How can I find the best broadband deal for me?
Whether you’re thinking about switching suppliers or looking for a broadband deal for the first time, you’re in the right place. You’ll find everything you need to know about broadband, how to get it and how to find the best broadband package for you.
The main factors in deciding between broadband providers are:
- Speed – performance speeds are crucial, especially if you stream content or game online
- Usage – consider if you need an unlimited data allowance if there’s a lot of you in your home, you download large files or stream in 4K
- Service – high customer service ratings are important if you suffer from lower-than-expected speeds or service outages
- Cost – all the above may be fantastic, but does it come at the right price for you and offer good value for money?
Switch to TalkTalk Faster Fibre and get a £60 voucher or pre-paid Mastercard^^
Sign up to TalkTalk’s new Faster Fibre offer, for just £21.95^^ per month, for 18 months (£36 per month thereafter), and get a £60 Amazon, Tesco or Argos voucher or a £60 prepaid Mastercard. This offer is for new TalkTalk customers only.
There are no set-up, delivery or activation fees and line rental is included.
This offer is exclusive through Compare the Market from 14-20 February.Start comparing
What type of broadband deals are available?
There are several types of broadband packages to choose from:
ADSL: this works over the same line as your landline phone, and you can still talk on the phone while surfing the web. ADSL broadband coverage is available to more than 99% of the population. Superfast broadband – which Ofcom defines as providing a minimum 30Mbit/s download speed – is now available to 91% of premises in the UK. And around 34% of all premises could upgrade from their existing slower service to superfast services and get faster speeds, according to Ofcom.
Fibre broadband: this offers speeds many times faster than ADSL or cable with a more stable performance, especially at peak times. Fibre optic is ideal if you stream a lot of music, video, or game online. It’s also good for homes where several people use the internet at the same time, or you've got lots of devices, but it can often come at a higher price. Full fibre lines also have fewer faults that affect service, according to Ofcom.
Fibre isn’t yet available everywhere in the country, with the fastest fibre services only available in around 2-3% of homes. Availability is increasing all the time, as providers extend their full fibre networks, so it’s worth checking if it’s now available to you.
Cable broadband: faster than ADSL, cable broadband uses the same cables as a cable TV package. Cable connections are either fibre optic or coaxial and only available in certain locations. A couple of cable providers offer broadband without line rental.
Mobile broadband (3G or 4G): we don’t currently offer this comparison. This is a service you can connect to at home and on the go. It’s convenient and doesn’t require a landline, but it can be expensive.
- You’ll typically get a USB dongle to plug into your computer, or a special wireless box that just needs a power supply.
- There are no wires or cables and you can choose between pay as you go (PAYG), contract or SIM-only.
Satellite broadband: this is an option for people living in the few areas where a good ADSL, cable or fibre broadband connection isn’t available.
What broadband speed could I get?
The broadband speed you can get depends on where you live as well as the package you choose. If you have ADSL broadband, or some types of fibre broadband, the distance of your home from the telephone exchange can impact your speed. When you compare, we ask you for your postcode so you can check all the options available for your location.
People who live in urban areas generally tend to have faster broadband speeds than in rural areas.
Broadband providers now have to show the average speed available to 50% of their customers at peak times (8pm-10pm). However, when you’re comparing, it’s important to think about what speed you actually need. A superfast connection isn’t necessary for ordinary web browsing and emailing, and a speed of 5Mbps is fine for HD iPlayer streaming.
Find out more in broadband speed explained.
Should I get broadband at the same time as phone and TV?
It’s worth considering as these packages can offer the benefit of cost and convenience.
- cheaper than separate deals
- easier to pay in one single bill
- customer support is all in one place.
Ultimately, you need to make sure the package suits your needs. A few things to check are:
- the cost of monthly line rental
- the charges if you exceed your data or call allowance
- package features (e.g. free day time calls, TV channels).
Can I get broadband without line rental?
Normally, internet service providers (ISPs) bundle broadband and line rental together. However, there are broadband providers who do offer broadband without a phone line. You may find there’s a smaller pool of deals available, but it’s definitely worth comparing broadband deals to find the right one for you.
Frequently asked questions
Am I guaranteed the advertised broadband speed?
Assuring specific speeds as an advertised guarantee has been difficult for providers. In recent years, Ofcom has stepped in to try to protect buyers from false advertising. Broadband providers can still advertise their best speeds, but must now also state more realistic speeds, based on peak usage times within the region.
Providers must also include a minimum guaranteed speed when you buy. If you find that your speeds don’t match this, you can receive money back from your provider or perhaps even cancel your policy at any time, with no cancellation fee.
Read both advertisements and contracts carefully when switching your broadband provider, to ensure that you’re aware of realistic performance and your rights if this isn’t met.
Should I get an unlimited broadband deal?
An unlimited broadband deal gives you peace of mind to freely use the internet as you like. If there are lots of you in the house and you all like to browse social media, stream music, TV and films, or game online, your data usage can quickly eat through a cap. An unlimited broadband deal ensures that you can never use too much data.
Should I get a broadband package with usage limits?
If there’s only one or two of you at home, or you only use the internet for browsing the web, online shopping and email, you may find that a broadband package with usage limits is perfectly fine for you. Whereas, if you’re streaming lots of content, downloading large files or share your home with lots of people, you may want to consider an unlimited broadband deal.
How do I claim my vouchers on broadband packages?
If you’ve switched broadband, phone and TV packages through us and your package included extras such as a freebie, vouchers or other offers by the supplier as part of the deal, here’s how you go about claiming them.
Which broadband providers do we compare?
At Compare the Market, we work with many broadband providers to bring you great deals. You’ll find the main providers such as Virgin Media, Sky and BT, but also plenty of other providers such as TalkTalk, SSE and Plusnet. We even include offers from mobile providers like EE and Vodafone.
How can I compare broadband deals now?
Simply tell us your postcode and we can quickly help you compare broadband deals from leading internet providers. You can then compare them in order of monthly cost, data usage, average speeds or contract length. Get a quote in less than 1 minute**.
**On average it can take less than 1 minute to complete a broadband quote through Compare the Market based on data in December 2019.