In the next few weeks, broadband prices are due to rise by as much as 15%. As a result, if you're either out of contract or your contract is about to expire, then now is the perfect time to lock in a new deal.
If you're currently under contract, then you may have to pay these increased fees or risk facing a penalty for leaving your contract early. However, some of the top providers do allow customers to leave their contracts within 30 days of announcing a price rise. As a result, you should check your contract carefully and see whether these price rises apply to you, and whether you ca avoid paying them.
If you're in the market for a new broadband deal, then we're here to help. In this guide, we've put together a rundown of the best broadband deals available on the market today.
Looking for a new broadband deal in 2023? Well, the first thing you should know is that broadband deals tend to fall into one of a few categories - ADSL (slower and more affordable), fibre broadband deals (faster and usually slightly more expensive) and finally, broadband and TV deals (offering a bundle of internet and TV if you've got more money to spend).
Whether you're simply after something cheap and easy, lightning fast fibre speeds or you want to go all out with broadband, TV and extra add-ons, we've hunted down all the best broadband deals available from the country's top providers. If you already know what kind of broadband plan you want, simply use our price comparison widget below to compare the best and cheapest options from big names like TalkTalk, Virgin, BT and Sky.
Not sure what you need with your internet or want to learn more? Read this guide to the best broadband deals available today. You'll discover more about choosing fibre speeds, what broadband deals are currently available and lots more.
Which provider has the best broadband deals?
Today, customers have more choice than ever before when it comes to selecting an internet service provider (ISP). Although you've likely heard of a number of the largest players in the space such as Sky, Virgin Media and BT, a number of challenger brands also operate. Many of these can undercut the bigger and more popular suppliers.
The great news is that the vast majority of these lesser-known providers still use the Openreach network. This is the same network used by Sky and BT. It means that each of these providers can still provide fast and reliable connections to your home.
Of course, many of the ISPs have their own specialisms and unique selling points. For example, Virgin Media is known for providing the fastest speeds on the market. Meanwhile, Sky is best known for its impressive range of broadband and TV bundles.
With this in mind, here are the main broadband providers and the broadband deals they're best known for providing:
- Virgin: best for super-fast speeds
- Sky: best quad-play provider
- BT: best all-round internet provider
- Vodafone: affordable pricing for fibre internet
- Plusnet: frequently the cheapest provider for both fibre and ADSL
- TalkTalk: affordable internet across all categories
- Now Broadband: cheapest for broadband and TV
However, although these features are what the top providers are most-commonly known for, you should only use the above information as a guide.
After all, although each provider has its own specialisms, the majority offer a great range of broadband deals. For example, although Sky is best known for its selection of TV and internet bundles, both Virgin and BT do also offer internet deals that include TV packages. Similarly, although TalkTalk specialises in cheap packages, another provider in your area may offer an even cheaper deal.
As a result, before you purchase a broadband deal with one provider, you should scour the market to see what else is available. Keep in mind that various providers also offer special deals, discounts and offers throughout the year. This means the right provider for your needs could change on a monthly basis. This is particularly the case around the traditional Black Friday sales period, where some providers offer huge discounts (particularly on bundles).
Do I need ADSL or fibre broadband?
Whether you need an ADSL connection or fibre broadband will be determined by three main factors: where you live, how much you want to pay and what you use the internet for.
The physical location of your property may determine the type of connection you will need to sign up for. Although the fibre rollout is well underway, some people in rural areas still cannot access fibre connections. To check whether you can receive a fibre connection at your home, try a postcode checker (like the one at the top of this page).
If you're eligible for fibre, then you next need to consider whether this type of connection is right for you. To do this, it's best to consider what you use the internet for. If you only use the internet to send emails, check your social media and download movies in SD, then an ADSL internet deal might be the best option for you. ADSL connections provide you with the slowest speeds available, but the deals available are often the cheapest around.
However, if you regularly download in HD or UHD, have streaming requirements or live in a household where multiple people are trying to get online at the same time, then ADSL speeds are likely to be too slow for your needs. In these scenarios, you'll struggle with buffering and lag. Due to this, you'll be much better served by a fibre broadband deal. This is because fibre internet provides much faster speeds. However, as you may expect, these faster speeds do come at an additional cost.
Still unsure whether an ADSL or a fibre broadband deal is right for you? Well, the truth is that is that in today's modern world where people stream, download films and watch their favourite TV shows on Netflix, the majority of people now opt for fibre packages. Plus, because most providers now offer fibre deals, this has driven down the price of these options considerably and now means that fibre options are only a couple of pounds more per month than ADSL packages.
Of course, this doesn't automatically mean that a fibre internet deal is right for you and we still recommend that you do your research and run a broadband comparison before you make a commitment.
Which broadband speed do I need?
Broadband speeds are represented in megabits per second (Mbps). Generally speaking, the more Mbps, the faster the broadband speed.
However, before you buy a broadband deal, you should be aware that the advertised speed is actually the average speed provided. This means that the advertised speed won't necessarily be an accurate reflection of the speed you can expect to receive. This will be determined by what the connection is like in your area.
However, to help you work out which type of deal is likely to be best for you, here's a rundown of what some of the advertised average speeds mean in practical terms:
0-12Mbps - This entry-level broadband speed is transmitted via an ADSL connection to your nearest BT exchange. Now considered relatively old fashioned, ADSL connections have their downsides. However, if you live in a small household, you're the only person who uses the internet and you don't download films or play games online, this type of connection will still be suitable for your needs. Just be aware you may experience buffering and lag at times.
25-50Mbps - These speeds fall at the bottom end of the fibre broadband range and deals with these speeds are usually available at affordable prices. Generally speaking, these speeds are good for medium-sized households where multiple family members are continually online at the same time. They'll also work well if you download films in UHD. However, you may suffer some buffering if you live in a particularly large home.
50-100Mb - If you stream 4K TV regularly or live in a household where a number of people regularly try to use your broadband connection at once, then it may be worth paying more for speeds in this range. With these speeds, you're pretty much guaranteed lag-free use.
100Mb+ - These are the quickest speeds on the market and they're lightning quick. However, you should be aware that unless you live in a vast house, have loads of connected devices or every family member is continually streaming in UHD, you're unlikely to get much value. As a result, you should consider whether you actually need these speeds before you buy such a deal. If not, you'll find yourself paying a premium for a service you don't really need.
What is 'average' speed for broadband?
As we mentioned above, when you're in the market for a new broadband deal, you'll notice each offer you're shown comes with an 'average speed'. Put simply, this is an illustration of the speed you can expect to receive if you take out this package. However, it's not a guarantee of the speed you will actually receive.
Prior to May 2018, ISPs would advertise 'up to' speeds, which showed the maximum speed you could expect to receive when you signed up for a deal. However, the Advertising Standards Authority ultimately decided that customers were not receiving an accurate representation of the speeds they could expect.
As a result 'average' speeds were brought in. For advertising purposes, average in this context means the speed in Mbps that is received by over 50% of users in the UK between 8pm and 10pm (peak time).
As we mentioned though, the 'average' speed is not a guarantee of the speed you will actually receive at your property. For this reason, before you sign up with a provider, you should also check the minimum speed you're guaranteed to receive. By doing so, you can make sure that even this slower speed is enough to suit your needs.
Is fibre broadband available in my area?
The great news is that fibre broadband is now widely available across the country and can be accessed by 90% of households. On top of this, so-called 'Full Fibre' broadband is also now becoming much more widely available and can be accessed by more than 10 million homes.
But, although the vast majority of homes can now receive a fibre broadband connection, you should not take availability for granted. This is particularly the case if you live in a remote or rural location.
The good news is that it's quick and simple to check whether fibre broadband is available at your home address. To find out exactly what connections are available at your home, just scroll to the top of this page and provide us with your postcode. Using this information, we can run a broadband comparison and tell you whether you can get fast fibre broadband at your address. If you can, head over to our best fibre broadband deals guide to see all of your options and read the latest buying advice.
Broadband contracts and pricing:
What contract length should I go for?
Broadband deals vary in length from as little as one month to as long as two years. The right contract length for you will be primarily determined by your personal preferences.
While one-month broadband deals provide you with the ultimate in flexibility because you can change provider at (almost) any time, these deals tend to be the most expensive on the market. They also often come with large upfront costs.
By contrast, two-year deals usually cost less on a monthly basis and they usually come without upfront fees. If you time it right, you may also find that you receive a freebie for signing up, such as a gift card. However, the downside to a contract like this is that although you receive price certainty, you're locked in for a very long time and it can be expensive to leave your contract early.
Of course, a number of major providers also offer deals that last for either 12 months or 18 months, too. These provide slightly more flexibility but still lock you in for a longer period. Many also come with upfront fees.
Whether you opt for a short or a long-term deal, you must remember that your monthly tariff will be hiked at the conclusion of the contract. For this reason, when your contract is due to come to an end, we recommend you come back here and grab yourself another great deal.
Will I have to pay anything upfront for broadband?
Maybe! While some providers specialise in deals that don't charge any upfront fees, you'll find that the majority of the major and best-known providers do charge some form of delivery fee, setup fee or installation fee. However, the good news is that a number of these providers are often willing to waive these fees if you sign up for a long-term contract.
Overall, it's tricky to say how much you'll need to pay upfront when you take out a new broadband deal. This is because prices vary on a provider-by-provider basis. For example, while some providers will only charge £5 for the delivery of the router, others will charge for an engineer visit or for an activation cost. Generally speaking though, our research has revealed that the upfront cost people pay at the start of a new broadband contract ranges from between £10 and £60.
On top of this, you also must be aware that if you take out a broadband and TV package, you might be charged for the TV set-top box as well as broadband installation. The same can be said if you take out a broadband and phone package.
Do I have to pay more to have a phone line?
Whether or not you'll need to pay more to have a phone line depends on the exact deal you choose.
In 2023, many of the best broadband deals include a landline within the monthly price. However, not all deals work in this way and so-called 'broadband-only deals' are becoming increasingly popular. Some providers even specialise in these deals.
If you regularly use a landline to make and receive calls, you should make sure that a phone line is included within your package. If one isn't, then you'll need to add it at an additional cost.
On top of this, you should also be aware that if you add a personalised call plan to your package, it will become more expensive. If a landline is included in your deal then it will likely come with free calls at a certain time (such as on a weekend). If you want to add unlimited evening, daytime or international calls to your plan, it will likely cost more.
Broadband deals FAQ
Is Wi-Fi and broadband the same thing?
Yes and no. Although most people use the two terms interchangeably, they are actually different things. Let's explain...
In order to get a broadband connection, a cable is run from a cabinet on your street to your home. This cable is used to connect you to an internet service provider and it gives you a high-speed connection known as broadband.
Meanwhile, Wi-Fi is how your broadband connection is distributed to your devices, such as your laptops and smart devices. This process works wirelessly.
To add an extra confusing factor, it is possible to connect some devices directly to your router using an Ethernet cable. This then provides a faster connection.
Can I cancel my internet plan early?
Although you can cancel your internet plan early, we recommend that you only take this step if you absolutely have to. This is because it can be very costly.
Large cancellation fees are usually associated with ending your contract early. However, the exact amount you'll need to pay for leaving your contract will primarily be determined by your current provider and the amount of time you have left on your deal. While some internet service providers ask you to pay a certain amount per month you have left, others charge a flat fee.
To find out exactly how much it will cost you to exit your contract, you should check your contract. This should clearly state both what you need to do to cancel your contract early (you can't just cancel your direct debit) and how much it will cost.
My contract has ended, should I change plans?
If your current contract has ended or is due to end shortly, then you should use this page to find the best broadband deals available in your area. By doing so, you could save a considerable sum of money. You could also unlock faster speeds.
If you fail to run a broadband comparison and instead choose to just renew your current deal or allow your internet service provider to move you onto a different deal they've selected, then you'll likely not receive the best price for your broadband. Although this is undoubtedly the most convenient way for you to select a new deal, this tactic can also be incredibly costly.
If you instead actively hunt out the best deals, then you'll be able to save a considerable sum. If you like your current provider and you want to stay with them, then it's worth ringing them and haggling over price. However, you should be aware that most of the best deals are only available for new customers. This means that loyalty isn't often rewarded.
4G and 5G home broadband: what are they?
4G and 5G broadband solutions are different to the traditional fixed-line solutions we've spoken about here. This is because, rather than relying on fibre optic cables and landlines, they instead work like your smartphone does and they harness the power of mobile data.
This means that rather than using cables that enter your home, your router instead contains a SIM card that uses mobile data. It then sends this signal to your devices and allows them to connect to the internet in the same way they would if you had a traditional fixed-line connection.
Both 4G broadband and 5G broadband offer a number of benefits over traditional broadband options. For example, you can set your broadband up yourself. Plus, the solutions are portable (you can use them anywhere with a plug). On top of this, many also come with flexible contracts, including rolling one-month deals.
However, there are also downsides to 4G and 5G broadband options. For example, if you don't live in an area with a reliable 5G connection, then you can't purchase 5G home broadband. This means you can only select a 4G home broadband deal, which will be much slower than a fibre broadband package. Similarly, many plans come with data limits. These are easy to exceed if you like to download movies in UHD or regularly stream.