Line rental costs explained

If you’ve ever wondered what line rental was while looking at your broadband bill, you’re probably not alone. Most broadband packages in the UK include line rental. Find out why here.

If you’ve ever wondered what line rental was while looking at your broadband bill, you’re probably not alone. Most broadband packages in the UK include line rental. Find out why here.

Holly Cox
Digital expert
minute read
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Last Updated 5 APRIL 2022

What is line rental?

Line rental is a charge for the maintenance of the copper phone lines that provide your home with a phone connection and broadband. If you’re using the line for either service, your supplier will charge you for its upkeep.

Why do I have to pay line rental?

It’s a recurring complaint. I no longer use my landline, so why am I having to stump up for line rental?

Even if you don’t use your landline, it’s still the case that the Openreach network of copper phone lines provides connection to both the internet and the telephone network. Even if you’ve switched to a new fibre optic broadband, the last leg of the journey into most homes is still down the copper wires.

Is it fair that you pay for a service you don’t use? The answer is that, regardless of what you use the line for, it still needs to be maintained. That’s why the charge applies, whether you use the line for calls, broadband or both.

How much does line rental cost?

The price of line rental varies from one broadband provider to the next. You can typically expect to pay around £20, but the cost will usually be bundled into the overall cost of your package, rather than separated out.

Always compare prices to make sure you’re getting the right broadband deal. Doing so couldn’t be easier than right here at Compare the Market.

Can I pay line rental yearly or monthly?

Currently, BT offers a service known as ‘line rental saver’, where you pay 12 instalments up front and get a discount on the monthly price.

What does free line rental mean?

‘Free line rental’ is a phrase broadband suppliers sometimes used before stricter rules on advertising broadband came into force. Since October 2016, broadband providers must include the price of line rental in their headline costs. The move by the Advertising Standards Authority came after it published a joint survey with Ofcom, which showed how much trouble consumers had working out the cost of broadband from suppliers’ adverts.

Most broadband providers now offer line rental as included, bundling it with your package. You might see line rental referred to in the description of the package and it might be separated out on your bill.

At Compare the Market we show an all-in 12-month total cost. This includes line rental, as well as other ‘extras’ such as activation fees and other equipment charges.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get broadband without line rental?

Yes – there are a few companies that offer broadband without line rental. Virgin Media, for example, has its own cable network, and Hyperoptic offers fibre broadband to services that doesn’t use the Openreach network. You can also get 4G and 5G mobile broadband, which doesn’t require a landline.

Check availability in your area

You also don’t need a landline if you have satellite broadband. But none of these options are necessarily cheaper than getting broadband with line rental, so it’s important to compare prices and deals before you commit.

Can I get a broadband-only deal?

Yes, but it’s important to know what you’re getting. What suppliers describe as ‘broadband-only deals’ can be those that don’t involve a phone line at all – for example those offered by Virgin Media – or mobile broadband. Or they can be deals where you only get broadband but the Openreach network is used to provide it. In most of these cases, the cost of line rental will be factored into the price. You won’t be able to make or receive calls but you might be able to add pay-as-you-go calling to your package.

Is line rental the same as having a phone line?

Line rental pays for the upkeep of the line itself. If you have a phone line, you can use it to make and receive calls. If you’re going to do this, you might want to opt for a broadband and phone package that includes extras such as inclusive calls and cheap calls to other countries.

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