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The best broadband deals in May 2022

Thankfully, searching for broadband deals is something you only ever have to do once every couple of years. And while it's far from the most glamorous purchase you'll make, it's certainly one of the most important.

Because if you hunt down the best broadband deal for the needs of you and your household, you'll ensure that you get the cheapest possible bills for the foreseeable future. And, if you time it right, there may even be an extra freebie or incentive in it for you, too.

Whether you're simply after something cheap and easy, some lightning fast fibre speeds or, you want to go all out with broadband, TV and extra add-ons, there is something for everyone in our broadband comparison...

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Broadband deals tends 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.

Already know what kind of broadband plan you want? Simply use the price comparison chart above 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 on to find out more about choosing fibre speeds, what the best broadband deals are and plenty more.

Which provider has the best broadband deals?

There is a lot of providers offering a wide range of broadband deals, making it difficult to know which plan is best for you. Some offer cheap bills, other fast speeds but each ISP has a unique aspect that makes it worth your time.

  • Virgin broadband:  best for super-fast speeds
  • Sky broadband: best quad-play provider
  • BT broadband: 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 

What speeds can I get with broadband deals?

Fibre broadband deals

(Image credit: CASEZY)

What broadband speed do I need?

Broadband deals tends 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.

Super fast fibre broadband deals may sound appetising, but they may not be necessary for your home - especially if you want to cut costs. It could be worth considering slower, cheaper ADSL internet instead.

Broadband speeds are represented in megabits per second, or Mb. Crudely speaking, the more Mbs, the faster the broadband speed. But remember that the advertised speed is the 'average' (more on which below) and doesn't necessarily represent the actual speed you'll end up getting. That varies depending where you live.

0-12Mb This entry-level broadband speed is transmitted via an ADSL connection to your nearest BT exchange. The equivalent to just over 1MB per second, It should be fast enough for small households where only one or two people are using the internet at once. Be aware that if you stream TV, you may experience the odd interruption.

25-50Mb Where Virgin led the way, the rest followed. Now every big provider offers rapid fibre broadband. This is the sweet spot between fast speeds and good value and just the ticket for a family household where four or five members are all streaming, downloading and surfing at once.

50-100Mb If you stream 4K TV or have loads of people trying to use your broadband connection at once, then it may be worth shelling out for the extra speed. It may cost you more, but you're pretty much guaranteed lag-free use - plus, the providers often sweeten the deal with added extras and rewards. 100Mb+ Now we're getting really fast. But we'll be honest, at this point you're only really getting value out of this if you're needing to enhance your upgrade speeds or living in a house with loads of devices connected.

What is 'average' speed for broadband?

Since May 2018, the Advertising Standards Authority changed the requirements for how internet providers promote the speed of their service. Instead of 'up to' speeds, they must now give an 'average'.

For these purposes, average means the speed in Mb received by over 50% of their users between the peak usage hours of 8pm and 10pm in the UK. You're not guaranteed that speed though, so double check with the provider exactly what their minimum speed provisions are.

Is fibre broadband available in my area?

There's one very easy way to find out...scroll to the top of this page and input your postcode. We'll tell you straight away whether you can get fast fibre broadband - alternatively head over to our best fibre deals guide for all your options and some handy buying advice.

Roughly speaking, 90% of UK homes now have the option of connecting to fibre broadband. But if you have your heart on Virgin Media fibre optic broadband deals, it's more like around 60%.

Broadband contracts and pricing:

What contract length should I go for?

Most broadband providers lock you in for at least 12 months, with one year plans being by far the most common.  That said, perhaps taking their cue from mobile phone contracts, we are now seeing some providers experimenting with longer plans, with 18 month contracts rearing their heads and becoming increasingly popular and brands like Vodafone and BT stretching to 24 months.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some providers now offer short term rolling contracts. Virgin Media, for example, have 30 day plans for commitment-phobes. The downside is you'll be expected to play a larger setup fee.

When your contract comes to an end, be prepared for your monthly tariff to be hiked - especially if you were lucky enough to get a great introductory offer at the outset.

Will I have to pay anything upfront for broadband?

Possibly. Sometimes known as 'setup', 'upfront' or 'activation' fees, most of the major broadband providers ask for at least some payment when you kick off your contract, even if it's just to cover the cost of delivering your new router. The amount usually depends on what level of package you go for, but it will likely be somewhere between £10 and £60.

But plenty of providers now bucks the old trend and have scrapped their activation fee completely (TalkTalk for example), while others run frequent promotions where they temporarily scrap their upfront cost.

There may be other added extras, too, however. If you take a broadband and TV package, you might be charged for the TV set-top box - that could be totally worth it if you don't already have a device to pause and record live TV.

Do I have to pay more to have a phone line?

If you still use a home landline to make and receive calls, you're in luck - many broadband plans don't  just feature a landline, but they actually include it in your monthly price.

You will have to start paying more though when you have a personalised call plan. You'll see your standard monthly bill begin to escalate when you start adding unlimited evening, daytime or international calls to the mix.

Broadband deals FAQ

Switch broadband providers

(Image credit: Kittichai Boonpong / EyeEm)

Is Wi-Fi and broadband the same thing?

Yes and no. For the majority of broadband deals now available, you will be getting both Wi-Fi and broadband. 

Wi-Fi is what enables you to connect your laptop and phone...you guessed it, through wireless connections. This is achieved thanks to the routers that come with your broadband package.

Broadband however is the actual Ethernet, meaning having to connect your device via an Ethernet cable.

Can I cancel my internet plan early?

Cancelling your internet plan early is possible but usually it will cost you a decent amount to do so. Most ISPs carry early-cancellation fees with some asking you to pay per month that you have left, some a percentage or some a flat fee.

While you can cancel early, if you are able to ride it out, this will be the better option, saving you a large amount of money.

My contract has ended, should I change plans?

Yes...always yes! When broadband deals come to an end you end up rolling on but the costs sky-rocket up. This could leave you paying double or even more for the same plan.

When your internet package is coming to an end, take a look at what is available and see if you could get better speeds, prices or freebies somewhere else.

4G and 5G home broadband: what are they?

In recent years, many alternatives have been proposed to broadband, offering more flexible solutions, cheaper plans and other options.

Of all of those alternatives, 4G home broadband has been the most popular and effective. This works by placing a SIM card inside a router, amplifying its connection out to a room/house.

This offers a few key benefits that normal broadband deals can't quite achieve. Most obviously, it doesn't need a set-up process, it can be taken anywhere there is electricity for it to be powered and it offers much more flexible contracts.

Yes, it isn't as powerful as regular broadband but if you can't get fibre where you live, are in need of a temporary solution or any other factor or any other factor that applies, this could be the perfect way to go.

Adam Marshall
Adam Marshall

Adam is the Content Director of Subscriptions and Services at Future, meaning that he oversees many of the articles TechRadar produces about antivirus software, VPN, TV streaming, broadband and mobile phone contracts - from buying guides and deals news, to industry interest pieces and reviews. Leading and developing a great team, Adam can still be seen dusting his keyboard off to write articles for the likes of TechRadar, T3 and Tom's Guide, having now written about cybersecurity topics for the best part of a decade.