What to consider when choosing the right broadband package:
What broadband speed do you need?
When comparing broadband deals, consider how many people will be using your home Wi-Fi connection and what they’ll be doing; the more people that are using your internet connection, the more bandwidth you will need.
Broadband speeds are represented as megabits per second (Mbps) and the number you see advertised will be the download speed.
- Recommended speed for small households (1-2 people) 30 Mbps+: Ideal for general internet use and streaming. If you cannot access a connection with this speed, ADSL will do fine for up to two people, but we will always recommend a fibre connection where possible.
- Recommended speed for medium households (3-4 people) 50Mbps+: A household with 3 or 4 people will require more bandwidth in order to prevent any drop outs. If you can get a connection with >50Mbps, we think this is what you should go for.
- Recommended speed for large households (5+ people) 100Mbps+: If you live in a flatshare or have a large family, we recommend opting for a connection speed greater than 80Mbps or even 100Mbps. It will help make sure no one is frustrated with slow speeds when multiple people jump online at once.
The above should give you a very general idea of the bandwidth you should look for in a new internet package. If you are into gaming or are a power user it might be a good idea to look into investing in gigabit internet, or another ultrafast or hyperfast connection.
For more information on what broadband speed you should get, read our helpful guide What broadband speed do I need?
If you’re not sure what speed your current connection provides, you can find this out easily with our broadband speed test.
The length of the contract:
You can save money and earn perks (including free setup) by signing up for a longer deal, but you’ll sacrifice flexibility. Most providers will charge you a cancellation fee if you quit before the end of your contract.
Consider not only the monthly cost, but also any upfront costs that come with a new contract. This can include equipment fees for routers, delivery, or installation fees.
We make these fees clear on all our listings, to make selecting a broadband deal simpler for you.
If you use our postcode checker, we sort all the internet packages available to you by overall cost, from lowest price to the highest. This means you will be able to quickly identify the cheapest broadband deals available in your area.
Also interested in a new television subscription, or are you looking for a new mobile sim?
Many broadband providers offer bundling options with their internet packages, meaning you can add on products like the below:
- Television subscriptions (e.g. Sky, BT, Virgin)
- Unlimited telephone calls (UK, mobile, international)
- Mobile sims (Virgin)
There are quite a few bundling options available, and their prices can vary quite a bit, so make sure you do your research before you commit to a new contract.
Perks and incentives:
Some broadband providers will offer free gifts as an incentive, including cashback, reward cards, subscriptions, or free tech.
Both BT and Plusnet do this regularly, but they are not the only ones! To compare broadband packages with perks and incentives, go to our broadband deals with free gifts page.
Many providers use Openreach cables, essentially supplying the same broadband service. As a result, customer service is probably the main differentiator between ISPs.
To make your life easier, we have compiled a list of the best and worst broadband providers, where we detail how well major UK broadband providers stacked up against each other in terms of customer service.
Terms and conditions:
It’s important to read the fine print of any contract, so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Look out especially for any information about exiting the contract, including penalties for leaving early and the circumstances under which you can duck out without paying any fees.
You’ll also want to take note of any download limits or traffic management policies that your ISP might employ.
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What types of internet connection are there?
Before you look through specific broadband options, you should know what type of deal you’re after - whether it’s a superfast fibre connection or a slower ADSL connection.
Superfast fibre optic:
Fibre broadband delivers internet over fibre optic cables. Superfast broadband connections (available from most broadband providers) with download speeds of over 24 Mbps, are usually FTTC broadband, or fibre to the cabinet.
These connections use fibre optic cables between the local phone exchange and your street cabinet, but make the final leg of the journey (to your doorstep and router) on the copper wires of the existing telephone network.
Some providers, like Virgin Media, offer cable connections, which use coaxial cables for that last stretch. Cable is usually faster than FTTC connections, but comparable to FTTP connections.
Ultrafast & G.Fast:
A few providers offer now ultrafast broadband, which delivers average download speeds exceeding 100 Mbps. Ultrafast broadband isn't yet available everywhere in the country, and tends to cost more than standard fibre. If you're a heavy user, however, it can be worthwhile.
G.Fast is a fibre optic/copper phone line hybrid, which uses different frequencies to deliver internet over the same infrastructure that FTTC does, at speeds of up to 300 Mbps. However, G.Fast connections are only available to a small percentage of UK homes.
A postcode search will tell you if these ultrafast connections have reached your neighbourhood.
ADSL, also known as standard broadband, operates over the copper wires of the landline phone network and delivers average download speeds of between 10 and 11 Mbps.
ADSL broadband plans are typically the cheapest broadband deals on the market, starting at around £17 a month including line rental.
We won’t ever recommend a household opt for an ADSL connection, unless they have no other choice. The technology used for ADSL is quite dated, and will struggle to cope with multiple people using the internet at once.
Mobile broadband connections usually utilise a 4G or 5G connection to connection your device to the internet.
We usually recommend these for people who want to use their internet on the go, but these connections can also be good for people who live rurally and are limited in terms of the cabled connections they can receive.
Satellite broadband is useful if you do not have access to a conventional internet connection, such as ADSL or Fibre. It is not very reliable however, and can be quite expensive.
What broadband bundles are there?
Broadband & TV bundles:
Many ISPs bundle together broadband connections with live or on-demand TV packages. If you want more channels and streaming options than what Freeview and a Netflix subscription can offer, you might want to consider a triple play (that’s broadband, landline, and TV) bundle from providers like Sky, Virgin Media, BT, or NOW.
With the exception of some deals from NOW and Virgin Media, available on a 30-day rolling basis, you’ll usually need to sign up to a 12+ month contract to access these services. But after signing up you’ll typically get a set-top box, with the ability to pause, rewind, and record live TV, and access to dozens of channels, movies, and box sets.
You’ll want your provider to cater to your TV viewing habits:
A fan of the buzz-worthy US TV imports that typically land on Sky Atlantic? You’ll want to sign up for a bundle from Sky or one through NOW that comes with some premium Sky channels.
Want the most channels possible, and the ability to view them on multiple devices simultaneously? Consider Virgin Media or Sky, which offer the most comprehensive TV packages.
To find a broadband and TV bundle deal that suits you, head over to our broadband and TV page.
Broadband and phone:
Most broadband packages come with a line rental fee, which is typically included in the monthly cost of your broadband connection. You’ll usually have to pay this regardless of whether you ever make any landline calls.
Some packages come with free calls included at certain times (evenings or weekends), but the cheapest deals will be pay as you go. To find a broadband and home phone package that’s right for you, head over to our broadband and phone page.
Broadband deals without line rental are available, but they won't always be much cheaper than other plans, and your choice of providers may be more limited. See our broadband only page for more.
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What is the cheapest broadband deal in the UK?
The cheapest deal in the UK is from Plusnet. With the included reward card, this ADSL deal comes in at less than £14 per month!
£50 Plusnet Reward Card
10Mb / second
£18.99 / month
£0 upfront fees
What is the best broadband deal right now?
In our opinion, the best all-round deal available in terms of price, availability, and speed, is the Vodafone Superfast 2 internet package.
With a 67Mbps download speed, unlimited data, a price of just £20 per month, and no upfront costs, there are few packages that are better value for money.
67Mb / second
£20.50 / month
£0 upfront fees
Frequently asked questions about switching broadband
How do I switch broadband providers?
Its pretty simple; put your postcode in on this page to see what deals are available to you.
If you like the look of any of the broadband deals in your area, click on the package in question and you will be taken to the provider’s website.
Follow the instructions there, and you will then be set a date where your new internet connection will be installed.
If you are setting up a brand new connection (for example, you have just moved into a new property), or are switching from one Openreach provider to another, you don’t need to do anything else; they will connect you within a matter of weeks, and inform you if a provider needs to come round.
If you are with a non-Openreach provider already (e.g. Virgin, Hyperoptic, or Gigaclear) and moving (or vice-versa) you will need to contact your old provider and let them know you are cancelling your connection and moving to a new provider. Be careful here, if you cancel within a contract you might be charged an early cancellation fee!
What is unlimited broadband?
Unlimited downloads, or unlimited broadband, means you can download as much data and watch as many online videos as you want.
These days, most home broadband packages come without a data limit on downloads as standard, so you can browse, stream and game to your heart’s content.
For more information on this, see our page on unlimited broadband deals.
Will I lose my connection/ have downtime when I switch internet?
You’ll usually have a short amount of down time before your new connection is set up. If your old contract ends on the day your new one starts, and you don’t need an engineer to install it, then this downtime may last just a matter of minutes.
But 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. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get this sorted as far in advance of your moving date as possible.
Will an engineer have to visit my home?
This depends on your circumstances and the provider.
If you’ve switching to a new type of connection (e.g. from standard broadband to full fibre), you might need an engineer to visit your home in order to physically set up the new line.
If you are switching from an Openreach provider to a non-Openreach provider, or vice-versa, you will probably need an engineer to come round to set this up.
This can delay things a bit, so it’s worth getting this sorted as early as possible.
Can I keep my landline number?
If you’re staying in the same house, but just changing provider, you should be able to keep your existing landline number. Be sure to speak with your new internet provider when you switch to make sure this goes through.
Do I need technical knowledge to switch my broadband?
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.
Why can’t I see any offers from my preferred provider after entering my postcode?
Unfortunately, not everyone has a full range of choice when it comes to choosing their next broadband provider. This is because not all providers cover the whole of the UK yet.
BT, and other providers who use its Openreach network, should be available to the vast majority of postcodes. However, Virgin Media is currently available in just over 44% of UK households, while providers like Hyperoptic and Gigaclear cover even smaller areas. To see which providers operate where you live, simply enter your postcode into our broadband comparison tool.