Finding the right student Wi-Fi deal for you can be really confusing. For starters, what internet speed do you need? If you’re renting a student house, how long do you need it for if your term ends earlier than a normal contract? What will you be using the internet for? And, most importantly, how much do you want to spend?
To find the best student broadband deal for you, there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself.
Knowing what speed internet you need is the first step to finding the best student Wi-Fi deal for you. Generally speaking, the faster the internet, the more it will cost you – so making sure you’re not overpaying for superfast internet that you might not use is important.
First of all, how many people will be using the internet in your student digs? If it’s just you, you might be safe to opt for a slower broadband speed – especially if you’ll just be using it for studying and social media.
If that’s the case, we’d recommend picking an ADSL broadband package that should give you speeds around 10Mbps and won’t break the bank every month.
But if there’s more than two of you, picking a faster broadband speed will make sure that no one's internet is slowed down unnecessarily – so you can study for your exam while your housemates play Call of Duty online with no arguments. If you have a few housemates, the cost of faster broadband can also be split between you, making the more expensive options more reasonable.
Think about what each of you will use the internet for. Are any of your housemates avid online gamers? Do they ever live stream their games? Does your course require you to download lots of videos and data? If so, you might be better off picking one of the faster broadband speeds available to you. This will help you avoid buffering videos, slow internet and long download times.
As a rough rule of thumb, we’d recommend the following speeds depending on the number of people in your student accommodation and how they use the internet:
38Mbps – perfect for two housemates.
76Mbps – good for two or three regular internet users.
100Mbps – ideal for larger student homes.
150Mbps+ – great for heavy internet users with lots of housemates and devices.
Read our guide on choosing broadband for more information.
One of the trickier parts of getting student Wi-Fi is finding a contract length that suits you. Most students are only in their accommodation for 12 months, and of those 12 months, they might not even be living in the house outside of term time.
Where it gets complicated is that a lot of broadband deals are for 18 months or even longer – which can be a real problem for students. Luckily, there are a few options that are still suitable for students.
Although 12-month contracts seem to be getting rarer, there are still a number of broadband providers that offer them.
When you become a broadband customer you always have to sign a contract with your internet service provider. A 12-month broadband contract means you’re tied in for a minimum of one year. During this time, you won’t usually be able to get out of your contract without paying a cancellation fee.
At the end of your minimum contract period, your provider will continue to provide your broadband service and bill you for it. However, you are free to shop around for a new broadband deal and move to another contract if you want to.
Virgin Media, NOW Broadband, John Lewis, Pop Telecom and Direct Save Telecom all offer 12-month broadband deals.
Some broadband providers offer no-contract options, where you won’t be tied into a longer contract term. If you want to end your service or move providers, all you need to do is give 30 days’ notice and you’ll be good to go – no cancellation fees.
This is a great option if you are in a student house that will be empty outside of term time because you can cancel your broadband ahead of the holidays and save some precious pounds. It also gives you flexibility if your circumstances change unexpectedly.
The first question to ask yourself and your housemates is if you will need a landline phone. Lots of students would prefer to just use the minutes bundled with their mobile phone instead of using a landline to make calls, but a landline could be a good option if you have poor mobile signal in your house, or if you make a lot of calls.
If you do want a landline, most broadband providers bundle a phone line with their broadband deals. That’s because the majority of UK broadband runs off the landline network from the local street cabinets to each home, so bundling phone calls with it makes sense.
As a rule of thumb, there are three different times where landline calls are bundled: evening, weekends and anytime. So, if you regularly call your parents after dinner – evening calls will be perfect. Or if you catch up with a friend on weekends – weekend calls are best. If you don’t regularly have a routine, or want the flexibility to pick up the phone whenever you want, ’anytime calls’ is your best bet.
If you go for a broadband and phone deal, you will need to pay line rental. Line rental covers the cost of upkeep the phone line that runs from the cabinet to your accommodation.
Most providers will bundle this cost in its deal. But when you’re comparing deals, make sure you take into account the line rental costs, since sometimes it could drastically change which deal is the best value.
The next question to ask yourself is if you need any TV services. If you or your housemates love winding down after a long day of studying in front of the TV, then you might save yourself a lot of money by bundling your TV with your broadband.
Which one you choose will depend on what TV you regularly watch. For example, if you want to watch Premier League football, you will need to find a TV bundle with either BT Sports or Sky Sports, like those offered by Sky, Now Broadband, BT, Plusnet and Virgin Media.
If you have a few housemates, you might want to look at a TV service that gives the ability to record TV or integrate catch up TV.
Almost all broadband deals now come with unlimited downloads, which mean that you will never have to worry about how much data you and your housemates are using and getting an unexpected bill. But there are some deals out there that do limit downloads – always make sure you check that your potential deal has unlimited downloads to give you peace of mind.
Finding the perfect student broadband deal can be hard, here’s a few of the most common questions answered:
Student discounts can be a huge helping hand but almost no broadband providers offer student discounts for Wi-Fi. If a provider does offer a student discount it's usually for a limited time, so make sure you double check if your potential provider offers any student discount before pulling the trigger.
Because students buying broadband tends to be seasonal, providers do not tend to offer set broadband deals all through the year. But there are some broadband providers that are particularly suited to students:
At the time of writing, Hyperoptic has partnered with Student Beans and discounted its contract-free broadband offers. Hyperoptic only deals in superfast fibre broadband which will provide great internet speeds for even the largest student homes.
Being contract-free means that you and your housemates can cancel your service at any point, without worrying about paying hefty cancellation fees. The only downside to Hyperoptic is that its service is currently limited to a handful of towns and cities, but if they do cover you, it’s well worth checking out.
Another great value provider, Plusnet can be a great fit for students because it offers competitive speeds and competitive prices with a rolling one-month contract option. Because Plusnet works off the landline network, it’s also available to the vast majority of the country.
NOW Broadband is another good choice for students because it also offers a no-contract option that gives you the freedom to cancel whenever you need to. NOW Broadband also runs off the landline network so is widely available. Because NOW Broadband is owned by Sky, it’s a great option if you want to bundle in TV services like live sports and entertainment.
Sorting out who pays for your student broadband can be tough. Put simply, whoever’s name is on the broadband deal is responsible for paying the bill. So, if your name is on the bill, you need to make sure that your housemates cough up and pay their share of the bill, otherwise it’s you the provider will chase for payment.
This is another reason why we recommend going with a no-contract broadband option because, even in the worse-case scenario that one of your housemates is unreliable in their payments, you can cancel the contract quickly and with no early cancellation fees.
Read our guide to broadband for shared houses for more information.