Back to top
Back to all guidesBack to all guides

Broadband Line Rental Explained

A guide explaining what line rental is, why you pay it and how to find the best broadband deal for your home.

Last updated: 19 January 2021

Broadband Line Rental Explained
Almost no one uses a landline telephone in 2020, but if you check your broadband bill you’ll probably find you are paying for line rental. In fact, some of the best broadband deals include a fee for line rental. But what is it? And why are you paying it if you don’t have a landline?

What is broadband line rental?

Even though you don’t use your landline, or maybe don’t have one at all, you will probably find line rental is part of your broadband bill. 

Line rental is a fee you pay to uphold maintenance of the copper lines that run between the streetside cabinets and your home. These old copper wires are what provide your home with a phone connection, and now broadband. 

Even if you have never used a landline you will still probably have to pay line rental to be connected to the internet. This is because that old copper wire still provides your connection to the internet. 

Why am I paying broadband line rental?

Almost all broadband connections need your phone line to connect you to the internet. 

BT owns the UK’s telephone network infrastructure, so your provider will be paying BT Openreach to get your home connected. Your provider then passes this cost on to you in the form of line rental. 

Whether or not you use your landline for the phone, your supplier will still charge you for its maintenance. This means that network faults will usually be repaired without you having to pay a one-off fee, but it does mean your broadband cost will have additional line rental fees attached. But this doesn’t mean you can’t find cheap broadband.

How much does line rental cost?

The price of line rental will vary depending on your broadband provider. You will usually find it costs you somewhere between £12 and £20. 

Make sure your include the cost of line rental in your broadband comparison search. Companies must include line rental in their advertised deals, so it should be easy to get a clear idea of what you’ll be paying. 

Can I get broadband without line rental?

It is possible to get a broadband connection without paying line rental, but you might have to hunt for these deals. Plus, they won’t necessarily be cheaper!

If you live in a rural area or your home is far from the nearest connection point, you might find broadband with line rental is too slow for your needs. If this is the case then searching for an alternative source might be best. 

Both mobile and satellite broadband come without a line rental fee. However, both can be expensive and tend to come with data limits. 

Opting for a Virgin Media package is another way to avoid paying for line rental. This is because it uses its own cable network, separate from Openreach. Virgin Media can guarantee you superfast broadband, but you will pay for the privilege. 

Are broadband and home phone bundle deals cheaper?

If cheap broadband is your priority, you probably won’t find it without line rental. It is always worth running a broadband comparison though, as the cost of your contract will depend upon a number of factors, including your internet usage. 

Choosing an alternative connection like mobile, satellite or a Virgin Media broadband package will stop line rental from appearing on your broadband bill, but it might not save you money. 

Can I get a broadband only deal?

Thanks to rules set by the Advertising Standards Agency in 2016, broadband providers can no longer advertise line rental costs separately. This means when you compare broadband you will see the full inclusive cost of your broadband contract, including line rental.

This means that broadband only deals are essentially a thing of the past. It is no longer possible for broadband providers to advertise the cost of their broadband without line rental so you shouldn’t have any nasty surprises on your bill.

How do I pay for broadband line rental?

Line rental will usually be included in the cost of your bill. Most providers will charge you a set amount each month. 

Some broadband providers offer a “line rental saver”. This lets you pay a larger sum initially but with smaller monthly repayments. Some providers will even let you pay for an entire year up front. You might want to look out for these options if you are on a tight monthly budget. 

If you are looking to save money on your broadband bills then you probably will pay for line rental, but you can still compare broadband to find the best package for your needs. 
Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

Broadband providers