All about cheap broadband deals
Broadband doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, you’ll find an extensive choice of cheap broadband offers which can help to reduce your monthly outgoings.
But how can you save money, and what are the cheapest broadband providers?
On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about comparing and buying cheap WiFi.
What are the cheapest broadband deals in January 2021?
As of the week beginning the 18th of January 2021, these are the top three cheapest broadband deals you’ll find on Broadband Genie.
|Provider & package||Average speed||Monthly price||Setup|
|Plusnet Unlimited Broadband Only||10Mb||£18.99||£0|
|Direct Save Unlimited Broadband||11Mb||£18.95||£9.95|
|iTalk Unlimited Broadband||10Mb||£19.99||£9.95|
The deals above may not include free gifts which can add even more value; visit our broadband rewards page for the latest offers.
Which are the cheapest broadband providers?
The following providers are usually the cheapest on Broadband Genie; all offer broadband packages from under £20 per month.
- Direct Save Telecom. Direct Save is among the cheapest broadband around, and it has free setup, too. You can also get a no contract broadband deal, though this will cost more.
- NOW Broadband. NOW is a great value provider which offers flexible broadband and TV bundles, using TV passes which give you access to premium Sky channels without a satellite dish.
- Onestream. Onestream is often the cheapest broadband provider you’ll find on Broadband Genie. As well as ADSL, it also offers fibre optic deals from under £20 per month.
- Origin Broadband. Origin offers no-nonsense low-cost broadband packages without any hidden costs. Setup is free as standard across its range.
- Plusnet. As well as being inexpensive, Plusnet has a good reputation for technical support and customer service.
- Post Office. Frequently offers very cheap broadband packages, and you’ll often find them with reward vouchers to make its deals even better value for money.
- Shell Energy Broadband. Cheap broadband with free setup, and includes a reward program and money off fuel at Shell stations.
- TalkTalk. The most popular budget broadband provider in the UK. Offers very cheap WiFi with free setup and regularly includes free gifts and rewards too.
What to look out for when buying cheap WiFi
While getting the cheapest broadband deal may be beneficial for your bank balance, there are some things you need to look out for to ensure you’re getting a good deal and that it doesn’t end up costing more than you expect.
Always go unlimited
Unlimited broadband is always the best option. While you might still find some cheap data-capped packages, this is no longer the money-saver it once was.
Cheap unlimited broadband is readily available, and if you exceed the limit on a data-capped service you might end up being charged extra, eliminating any potential saving. Unlimited broadband means you never have to worry about additional internet costs.
Is it fast enough?
The cheapest broadband deals will almost always be standard ADSL broadband, which has an average speed of 10-11Mb. This might be fine for one person, but it’s not especially fast by today’s standards. It could take some time to download big files, and if you regularly stream high definition video (using services such as Netflix or iPlayer) you might find it struggles. And ADSL can really be a hindrance if there's more than one person using the connection.
While it won’t be as cheap, it might be necessary to up your budget and look for a fibre optic package instead so you can benefit from the extra speed.
Keep an eye on the upfront costs
Most cheap broadband deals have no setup fee, but not all of them. This is a fairly minor expense in the grand scheme of things but is still something to check when comparing offers.
Also, if the broadband needs a phone line and you don’t already have an active line there will be a charge for installation, even if the deal includes free setup. The cost varies between providers but can be more than £100.
Are there exit fees?
You will almost always have to pay something for early termination of a contract, however, a few providers also charge an exit fee regardless of your contract term. Check the small print or speak to customer services to see whether this applies.
Also, be aware that some providers ask for the return of Wi-Fi routers and TV boxes, and will charge if you don’t send the equipment back within a specified timeframe.
Can the provider increase prices mid-contract?
Providers are allowed to raise prices even if you’re in the middle of a contract. But some ISPs offer fixed price guarantees, which means you won’t encounter any surprises in the monthly broadband bill.
Could a reward deal be better value?
Check out the offers in our broadband comparison table and you’ll almost always find a deal which includes a free gift. This can include prepaid credit cards, shopping vouchers, and even free TVs and other gadgets.
When you take the value of these freebies into account it might make some deals cheaper than packages which have a lower monthly fee.
Add up the overall cost of the package over the length of the contract and deduct the value of the freebie to see which offers you the best value for money.
Can you save money with a broadband bundle?
Broadband bundles which package internet access alongside other services such as TV, inclusive phone calls, and mobile SIMs can be an easy way to save a little extra.
This will often work out to be slightly cheaper than maintaining separate subscriptions, and it also simplifies your monthly bill as you're paying one company for multiple services.
You may also benefit from free extras. For example, EE Mobile customers get extra mobile data when they have EE home broadband, and Virgin Media broadband subscribers can get exclusive unlimited mobile SIMs.
Is broadband without line rental cheaper?
The majority of home broadband services use the Openreach (BT line) telephone network, and an active line is required for this to work. As such, almost all broadband services include phone line rental.
One notable exception is Virgin Media, which operates its own network. You need a Virgin cable line, but you do not have to take phone services.
However, this won’t necessarily save money because Virgin tends to be at the pricier end of the market, and often its broadband-only deals are more expensive than the broadband and phone bundles.
You can also get home broadband without a phone line with a fibre to the premises (FTTP) provider such as Hyperoptic. This needs a fibre optic cable, but phone calls are an optional extra. And in Hyperoptic’s case, a broadband-only package does save a few quid.
If you don't use the phone for calls but you are required to get a phone line for broadband, then look for a deal without inclusive calling, as this may be cheaper. On the other hand, if you regularly use the phone you'll find that an inclusive calling package offers the best value.
Top tips for getting a cheaper broadband deal
Check if you’re out of contract
Millions of people simply let their WiFi contract lapse and never look at what else is out there. As a result, you might be paying more than necessary, often because prices can increase at the end of a contract once a special offer has expired, but also because costs tend to go up annually.
But switching is easy so there’s really no need to pay more than necessary.
Check with your provider to find out when your contract ends; if you’re no longer within the minimum term then you are free to find a better deal.
If you’re still in contract, make a note of the end date so you know when it’s time to start the search for a cheaper package.
Haggle with your current provider
Don’t want to switch? Sometimes you can get a better price with your current ISP by telling the provider you’re thinking of leaving and asking if they can offer you a new deal to stay.
Compare the latest offers
Use the Broadband Genie comparison tables to find the best deal. Start by entering a postcode to see what’s available in your area. Use the filters to narrow down options, then sort the table by key criteria such as contract length and monthly price.
Compare the effective monthly cost
When you’re looking through all those great broadband offers, add up the overall cost of the package including setup fees, deduct any special offers, and divide it by the length of the contract to get an effective monthly cost.
But you don't need to do the sums yourself; you can sort our comparison tables by effective monthly cost to instantly see which ISPs are offering the best deals.
Frequently Asked Questions about cheap broadband
What is the cheapest broadband deal?
Deals change all the time, so to find the cheapest deal use the Broadband Genie comparison table and check out the latest offers. Use our table sorting options and filters to speed up your search.
Can I get a low-cost deal from Sky, BT, and Virgin Media?
BT, Sky, and Virgin Media are three of the most popular providers, but when you’re looking at the cheapest deals they won’t tend to show up because they do have higher monthly prices than some other ISPs.
But these providers do regularly have free gifts which can make their deals extremely good value. Check out our guides to BT rewards, Sky rewards, and Virgin rewards to see what’s on offer at the moment.
Is cheap broadband unreliable?
The cheapest broadband providers use the same underlying infrastructure as almost everyone else, so there is no difference in reliability. In the case of network problems, any Openreach-based ISP (that is, one which uses BT telephone lines) will rely on the same Openreach engineers to fix problems.
Can you get a cheap broadband deal with bad credit?
NOW Broadband, Plusnet, and Direct Save Telecom all offer cheap broadband without a credit check.
Read our guide to getting broadband when you have bad credit for more help.
Does it cost less to buy broadband with a data limit?
There’s often no advantage to choosing broadband with a data limit; generally, the cheap broadband deals you’ll find on Broadband Genie include unlimited data.
Even if you do find a very cheap deal with a data limit we would not recommend it because unlimited broadband lets you use the internet however you like without ever worrying about additional costs or restrictions.
Can you still get vouchers and rewards with a cheap deal?
While the cheapest broadband deals are less likely to include free gifts such as vouchers you can still find cheap broadband with rewards. For example, Post Office and Plusnet regularly offer free gifts on its cheap broadband.
Visit our broadband rewards page for the latest offers.