important factors such as price, speed and download limits.
Who are the biggest broadband providers in the UK?
As of May 2017, the ten biggest ISPs in the UK by subscriber size according to ISPReview are:
- BT (including Plusnet and EE)
- Sky Broadband
- Virgin Media
- Post Office
- Zen Internet
- XLN Telecom
Which broadband providers are listed on Broadband Genie?
Our broadband deals include offers from BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and EE, among others - see our broadband providers page for a full list.
What is the cheapest provider in my area?
To find the cheapest broadband ISP in your location, enter your postcode into the comparison table. Once the deals are filtered by area, click the “Price” column, or sort deals by “Monthly price (low to high)” or "First year cost (low to high)".
Does any ISP offer fixed price broadband?
Mid-contract price rises are an unfortunate reality of many home broadband packages. But you can avoid this by choosing a package with a fixed price guarantee.
All TalkTalk deals come with a price guarantee for the length of the contract. It may also be available as a special offer with other providers.
Can I get broadband without a phone line?
Broadband without a phone line is available from Virgin Media.
Most other ISPs use the BT Openreach network and require an active telephone line. If you do not use the landline for calls, save some money by choosing a package without inclusive minutes.
How do I actually switch my broadband provider?
Switching broadband providers is usually very easy. The process is now largely handled by the new ISP, so all you need to do is select a package and follow the sign-up process.
It can be a little more involved if you are switching to or from Virgin Media as they have a separate network from other providers. But all it means is you will need to liaise with the current ISP to ensure the old line is cancelled when it’s no longer required.
For further help, our guide to switching broadband providers goes into more detail.
What’s the difference between broadband and Wi-Fi providers?
Wi-Fi is a technology used to access a network without cables. It’s how many of us now get online at home and on the move.
If you’re after Wi-Fi broadband in your home, you can get that with any ISP. They will all provide a Wi-Fi router - often for free - so you can get online with computers, tablets, smartphones and any other devices which use Wi-Fi.
There are Wi-Fi broadband providers which use wireless transmissions to provide internet access in place of a fixed line. But these are niche services with limited coverage, usually intended to serve rural areas where conventional broadband is lacking.
Which company provides the best Wi-Fi router?
BT Broadband is widely considered to have one of the best Wi-Fi routers and routinely receives excellent reviews. However, for most people there is not usually a huge difference between any of the routers supplied by providers.
If you have specialist requirements it may be possible to use your own router if you’d rather purchase the hardware separately, but check in advance as not every provider allows this.
What bundle options are available?
Phone and internet: The most common type of bundle is a broadband and phone package. This is a basic requirement for most broadband services anyway, but if you make lots of landline calls look out for deals which offer inclusive calling.
TV, phone and internet: These are known as “triple play” deals. The options for TV bundles include premium services from Sky and Virgin, and lower cost deals from the likes of BT and TalkTalk with the option to add extra channels. If you don’t need a phone line, Virgin Media offers broadband and TV without a phone.
TV, phone, mobile and internet: These quad play packages have it all. In addition to TV, broadband and the phone line, you also receive a mobile phone SIM, often at a discounted price.
Broadband only: These deals offer just broadband, no TV or phone. These deals are increasingly rare though, and you will often get better value from a deal that includes TV or calls.
How fast can I get internet installed in my house?
The typical time for installing a broadband service is 14 days. But if an engineer is required it can take longer as they are often very busy. You might also experience a delay if the ISP is selling a very popular deal.
In some cases it is possible to pay extra for a faster installation, but this may be a DIY option so you will have to be comfortable setting up the broadband router and other hardware.
Useful guides on Broadband Genie
This is very much an introduction to a few key decision areas you'll want to consider when finding the right home broadband deal. If you want to expand your knowledge in any of these areas, you can check out our help section. here are few of the guides on offer:
- Broadband speed test: If you just want to know how fast your home broadband is, simply use our free home broadband speed test.
- The broadband dictionary: If you find the technical terms we use confusing, you can visit our glossary to have them explained in more detail.
- Troubleshooting: If you're having problems with your broadband, here's how to check the basics before you get onto your provider.
- Speed guide: Don't know your uploads from your downloads, or know how fast your internet really should be? Find out here.