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Best Student Broadband Deals? Review for 2019

Student looking for best student broadband deals

Being a student shouldn’t mean missing out on great broadband deals! Internet service providers have made the burden of student life easier with a selection of no contract broadband and student broadband services. We’ve created this student guide to help you sort through all the available student-friendly deals and make an informed, cost efficient decision.


Plusnet: Is it good for students?

mortar board

Plusnet has made its Unlimited broadband package available on a rolling monthly contract, which gives you the freedom to cancel your service whenever you want. This could be ideal for students living away from home and looking for a service that only spans the course of the academic year.

The flexibility afforded by Plusnet means that you can avoid the kind of stringent cancellation fees that accompany long-term contracts. However, there are additional costs to think about when opting for this short-term deal.

Customers on the one-month contract are charged a £60 activation fee, which, depending on the length of time students are away from home throughout the year, may end up costing more than the 12 month plans.

New customers receive a discounted price for the first 12 months. Once the first 12 months are up, prices are automatically increased. In addition, you can choose between broadband-only and broadband + landline, though Plusnet reduce the price of their broadband packages if you take out a Plusnet landline.

Be aware! If you opt for the broadband-only plan, you will need to have line rental with another BT based landline provider. If you don’t already pay for line-rental, you will have to go with the Broadband + landline deal.

It’s also important to note that plusnet makes a pricing distinction between services to Low Cost Areas and non Low Cost Areas, which cover 99% and 1% of the UK, respectively. Before going any further, if you’re unsure about broadband speed, take a look at our handy guide on download speeds, upload speeds, and ping.

Plusnet Unlimited 10Mbps No Annual Contract

Low Cost Area
Broadband Only
£14.99/month
£60 Activation Fee

Broadband & Landline
£31.48/month
(£23.99 for new customers)

£50 Activation Fee

Non-low Cost Area
Broadband Only
£22.49/month
£60 Activation Fee

Broadband & Landline
£38.98/month
(£31.49 for new customers)

£50 Activation Fee

Plusnet Reviews: Complaints and Customer Service

According to the last complaints report published by UK telecoms regulator - Ofcom - Plusnet broadband ranked fourth for most complaints generated per 100,000 customers. With a total of 21 complaints, it scored above the national industry average of 15.

Speech bubbles containing reviews

Plusnet doesn’t rate well on Trustpilot either. It has received a dismal score, with only 9% of customers rating it above average. A whopping 88% of customers rated the broadband provider as ‘Poor’ or ‘Bad’. Customer service issues stood out as a factor contributing to its negative score.

In contrast, Plusnet has picked up the 2019 uSwitch Best Provider Customer Service award. The award is a Public Choice award based on uSwitch’s own customer satisfaction research.

Now TV Broadband: No Contract Plans

All of the Now Broadband bundles are available on Saver or No Contract plans. The No Contract plan is another monthly rolling service that’s also compatible with the school year. It doesn’t tie you down to a fixed term and lets you cancel whenever you want.

Currently, there are three bundles to choose from: Brilliant Broadband, Fab Fibre and Super Fibre. Now TV is one of three providers that offer rolling contracts with fibre-optic packages.

All No Contract customers have to pay a £60 activation fee. Though, as we’ve previously considered, an activation fee could make a flexible contract less cost efficient if students plan to say beyond the length of the academic year.

New customers receive discounted prices on all three bundles along with free anytime calls for the first 12 months and a 6 month Now TV Entertainment Pass - this applies to both Saver and No Contract plans. After the 12 months, prices are increased in line with current tariffs.


Now TV No Contract Broadband

Brilliant Broadband
Fab Fibre
Super Fibre
Perks
11 Mbps
£18/month
36 Mbps
£25/month
63 Mbps
£30/month
6 month Now TV pass
£0 activation fee

Now TV Broadband Review

Is Now TV broadband any good? Well, according to one leading authority, Now Broadband ranks average across the board for Satisfaction, Customer Service, Speed and Reliability. Although it's pretty new in the game, it just about managed to outrank Sky, BT and Talktalk in all four categories.

On Trustpilot, Now TV fares pretty well. It received an above average rating from 55% of the customer reviews - split between ‘Great’ (24%) and ‘Excellent’ (31%). Good customer service and value for money appear to be a highlight of many customer reviews. Their negative rating makes up 28% of the overall score.

Zen Broadband: One Month Student Contracts

Only one of the five Zen broadband deals is available on a student-friendly flexible contract. Zen offers its Unlimited Broadband, at an average download speed of 10 Mbps, on a one-month contract basis. Just like the previous flexible contracts we’ve seen, this one comes with an activation fee, though it differs slightly.

Zen charges a £48 activation fee, but this only applies when you’re setting up a new ADSL broadband connection. If you are switching from a service with another provider, the activation charge doesn’t apply. This, in particular, may appeal to final year students that don’t want to renew existing yearly contracts.

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Zen’s one month Unlimited Broadband contract comes with the option to choose broadband-only or broadband + phone line rental. The broadband-only deal reduces the price of the monthly service down by £10.

Much like Plusnet, Zen may increase its prices in certain areas of the UK, however, unlike Plusnet, it doesn’t have a separate tariff. Zen states that price increases may occur in areas where it costs them more to provide broadband.


Zen One Month Contract


Broadband Only
Unlimited Broadband
10Mbps
£22.99/month

Broadband & Landline
Unlimited Broadband
10Mbps
£32.99/month

Zen Broadband Review

A minnow with a rising star. Zen has made a few waves with the recent Which? customer satisfaction survey after it topped the customer satisfaction table with a rating of 87%.

To add to that, based on customer scores and reviews on one Ofcom accredited customer review site, Zen ranks higher than all other providers for Satisfaction, Service and Reliability, and makes it into the top two for Speed.

Over on Trustpilot, Zen outranks almost all other providers with a 90% above-average rating - spread out across “Great “(13%) and “Excellent” (77%). Its negative rating reaches a total of 6%.

Direct Save Telecom: Rolling Contracts

house perched on top of a broadband router

Direct Save is another standout minnow in the world of internet service providers. It's also the second internet service provider on this list that offers a rolling contract with its fibre-optic package. Flexible fibre-optic packages may be ideal for shared student accommodation where the burden on connection is primarily caused by an excess of users.

In total, there are three deals available on a No Contract plan: No Contract Broadband and two No Contract Fibre plans. The former averages download speeds of 11 Mbps, whilst the latter fibre deals average speeds of 35Mbps and 63Mbps, respectively. No line rental fees are charged on the fibre lines.

The activation fee for both Direct Save telecom broadband internet packages is markedly lower than all other activation fees for similar products. It currently stands at £24.95


Direct Save Rolling Contract

Unlimited Broadband
Fibre Broadband 1
Fibre Broadband 2
11 Mbps
£27.95/month
Line rental included
35 Mbps
£34.95/month
No line rental fee
63 Mbps
£39.95/month
No line rental fee

Direct Save Telecom Reviews

Direct Save has an overall average rating on Trustpilot. However, when you break down the rating, you can see that it leans more towards an above average experience. The total above average rating totals 63% - ‘Great’ (16%) and ‘Excellent’ (47%), whereas the negative rating reaches 28% - ‘Poor’ (7%) and ‘Bad’ (21%).

This is reflected in one industry leader’s ranking on Satisfaction, Speed, Reliability and Customer Service. Direct Save ranks just above average for the first three, and average for Customer Service. Nonetheless, it outranks the major providers in the market.

BT Student Broadband

calendar

BT broadband student deals seem to come around just before the beginning of every school year. Traditionally, BT has offered reduced-term contracts to coincide with the duration of the academic year, which, again, would be ideal for students that don’t spend the uni break in their university towns or accommodations.

Only the Superfast Fibre Unlimited package is available on a 9 month student contract. It includes the BT Smart Hub router, which BT markets as having the most powerful wifi signal available, and averages download speeds of 50Mbps.


BT 9 Month Student Contract

Superfast Fibre
Extra Info
50 Mbps
£35/month
Line rental included
Student email required
BT Smarthub included
£44.99 upfront fee

Like all other short-term contracts, this one carries additional costs that you should be aware of. First up, an upfront cost of £44.99 is charged for signing up to the package. The terms & conditions state that if customers leave within the 9 months of the contract, they may be charged up to £65 to cover the cost of the Smart Hub. Potential customers may also be charged a £49.99 connection fee if they don’t have a compatible line.

The upside is, if BT student broadband customers decide to extend their contracts beyond the 9 months, the terms state that the price will remain the same from month 10 onwards.

BT Broadband Review

Despite dominating the broadband market, BT Broadband problems seem to dominate feedback. In the Ofcom complaints report, BT generated a volume of complaints above the industry average. In fact, they placed third overall for the most complaints received by Ofcom.

The latest Which? customer survey highlights that a fifth of its customers experienced issues with slow speeds and drop-out, which contributed to an overall customer satisfaction rating of 51% - the lowest customer rating scores came in at 50%.

Virgin Media Student

woman using the internet

Whilst there are no targeted Virgin Media student deals, their range of 30 day rolling contracts makes Virgin Media student broadband available in all but name. These flexible contracts are available on all of their flagship fibre broadband deals: Vivid 50, Vivid 100, Vivid 200 and Vivid 350. Not only that, they also offer broadband-only deals at reduced rates. The activation fee for the 30 day rolling contract on any package is the highest in the market at £70.

The high speeds offered by Virgin Media are really what make it stand out from other major providers. It uses different methods to provide download speeds in excess of 300Mbps in certain locations. Such high speeds aren't entirely necessary for normal day-to-day usage; they would come in handy, however, in student houses shared between many individuals.


Virgin Media 30 Day Contracts

Vivid 50
Broadband + Phone
Vivid 100
Broadband + Phone
Vivid 200
Broadband + Phone
Vivid 350
Broadband + Phone
54 Mbps
£42/month
£70 upfront fee
108 Mbps
£47/month
£70 upfront fee
213 Mbps
£52/month
£70 upfront fee
362 Mbps
£57/month
£70 upfront fee
Vivid 50
Broadband Only
Vivid 100
Broadband Only
Vivid 200
Broadband Only
Vivid 350
Broadband Only
54 Mbps
£35/month
£70 upfront fee
108 Mbps
£40/month
£70 upfront fee
213 Mbps
£45/month
£70 upfront fee
362 Mbps
£50/month
£70 upfront fee

Virgin Media Broadband Review

The Ofcom complaints figures revealed that, despite receiving the most complaints for Pay TV and Mobile, Virgin Media broadband generated a level of complaints below the national industry average, faring better than Vodafone, BT, Talktalk and Plusnet.

Over on the 2019 Which? broadband customer survey, Virgin Media outranked its main competitors with a customer satisfaction score of 58%, however, the survey also revealed that 50% of its customers experienced price rises in the last year.