Cheap broadband

Finding the cheapest and best broadband deal for your household is more than just opting for the least expensive package you can find. There is a lot more to consider, such as broadband speed, contract length, data usage, customer service and much more. Here’s all you need to know about finding a cheap broadband deal that will meet your internet needs.  

Where can I find a cheap broadband deal?

Broadband doesn’t have to be expensive; there are many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that specialise in providing cheap broadband that comes with great speed. If you’re looking to save money and still have a good-quality broadband connection, a budget provider like Plusnet or TalkTalk might be what you’re looking for. 

If you’re looking for a provider that offers top speeds and all the extras like phone and TV services, taking out a package with a top provider like Sky or Virgin Media might suit you best. It will generally be more expensive if you go down this route, but a lot of these providers do offer bundles and deals to its new customers that could bring the price down considerably.

Which broadband providers are the cheapest? 

There are many providers out there that are specifically known for their low-cost broadband offerings. Household brands like NOW Broadband and Plusnet will give you good value for money and a reliable service so, quality doesn’t need to be a concern. 

Here are some of the cheapest broadband providers in the UK at present: 

Plusnet: Plusnet offers a number of low-cost unlimited broadband deals with speeds ranging between 11Mbps and 66Mbps. All contracts are at a fixed price and activation fees are usually quite low, or non-existent. It’s also known for its award-winning customer service. 

Direct Save Telecom: Similar to Plusnet, Direct Save Telecom offers low-cost broadband deals with speeds up to 63Mbps. It has also started offering ultrafast broadband with speeds up to 300Mbps. All of its deals come with unlimited broadband use too. 

TalkTalk: TalkTalk offers competitive prices and is one of the cheapest providers in the UK. All deals come with a fixed price guarantee and you can choose to bundle in TalkTalk TV if you want. It offers everything from standard ADSL to Ultra Fibre Optic (UFO) broadband. 

NOW Broadband: NOW TV has been offering low-cost film and TV streaming services since 2020, and all of its broadband packages are truly unlimited. You can get broadband speeds between 11Mbps and 63Mbps. 

Can I get a cheap broadband deal with Sky and Virgin Media? 

Sky and Virgin Media are perhaps the most popular broadband providers in the UK, offering superfast, reliable broadband with all the frills. Although they are typically more expensive than the lesser known brands, you can still grab yourself an affordable deal and there is a lot more to offer. 

With the likes of Sky and Virgin Media you can get some real speed – Virgin Media offers speeds exceeding 300Mbps and Sky can currently reach up to 145Mbps. 

You can also bundle in TV services, home phone plans and access to some of the best broadband tech like the Sky Q Hub. 

If you’ve got your heart set on a broadband deal with one of these brands, it’s best to keep your eyes peeled for any special offers or discounts. Virgin Media often slash its prices for new customers which could see you getting a lot for your buck. 

ADSL or fibre broadband – which is cheapest?

While both types of broadband will offer you a reliable internet connection there is a significant difference.

ADSL is the cheapest broadband available. It uses telephone wires to give your home access to the internet by using the copper wires to carry the broadband signal. It can offer maximum download speeds of around 24Mbps, although most providers offer around 11Mbps with this type of connection. It’s ideal for those who use the internet for basic tasks like browsing the web or checking social media. 

Fibre broadband, on the other hand, uses fibre optic cables to provide high-speed access. This is mainly because fibre cables are better at transferring data compared to copper used with ADSL broadband. With fibre you can get some serious speed (exceeding 1000Mbps in some cases). This is ideal for those who stream movies and music a lot and like to play games online. It’s more expensive than ADSL, but given the speed involved it’s clear why!

What do I need to consider when finding a cheap broadband deal? 

It can be tempting to just find the cheapest broadband deal and go for it. But, this could leave you with a service that is not right for your internet needs. For example, you could get yourself a broadband deal for less than £20 a month only to find that the speed is not up to scratch and struggle to stream your favourite shows and play games with your friends online. 

So, here are some of the things you should think about before taking out a broadband contract…

Broadband speed 

Be sure to consider the broadband speed; how you use the internet and how many people are connecting to it will affect the speed your household needs. If you only use the internet occasionally and for basic tasks, then you would be fine with standard ADSL broadband. But, if you’re a heavy online gamer, like to stream movies often, or live in a house of more than three people, you should look at speeds from 63Mbps and above for the best experience. 

Data usage

Usually it’s cheaper to opt for broadband that has a limit on the data you can use. But, if you go over this allowance, you could have to pay extra. If you think you will be using the internet to download music and stream TV shows a lot, or to play games online, an unlimited broadband deal would be best. If you don’t think you are likely to use a lot of your data, then similarly, it might be cheaper to opt for a deal that has a data cap. 

Contract length

A lot of providers offer broadband contracts that range between one to 24 months. You should be mindful that if you wish to change providers mid-way through your contract you could end up paying cancellation fees. If you feel like you are not ready to commit to a long length of time, a no-contract broadband deal might be better for you. 

Unexpected price increases

Some providers may put the price of your broadband up halfway through your contract. If this happens you may end up with a broadband deal that is no longer affordable for you. The good thing is that many providers offer packages that come with a fixed-price guarantee, so you don’t need to worry about any unexpected price increases for the duration of your contract. 

Upfront costs

You might have found yourself a cheap broadband deal, but are there any other costs involved? Some providers will charge you an activation/setup fee or bill you for any installation involved. To avoid this, you should opt for a provider that does not come with additional costs to keep the price as low as possible. 

Broadband availability

Some broadband providers might not be available in your area, so the type of broadband deals you can get will depend on where you live. This can be frustrating if you’ve found the perfect provider, but you can’t access its services. You can use this postcode checker to find out which deals are available for your home.

Customer service

This might be the last thing on your mind when looking for a cheap deal, but sometimes bad customer service can really affect your broadband experience. If you have a connection fault, query or any issues with your bills, it will give you peace of mind knowing your provider will resolve any problems. So, do your research before you sign up with your provider. 

Why choose cheap broadband?

Cheap broadband deals are a great option if you're trying to keep your household costs low – just because you’re paying less doesn’t mean the quality won’t be sufficient for your needs. 

The cheapest type of broadband is ADSL, which is perfect for those who don’t use the internet often and only carry out basic tasks like browsing the web, sending emails and checking online banking. If this sounds like the type of internet user you are, then a cheap ADSL deal would be ideal. By opting for broadband without all the frills, you’re sure to save some money. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t get both cheap and fast broadband. If you’re looking for speed that will allow you to stream your favourite box sets or play games online, fibre would be best. A lot of providers offer rewards and discounts for this type of broadband that could see you get great value with great speed to match. Fast broadband doesn’t always mean expensive broadband. 

Frequently asked questions

While it may cost you more than a broadband-only deal, you can save money in other ways. Often it works out cheaper to have your TV and broadband bundled together than having two separate subscriptions.

Also, it will allow you to manage your monthly bills better if you already pay for a TV service. A lot of providers will offer incentives such as discounts and gifts if you bundle your service, so it may be worth it.

Providers have different offers and deals on all the time, so it’s impossible to say which one is the cheapest.

Just because you’re paying less, doesn’t mean the quality will be less too. Most providers use the same network, the most common being Openreach, and there will be engineers available to fix any problems. Broadband quality and reliability shouldn’t be substandard because of cost. 

Many people think it would be cheaper to have broadband without a phone line, but that’s not strictly true. 

Most of the time broadband bundles with a phone service included are often cheaper. Also, you don’t have to plug it in, so it can be worthwhile choosing a broadband and phone deal. 

A lot of providers offer broadband deals regardless of your credit score, so there’s no need to worry. But, if you want to be safe you could explore a provider that does not carry out credit checks like Now Broadband, Plusnet or Direct Save Telecom. Find out more about broadband with no credit checks here.