How to find the cheapest broadband deals in 2019

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With a seemingly endless choice of phone, internet and TV packages available these days, it can be hard to know what the best value broadband deals are. To help you keep in mind the most important elements of a broadband package, we bring you an at-a-glance guide to the cheapest broadband options on the market from big and small internet providers.


Plusnet broadband

When it comes to home broadband plans, there’s a lot to think about apart from price: connection speeds, TV bundles, unlimited phone calls, different lengths of contract, and customer service standards are all part of the picture. That’s why we’re coming to Plusnet first: in terms of customer service, they are at the top of the broadband provider league in Ofcom's latest survey, with 86% overall satisfaction.

Plusnet is one of the few internet service providers (ISPs) to offer ‘unlimited broadband on its own’ - i.e. broadband only, without a phone line, but this claim is somewhat misleading because you still need to pay line rental, it just doesn’t have to be with Plusnet.

We’ve summarised what Plusnet offers in phone and broadband deals:

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Line rental included Upfront fees between £5 and £50
Unlimited monthly usage All monthly prices go up automatically at the end of the contract
Connection type and speed Price per month Phone plan options:
add any of these to any internet plan
Standard 10 Mbps £19.99 18 month contract
  • £4 per month: unlimited UK evening & weekend landline calls and 1000 minutes to UK mobiles (evening & weekend)
  • £8 per month: unlimited UK landline calls, 300 minutes to 35 countries
  • £8 per month: unlimited UK landlines
£21.99 12 month contract
Fibre 36 Mbps £25.99 18 month contract
£23.99 12 month contract
Fibre 66 Mbps £32.99 18 month contract
£27.99 12 month contract

Wifi dongle

Have you thought about going off the beaten track and using mobile broadband through a wifi dongle, instead of having a conventional internet router in your house? For light internet users, or for people who travel a lot, this could be the answer. Using a dongle also means you don’t need a home phone service so you can say goodbye to paying line rental for a landline that you never use.

USB dongle

Virgin, Vodafone and O2 are among several telecommunications companies that offer mobile broadband deals where you use a dongle to access the internet wherever you are in the world. The dongle is basically a USB modem and it plugs straight into your computer, giving you more or less the same speed internet as you would expect with a standard broadband connection.

Here’s a snapshot of the prices and data allowances available:

Provider Type of contract Download limit Upfront cost Price per month
Virgin Media 2 months 1 GB £24.99 £8.17
Virgin Media 18 months 3 GB £0 £12.26
Vodafone 30 day plan 2 GB £30 £11
Vodafone 12 months 50 GB £0 £25
Vodafone 12 months 50 GB £0 £25
O2 24 months 60 GB £0 £25.55

What do these data allowances really mean? Well, let’s take Virgin Media’s 3 GB plan; this is enough data for anyone who spends up to a two to three hours a day online, including sending and receiving emails and downloading music tracks and short videos. A 50 GB plan would be more suitable for someone who streams a lot of films and TV shows and makes video calls frequently, through software such as Skype.

You could also consider a wifi dongle as an add-on to your existing broadband arrangement, for example Virgin Media offers a discount on dongles for existing broadband customers.

Broadband without phone line

Maybe a dongle set-up isn’t for you and you want more from your internet service but you still don’t want to bother with an old-fashioned landline. Surprisingly, it’s still quite unusual to find broadband deals that let you get rid of your home phone line. This is because almost all ISPs deliver broadband through telephone lines via the old BT system (now Openreach).

The notable exceptions are EE, Hyperoptic and Virgin Media, who all offer broadband-only contracts because they don’t use phone lines to provide internet access to your home. Instead, they each use a different method to deliver broadband:

  • EE offers internet access through a 4G router in your home, instead of with a conventional broadband router.
  • Virgin Media’s broadband service runs on the cable TV network.
  • Hyperoptic broadband is delivered through the company’s unique network of fibre cables that go directly to your building.

Broadband only deals: Virgin, Hyperoptic, EE

Here’s a summary of the cheapest and most expensive broadband packages without landline contracts:

ISP Type of contract Download limit Speed* Upfront fees Price per month
EE 18 months 50 GB 31 Mbps £0 £35
EE 30-day rolling contract 500 GB 31 Mbps £100 £35
Virgin Media 12 months Unlimited 50 GB £25 £35
Virgin Media 12 months Unlimited 350 GB £25 £50
Virgin Media 30-day rolling contract Unlimited 50 Mbps £70 £35
Virgin Media 30-day rolling contract Unlimited 350 Mbps £70 £50
Hyperoptic 12 months Unlimited 30 Mbps £40 £20
Hyperoptic 12 months Unlimited 1 GB £40 £38

*To understand more about download speed, upload speed, and the difference between cable broadband and ADSL, see our page on What broadband speed do I need?

However, the great disadvantage of Hyperoptic and Virgin Media is that their internet services are not available everywhere. Virgin Media's coverage reaches most parts of the UK, since it is available wherever there is cable television.

Hyperoptic is particularly limited since the company is effectively building its own network from scratch and it will take some time to roll out across the country so at the moment only a select few addresses can access it.

Comparing broadband packages

If neither of the main ‘broadband without landline’ providers, is an option for your address, and a wifi dongle isn’t for you either, then a broadband bundle is the answer. Read on to get a taster of the huge range of deals on the market.

BT TV packages

tv package

BT is one of the big players in the internet provider field, providing home telephone, broadband and TV packages. In comparison to other broadband providers, BT customer satisfaction comes out as average in Ofcom’s latest survey.

In addition to fibre broadband, BT’s broadband and TV packages give you all the freeview channels, three BT Sports channels and a range of other entertainment, documentary and children’s channels, as well as the facility to record, pause and rewind live TV.

For existing BT broadband and phone customers, there is the option to add TV to your deal for an extra £10, £15 or £20, depending on the channels you want.

For new customers, BT’s bundles are priced at £39.99, £44.99 and £49.99 per month, again depending on the range of channels you want.

BT broadband offers

You don’t have to commit to a TV package; one of BT’s phone and broadband plans could be right for you, especially if you’re tempted by one of the free gifts on offer, or maybe you’re attracted by Complete Wi-fi, the boost for your broadband signal that guarantees coverage in every room.

Here’s what BT can offer you in terms of home phone and broadband:

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Line rental included Upfront fees between £9.99 and £29.99
Unlimited monthly usage All monthly prices go up automatically at the end of the contract
Ultrafast broadband at 100 Mbps is advertised but is not widely available.
18 month contracts
Connection type and speed Price per month Other features
Standard 10 Mbps £24.99 Unlimited UK evening and weekend phone calls
Fibre 36 Mbps £29.99 Add Complete Wi-fi tool for an extra £10 per month
Fibre 50 Mbps £35.99

Now TV broadband deals

You’ve probably heard of Now TV, the company that offers flexible on-demand TV services without a contract. Did you know they also offer broadband and phone packages, separate from their TV deals?

Here’s a summary of what’s on offer:

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Line rental included Upfront fees £24.99 (£15 activation fee plus £9.99 delivery)
Unlimited monthly usage All monthly prices go up automatically at the end of the contract
12 month contracts
Connection type and speed Price per month Phone plan options
Standard 11 Mbps £18 Pay as you use
OR
Increase your monthly payment to include all evening and weekend calls
OR
Increase your monthly payment even more to include all calls at any time
Fibre 36 Mbps £26
Fibre 63 Mbps £30

EE broadband deals

Building on their success in the mobile phone world, EE now offers a range of home phone and broadband bundles. Despite being bought by BT in 2016, EE retains its own strong band identity and offers internet deals that are distinct from its senior partner. Here's a summary of their packages:

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Line rental included 18 month contracts
Unlimited monthly usage
No upfront fees
Connection type and speed Price per month Phone plan options
add any of these to any internet plan
Standard 10 Mbps £10
  • £5 per month: unlimited UK landline calls
  • £8 per month: unlimited UK landline calls & 1500 minutes to UK mobiles
  • £12 per month: unlimited UK landline calls, 1500 minutes to UK mobiles, landline calls to 50 countries
Fibre 36 Mbps £27
Fibre 67 Mbps £31
Fibre 145 Mbps £40
Fibre 300 Mbps £47

Vodafone broadband deals

Vodafone’s broadband and phone deals give you access to a smartphone app that gives you the ability to control a whole host of features, such as changing the wifi password or seeing in real time who is connected to your network. However, customers report very mixed opinions about both the standard of customer service and the reliability of internet provision.

We give you an overview of Vodafone home phone and broadband packages:

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Line rental included 18 month contracts
Unlimited monthly usage Gigafast broadband at 100 Mbps - 900 Mbps is advertised but is not widely available
No upfront fees All monthly prices go up automatically at the end of the contract
Anti-virus software included for the first six months After the first six months, anti-virus software costs £39.99 for a year’s subscription
Family-friendly options for controlling access to online content online
Boost feature that helps you download content more quickly when you’re in a rush
Connection type and speed Price per month Phone plan options:
add any of these to either of the internet plan
Fibre 35 Mbps £23 for new customers
  • £4 per month: unlimited UK evening & weekend landline calls
  • £8 per month: unlimited calls to UK landlines and mobiles
£21 for existing Vodafone monthly mobile customers
Fibre 63 Mbps £27 new customers
£25 for existing Vodafone monthly mobile customers

Talktalk broadband offers

Talktalk logo

Talktalk’s guarantee to give the same monthly price during your whole contract is one of their top selling points. However, they’re clearly going wrong somewhere since Ofcom’s survey shows very low customer satisfaction - the level of complaints to Ofcom about Talktalk, and the number of complaints received by Talktalk, are both well above average.

Talktalk offers two different bundles for home phone, broadband and TV, priced at £33.95 and £35.95 per month. The only real difference between the two is that the more expensive option gives you a few extra channels and a box with a recording facility, whereas with the less expensive deal your TV box can only pause and rewind live TV, with no recording function. TV channels available with Talktalk include Sky One and Two, MTV, and a range of food and documentary channels.

Here’s a snapshot of Talktalk’s broadband and phone packages:

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Line rental included All monthly prices go up automatically at the end of the contract
Unlimited monthly usage Ultra Fibre Optic broadband at 900 Mbps is advertised but is not widely available
12, 18 or 24 month contracts £60 upfront fee for broadband deals
Price guarantee during the length of your contract £25 - £50 upfront fees for TV packages
Flexible options to add phone call boosts or TV Boosts to your contract for a month at a time
Connection type and speed Price per month
Standard 11 Mbps 18 month contract: £17.95
12 or 24 month contract: £27
Fibre 36 Mbps 18 month contract: £19.95
12 or 24 month contract: £33.50
Fibre 63 Mbps 18 month contract: £24.95
12 or 24 month contract: £38.50

Student broadband deals

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Student discount on your broadband? Yes, it’s possible! With your university email address you can get access to BT’s student broadband deals, which are available on nine-month contracts, perfect for the academic year. Line rental is included and, as a BT customer, you get access to wifi hotspots across the UK.

BT student broadband options are:

Product Speed Cost
Superfast fibre 1 50 Mbps £35 plus £44.99 upfront
= £39.99 per month overall
Superfast fibre 2 67 Mbps £40 plus £44.99 upfront
= £44.99 per month overall

Virgin Media advertises student broadband but on closer inspection the student deals appear to be exactly the same as other Virgin Media broadband contracts. However, the flexibility of Virgin’s 30-day rolling contracts could suit a student household (see Broadband only deals above).

Switching broadband

So you’ve already got broadband, you’ve come to the end of your contract and you’re looking for a better deal. Staying with the same provider usually means paying more, so take a look at our guide to switching broadband for expert impartial advice to help you find the best broadband for you.