Broadband without Phone Line? No landline, No problem
An increasing number of us are specifically looking for broadband without phone line, yet our broadband providers continue to install a phone line and charge us (sometimes without making it clear they will do so - we’re looking at you, Sky) for line rental. Why is this? Do we really need it? Let us talk you through why most providers still insist on installing one, whether it’s possible to avoid and if it’s worth avoiding.
Can you get broadband without a phone line?
In short, it depends on how you’re connected to the internet. If you get set up the old-fashioned way, you will need a phone line, but there are now a few options out there to help you avoid it. The main ways in which it’s possible to get broadband without phone line for your home:
- ADSL - this is the most widely available type of broadband connection, and unfortunately does rely on phone lines to send data.
- Fibre broadband - fibre packages are slightly more limited but Openreach’s network of newly laid fibre optic cables, which are separate to phone cables and transport data much more quickly, is always expanding.
- Cable broadband - in other words, Virgin Media broadband. The company operates its own network of coaxial cables - not phone lines - to get you connected.
- Mobile broadband - if you really don’t want line rental and your usage is low, you could connect to 4G broadband with a mobile dongle or by tethering your mobile and using your mobile data.
Thinking of opting for mobile broadband?Beware that mobile broadband deals usually offer limited downloads and average speeds of 21 Mbps, which won’t be enough if your internet usage is on the heavy side. If you’re expecting to be able to stream films and play games online - expect less. If you only use the internet without phone line to check your social media accounts and do a bit of light browsing, however, this could work for you. Also, bear in mind that tethering will eat up a big chunk of your mobile data! If you need robust internet, you should be looking at broadband without phone line options, whenever possible.
For us, then, the two most viable options to look into when thinking about broadband without a landline are fibre and cable. For details on the difference between fibre and cable and the technical advantages and disadvantages of both, see our Fibre vs Cable guide. Here we’re going to move on and look at the specific deals available to you from providers offering broadband without phone line.
Fibre & broadband without landline
Nowadays, most major providers offer fibre broadband packages. This is not to say that they will all be available to you - availability always depends on where you live, as not every part of the country is equipped to support all connections. Nor does every provider offer their fibre deals without line rental being “included” - which also means something different to them than you might think.
Though the cables have changed, most companies still use the same wire to provide you with both phone and broadband services. This is why you will almost always see line rental included or coming alongside a broadband package - the same wire is providing you with both. The following are companies that don’t give you the option of getting broadband without line rental as well, or who require you to have line rental with another provider in order to sign up for broadband:
- Origin Broadband
- POP Telecom
- Direct Save Telecom
- Post Office
- NOW Broadband
It’s a long list, and there will be some we’ve missed. Essentially, if a provider sells you the service through a process called local loop unbundling (see below) using the Openreach network, they tend to operate this way. There are those who operate their own network, however. Here’s a selection of deals from independent providers who don’t oblige you to set up a landline that you may not need:
Hyperoptic: No landline Uncapped wifi
Hyperoptic offers fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband, which essentially means that a new cable is laid direct to your home just for you (or the building you live in). As you might imagine, this is an expensive process and will not be available to everyone. To see if you can get it where you are, check using the postcode checker on Hyperoptic’s website.
|£23 per month||£26 per month||£45 per month|
|50 Mbps avg. download speed||150 Mbps avg. download speed||900 Mbps avg. download speed|
|5 Mbps avg. upload speed||150 Mbps avg. upload speed||900 Mbps avg. upload speed|
|£20 activation fee||£20 activation fee||£20 activation fee|
|No commitment - 30 days’ notice to cancel||No commitment - 30 days’ notice to cancel||No commitment - 30 days’ notice to cancel|
FTTP is expensive to set up, but you’ll notice that not much of the cost is passed on to the subscriber. It is general availability that suffers from this, with Hyperoptic only choosing to lay its lines to where it sees a significant profit (i.e. blocks of flats where a certain number of residents are interested in signing up). For this reason, the excellent fibre broadband deals you see here could simply be a tantalising mirage unless you’re particularly lucky.
For those who can sign up with Hyperoptic, your installation and router come free and activation involves a one-off £20 payment. Most temptingly, we think, is that you’re not contractually obliged to commit to a minimum term when you join Hyperoptic - if you want to leave, you’re free to do so with 30 days’ notice. You also have access to 24/7 customer support with any of the deals listed above. For full details on Hyperoptic’s broadband offer, see its provider page.
Giganet: Internet without phone line
Giganet offers packages both with and without line rental. Its packages with line rental included are called Ultrabolt deals, whereas if you don’t want line rental you’ll be looking for one of its Superbeam or Ultrabeam packages. Here's a glance at them:
|Superbeam 80||Ultrabeam 150||Ultrabeam 300||Local Ultrabeam 500||Local Ultrabeam 1000|
|£54 per month||£65 per month||£89 per month||£149 per month||£199 per month|
|76 Mbps avg. downloads||145 Mbps avg. downloads||300 Mbps avg. downloads||500 Mbps avg. downloads||930 Mbps avg. downloads|
|19 Mbps avg. uploads||30 Mbps avg. uploads||50 Mbps avg. uploads||150 Mbps avg. uploads||200 Mbps avg. uploads|
|£55 setup fee||£55 setup fee||£55 setup fee||£55 setup fee||£55 setup fee|
|12 month minimum term||12 month minimum term||12 month minimum term||12 month minimum term||12 month minimum term|
The first and most significant problem we see with Gigabit is the pricing. Both the setup fee and your monthly bill with Gigabit will be steep, it seems. Its offer is broader, but when you compare the prices against similar speeds offered by Hyperoptic above, there’s no doubt in our minds which we would go for.
Subscribers also receive one free static IP address with their deal, which is great if you plan on using it to work from home. Gigabit is also especially proud of its Hampshire-based customer support team, who it says operates “without call scripts” - the only problem being that it only operates from 9am-5.30pm on weekdays, which doesn’t compare handsomely to Hyperoptic’s 24/7 customer support.
UltraFibreOptic: Wifi without landline
UltraFibreOptic is an end to end Fibre connection which means that a phone line shouldn't be needed. However, the high tech Fibre connection this internet offer uses does severely limit the areas where it is available. For this reason, you will need to check whether it is available first. For those who do live in an area where it is installed, this offer provides absolutely blistering speeds both up and downstream. Let's find out the details:
|Ultra Fibre Optic|
|£27.50 per month (18 month contract)|
|Average downloads 900Mbps|
|Average uploads 900Mbps|
|£0 set up fee|
Fibre 150 & 500 Data Only: No phone line in house
As TalkTalk states, these data only fibre offers require no phone line and put out just pure broadband. These two plans use something that TalkTalk calls Future Fibre, meaning that your home connects directly to the network exchange instead of having to interface with a copper broadband connection. Let's take a look at what's on offer here with this ultra fast internet without phone line option:
|Fibre 150 Data Only||Fibre 500 Data Only|
|£37 per month (18 month contract)||£42 per month (18 month contract)|
|Average downloads 145Mbps||Average downloads 450Mbps|
|Average uploads 25Mbps||Average uploads 75Mbps|
|£0 set up fee||£0 set up fee|
Virgin: Broadband without line rental
If you're looking for broadband only deals no landline, then Virgin Broadband may have the right the choice for you, since they are the only provider in the UK which maintains a cable network of any significance. This unique feature makes internet without phone line a reality. As with fibre, Virgin’s network doesn’t cover the whole of the country, so you’ll have to check to see if you can get it in your area. For those that Virgin does reach, it is likely your best bet to go landline free, with a range of broadband-only packages to choose from on its website. Here are the deals you can get without getting a phone line installed:
|£37 per month||£42 per month||£47 per month||£52 per month|
|Average downloads 54 Mbps||Average downloads 108 Mbps||Average downloads 213 Mbps||Average downloads 362 Mbps|
|Average uploads 5 Mbps||Average uploads 10 Mbps||Average uploads 20 Mbps||Average uploads 36 Mbps|
|£35 set up fee||£35 set up fee||£35 set up fee||£35 set up fee|
These packages are all on offer at the time of writing, with savings of £7 per month on each package and the incentive of either a £50 shopping voucher or £50 bill credit when you sign up. We’d suggest keeping an eye on the Virgin website to stay up to date on offers like this so you don’t miss out on a good deal.
Do bear in mind, however, that prices are likely to jump up when your contract ends - always be sure to check the small print on this. All of the above contracts are 12 months in duration, and you don’t want to get a nasty surprise in a year’s time when your bill shoots up. If you don’t want to be tied down to a contract at all, Virgin offers 30-day rolling contracts with no obligation to install a phone line as well:
|£37 per month||£42 per month||£47 per month||£52 per month|
|£80 set up fee||£80 set up fee||£80 set up fee||£80 set up fee|
The speeds are the same. You’ll notice only one difference - the substantially higher setup fee - but also note that, as you’re not bound to a contract, the deals and incentives available in Virgin’s 12-month contracts are not available to those choosing a no-contract deal.
Why can't I get broadband without line rental?
Since the first days of the internet, ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) broadband has provided us with a connection via home telephone lines, which are used to transport internet data to your home. In the beginning, of course, the country’s landline infrastructure was owned by BT, but the maintenance of this infrastructure has since been passed to Openreach - which was initially a department of BT but is now a company in its own right.
Since the opening up of the UK’s telecoms infrastructure, other providers (such as Plusnet and TalkTalk) have been able to sell broadband services using the Openreach network through a process called local loop unbundling (LLU). This means that, in essence, almost all providers you’ve heard of have been (and are) using the same network of phone lines to provide you with your internet and calls package. This is, of course, excluding Virgin Media, which has its own network and uses a different type of cable for sending data. This is why, if you sign up to Virgin as opposed to EE, for example, you’ll need to go through a longer installation process to get set up. It does mean, however, that you don’t need a phone line installed to sign up.
Can I have Sky broadband without a phone line?
You cannot have Sky Broadband without a phone line. If you want to get Sky Broadband you will be required to have a phone line in your home. However, strangely enough, this requirement doesn't mean you need to have working phone connected to it. The phone line requirement is purely due to the technical aspect of the broadband internet connections Sky uses for its service.
Can I have BT broadband without a phone line?
You are not able to have BT Broadband without a landline. If you absolutely want to get BT broadband, you will have no choice but to also accept a home phone line - no way around it. This is because of the type of internet connection BT uses, based on their own Openreach copper line based technology it means that a landline is unfortunately a must.