What is no contract broadband?
While most broadband packages have a contract length of either 12, 18 or 24 months, a no contract broadband deal offers you much more flexibility with minimum terms of just a month. This means you are not committed to any long-term contract, so if you’re unhappy with your broadband provider – or you just simply don’t need a constant internet connection for such a long period of time – you are free to leave at the end of each month at no extra cost. Long-term contracts usually come with costly early exit fees. Unless there are genuine problems with your connection, such as major technical faults or extremely slow speeds, you will be charged a costly fee to cancel your contract or switch to another internet service provider.
Short and long-term broadband contracts will both provide you with the same thing – a fast and reliable internet connection. You will be able to find a wide range of connection types (both ADSL broadband and superfast fibre packages), download speeds, monthly prices and set-up fees on both types of contract. The most obvious difference between the two is the length of contract. However, short term contracts will usually cost you more on a monthly basis, so when you compare internet deals you need to weigh up the flexibility with the costs.
Benefits of broadband without a monthly contract
The biggest advantage of a no contract broadband plan is the flexibility. You’re free to cancel your broadband service at any time, without the exit fees you will have to pay on a long-term broadband contract.
There are many reasons why you might want to cancel your broadband connection. You may be unhappy with your current broadband provider. Maybe they’ve recently raised their prices, or your internet connection is consistently unreliable or slow. Or maybe your own living situation has changed. You might have been offered a new job in a different area of the country, so you need to move home at short notice. Or you’re renting and you move about quite a lot. You could also have a second home that you only live in at certain times of the year, and therefore don’t need an internet connection for the full 12 months. Whatever your situation, if you’re after flexibility, then a no contract broadband package could be for you.
Drawbacks to getting broadband without a contract
No contract broadband usually costs more per month than traditional tariffs do. When you commit to a longer period of time, you will be rewarded with discounted prices. So, with no contract broadband you’re paying more for the flexibility.
Most broadband packages will also come with a set-up fee, which can be as high as £70 with some providers. And if you want to switch providers at the end of the month because you’ve found a better deal, you will have to pay another set-up fee. These fees can cancel out any savings you make on the monthly cost. With a long term contract, you can be sure that you don’t have to worry about any more set-up fees once you’ve paid for the first one.
Also, while you can still find added bonuses on broadband offers without a monthly contract, they are usually not as enticing as the ones you will find a longer contract. Some longer deals could offer you unlimited streaming on Netflix or another streaming service for a whole year - an offer you’re unlikely to find on short term broadband deals.
Which providers offer no contract broadband?
No contract broadband packages are becoming more and more common, and there are now a few different broadband providers to choose from. The two main providers of no contract broadband are:
- NOW Broadband offer all of their packages with a monthly contract option, and they often come with added bonuses such as access to Sky Cinema for a month.
- Virgin Media also offer all of their broadband packages on a monthly basis, including top tier packages with an average speed of 350Mbps+.
- Hyperoptic has also begun to offer all of its pacakges on a rolling, monthly basis, with speeds reaching 900Mbps on its top deal. It's currently only availble in limited pockets of certain urban areas, however.
NOW Broadband and Virgin Media offer no contract broadband year-round, however there are a number of other providers who offer seasonal, short-term student broadband packages, including:
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Other options for no-contract broadband
No contract broadband will usually have a higher monthly cost than a standard 12 or 18-month contract. It can be expensive if you only need internet access for a short period of time. So, what are the alternatives? Well, mobile broadband could be one solution, which could involve a dongle, MiFi device, or tethering. Here are some options to consider:
- Dongles: An internet dongle is a portable device that you can plug into your laptop’s USB port, allowing you to connect to the internet anywhere.
- MiFi: Uses a portable router (larger than dongles) that allow you to connect multiple devices to the internet at once.
- 4G Tethering: Smartphones can be used as portable routers by sharing their 4G connection with other devices, also known as ‘hotspotting’.
- Public WiFi: If you only need to use the internet for a short time and don’t fancy paying for it, take your phone, tablet or laptop to a public WiFi spot to take advantage of the free connection. WiFi hotspots can almost always be found in cafes, bars, train stations and other locations.
Last reviewed: 20 October 2021
Next review: 20 November 2021