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The best cheap broadband only deals in May 2022

Broadband deals have now got so cheap that it's possible to get yourself online for around £15 per month. So if you're not too bothered about the fastest speeds or jam-packed TV bundles, you can save a lot of money with a cheap broadband only deal.

And even then, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to completely compromise, as there are a number of affordable fibre plans available, too. You can find a few offers in the £20 region.

If you're ready to score some cheap broadband only deals, we've surfaced the lowest cost available internet offers in the UK below.

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Which cheap broadband plan is best?

Which provider has the cheapest broadband deals?

  • Plusnet: frequently the UK's cheapest
  • Virgin: lowest prices on super-fast fibre
  • Now Broadband: cheap plans for broadband and TV
  • Vodafone: affordable offers on fibre internet
  • TalkTalk: excellent prices across ADSL, fibre and TV

What is the cheapest broadband deal?

The cheapest broadband deal is going to change frequently but certain brands frequently take the top spot. Both Plusnet and Onestream are often the most affordable providers out there.

Currently Shell Energy has the cheapest broadband deal out there. It will only cost you £15.99 a month putting it a fair bit below the competition right now.

Alternatively, Plusnet's ADSL plan is also very affordable, only costing £18.95 a month and, you'll get a £75 Mastercard with it too!

What should you consider in cheap broadband?

cheap broadband deals

(Image credit: CASEZY)

What kind of speeds do I need?

There are several levels of speeds available when it comes to broadband but the cheapest options tend to fall on the slower end. If you're looking to stay on a budget, you'll be looking at either fibre or ADSL.

ADSL speeds - average 10-11Mb:
This is what you'll receive with most of the cheapest broadband plans. It comes with speeds averaging 10-11Mb which isn't exactly the fastest speeds out there.

It will work perfectly fine if you're just using the internet for light SD streaming, emails, searching the web and other similar tasks. However, if you're looking to do more than that, live in a big household or have a lot of gadgets connected at the same time, this is going to struggle.

Fibre speeds - average 34-37Mb:
Fibre is the next step up in terms of speeds. It tends to average around 34-37Mb. This jump up is significant and is the option we would advise most people to go for.

Not only will it allow you to stream in HD with a lot less buffering but it will be great for working from home, houses with lots of smart gadgets or if there is 3 or more people using the internet.

Faster than fibre:
You can get packages that are faster than this but they do require much higher prices. Faster Fibre and Ultrafast internet are upgraded versions of the above but can cost well in excess of £30 a month.

Should I get ADSL or upgrade to fibre?

If you're after the absolute cheapest prices on internet, you're going to have to stick with ADSL. This is the slower form of broadband, limited to the use of copper wires and speeds averaging around the 10Mb mark.

While this will work for some, it's going to prove too slow for most people's needs. For the rest of people, the upgrade to fibre internet will be a necessary move.

Luckily, fibre is now readily available in almost the whole of the country with just a few spots still missing it. And, it has come way down in price over time, now with some plans only costing slightly more than ADSL.

If you are looking to keep your bills low, we would recommend also considering fibre as you may find that while your costs are low with ADSL, the speeds could inconvenience you.

What length contracts are available?

Broadband contract lengths tend to be one of three options: 12, 18 or 24 month contracts. There is also occasionally 9 month or 1 month options but these are rare and often more expensive.

24 month contracts have quickly become the most common option with BT, Vodafone and TalkTalk moving to them. However, Plusnet, Onestream, John Lewis and a few other brands offer 12 month plans.

Virgin most frequently focuses on 18 month plans but occasionally offers 12 or 24 month promotions as well.

Can I include TV or a phone line with cheap broadband?

While both a phone line and TV plan can up the prices significantly, there is still some cheap options available. For those interested in a phone line, most plans include one in some form.

However, for anytime calls you will often need to pay an extra monthly fee or opt for a more expensive package like Virgin's 'Ultimate Oomph bundle'.

If it's broadband and TV deals you're after, again for most plans you'll have to pay more. However, both Virgin and Now Broadband offer some excellent options on more of a budget, as well as TalkTalk. use our broadband and TV deals guide to find out more.

Are there any cheap alternatives to broadband?

While broadband is going to be the obvious choice for most people, there are other affordable ways to get internet in your home. These can be more flexible, more affordable or just more convenient for where you live.

4G and 5G home broadband:

This is the closest you're going to get to an alternative for broadband. 4G home broadband is a system that utilises a SIM card in a special router to pump internet around your home.

It is a much more flexible option, allowing you to use it anywhere it can be plugged in. On top of this, it is often more affordable, offers more choice with contract lengths and can be used anywhere there is a 4G signal.

Certain brands like EE and Three now also offer 5G versions of home broadband, perfect for anyone in a 5G region. However, 5G home broadband is more expensive and is rare to find areas it will work in.

Three Home Broadband 4G Hub

Three Home Broadband 4G Hub | 24-month  | FREE upfront | 12 month contract | Unlimited data | £22 a month
Three's 4G Hubs are arguably the best value 4G home broadband deals around right now. It starts at £22 a month while offering unlimited data. With Three, you can select from a 24 month, 12 month or 1 month contract at different price points. Three also offers the 4G Hub with Apple TV, an Amazon Echo Show or with a Google speaker for an added cost.

Mobile broadband:

Mobile broadband is unlikely to be the best alternative to regular broadband. It is the least powerful alternative and often provides routers that need charging.

However, it can be taken on the move, doesn't need to be plugged in, is very affordable and often offers very flexible contracts. This is a great option if you need a temporary fix or haven't decided which broadband plan to go for yet.

SIM plans:

Yes...SIM plans. While they're for your phone and not necessarily designed for mass use in the home, a SIM plan can actually be a great way to get coverage in your home.

This could be the same SIM you use in your phone, saving you from having to pay for a phone contract and internet or it could be one you get separately and put inside a router for a more affordable alternative.

There are plenty of great SIM only deals out there but something with an unlimited data supply is going to serve you best here.

Cheap broadband deals: provider breakdowns

BT Broadband

BT Broadband
Granted, BT is by no means the cheapest provider of internet out there. However, BT frequently throws in massive Mastercard rewards and offers the occasional price cut meaning if you get in there at the right time, BT can offer some excellent value on your internet.

Virgin Broadband

Virgin Broadband
Like BT above, Virgin isn't naturally affordable, it's in fact one of the most expensive providers but also like BT, it offers a tremendous amount of offers and discounts. If you can land one of its major cuts in price or free gifts, Virgin can occasionally be one of the cheapest options around.

TalkTalk Broadband

TalkTalk Broadband
TalkTalk is an excellent option for cheap fibre broadband deals. We often see it competing with Vodafone to be the best value option when it comes to faster internet. The same goes for its ADSL plans where it is often discounted.

Plusnet Broadband

Plusnet Broadband
Plusnet frequently manages to take the top spot for cheapest broadband deals, undercutting the market with the lowest costs on both fibre and ADSL. That's thanks to a mix of some big Mastercard rewards and low prices.

Vodafone Broadband

Vodafone Broadband
Vodafone just seems to be the best value provider of fibre internet. It is almost always one of the top choices and frequently throws in a promotion where you can upgrade to its fastest speeds without paying any extra costs.

John Lewis Broadband

John Lewis Broadband
Not just a company offering clothes, TVs and more, John Lewis also does broadband - who knew?! John Lewis has carved a spot for itself on the cheaper side of things, offering some strong prices on ADSL internet as well as frequently throwing in gift cards for the John Lewis website.

Sky Broadband

Sky Broadband
Sky has a hard time fitting in with the cheap broadband deals. It is frequently the most expensive provider of internet due to its complicated plans and big add-ons. However, if you do see a major drop in price on Sky, it is well worth grabbing due simply to the massive amount of features you'll be getting for your money.

Shell Energy Broadband

Shell Energy Broadband
Not exactly the best known name in internet, Shell Energy is a bit of a new addition. Where it strives is in its ability to offer some impressively low bills and for existing Shell Energy customers, a decent discount.

Alex is a journalist who has written extensively about all things broadband, SIMs and phone contracts, as well as scouring the internet to land you the best prices on the very latest in gadgets and tech. Whether that be with the latest iPhones and Android handsets, breaking down how broadband works or revealing the cheapest SIM plans, he's in the know, and will help you land a bargain.