How to get broadband without line rental

It’s a frequently heard complaint from broadband customers. “I want a broadband service, but I don’t need a home phone. Why have I got to pay line rental?”

It’s not surprising. It’s estimated that 80% of homeowners don’t use their landline to make phone calls anymore.

So, can broadband customers get broadband services where they don’t have to pay line rental? If so, how and who with and is it worth it?

What is line rental?

Let’s start at the beginning. Simply put, line rental is a charge that you have to pay to have an active phone line into your home.

The key is it’s for a “phone line”, not a phone itself as we shall see.

phone mast

Why do I have to pay line rental?

The vast majority of broadband services, whether it be standard broadband along old copper telephone wires or new fibre optic broadband, enters your home via the phone line.

For most people this means using a network which is owned and operated by Openreach, part of the BT group. They’re responsible for the phone cables, the street cabinets and the telephone exchanges that your broadband service operates on.

In most cases then, you need an active phone line to use broadband and with some limited exceptions.

Is there any way around it?

With only limited exceptions, not really.

Virgin Media may be able to offer you a cable broadband service that operates independently of the Openreach network, but it’s only available in certain areas of the UK.

Alternatively, if you live in a large town or city, you may be able to benefit from certain niche suppliers such as Hyperoptic, who install and maintain their own network, but they are not yet widely available.

If you live in an area with very good mobile phone reception, there is the option to go for mobile broadband. Mobile broadband doesn’t require a landline and therefore there’d be no line rental to pay. However you obviously need to have signal to be able to use it, so might not be so great in rural areas.

Or you could look into satellite broadband, however the cost might still be more than paying for a broadband package with line rental – and the coverage and speeds could be worse.

What’s next for line rental?

There has been a lot of criticism over how broadband deals are being priced. A number of providers offer “free” or cheap broadband whilst excluding the necessary line rental from the price advertised.

In May this year Culture minister Ed Vaizey wrote to BT, TalkTalk, Virgin and Sky asking for a meeting to discuss pricing with a view to ending the practice.

This Autumn the separation of line rental charges from broadband pricing will be outlawed following a crackdown by the Advertising Standards Authority. This means as of October 31st 2016, providers will no longer be able to hide line rental charges, the cost shown will be the cost you pay.

Compare broadband with

So for the foreseeable future it seems that broadband and line rental are here to stay.

However to find the right broadband package for you, all you need to do is use our broadband or broadband, TV and phone comparison service. Just tell us where you live and we’ll do the rest, presenting back to you the deals that are available so you can choose the one that suits you best.

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