HomeTechnologyBest broadband deals UK: Get 50% off, Sky TV for £6, and free gift card worth £110
Best broadband deals UK: Get 50% off, Sky TV for £6, and free gift card worth £110
September 23, 2022
Best broadband deals: Looking for the best offer in your area? We’ve got you covered… (Image: GETTY • EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)
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Looking for the best broadband deal in the UK? Whether you’re searching for a deal to supercharge your download speeds or cut your monthly bills …we’ve got you covered. We’ve scoured the latest batch of bargains from BT, Virgin Media, Plusnet, Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptic, Sky and dozens of other providers to find the best broadband deal in your area.
If you’re looking for a specific deal – like the cheapest broadband deal or our top overall broadband deal – you can click to jump to that specific topic. If not, scroll down to read our complete guide, which is packed with information on the biggest broadband providers, the best deals available right now, and answers to some of the most common questions around broadband, like the minimum download speed you really need at home.
Not in the mood for a lot of reading? You can find our top picks of the all UK broadband deals right here –
Of course, that’s not all of the broadband deals available in your area right now – there are plenty more!
Regardless of whether you’re hoping to increase the download speeds available on your home Wi-Fi network (to eliminate frustrating buffering during a Netflix binge or an important video call with your boss when working from home), cut your monthly bills to save money on your broadband, or want to unlock some amazing freebies – there are some amazing deals that will tick the right box, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve switched to a new broadband package or a different broadband provider.
If you’ve had the same broadband package for over two years, trust us, you’re missing out on huge savings.
According to the latest figures from Ofcom, around 40% of all broadband customers in the UK are out of contract. That equates to around 8.5 million people who could unlock a better deal by renegotiating a new contract with their current provider or switching to a new broadband supplier.
If you’ve had the same broadband package for over two years, trust us, you’re missing out on savings of £140 each year!
Crucially, while broadband providers are now required to let you know when you’re reaching the end of your current contract, they’re under no obligation to ensure that you’re getting a good deal compared to the latest promotions for new customers. As such, if you’ve been with the same broadband supplier for a few years, you might find that you’re paying hundreds more every year and getting slower download speeds than is available to new customers who switch to the same company.
Are you one of the 8.5 million paying over the odds for home internet?
If you want the best broadband deal, it’s always a good idea to ditch your current deal as soon as you fall outside of the minimum contract term. That’s the only way to ensure that you’re getting the best value for money and not lumbered with outdated speeds.
Estimates from the team at Which? suggest that out-of-contract customers could save as much as £140 each year by switching to a different internet provider. And that’s not to say anything about the other benefits, including a new Wi-Fi Hub with features like Wi-Fi 6 for better wireless speeds, freebies like £110 pre-paid rewards cards, unlimited download limits, and more.
While all internet firms will usually provide discounts for existing subscribers looking to switch to a new deal, it’s the new customers who get the very best deals – showing just how crucial it is that you switch to a broadband company you haven’t used before at the end of your existing contract.
There are a dizzying number of broadband deals available in the UK today (Image: GETTY)
Best overall broadband deal
There’s some very stiff competition out there at the moment, but for our money, the best broadband deal available nationwide right nowis Vodafone.
That’s a superb deal. For those who don’t know, 73Mbps is the average home broadband speed in the UK and more than fast enough to stream boxsets from Netflix, catch-up on shows on BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub, download Spotify playlists and make a few videocalls on FaceTime and Messenger.
For comparison, BT charges £33.99 for similar download speeds (74Mbps) and Sky Broadband offers little more than half of the download speeds (59Mbps) with its Superfast plan for a similarly priced £26 per month. If you’re a BT customer who has reached the end of your contract, you could save over £287.76 over the course of the 24-month contract for the same download speeds by switching over to Vodafone. Better yet, Vodafone relies on BT-owned Openreach’s broadband infrastructure, so your internet will be delivered by the exact same cable in the street outside of your home. So you shouldn’t expect any difference in speeds or service.
Even better, Vodafone includes a speed guarantee with its broadband plans, so if you’re struggling to achieve download speeds of at least 37Mbps, you’ll be able to walk away from your 24-month contract without paying an early termination fee. That should provide peace of mind for those who haven’t used Vodafone as a broadband supplier before. And since this deal is only available on next-generation fibre connections, you won’t have to worry about the hassle of a home phone or landline rental fees either, which is a bonus.
If 13Mbps isn’t quite speedy enough for you, Vodafone will increase the download speeds to 100Mbps for just £5 more.
Cheapest broadband deal
Shell Energy has slashed the cost of its broadband plans …to nothing!
Yes, really. For a limited time, the broadband firm is offering new customers free broadband until 2023. When the new year arrives, you’ll need to pay £21.99 per month for download speeds of 38Mbps, or £23.99 per month for 67Mbps. The company usually charges £32.88 and £38.19 for these, respectively, so this is a pretty hefty saving.
It’s worth noting that 38Mbps is below the average home broadband speed in the UK. If you’re not working from home on a regular basis, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
However, those with busy households with multiple people streaming TV shows in different rooms, downloading software updates, backing up photos to the cloud, streaming music and making video calls will start to see the Wi-Fi router start to splutter. If that sounds like your home, you’ll be better looking into the speedier 67Mbps.
If you’re looking for the fastest broadband speeds, you’ll need a full-fibre connection.
Delivering broadband to the Wi-Fi router in your home with fibre-optic cables results in much faster speeds and better reliability. Older connections tend to rely on ageing copper cables for the final few metres from the exchange to your front door …and that seriously slows your downloads. Full-fibre connections also tend to be more reliable and faster uploads, which is important during video calls, backing up photos to the cloud, and collaborating on documents with co-workers remotely, for example.
Did You Know?
Household brands like BT, Sky and Virgin Media aren’t the only companies racing to upgrade UK broadband speeds to next-generation full-fibre connections. It’s worth keeping an eye on a number of (much) smaller broadband companies specialising in full-fibre internet, like Hyperoptic, Community Fibre, Zzoomm, Giganet. These firms offer 1Gbps download speeds …or higher.
Lesser-known brands can offer incredible discounts that BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk never come close to matching. So, what’s the catch?
Well, all of these up-and-coming firms have a very limited reach. For example, Community Fibre only operates in London, while others only supply a few thousand homes. But keep an eye out for these smaller brands!
Unfortunately, full-fibre connections aren’t available at every address in the UK, although it’s likely that – if you’re missing out at the moment – your area will be upgraded soon.
Meanwhile, BT-owned Openreach is upgrading thousands of connections across the UK, with plans to reach 25 million premises by December 2026. As it stands, roughly 6.4 million homes are up and running with full-fibre broadband infrastructure managed by Openreach, which is used by a number of popular brands like BT, EE, Sky, TalkTalk, and more. Vodafone uses a combination of Openreach and CityFibre to reach customers, which means that its full-fibre network reaches more people than brands that rely on Openreach alone, such as BT, Sky, and EE.
If your area has been upgraded to full-fibre or is supplied by Virgin Media’s broadband network …the best full-fibre deal available is undoubtedly TalkTalk.
The excellent TalkTalk Future Fibre plan costs just £49 a month and unlocks download speeds of 900Mbps. Not only that, but subscribers will also be sent a pair of Amazon-designed Eero Pro 6 routers, which support the latest (and fastest) Wi-Fi 6 standard.
With a £209 price tag each, this combination is easily the best Wi-Fi router bundle available from any broadband provider in the UK right now. The two Eero 6 nodes work in tandem to provide a solid Wi-Fi signal across 4,000 square feet.
While every broadband provider bundles a free Wi-Fi router, TalkTalk has seriously upped the ante. The company is handing out Eero Pro 6 routers for free to anyone who signs-up for its full-fibre packages. Eero, which is owned by Amazon, offers a simple way to manage and monitor your home Wi-Fi network.
Its iPhone and Android app lets you limit internet access to certain devices, certain people, or during certain times (for a Wi-Fi-less dinner, for example). You can also create a Guest Wi-Fi network for neighbours or friends staying over with its own Wi-Fi password that can be regularly changed to boost security (without impacting any of your devices).
The Eero Pro 6 costs £209 when bought separately. TalkTalk customers can get multiple of these routers to ensure they have speedy Wi-Fi coverage throughout their homes (and most likely, most of the garden too!). If you’ve been thinking about upgrading to a mesh Wi-Fi network, or a Wi-Fi 6 router, then don’t bother spending the cash outright – upgrade to the latest broadband deal from TalkTalk.
Best social tariff broadband
Regulatory body Ofcom has released its annual report into affordability, which has highlighted the low uptake of so-called “Social Tariffs,” which are only available to households that receive – or are eligible to receive – Universal Credit or other legacy benefits. There are only six broadband suppliers in the UK that offer these “Social Tariffs”: BT, Community Fibre, G.Network, Hyperoptic, KCOM and Virgin Media O2.
Each of these discounted bundles offers an average download speed of between 10 to 67Mbps. The latter is the average home broadband speed recorded in the UK last year. Prices for these discounted packages vary between £10 to £20 a month. And there are a number of other benefits too, BT only requires a 12-month minimum contract term for its Home Essentials bundle, which is half what you’ll need to sign-up for when buying one of its standard broadband bundles.
But despite the clear benefits of these “Social Tariffs”, of the 4.2 million households who receive Universal Credit and are eligible for these discounted deals, a meagre 55,000 homes have signed up. That’s just 1.2 percent of those eligible, Ofcom research shows.
So, if you live in one of the 4.2 million households eligible for a “Social Tariff”, we’d recommend signing up for BT’s Home Essentials plan. It includes average 67Mbps download speeds and 700 minutes of calls from the landline for £15 a month. For comparison, BT charges £32.99 a month for its Full Fibre 2 bundle, which offers average download speeds of 74Mbps. So, Universal Credit claimants will benefit from some hefty savings – around £17.99 a month, or over £215 over the course of a year. And the benefits don’t end there.
BT will never charge an early exit fee if your circumstances change, so you can leave within the 12-month minimum contract term and not worry about any extra charges. That’s different to every other broadband deal available from BT.
Best contract-free broadband deal
Want to avoid signing up for an 18- or 24-month contract with your new broadband deal? There are a number of benefits to a contract-free broadband deal, including the fact that you’re free to switch to any other deals that catch your eye, you can upgrade to faster speeds at the drop of a hat, or you can downgrade your speeds to cut your monthly bills. If there’s a price rise on the horizon, you can switch to another provider to unlock a better deal. And of course, if you’re living in a rented property, you won’t pay for a month more than you use.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? The only catch is that contract-free broadband deals typically cost a little more than longer contracts. The stability provided by signing up for a two-year contract allows you to unlock cheaper deals with bundled freebies, like the deals already listed in this article. However, the flexibility afforded by a contract-free deal could outweigh the extra costs each month. When it comes to contract-free, there are a number of options on the market, including new-kid-on-the-block, Cuckoo Broadband.
But when it comes to contract-free broadband, the best deal is NOW, formerly NOW TV. The Sky-owned firm offers contract-free access to its best satellite channels, movies, sports, and broadband. For £22 per month, NOW’s Super Fibre broadband plan offers download speeds of 63Mbps.
Granted, that’s not going to set any records, but it’s fast enough to stream boxsets in 4K Ultra HD quality from Netflix and Prime Video, as well as stutter-free video calls, and music streaming. NOW offers unlimited downloads, so you don’t need to worry about any extra charges for streaming all hours of the day. If you want a monthly rolling contract, you’ll need to pay £60 upfront cost (this is waived if you sign-up for a 12-month contract), but that extra charge is a small price to pay for the flexibility to leave at any time.
…More broadband deals
If you want to see what else is available on the market right now, Express.co.uk has rounded up every deal that’s worth your time (and hard-earned cash) below. This should provide some context on why we believe the above deals are such standouts, but also, might flag a similar offer from a preferred broadband supplier that might be a better fit for your needs. One thing is for sure – if you’re currently out-of-contract, you should be able to find a brilliant new deal below…
What broadband speed do you need?
That’s a toughie as the answer is different for everyone. After all, it really depends on what you want to do with your Wi-Fi network.
The average UK broadband speed currently sits around 70Mbps, which is more than enough to stream a boxset on Netflix, make a video call on WhatsApp or FaceTime, or back up your photos to the cloud. But if you attempt to do all of these tasks at the same time, you’re likely to run into some extended loading times.
Imagine your broadband speed is a motorway. To stretch this metaphor to breaking point, the total download speed available with your contract represents the number of lanes in the motorway. As more traffic uses the motorway at the same time, everything slows down.
What Speed Does Netflix Recommend To Stream?
For Standard Definition: 1Mbps
For 1080p High Definition: 5Mbps
For 4K Ultra HD Definition: 15Mbps
For busy households, with multiple people attempting to work from home or families with children streaming TV shows in their rooms at peak time, you’ll ideally be aiming for a broadband deal that offers between 100 – 200Mbps.
With that bandwidth under your belt, you’ll still be able to collapse onto the sofa and stream a show from catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub or All4 without interruption …no matter what is happening in the other rooms of your house.
The fastest speeds currently available in the UK, like the ludicrous 1,130Mbps download speeds available from Virgin Media, are really about future-proofing your home for the next generation of technology, like 8K video streaming, virtual reality gaming, and more. You’re unlikely to need those speeds at the moment.
However, those who are heavily invested in smart home kit – internet-connected lightbulbs, thermostats, wireless speaker systems, video doorbells controlled by Alexa and Google Assistant – might benefit from the extra bandwidth provided by 500 – 1,000Mbps broadband connections. Again, this is just to ensure that metaphorical motorway doesn’t get too crowded at peak times.
What is full-fibre broadband?
Fibre broadband is the future of the internet, and telecoms firms like Virgin Media and BT’s Openreach have been hard at work upgrading their networks to deliver these super-fast download speeds. While existing broadband connections rely on copper cables to deliver internet from those green communication boxes littered throughout UK streets, full-fibre broadband – as the name suggests – uses more powerful (and reliable) fibre-optic cables to your front door instead.
The fastest fibre broadband speeds currently available in the UK is offered with Virgin Media’s Gig1 package, which boasts average download speeds of 1,130Mbps. That’s light years ahead of the average broadband download speed in Blighty, which stands at around 70Mbps as measured earlier in 2021.
As an example of the benefits of fibre connections, Gigabit broadband will let you download a feature-length movie in High Definition in just 36 seconds, or a crisp Ultra HD 4K film in under three minutes. These speeds mean busy households will be able to back up their photos, download software updates, make video calls, binge boxsets in 4K, and play video games online all at the same time at peak times without a hint of buffering. It also future-proofs homes for the next wave of technology, including 8K video quality, virtual reality, and more.
By the end of 2021, Virgin Media upgraded its entire network of 15.5million homes to gigabit-capable broadband (although it will take longer until all of those customers are using full-fibre connections). So if you’re covered by Virgin Media you can sign up right away. While BT’s Openreach will finish its full-fibre network upgrade (some 25 million homes) by December 2026. So far, the super-fast downloads are available to more than six million properties covered by Openreach, which supplies infrastructure for BT, TalkTalk, Sky, Plusnet, EE, Vodafone, and many more.
Smaller companies, like Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and Community Fibre, have sprung up to bring full-fibre broadband to areas not currently served by either Virgin Media or Openreach. These include projects specifically targeted at rural villages or commuter towns. If you can’t wait for next-generation broadband, these are a great option – and can be cheaper than better-known brands too.
The average UK broadband speed currently sits around 70Mbps (Image: GETTY)
Which company offers the fastest speeds?
In a nutshell, the fastest broadband speeds available in the UK come from Community Fibre, which offers a mind-bogglingly speedy 3Gbps. With download speeds of 3,000Mbps, you’ll be able to download movies, stream boxsets from Netflix, join video calls, back-up photos and data from your devices, and play online multiplayer around 43x faster than the average home broadband connection in the UK, which was measured at 70Mbps last year.
At £89 a month, Community Fibre’s 3Gbps full-fibre broadband plan doesn’t come cheap. But the biggest hurdle is the availability.
Community Fibre is currently only available in London …and even if you do live in the capital, the 3Gbps package isn’t available anywhere. It’s worth checking to see whether the full-fibre in your street has been upgraded to support the speeds, but don’t hold your breath.
Virgin Media offers speeds up to 1Gbps, or 1,000Mbps – some 14x faster than the standard British homeowners’ internet connection, to more than 15.5million premises. For context, Netflix recommends at least 25Mbps to watch its boxsets and movies in the best picture quality available, 4K Ultra HD. That should give you some idea about the dizzying amount of bandwidth available with a 1Gbps connection for most users. Signing up to one of these full-fibre bundles will suit even the busiest households – with multiple people streaming music, making videocalls, collaborating on documents online, downloading video, backing up devices, and more, at the same time.