Beginner's guide to broadband deals
What’s the best broadband deal?
We’re often asked a seemingly simple question: what is the best broadband deal? Unfortunately there is no single right answer because one person’s perfect internet package is not necessarily the correct choice for someone else.
In order to find your personal best broadband deal you need to consider your own requirements and budget, and use our comparison tools to search through the available options.
How do I find broadband deals in my area?
Because broadband availability varies across the country, the best place to start a search for a new broadband deal is by checking to see what’s available to your home.
You can do that right here on Broadband Genie by entering a postcode into the postcode checker on our comparison table to display the packages available in your area.
Fibre optic and ADSL broadband deals - which is right for me?
There are two different types of home broadband available, and you’ll find deals for both in our comparison table. But which is right for you?
ADSL home broadband
ADSL uses the Openreach (BT) telephone network to provide average download speeds of around 10Mb. ADSL is offered by many broadband provders, not just BT. With such a competitive market it is generally the cheapest way to get broadband in the UK so is the best service for anyone wanting to keep costs to a minimum. However, it is not the quickest option for many of us, so if speed is a concern you’ll need to look elsewhere.
- The most widely available UK broadband service.
- Very low setup and running costs.
- Competitive market means lots of packages and deals to suit different budgets.
- Slow compared to fibre.
- Good performance dependent on your lines and distance from exchange.
- Always requires a telephone line.
Fibre optic home broadband
Fibre broadband uses high-speed fibre optic cables and is what you’ll want to look for if you’re after the fastest and best internet deals, these are ideal for heavy usage such as streaming or gaming. Fibre internet uses either the Openreach or Virgin Media networks. If you get a fibre broadband package from an ISP such as Sky, TalkTalk, EE or Plusnet it will use an Openreach telephone line, whereas Virgin Media fibre uses the Virgin network and is not available from any other provider.
- Much faster than ADSL
- Affordable pricing
- Now available to more than 80% of homes
- Benefits from some of the best value broadband offers
- Less variation in pricing compared to ADSL
- Coverage remains more limited than ADSL, particularly for Virgin Media
Can I get unlimited broadband deals?
The majority of broadband packages are unlimited so you can use the internet as much as you like without restrictions.
Some of the cheapest deals do have a data usage cap, but we would still recommend looking for an unlimited broadband deal so you will not pay extra charges or have to worry about keeping an eye on the usage.
Should I get a broadband and TV bundle deal?
Some of the best value broadband deals are those which include other services besides internet access. If you have or were planning on getting a TV service it’s worth investigating whether broadband can be included as you may save money by taking a broadband and TV bundle from the same company.
Do I need a phone line to get broadband?
Almost all broadband services require an active telephone line and there are plenty of good broadband and phone deals out there. The exception is Virgin Media broadband, which has options for getting broadband without a phone line.
How do I compare broadband?
There are lots of deals out there and the choice can be overwhelming, but Broadband Genie gives you the tools to find the right package.
Start by entering a postcode to display deals in your location, then use the filters to include vital features, or exclude things you don’t want. With the options narrowed down, you can then sort the comparison table by the various column headings.
How do I use the broadband comparison to find the best broadband deal for me?
Here’s what to look out for as you compare deals…
Click ‘offer details and extras’ to view further information about a deal. This will include details on any special offers which may be included, such as vouchers or discounted pricing. These free gifts can be a very welcome addition to a package, but don’t let this sway your decision if the deal isn’t quite right, and always consider the full price after discounts. If you're after a freebie with your broadband deal, then you might want to check out what we've got around Black Friday, as these deals tend to be some of the best you'll find.
Broadband deals are available on short term (1 month, 3 month and 6 month) agreements, or longer contracts of 12, 18 or 24 months. You might also find specific 9-month student deals around September. Longer contracts are usually best value, but only if you’ve got no plans to cancel the service in that time; if cancelled early there will be an additional fee.
The monthly price includes broadband and line rental (when applicable), as well as TV services in the case of broadband and TV bundles. Some deals have a cheaper price to begin with, then increase after the initial contract term. You can even find broadband with no upfront cost. If you want the cheapest broadband be prepared to switch regularly to take advantage of special offers.
This is the average speed of the connection. But it doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll actually get because in practice the performance is impacted by many different factors. When joining a provider you should always be given an accurate speed estimate. Read our guide to broadband speeds for further guidance on how to choose the right service.
As we mentioned above, most broadband deals are unlimited but there may be some cheaper packages which have a monthly cap. These may be suitable for light use, but unlimited broadband is simpler and there isn’t usually a huge difference in price.
Almost all broadband services require a phone line, and most deals require you to take broadband and phone from the same provider. If you’d prefer not to there are some options for broadband only and broadband without a phone line.
If the landline is often used for voice calls and isn’t just there for the broadband, then look out for deals with inclusive calling to save some money on the phone bill.