The best broadband deals for Christmas 2018

You've made it! This TechRadar broadband deals guide marks the spot if the treasure you seek is the best value internet deals in the UK today. Pop your postcode into the price comparison above and use the handy set of filters to narrow down the perfect plan for you - it literally takes less than a minute to compare the UK's best broadband deals. Alternatively, you can see our handpicked favourites for fibre (if you can get it), broadband and TV packages and cheap broadband only plans that are really impressing us this month all below.

For example, you can get Superfast BT broadband for under £30 per month, with its fibre broadband plus £100 pre-paid Mastercard - that's better than it was on Black Friday! And if fibre is indeed your flavour, we like the look of Plusnet at the moment as well, with its sub-£25 bills and chunky cashback.

And if you're undecided as to what kind of broadband deal you need, then keep reading for some handy buying advice. Do you need superfast fibre broadband? Should you go for a cheap broadband only deal for less than £20 per month, or add TV and phone plans to your internet package? There are dozens upon dozens of combinations to pick from, with providers such as Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk all fighting for your business.

best broadband deals

Fibre broadband deals: top 3 in the UK this month (subject to availability at your postcode)

BT Superfast Fibre Unlimited | 18 months | 50Mb avg speed | Weekend calls | £9.99 upfront | £29.99pm
BT remains the most popular broadband provider around, and not only because of its familiar brand. Its best value fibre broadband plan combines incredible 50Mb average speeds, free connection, a £100 pre-paid Mastercard when you sign up. Standard broadband costs £5 less a month. Total cost of 18 months £569.81

Buy this deal from BT - or call 0800-587-1366 to order by phone

Onestream Jetstream Fibre Unlimited Broadband | 12 month contract | 35Mb average speed | Line rental inc. | FREE activation | £9.99 delivery | £19.95 per month
Onestream showing once again that they can compete for the title of cheapest broadband. For just £19.95 a month you can get your hands on this fibre broadband package - that makes it one of cheapest in the UK. The only other payment you'll have to make is a £9.99 upfront fee, we're telling you now you won't find better than this. Total cost of 18 months £249.39

Get cheap fibre from Onestream here

Virgin Media VIVID 50 | 12 months | 108Mb avg speed | Weekend calls | £25 set-up | £27 per month
Quite simply, this is the lowest price you can pay for Virgin's super fast internet. It costs just £27 per month for speeds of over 50Mb. Weekend calls are included, too. Only around 60% of the UK can get Virgin broadband though, so use our postcode checker above to see if you qualify. Total cost of 12 months £349

See more on this fast broadband at Virgin Media - or call 0808-281-2998 to order by phone

Cheap broadband only deals: our top 3 affordable tariffs 

Sky Broadband Unlimited | 18 months | 11Mb avg speed | Line rental inc. | £9.95 upfront | £18 per month
Of the big name players in the broadband game, Sky currently beats the likes of Plusnet and TalkTalk to the cheapest monthly bills. Line rental is included, too, so there are no sneaky hidden charges here. You'll be tied in for 18 months, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your circumstances. Total cost of 18 months is £333.95

Sign up to Sky's best priced broadband plan

Onestream Flow Unlimited Broadband | 12 month contract | 11Mb average speed | Line rental inc. | FREE activation | £9.99 delivery | £13.99 per month
Onestream may not be the best known name on the UK internet market, but you really can't argue with the bills you'll pay for its internet - the provider is the cheapest in the UK right now. So if it's cheap bills you crave, this is the provider for you. Total cost of 18 months £177.87

Get this cheap price from Onestream 

John Lewis Unlimited Broadband | 12 months | 10Mb avg speed | Line rental inc. | FREE Upfront | £20 per month + £35 John Lewis e-gift card
John Lewis may not have the very cheapest bills this month (although at £20, it's still pretty darn cheap), but the £35 e-gift card it's throwing in with basic broadband is a big incentive to go with this deal.  Total cost of 12 months is £205 (incl. gift card)

Get John Lewis's cheap broadband here

Broadband and TV deals: top 3 in the UK

NOW Brilliant Broadband + Entertainment Pass | 12 months | 11Mb avg. speed | The best of Sky and 300+ box sets | £24.99 upfront | £22.99 per month
Since NOW started doing internet, there have scarcely been any cheaper broadband providers out there. But when you add the company's TV passes, the value gets really good. Here you get a bunch of box sets and all the goodness that channels like Sky Atlantic. And all for only a little more than £20 per month. Total cost for 12 months £300.87

View this brilliantly priced NOW package deal

TalkTalk Faster Fibre + TV Box + Sky Entertainment Boost | 18 months | Up to 36Mb | 30+ extra entertainment channels | FREE upfront | £30.50pm
For an extra £8 a month on top of TalkTalk's cheap fibre package you can get a TV box and Sky Entertainment Boost. This gets you channels such as Sky One, Fox, Gold, National Geographic and many more, and the ability to pause and rewind live TV. Not to forget TalkTalk's cheap fibre broadband at a tariff that's guaranteed for the full length of the contract. 

Click to get this TalkTalk TV and internet bundle

Virgin Media Full House Bundle | 12 months | 108Mb avg speed | Weekend calls | 230+ channels incl. BT Sport | £25 activation fee | £57 a month
Included in the Full House bundle's 200-odd channels are the likes of MTV, the Disney Channel and the full suite of BT Sport stations. While on the internet side, you now get the benefit of pulverising 108Mb average speeds - that should mean seamless 4K streaming and downloads at over 13MB per second. Total cost for 12 months £784

View this all-singing all-dancing plan from Virgin - or call 0808-281-2998 to order.

Can I order these broadband deals over the phone?

We understand that buying broadband is a big purchase that you're going to be committed to for at least a year. If you feel more comfortable ordering over the phone, we can offer a call centre service - but only for a selected few providers:

  • BT broadband: 08000-142-334
  • Sky broadband: 08000-142-334
  • Virgin broadband: 0808-281-2998
  • TalkTalk broadband: 08000-492-103

best broadband deals

What broadband speed do I need?

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+Mb 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.

best broadband deals

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.

best broadband deals

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 broadband 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, it's more like around 60%.

best broadband deals

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.

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.

best broadband deals

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.

best broadband deals

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.