What you need to compare when shopping for a new broadband deal:
Broadband deals come in many shapes and sizes, but there are a few features they've all got that you should be aware of so that you can compare them more easily.
Compare broadband deals by download speed
As a general rule, you’re going to want the fastest broadband connection available within your price range wherever you live – up to a point.
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with a wide range of fibre speeds, all the way from the 30Mbps mark up to gigabit and above, then it’s worth thinking carefully about what you’ll be using your connection for. Unless you really need it, it might not be worth paying a premium for 1Gbps+ download speeds. But then again it is nice to download a full HD film in under a minute…
Here are the fastest broadband deals available in February 2021:
Pro Gigafast 900
900Mb / second
£60.00 / month
£0 upfront fees
Virgin Media Broadband
Ultimate Oomph bundle
630Mb / second
£89.00 / month
£35 upfront fees
900Mb / second
£59.99 / month
£9.99 upfront fees
Compare internet packages by price
Other things being equal, you’re going to want to pay as little as possible for your broadband connection. Higher speeds, as well as extra services like TV channel packages, will bump up the price you pay, but by looking around you can make sure you don’t pay more than you need to.
When you compare with usave, you can order the deals in your area by price, if staying in budget is your primary concern.
Here are the best value broadband deals available in February 2021:
John Lewis Broadband
Unlimited Broadband & Evening and Weekend Calls
10Mb / second
£20.00 / month
£0 upfront fees
38Mb / second
£23.50 / month
£4.95 upfront fees
10Mb / second
£18.99 / month
£0 upfront fees
Compare customer service ratings and reputations of broadband providers
For the most part, the chances are that your broadband connection will run smoothly and you won’t have to deal with many problems. But on the odd occasion that you do – maybe your wi-fi won’t reach your bedroom from where the router’s placed, or maybe your connection keeps dropping out – you want your provider to be on call and ready with a fix.
Have a look through our pages on different broadband providers to see what people think about their customer service.
Offers, rewards, and cashback on broadband deals
Plenty of providers offer various kinds of introductory rewards to try and entice new customers. This might be bill credit; vouchers or rewards cards loaded with money to spend at various retailers; free gifts and tech; or cashback.
If a deal you already want comes with a free gift of some kind – perfect. If the gift has a cash value, it’s worth seeing the overall effect this has on the price of a deal, as it might be enough to push it to within your budget. Be careful of being sucked into a deal you wouldn’t otherwise get purely on the basis of an introductory gift, though.
Compare broadband deals by contract length
It's getting more and more common to see broadband deals with standard terms of 18 or 24 months these days. However, 12-month contracts are still available and, you can even find monthly rolling contracts on offer from a lot of major providers, though you'll pay a premium for that flexibility if you choose one of these.
Broadband connection types
Depending on where you live, you’ll see broadband deals running on a few different types of connection. Generally speaking, if it’s available where you are, you’ll want to get a fibre connection.
ADSL broadband connections run on the same copper wires as phone lines and are generally slower, and less reliable than fibre or cable.
For more information, visit our ADSL broadband page.
Fibre connections use fibre optic cables to send and receive data to and from your home. Speeds vary, but fibre connections are always faster than ADSL.
For more information, visit out fibre broadband page.
Cable broadband is only available from a handful of providers – including Virgin Media – and uses the same cable infrastructure as fibre, except for the last stretch where a coaxial cable is used to connect up your router.
For more information, visit our cable broadband page.
Types of broadband deal: what additional services do you need?
It’s one thing working out what you want from your connection itself, but these days broadband providers offer much more than just a way to get online. Depending on the provider, you can bundle your broadband connection in with home phone call packages, TV channels (live and on demand), and mobile phone tariffs.
- Broadband only – if all you want is an internet connection, then simply look for the right balance of price and speed for a seamless, no frills broadband deal.
- Broadband and phone – ADSL packages, and many fibre plans, will come bundled in with line rental as standard. For a little bit extra you can get inclusive calls thrown in.
- Broadband and digital TV – providers like Virgin (and others) offer great deals on fibre broadband and TV channel packages.
- Broadband, phone and TV – more and more providers offer all-in-one (or triple play) packages, with all your telecoms needs sorted in one bill.
How does switching to a new broadband deal work?
You’ve found the deal you’re after. High speed fibre at a decent price, a selection of TV channels so you can watch all your faves. But what next, how do you get set up?
Are you free to switch to a new broadband deal?
Before you sign up to a new deal, it’s important that you double check whether or not you’re actually in a position to leave your current provider. If you’re at the end of your current contract, then you’re free to switch over without hassle. If you’re not, however, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Costs of changing provider mid-contract
By leaving your broadband provider mid-contract, you’ll usually have to pay early exit fees. Depending on how far you are into your contract, these could be pretty substantial. Some providers will charge you for the entirety of your remaining contract – so if you’re paying £25 a month, and there are 6 months left on your tariff, you could be charged £300 (£25 X 6) if you leave.
Not every provider will be this harsh, but it’s worth contacting yours to see what you’d have to pay.
There are a few common exemptions to exit fees:
- If your provider hikes their fees mid-contract, you’ll usually be given the chance to leave without paying early exit fees
- You’ll often have a grace period at the start of your contract, during which you can change to a new deal for free
- Some providers will allow you to leave without charging exit fees if you’re only a few months away from your contract end date
How to find out when your current deal ends
Have a look at a recent bill, or log in to your provider’s online portal, and you should be able to easily find out when your contract is due to end. Alternatively, if you remember when you signed up to it, you can work out based on how long your contract is in months when it is set to end.
What happens to your broadband deal if you move house?
If you move house within your contract terms, and your current provider’s network reaches your new property, you’ll be able to continue your contract as normal.
If your current provider doesn’t reach your new property, you’ll often be given the opportunity to cancel your contract without paying full exit fees. One major exception to this applies to Virgin Media customers. Virgin will charge you full exit fees if you move to a property that they don’t service, and you are forced to cancel your plan.
The switching process explained:
If you are in a position to switch to a new broadband deal, thankfully it’s pretty straightforward to do so.
- Enter your postcode in our comparison tool to see which deals are available in your area. You can order the deals by price or speed, and filter the list to only see package types or providers that you know you want to pick from.
- Once you’ve picked a deal, simply click through to the provider’s website. The process from here on out will differ slightly from provider to provider, but the basics will be the same.
- Finalise the details of your chosen plan, enter your details, select and installation date, and set up a direct debit. And that's it!
Frequently asked questions about switching broadband deals
Will you lose your connection/ have downtime?
You’ll usually have a short amount of down time before your new connection is set up. If you’ve got your old contract ending on the day your new one starts, and you don’t need an engineer to install it, then this downtime may last a matter of minutes.
If you’re moving into a new property, you may need to wait for a few days or weeks after setting up the contract for your router to arrive. It’s a good idea to get this sorted as far in advance of your move in date as possible for this reason.
Will an engineer need to visit?
If you’ve moving to a new type of connection (e.g. from ADSL to cable), you might need an engineer to visit in order to physically set up the new line. This can delay things a bit, so it’s worth getting this sorted as early in the process as possible.
Can you keep your landline number?
If you’re staying in the same house, but just changing provider, you should be able to keep your existing landline number.
Do you need technical knowledge?
The short answer is, no. Even if you choose a self-install option, which involves your provider simply sending a new router In the post, the instructions to set it all up will be clearly provided.
Should I switch to a new broadband provider?
If you're happy with the service you're getting from your current provider - and the price you're paying for it - then you probably don't need to switch. But there's no harm in having a look at the alternatives, especially if you're coming to the end of your current contract.
Compare broadband deals with usave and find the right package for you
usave's broadband comparison service is free and totally impartial. We gather deals from a range of top providers, all you need to do is choose the one that suits you best.
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Last reviewed: 11 February 2021
Next review: 11 March 2021