No contract and short-term broadband

Why do you need short-term broadband?

There’s a number of reasons why you might need short-term broadband. Perhaps you’re one of the UK’s 2.66 million students and are renting for a short time. Or perhaps you’re working away from home or living with relatives for a while.

Whatever your reasons for needing no contract broadband, there’s a few things to consider when looking at providers and their respective deals. For example, short-term broadband deals are usually a 30-day rolling contract, but there’s no compulsory renewal after the 30-day period ends.

What are the benefits of no contract broadband?

Short-term broadband deals can be useful if you need flexibility. Advantages include:

  • No long-term commitment – the main benefit of no contract broadband is you’re not tied into a long-term deal and you don’t have to pay a cancellation fee to end the contract. It means you’re not financially committed for a long period. This makes it a good way of testing a new broadband provider, before signing up for a longer contract.
  • No cancellation fee – if you’re not happy with the broadband speed or any other part of the deal, you don’t have to pay a cancellation fee to end the contract. With an 18 or 24-month deal, the cancellation fee can be hefty if you end the contract early.
  • Quick switches to cheaper deals – you can change broadband provider quickly and easily when a better deal comes along.

What are the disadvantages of no contract broadband?

While short-term broadband can be very useful, there are some disadvantages that mean it’s not always the right option. These can include:

  • High set-up fees – set-up is unlikely to be free with short-term packages and you might have to pay for the WiFi router. Plus, if you switch from one short-term provider to another, you’ll typically have to pay another set-up fee.
  • Higher monthly cost – rolling monthly contracts and short-term deals tend to be more expensive than comparable packages with a longer contract.
  • No special offers – the discounts, shopping vouchers and free gadgets that are often advertised to attract long-term customers aren’t usually offered with short-term contracts.

Where can I find broadband with no contract?

You can compare broadband deals here at Comparethemarket. Just pop your postcode into our postcode checker and tell us the name of your current provider to see what’s available in your area.

On the results page, you can select the type of broadband service you want, as well as the contract length to find the available one-month contract broadband deals available to you.

Find deals

Frequently asked questions

What is a rolling contract?

A rolling contract offers you greater flexibility, as it doesn’t tie you down for 12-24 months like a traditional broadband contract would. Rolling contracts can also come in different sizes, but a monthly rolling contract would mean you could cancel your deal and switch to another and only have to wait until the end of that contracted month. This means it’s much easier to switch to newer deals that are available. However, rolling contracts are usually a bit more expensive each month.

What is the shortest period of time I can get broadband for?

With most providers, the shortest agreement is one month. Some providers may advertise this product as rolling one-month contract broadband, which means you need to give 30 days’ notice to leave. Do that and there’s no penalty for cancellation.

Can I get a 6-month broadband contract?

While these used to be more widely available, a six-month rolling contract is much harder to find now. Although you may still be able to find one, you’ll have far fewer options to choose from, which means you probably won’t have the best choice of broadband deals.

How many providers in the UK offer no contract broadband?

While the number of providers is lower than with contract broadband, there are still some companies offering this more temporary option. Examples include Now Broadband (from Sky), Virgin Media, Cuckoo and more... Unfortunately, networks like TalkTalk and Plusnet don’t offer no contract broadband.

What are the alternatives to broadband with no contract?

There are other options you might want to consider instead of no contract broadband. These include:

  • Mobile broadband – According to the Ofcom, 16% of UK homes now use mobile broadband. Depending on where you live, you could opt for a short-term contract on your mobile phone using a dongle. This option is more suitable for basic web browsing, rather than streaming.
  • Tethering – This is where you use your smartphone as an internet hub or WiFi hotspot, essentially ‘tethering’ it to your PC. It will quickly burn through your data allowance though, so be careful you don’t end up incurring excess data usage charges.
  • Student broadband – If you’re a student at university, you can sign up for a nine-month contract. This means you won’t have to pay for broadband when you’re not in your rented accommodation over the summer holidays.

How fast is no contract broadband?

Your broadband speed depends on the type of connection you have:

  • ADSL – this type of broadband connection offers the slowest speeds, because it uses the same copper wire as your phone line. ADSL broadband offers average speeds of about 10Mbps.
  • Fibre broadband – referred to as superfast broadband, this uses fibre-optic cables that run to the street cabinet, which is then connected to your home by the copper phone line wire. This is known as fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and can provide average speeds of around 70Mbps.
  • Full fibre broadband – full fibre uses the same fibre-optic cables, but they’re plugged directly into your home. This is known as fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP). This is the best broadband connection in terms of speeds, up to 1,000Mbps, and is often referred to as ultrafast broadband.

The broadband speed you need depends on your usage. If you’re a busy family home who are streaming lots of Netflix, online gaming and generally has multiple users online at peak times, you’ll want to consider the faster speeds provided by superfast fibre optic broadband.

Some short-term broadband providers also offer unlimited data options.

Are there any additional costs with no contract broadband?

With no contract broadband, you’ll usually need to pay a one-off set-up fee. Set-up fees vary, but you could pay as much as £35. These fees may be included in your delivery charge instead.

If you don’t already have a WiFi router or telephone line installed at the property, there’ll usually be an additional connection charge for this.

Should I get a no contract deal if I'm moving house soon?

Most broadband providers allow you to move your existing service to your new home. But if you’re about to sign up to a long contract, it’s a good idea to check whether it’s portable or not.

Different providers offer different services and availability depends on your postcode, so you might have to change your plan. Whether your service is portable really comes down to the provider, your current deal and the address you’re moving to.

Read our guide to broadband when moving home for more information. 

Can I get no contract fibre broadband?

Yes, short-term fibre broadband deals are available, although there’s much less choice than with contract home broadband as most providers only offer longer-term fibre packages.

Is it possible to get pay-as-you-go broadband?

Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) home broadband is not available. However, you can get PAYG mobile broadband without having to sign a contract or pay a monthly fee. You just top up your account as and when you need data. It gives you flexibility if you only use the internet occasionally, but it can work out more expensive than short-term broadband.

Do I have to pay line rental?

It’s possible to get no contract broadband without line rental, but options are very limited because most broadband is supplied through a landline. So, in most cases you’ll still have to pay for line rental, which will be included in your monthly bill.

Why use Comparethemarket?

Compare broadband deals from large and small providers

Rated 4.8/5 on Trustpilot[1]

[1] As of January 2023 Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 23,670 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’.

Author image Holly Cox

What our expert says...

“If you know you’re only going to need broadband for a few months, short-term broadband can be better value than getting tied into a long contract. But always check what set-up fees are involved, as well as monthly line rental and average speed.”

- Holly Cox, Digital expert