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Can students get free internet?

Find out how to make the most of free internet as a student.

Last updated: 03 March 2021

Can students get free internet?
Find out how to make the most of free internet as a student.

How to get free internet as a student

Most cities in the UK have free public WiFi in certain locations, where speeds should be good enough for general browsing and scouring social media. Similarly, many of the best-known ISPs have WiFi hotspots up and down the country. If you have a Sky, BT or Virgin Media broadband or mobile package, take advantage of free WiFi on offer.

Libraries and your university campus also offer free WiFi, as do most cafes, pubs and even shops. If you spend the bulk of your days out and about you should be able to get by for free fairly well.

In halls of residence and in many student houses, broadband bills will be included in your rent. While not technically free, it’ll feel free as you won’t be paying for a deal yourself.

What other options are there for students?

Unfortunately, even for students, broadband deals don’t come for free. At least, we haven’t yet found any.

However, many providers offer very affordable deals. You can find entry-level packages for as little as £18 per month for standard ADSL broadband; or if you need something faster – as most students will – you can find fibre broadband deals starting from around £22 per month.

If you're in halls or private student accommodation, you might find that internet comes included, so while it's not free, it'll be bundled into your rent.

Limited-time free internet

The broadband market is competitive. To get your custom, you’ll often find providers offering a number of months’ worth of broadband for free as part of your wider contract. When you see these, check what the standard cost would be once this grace period is over – that way you can be sure you’re getting a good deal.

Free set-up, line rental and other freebies

When looking for cheap broadband as a student, consider deals that offer free set-up, routers or line-rental. These are often hidden costs that can make a seemingly cheap deal fairly costly.

While no broadband providers offer completely free internet, you should always look out for freebies or sign-up offers. You can get TV subscriptions, gift cards and account credit for free instead, so weigh up what you could save this way.  

What about internet vouchers?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, UK mobile operators have been giving free unlimited data allowances to schoolchildren, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. While this hasn’t yet extended to students, watch this space as there could well be some deals on the horizon to account for increased reliance on home broadband.

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.