It’s hard to keep track of all the different broadband providers in the UK. First there are the leading brands like BT, Sky and Virgin Media, with their multitude of broadband deals. Then there are competitors like the retailers, mobile phone companies and energy suppliers that have been getting in on the act in recent years.
As a result, new broadband offers and promotions are cropping up all the time, and prices are constantly changing. This is great news if you’re looking to switch supplier, as there’s so much choice available. But as we all know, too much choice can be baffling.
So what do you need to know if you want to compare broadband providers and packages?
What types of home broadband are there?
Before looking at the different providers, a good place to start is with the types of home broadband available to homes in the UK, and the key differences between them.
With broadband, a key rule of thumb is that price is a factor of speed – ‘speed’ being the rate at which internet data can be transmitted over your connection.
There are three types of home broadband: ADSL, cable and fibre optic. ADSL is generally the slowest and cheapest option. There are two types of ADSL, handily called ADSL1 and ADSL2 – the latter being the faster of the two.
Cable and fibre broadband are faster than ADSL and, you guessed it, more expensive. And to complicate matters, there are two types of fibre connection:
FTTC is the slower option, while FTTP is superfast (and therefore costlier).
The important thing is to make sure you’re comparing like with like when you compare broadband prices. And remember to check broadband availability where you are before choosing your preferred connection, as cable and fibre networks aren’t yet installed in all parts of the UK. Just put your postcode into comparethemarket.com, and we’ll list the broadband deals on offer where you live.
What sort of packages do the different providers offer?
Broadband packages break down into four types: broadband only, broadband and phone, TV and broadband, and ‘all-in’ packages, which comprise broadband, phone and TV. As such, there are dozens of packages available at any one time, and they’re constantly changing as the various suppliers battle for customers.
There are generally good broadband only deals available from Virgin Media, Plusnet and Sky. If you’re looking for broadband and phone deals, then the main contenders tend to be BT and Vodafone, as well as ‘fringe’ providers like John Lewis and energy company SSE.
If you’re after broadband, a landline and digital TV, then you might save money by bundling them together into one package. There might be some cost savings to be had by getting everything from one company. BT, Sky and Virgin Media all offer competitive bundles, often with freebies thrown in for good measure. More on freebies below!
What else should I think about when comparing broadband providers?
It won’t come as a surprise to learn that the more you buy, the greater the savings.
Having said that, you won’t want to pay for services you’ll never use. And with any broadband contract, you should look carefully at what you’re actually getting for your monthly fee.
Does your preferred package have any limits to how much you data you can download and upload each month? Does it come with traffic management, which can slow down your internet access at peak times? Are there any hidden costs, such as a connection charge or line rental? And are any freebies included – for example, a wireless router or security software?
How do I find the best provider for me?
That one’s easy. At comparethemarket.com, you can find a list of broadband deals currently available in your area, with all the details you need to help decide. You can filter potential suppliers by speed (basic, fast or superfast) and by your monthly usage (low, medium or high).
If you’re thinking of switching your broadband provider, find out if you could get a better deal with comparethemarket.com.