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Does broadband need a phone line?

Does broadband need a phone line?
(Image credit: PhotoAlto/Antoine Arraou)

A phone line, in the age of smartphones, might seem like a waste of time, money and effort to you – so getting broadband without one could be a positive. Perhaps you've already gone through the best broadband deals and found a few for you. The question is, can you get the best broadband without a phone line?

The short answer is yes. In fact some of the fastest broadband in the UK actually doesn't require or use a phone line at all. Since the fastest broadband is sent over fibre optic cables, and phone lines are metal, they're totally separate things.

So how can you get broadband without a phone line?

Why is a phone line needed with broadband?

Since a phone line isn't going to transmit the data of your broadband connection, why are so many providers insistent on you getting a phone? This is a legacy requirement. To cut a long story short, an arm of BT was responsible for installing and maintaining phone lines. It has also installed and maintains lots of the fibre optic cables across the country.

So, to cover the costs of the infrastructure setup and maintenance, it charges companies by making them require you to get a phone line with your broadband. 

Thankfully not every broadband company uses the BT broadband hardware.

Who offers broadband without a phone line?

Virgin Media is one company that has been putting the money up to install and maintain its own broadband network across the UK. As such it can offer you a broadband connection without the required phone line.

This sounds ideal but in reality this company also still needs to recoup it costs for the national hardware installation. So despite you not having to pay a phone line cost, this will still workout a similar price or even more. Yes, the broadband is very fast – some of the fastest in the UK, in fact – but it's also expensive.

Other providers include Hyperoptic for a hard line or there is the option of a 4G broadband offering available to you.

How much is broadband without a phone line?

Pricing varies widely depending on what package you go for. 

There are lots of options out there for you to check out, with hard wired superfast BT broadband where you will need a phone line, or Virgin Media broadband offering speeds over 300Mb where available, minus the faff of a phone line.

These high-speed options can be pricey though, so do consider which is best from the broader options out there. To get the cheapest but fastest in your area, we've taken the work out of searching for you in our fibre broadband deals feature. Of course many, other than Virgin Media, require a phone.

The key here is to consider if a phone line might actually be worth having as it could end up costing you less than not getting one. Then you have the back-up of a landline phone too, should you mobile be off or unreachable.

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Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.