What are the best alternatives to BT?
BT Broadband is one of the UK’s most popular providers. With everything from cheap ADSL internet to fast fibre optic broadband and TV bundles, BT has a lot to offer.
But no one internet service provider (ISP) is the perfect fit for everybody. If you’ve decided BT isn’t the right choice, you might be wondering what other options there are which can deliver a similar package.
In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best alternative providers to BT Broadband and TV.
Alternatives to BT Broadband
BT is a premium provider, offering fast broadband with optional TV bundles, and a range of extras such as inclusive calling bundles, good quality router, and free extras. Its most direct competitors are the two providers which closely match its range of products and features: Sky and Virgin Media.
Sky offers a simplified choice of broadband speeds; either 11Mb ADSL or 59Mb fibre optic. Both start at prices that are cheaper than BT. Sky is available as a standalone broadband and phone package, or as a bundle with a Sky TV service. Sky deals include free access to The Cloud Wi-Fi network.
Virgin Media offers very fast broadband, with speeds up to 600Mb (or 1Gb in some locations), though even the cheaper deals offer a significantly quicker speed than BT. Virgin Media offers broadband without a phone, broadband and phone, and broadband and TV bundles with hundreds of channels. Virgin also provides free Wi-Fi hotspot access, just like BT and Sky.
Cheap alternatives to BT
While BT does have lots of extras and frequently includes free gifts, it is also one of the more expensive options.
The good news is that if your goal is to save money, you’ll find no shortage of great value deals at extremely competitive prices. Many ISPs use the same network as BT but provide services at a significantly lower cost. Use our comparison tools to search for the latest cheap deals and you'll find many providers that have packages from under £20 per month.
Alternatives to BT with extras and free gifts
BT Broadband comes with some useful extras, including an excellent Wi-Fi router and free access to the nationwide BT Wi-Fi hotspot network. It also frequently offers vouchers and other rewards when you buy a broadband deal.
But these features aren't exclusive to BT.
When it comes to the free Wi-Fi router, you’ll find that the hardware offered by the following ISPs is similar to the BT Smart Hub in terms of quality and features:
Standards do frequently change so you should always confirm that the router will meet your requirements. Also, note that providers will often supply better routers for fibre optic packages or to customers who sign up for extra features, so you might not get the very best hardware the ISP has to offer unless you’re willing to pay a bit more.
Alternatives to BT TV
BT TV and broadband deals can be excellent value. Although BT TV does not offer quite as many channels as some of the premium services, it does still include a vast array of live and on-demand content that should appeal to most people. BT Sport is also a popular service that is not available on some of the alternatives. And BT TV premium channel add-ons are also relatively flexible, allowing you to swap them for free every 30 days.
TalkTalk TV is a close competitor to BT TV. It uses the same type of box (a YouView model, some of which include hard drives for recording) and can provide a roughly similar number of channels. Like BT, it has a flexible approach to premium channel bundles, so you don’t need to commit to paying a subscription for an extended time.
Another potential alternative is NOW TV, which takes a slightly different approach to other services. Instead of a Freeview box with optional premium extras, NOW offers monthly passes to a variety of popular Sky channels. You’re not locked into a contract, can add or remove channels whenever you want, and it works on a wide variety of devices, including mobile phones and smart TVs.
If you’re looking for a service that offers more than BT TV, then there is Sky TV and Virgin Media TV. Both have a massive range of channels and powerful, feature-packed TV boxes. But you will pay more for these services, so they’re not the best choice if you’re looking for a budget alternative to BT TV.
If you're looking for an alternative to BT Sport, then you want to choose a package with Sky Sports as it provides a large selection of channels covering everything from live Premier League games to more specialist sports. As well as being available on Sky TV, Sky Sports can also be viewed using a Virgin Media TV package, or a NOW TV Sports pass.
Top three alternatives to BT Broadband
These are our top three picks for the best alternative providers to BT.
Sky Broadband deals are often slightly cheaper than BT, but offer similar speeds. And when it comes to TV, Sky is one of the leading providers of premium broadband and TV deals.
For many of us, Virgin Media will be the fastest broadband available, so it’s a top choice if you’re looking to upgrade your speed. Virgin can also offer premium TV and broadband bundles.
Great value broadband deals that offer similar speeds to BT at a lower cost, backed up by award-winning customer service.