The short answer is no. It’s something we are asked a lot, and we want to debunk any myths you may have heard about these illusive free broadband packages.
Don’t fret, though. This guide gives an overview of so-called free broadband, past and present, and points to some ways you can make a saving on your internet costs.
Why can’t I find any free broadband deals anymore?
Until quite recently, we were all quite accustomed to seeing adverts from major internet providers like Sky, BT and TalkTalk, promising free broadband as part of a larger package. These companies were hiding extra costs like line rental and installation, which eventually drove up the overall cost.
Thanks to customer reports and investigations from regulatory bodies, this has since been dealt with. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) introduced regulations a few years ago that prevented providers from separating the cost of broadband and line rental. This more transparent advertising method means the price you see for a broadband deal must cover all of the bundled services - what you see now is what you get.
How has this affected broadband pricing?
Even though you can’t get free broadband deals anymore, there are several options for those wishing to save money on their internet.
There are lots of cheap broadband deals from providers such as Sky Broadband, Origin and Plusnet that offer phone and broadband at a discount for the first 12-18 months. Even when you include the line rental cost, they often work out as cheap as the free broadband packages of old.
To get the most comprehensive overview, you should check out our broadband deal comparison tool to find the best deal for you.
What are some of the alternatives to free broadband?
Now that providers can’t reel you in with false promises of free broadband, they are more inclined to offer essential set-up/installation services for free. This will only be the case if you already have an active phone line. They might also reel you in with the promise of shiny free extras.
No Set-Up Fees:
When a deal promises no set-up fees, it means you don’t have to pay anything extra to sign up for the service. It’s guaranteed to not be a huge saving, but can be an attractive part of a larger deal.
Some companies will also offer free postage and installation of your Wi-Fi router.
Given the highly competitive market and the ASA making it more difficult for companies to lie, broadband providers are eager to draw people in with free gifts. Here’s a list of some of the most common extras you’ll find:
- Gift Vouchers - usually for companies like Amazon and M&S.
- Prepaid Credit Cards - these are generally better value because you can spend them anywhere
- Cashback promotions - ISPs provide customers with cashback rewards either in the form of a cheque or bill credit.
- Electronic Gadgets - this is less common but companies have been known to offer TVs, laptops and bluetooth speakers.
Can I get free or subsidised broadband if I receive benefits?
Yes. If you are on specific low income benefits in the UK, you may be eligible for BT Basic + Broadband. For £9.95 per month (this includes line rental), you can get broadband with an average speed of 10Mbps, and 15GB of monthly usage. This also includes free access to the nationwide BT Wi-Fi Hotspot network.
There are other budget options that provide unlimited broadband, which start at around £15 per month.