What is student broadband?
Broadband deals for students can be a tricky subject. Cost is always going to be important, but lengthy contracts also make things difficult if you’re not going to be living in the same house for at least 12 months.
Some broadband providers have recognised the need to provide a specialist student broadband service and offer broadband contracts to fit within term times.
Why should I choose a student broadband deal over home broadband?
Most home broadband packages have a minimum contract term of 12, 18, or 24 months, which can be a problem if you're a student who may not be staying in the same place all year. Cancelling early will incur additional fees, which isn’t ideal for those stretched student finances.
A student broadband deal has a shorter contract so you won’t be hit with cancellation fees at the end of the school year.
Which providers offer student broadband deals?
In the past, we’ve seen student broadband packages from Virgin Media, BT, and Sky. But they are not available all year round, and may only become available around the summer months in the lead up to a new school year.
Does student broadband include Wi-Fi?
Almost every broadband deal will include a free Wi-Fi router for sharing broadband and networking your devices. If it is not free, there will be a relatively affordable one-off charge.
You may also be able to use your own Wi-Fi router but check with the ISP (Internet Service Provider) in advance, as this is not always permitted (and you may have to do your own tech support if something goes wrong).
Why can’t I find any student broadband deals?
Student broadband deals are not common. They’re only offered by a few providers and are only available for a limited time, usually around the summer when it’s most likely people will be looking for a student broadband deal to start in September.
When student deals aren’t available, our comparison table will display other packages we think students may find useful.
What are some alternatives to student broadband?
No contract broadband
With a no-contract (aka rolling monthly) deal you’ve got a 30-day agreement with the provider, which means it can be cancelled at any time without having to pay for more than the remaining month. However, these types of deals only make sense if you are sure you will need to cancel within 12 months, as they are more expensive than longer-term contracts.
Short term contracts
Short term contracts have you sign up for a slightly longer period than no contract packages, typically three or six-month terms. But these types of broadband deals are now rare so you might find that it isn't an option, or your choice of providers is very small.
Broadband with no setup fee
Not quite an alternative, but a convenient money-saving option. Some deals offer broadband with no upfront fees, which can be a cost-effective option. You can use the filters on the table above to see these deals.
Can I get student broadband without a phone line?
All other fixed-line broadband ISPs use the Openreach (BT) telephone network and require an active telephone line. In almost all cases the phone and broadband will be sold as a bundle, however, you can choose whether or not you want inclusive calling.
Can I get student broadband with TV?
Student broadband with TV is available from Virgin Media.
Another option to consider is a NOW broadband and TV bundle, which is available on a one month deal with flexible TV passes that don't lock you into a long contract.
Do I need to pass a credit check?
Most broadband packages require you to pass a credit check; this isn't as strict as applying for a loan or credit card, but if you don't have great credit you could find that some providers aren't available. In that situation, you'll need to look at broadband deals without a credit check.
Is student broadband right for me?
The shorter contracts of a student broadband deal can save a significant amount of money compared to the early cancellation of a lengthier agreement.
However, with so few options you may not find a service suitable for your needs. Student broadband packages also assume you’re only going to be there during term time, but it’s not unusual for students to live in the same house all year round. In that situation, the best Wi-Fi deals for students are the same as any other home broadband user.
If this is your situation, a long term unlimited broadband and phone contract is the best value option. You’ll get the best deals when signing up (free setup, free equipment, perhaps a few months of free or half-price broadband) and the monthly costs will be lower.
You might even find some good rewards, such as cashback from Plusnet or even a pre-paid Mastercard. It can often work cheaper out to bundle calls, broadband and even TV into the same package, rather than separate TV, phone and broadband only deals.
Can I use mobile broadband instead of student broadband?
With a choice of long and short term contracts and pay-as-you-go deals, mobile broadband is a very flexible alternative and may be the ideal solution for some students.
But mobile broadband does rely on access to a strong signal. And the relatively small data usage caps of many deals make it ill-suited to shared houses, or even one person using it for data-hungry activities like video streaming.
For further help, and to discover whether mobile broadband could be suitable for you, read our guide to using mobile broadband at home.