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Cheap Broadband

B'band & line rent, £106 for a year, incl £50 back

Too many stick with their broadband provider through thick and thin, overpaying by £100s a year. If that's you, it's likely you can do the double whammy of boosting your package while massively slicing your bills.

Check your broadband and line rental cost now - people on standard deals typically pay BT £420/yr, TalkTalk £230/yr, Sky £290/yr and Virgin £410/yr. The deals below can bring it down to just £106 for a year (including £50 cashback).

To benchmark, those on standard deals typically pay BT £35/mth and Virgin £34.50/mth.

What is broadband?

These days broadband is the standard way of connecting to the internet. Originally people used to dial up over their phone connection. Broadband got its name as it allowed a broader range of information to be carried than old dial-up connections.

There are two main types of broadband:

  • Home broadband: This is hard-wired into your house. It's either carried through your phone line (known as ADSL) or by cable. This is what this guide focuses on.
  • Mobile broadband: This isn't generally as fast or reliable, but as it's via the mobile networks, it's far more flexible. If you're looking for that, see our Mobile Broadband guide, which includes how to find free hotspots.

With home broadband, it's important to understand that while the information is carried via your phone line, you can still use the phone while you're online - and the broadband connection is always on. Read more on how home broadband works.

Switching broadband can save £100s

Many people have a broadband provider they're comfortable with and stick with it for ease. But this becomes a licence for providers to print money, as older packages are more expensive and tend to allow lower downloads at slower speeds.

Assuming you already have home broadband (if not, read on to choose), it's crucial to work out what you're paying and the service you're getting. However...

Never just look at your broadband cost. Always look at your phone line rental too. Often, the services are interlinked, so cheap broadband can mean a costly phone service.

Here are some typical costs the big networks are charging for long-standing deals. By contrast, using the best deals in this guide, you can often get broadband and home phone for around £12 a month.

Typical standard broadband and line rental costs
Provider Standard monthly broadband cost Standard monthly line rental cost Cost per year for both
BT £18 £16.99 £420
Sky £7.50 £16.40 £287
TalkTalk £5 £16.70 £260
Virgin (fibre) £17.50 £16.99 £414

Switching broadband used to be a little tricky, but new rules introduced by Ofcom in June 2015 have simplified the process for many. See the Ofcom implementing easier telecoms switching MSE news story for more details – we explain how it works in the quick questions below.

Quick questions

When can I switch?

How long does it take to switch provider?

What do I actually need to do to switch?

What if I have problems setting up my new broadband?

How do I find out what customer service is like?

What if the broadband isn't in my area?

Five things you need to know to slash broadband costs

If you only read five things about broadband before you switch, read these.

  • Faster advertised speed doesn't mean faster broadband

    Remember advertised speeds are just that - "advertised". A provider only needs a paltry 10% of customers to get a certain speed before it can list it.

    While providers may tell you their service is "up to" 16Mb, many won't get near that speed. It depends factors including how close you are to the exchange, and how well-equipped that exchange is. Do a broadband speed test* to check what you're getting.

    Many things help to boost your speed for free without switching. Try using a shorter cable from socket to router, cheap household signal boosters and plugging in instead of using wi-fi for big downloads. There's a full list in Broadband Speed Boosting.

    Quick questions

    What speeds are my neighbours getting?

    What affects the speeds I'm likely to get with a broadband provider?

  • Check your data limit - aim for unlimited or it'll cost you

    Our data use has rocketed. Catch-up TV and movie streaming hoover it up, and since some packages have download limits, this can be costly. If you just use the net for light browsing, emails and the odd YouTube video, you'll probably be fine with a limited 10GB package.

    Yet web watchers, beware. Watching an episode of Game of Thrones in HD's roughly 1GB, equivalent to looking at thousands of web pages. If you've got a 10GB limit, it isn't long before it’s all used up and you're paying extra charges. With BT you pay £5.60 when you go over the limit, though this gets you a further 5GB.

    So check your bill now for penalty charges. If your download limit isn't enough, switch to the super-cheap versions below. These days the vast majority of the cheapest deals are unlimited anyway.

    To track how much data you're downloading, get a free bandwidth monitor - try Rokario, Netmeter and TbbMeter.

  • Fibre-optic is here, but do you need it?

    Superfast broadband allows much faster speed with greater consistency. While phone line speeds rarely match the 'up to' figures firms boast of, fibre gets closer.

    More of us are using more data online and because of this we need more speed. For simple web browsing and email, common 16Mb connections will do the job. But if you use it for lots of movie downloads, streaming videos, online gaming, or if everyone at home wants to connect at once, you will need superfast.

    Fibre broadband is still being rolled out across the UK. As a general rule, most big cities and towns have access to superfast broadband from a few different providers. Other areas (especially rural districts) may not have access to fibre broadband at all.

    To see if you can get superfast, see superfast best buys below. Alternatively, enter your postcode on Broadbandchoices* and click the fibre broadband tab (if there's no tab, it means you can't get it).

  • Should you get a broadband and line rental bundle?

    Never just look at your broadband cost in isolation. Always factor in your phone line rental as well – even if you get them separately. Many cheap broadband deals require you to take costly line rental, but only advertise the sexy broadband price in the headline. The deal to pick depends on which category you fall into:

    • Only got landline for broadband? Unless you've got Virgin cable, you need a landline for broadband at home. Our poll of 20,000+ people showed 51% hardly ever, or never use their landline (80% of under-30s).

      Millions feel forced to keep it just for broadband. If so, cut the cost and just go for a cheap bundle. Alternatively, you don't need line rental for Virgin superfast – see Cheapest broadband without a landline below.

    • Still use your landline to make calls? If this is you, you'll need to factor in call costs when choosing line rental.

      But you can make massive savings on call costs to landlines, mobiles and overseas without changing phone line by using specialist access numbers. See Cheap Home Phones for a full how-to and best buys.

  • Check if you're under contract and haggle your bill down or your speed or package up

    If you signed up to broadband in the last 18 months, or longer in rare cases, first check if you're still in your contract period. If so, double-check that leaving doesn't breach your contract before switching. Exit penalties may kibosh savings. If you're planning to move home soon, check if your new contract's portable, or consider a no-contract deal.

    Before you ditch your current provider, remember broadband's a mature market and companies are frantic to keep hold of customers, so...

    Just call up, threaten to leave and your existing company will often offer kick-butt discounts.

    Say you want to move to a new provider and it'll automatically lead to a 'why are you leaving?' chat. It should put you through to what we call 'disconnections' but they call 'customer retentions' - these operators have serious discount-giving power.

    If you're still in contract and it isn't worth leaving, check what speed you're actually getting and compare it to the advertised speed you're paying for. See our Boost Broadband Speed two minute check. If you're getting less than advertised ring your provider and ask for a better package, such as fibre, a discount or another concession.

  • We polled 7,100 MoneySavers to see where hagglers had most success. Companies where hagglers revealed over 82% success rates included TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin. See full results.

    For more tips and the top companies to haggle with, see Haggle With Call Centres.

Best buy broadband deals

Below are our top picks. These are mainly price-focused, and these deals are only for those that live in the providers' network areas (typically about 90% of the population). If your local BT exchange hasn't been opened up to rival firms ("unbundled"), you'll pay more.

Best buys Cheapest unlimited broadband & line rental

Broadband usually requires a landline, and rather than getting your broadband and line rental from different companies, it's possible to get them as a 'bundle' for £106 for a year, including £50 cashback, at the moment. All of the cheapest deals listed below also offer unlimited broadband, so you don’t have to worry about going over your download limit.

Plusnet

B'band and line rental pay £136 for a year, incl £50 cashback*

If line rent paid upfront. Paid monthly it's £183 for 1 yr

  • Available to: 90% of the UK
  • Speed: Up to 17Mb
  • Download limit: Unlimited
  • Traffic shaping? Yes
  • Contract length: 12 months
  • Deal requires line rental? Yes
  • Inclusive calls? No (yes if line rent paid monthly)
  • New line installation: £49.99

Plusnet is part of the BT group and has strong customer service feedback (68% rate it great). Until Tue 4 Aug Plusnet* newbies can get the following on a 12-month contract:

  • Compulsory line rental. This is currently £15.95/mth, but is rising to £16.99/mth on Wed 2 Sept. The cheapest way is to pay £155.88 for a year upfront (rising to £185.88 on 2 Sept, so you're better off doing this sooner rather than later). Select this option during sign-up, or alternatively pay £15.95/mth until 2 Sept, and then £16.99/mth thereafter

  • Unlimited broadband (available to 90% of the UK). It's £2.50/mth for 12 months. Depending on where you live this rises to either £9.99/mth or £17.49/mth when the contract ends. For around 90% of the UK it will be £9.99, you'll be told what you'll pay after the 12-month contract ends before signing up.

  • Call costs: No calls are included (unless you pay monthly, then weekend calls to landlines are). Other prices to UK phones match BT's. See full charges. Rack up £75 in charges and you can't make more until you've paid off enough to bring it back under £70. If this happens, you'll also be charged a £5.76 fee on your next bill once the restriction is removed.

  • £50 cashback. Provided you use the link above, it'll email you a form within 10 working days of your broadband going live. After filling this in, a cheque will be posted to you within 30 working days. PS. If you use ad or cookie-blocking software, please turn it off or it may not track the cashback.

  • Need a new line? If you don't have one (or for those with cable or, in a few cases, Sky custs) it's £49.99 - you'll know before committing.

  • Optional 'free' wi-fi router. Yet you pay a one-off £5.99 to cover p&p.

Analysis - a great deal, with top-rated customer service

This is a strong deal with a provider boasting excellent customer service feedback. The router is optional so we've excluded it from our analysis.

If you pay line rental upfront and factor in the total broadband and line rental cost over the 12 months, it comes to £185.88, equivalent to £15.49/mth. (pay line rent monthly and it's £232.84, equivalent to £19.40/mth including one month at the current rate and the rest at the increased rate post 2 Sept).

Plus you get the £50 cashback. Factor that in, and it's effectively £135.88 for the year, equiv to just £11.32/mth (pay line rent monthly and it's £182.84, equivalent to £15.24/mth).

Full Plusnet tips, call charges & customer service ratings

Sky

B'band plus line rental £216 over 18mths*

Line rent & b'band for £12/mth

  • Available to: 95% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 17Mb
  • Download limit: Unlimited
  • Traffic shaping? Yes, at peak times
  • Contract length: 18 months
  • Deal requires line rental? Yes
  • Inclusive calls? Weekends
  • New line installation: £37

Cheap deals are often convoluted and complex - for example, pay a year upfront, voucher reclaims etc. This one is simple, pay £12/mth and you get line rental and broadband from SSE.

Yes it’s known as an energy firm, but it's been stretching its 'home services' reach into telecoms for years and now its Everyday Broadband + Talk Weekend* package (until Wed 16 Sept) is by far its most competitive. Here are the key details...

  • Line rental. You pay £12/mth on a 12mth contract.

  • 'Free' unlimited broadband (avail to 95% of the UK). For TWO YEARS it's 'free' if you pay line rent but you can cancel after 18mths. Cancel between 12 and 18 mths (ie, when the line rental contract is up) and it's £4/mth until the 18mth point.

  • Calls. Unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines (max 70mins per call), including up to 1,000 weekend minutes per month to 0845 and 0870 numbers. Other call costs to UK phones are a touch lower than BT. If you rack up more than £200 in unbilled call charges it'll stop you making calls until this is reduced. Full call cost info below.

  • Need line installation? This works via a standard phone line. If you don't have one or only have a cable one (or in a few cases other lines), installation's £37. It'll tell you before you commit.

  • 'Free' internet security sofware. Includes antivirus, firewall & parental contract. After 18 months it's £2/mth if you don't cancel.

  • How's its service? It's always been a very small player, so we've little data - not necessarily a bad thing as if people were screaming about it we're likely to have heard - so a bit of a leap of faith is needed. Yet this is a very sizeable firm with serious resources.

    The underlying line used is 'BT Openreach'; the same as most providers so that shouldn't be an issue (well, no more than others anyway). You have a 14-day cooling off period if it goes wrong and if service is poor it says it'll "do everything to try to solve the situation".

Analysis – unlike so many other deals, this is simple and cheap

Since all you have to pay is the line rental of £12/mth, the total cost over 18 months is £216. If you continue to pay for the full two years, it's an additional £72, so £288 in total for two years.

Full SSE tips & call charges

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/redir/557c7feb

B'band plus line rent £288 over 18mths, get £100 vch*

If line rent paid upfront. pay monthly, it's £308

  • Available to: 97% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 17Mb 
  • Download limit: Unlimited 
  • Traffic shaping? No 
  • Contract length: 18 months
  • Deal requires line rental? Yes
  • Inclusive calls? Yes, for six months
  • New line installation: Free

Until Thu 30 Jul newbies to TalkTalk who apply via this specific Simply Broadband* link get the following on an 18-month contract:

  • Line rental. It's £16.70/mth so £300.60 over 18 months. When signing up you can choose to pay £180.36 upfront for the first year, then £16.70/mth for the remaining six months - £280.56 in total, equiv to £15.59/mth.

  • Unlimited broadband. It's 'free' for the entire 18-month contract. After this it'll rise to £5/mth.

  • £100 Love2Shop voucher. Once the broadband's live, the voucher will be posted to you automatically within 28 days. Love2Shop can be used at Argos, Boots, Debenhams, Superdrug etc - see the full Love2Shop list for all retailers. You won't get the voucher if you need a new line installed though.

    Read more on how to ENSURE you get the voucher

  • Anytime calls for six months. You'll get anytime calls to UK landlines and mobiles (though not 0845 or 0870 numbers) for the first six months; after this you'll be charged £7.50/mth unless you cancel the calls add-on. Chargeable calls are priced a touch more than BT's standard (see below for more).

  • Compulsory 'free' wi-fi router. Yet you must pay £6.75 for p&p.

  • Need a new line? If you don't have a line or only have a cable one (or in a few cases other lines), installation is free.

  • Optional 'Unlimited' Sim. If you're looking for a new plan for your phone, TalkTalk has just launched a good value plan just for it's broadband customers with unlimited minutes, texts and data (3G only) for £12/month on a 30-day contract. This would be on top of your monthly broadband and line rental costs and is optional.

Analysis - a decent deal, especially if you'll use the inclusive calls

Assuming you cancelled the anytime calls after the free six-month period, add up line rent (with a year paid upfront) and router p&p and it's £287.31 for 18mths, equivalent to £15.96/mth (pay line rent monthly and it's £307.35, equiv to £17.08/mth). PLUS you get the £100 Love2Shop voucher.

If you'd spend that at one of the shops anyway, factor it in and it's effectively £187.31 for 18mths, equiv to £10.41/mth (paid monthly it's £207.35, equiv to £11.52/mth).

Full TalkTalk tips & call charges

Best buys Cheapest fibre-optic

Superfast or fibre-optic broadband offers a much faster speed with greater consistency, though it's far pricier than normal broadband. If you're a heavy user - if you love to stream movies and music, or regularly download things - it can be a better option. It can also be a good idea if there are several people in the household likely to be online at the same time.

However, if you only use the web to browse and check emails or social media, or stream and download less frequently, you might be better off boosting your existing broadband speed instead. Our Broadband Speed Test guide shows you how.

Fibre and line rent £224 for a year*

If line rent paid upfront. Paid monthly it's £264 for a year

  • Available to: 50% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 50Mb
  • Download limit: Unlimited
  • Traffic shaping? Yes, at peak times
  • Contract length: 12 months
  • Deal requires line rental? Yes
  • Inclusive calls? Weekend
  • New line installation: Free

New Virgin customers (or those who've not been with it for at least 12mths) can sign up to an 12-month contract with Virgin Media via uSwitch* and get the following on its 50Mb fibre package:

  • Compulsory line rental. It's cheapest to opt to pay £164 upfront for a year (equivalent to £13.67/mth), then pay £16.99/mth for the remaining six months. To pay upfront, sign up, then call 0800 0643840 once your installation date's confirmed and request the Line Rental Saver option. If you'd prefer to pay monthly, it's £16.99/mth.

  • Unlimited 'up to' 50Mb fibre-optic broadband (available to 50% of the UK). You pay £5/mth for the entire 12-month contract, then £17.50/mth thereafter.

  • Call costs: Weekend calls (up to 60 mins per call) to landlines, Virgin Mobile numbers, and all calls to 0870 numbers are included, other call costs are usually more than BT. See full call charges below.

  • Need a new line? If you need a new line installed - eg, if you only have a standard BT line - it's free with this deal.

  • Free wi-fi router. It's sent to you free (so no p&p to pay).

Analysis - cheapest fibre deal with faster than standard fibre speeds (50Mb compared to 38Mb)

The following analysis excludes call costs, as they depend on you as an individual.

If you pay line rental upfront, factoring in the total broadband and line rental cost over 12 months it's £224 all-in, equivalent to £18.66/mth. If you pay line rental monthly, factoring in the total broadband and line rental cost over 18 months it's £263.88 all-in, or £21.99/mth.

Full Virgin tips, call charges and customer service ratings

Plusnet

Fibre and line rent pay £438 for 18mths*

If line paid upfront. Paid monthly it's £485 for 18mths

  • Available to: 60% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 38Mb
  • Download limit: Unlimited
  • Traffic shaping? Yes
  • Contract length: 18 months
  • Deal requires line rental? Yes
  • Inclusive calls? No (yes if line paid monthly)
  • New line installation: £49.99

Plusnet is part of the BT group and has extremely good customer service feedback – across broadband and home phone, a high 68% rated its customer service 'great' in our latest poll (see below for full results).

It's also one of our top picks – until Thu 27 Aug, new customers signing up to Plusnet's* fibre broadband can get the following on an 18-month contract:

  • Up to 38Mb fibre broadband, unlimited usage. It's 'free' for the first six months, then £14.99/mth for the remaining 12 months – a total of £179.88 over the 18-month contract.
  • Compulsory line rental. This is currently £15.95/mth, but is rising to £16.99/mth on Wed 2 Sept. The cheapest way is to pay £155.88 for a year upfront (rising to £185.88 on 2 Sept, so you're better off doing this sooner rather than later), then pay £16.99/mth for the remaining six months. Select this option during sign-up, or alternatively pay £15.95/mth until 2 Sept, and then £16.99/mth thereafter.
  • Call costs. No calls are included (unless you pay monthly – then weekend calls to landlines are). Other prices to UK phones are slightly less than with BT. See full charges. Rack up £75 in charges and you can't make more until you've paid off enough to bring it back under £70. If this happens, you'll also pay a £5.76 fee on your next bill once the restriction is removed.

  • Need a new line? If you need a new line installed, eg, if switching from cable or if you've moved into a property where the landline hasn't been activated (you'll be told before signing up), installation is £49.99.

  • Optional 'free' wi-fi router. You'll have to pay a one-off £5.99 to cover p&p if you want one.

Analysis – decent deal for fibre with highly rated customer service and broader coverage than Virgin

The following analysis excludes call costs, as they depend on you as an individual. If you don't have a router, you can get one free, but you'll pay £5.99 p&p – we've excluded it from our analysis since it's optional.

If you pay line rental upfront and factor in the total broadband and line rental cost over the 18 months, it comes to £437.70, equivalent to £24.32/mth. If you pay line rental monthly, the total broadband and line rental cost (including one month at the current rate and the rest at the increased rate post 2 Sept) over 18 months is £484.66, equivalent to £26.93/mth.

Full Plusnet tips, call charges & customer service ratings

Sky

Pay £234 for a year's b'band & line rent*

But 25GB/mth limit. If you wanted unlimited, it's £354

  • Available to: 70% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 38Mb
  • Download limit: 25GB/mth
  • Traffic shaping? No
  • Contract length: 12 months
  • Deal requires line rental? Yes
  • Inclusive calls? Weekends
  • New line installation: £20

If you're a completely new Sky customer - ie you've not had any Sky product for the last 12 months - you can get Sky's* 25GB/mth fibre broadband free for a year if you take its line rental too.

It's cheap for fibre, but it's 'up to' speeds are slower than Virgin, and it's not unlimited. If you're a light user or smaller household, it might work for you, otherwise, if you'd like to stick to Sky, try its Unlimited Fibre* for £10/mth plus line rental.

Here's how the deal stacks up:

  • Compulsory line rental. It's £16.40/mth on a 12-month contract.

  • 25GB/mth broadband (avail to 70% of UK). Up to 38Mb speed, this comes 'free' with the line rent for 12mths. After that, you can leave or pay £10/mth. If you'd prefer Sky's unlimited option, it's £10/mth for 12 months and £20/mth after that.

  • Compulsory Sky router. It's marketed as 'free' by Sky, but the delivery costs £6.95.

  • Unavoidable £30 activation fee. There's no getting around this, sadly.

  • Call costs. No calls are included; calls to UK phones are similar to BT (see full call charges). If you rack up £100/mth in call charges (even if your account is in credit), you'll be cut off until it's paid off in full, which you must do by either credit or debit card.

  • Don't have a line, or switching from cable? You'll pay £20. A few on certain standard lines may need to as well. The only way to know is via the application process (it'll tell you before you commit, you'll need your exact postcode and landline number). See full info below.

  • Direct debit is the only way to pay. You won't be able to get this deal otherwise.

Analysis: a good deal if you're after speed but aren't a high user and want to stick with Sky

For the 25GB/mth fibre, a year's line rent, the £6.95 router delivery charge and £30 fibre activation fee the total comes to £233.75 over the contract (excl calls), equivalent to £19.48/mth.

For a year's unlimited fibre, line rent, router delivery and activation fee it's £353.75 over the contract, equivalents to £29.48/mth.

Full Sky tips, call charges & customer service ratings

Best buys Top deals if you want BT

Let's be straight - BT isn't the cheapest provider around. But as many of you tell us you'd like to stick with the big boy, here are the best deals we've found.

Remember BT broadband customers also get BT Sport, which is a bonus for footie fans, although the pricing and what you get on each of the channels is changing on 1 August - see BT Sport changes for full info.

BT

B'band & line rent, pay £231 for a year, incl £50 back*

If line rent paid upfront. Paid monthly it's £261 for 1 yr

  • Available to: 99% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 17Mb
  • Download limit: Unlimited
  • Traffic shaping? No
  • Contract length: 12 months
  • Deal requires line rental? Yes
  • Inclusive calls? Weekend
  • New line installation: Free

Until Tue 28 Jul, BT newbies (those who don't currently have broadband with it) can get a reduced rate on its Unlimited Broadband + Weekend Calls* package (it's the fifth one down when you click the link) with line rental on a 12-month contract.

  • Compulsory line rental. This is currently £16.99/mth, but is rising to £17.99/mth on Sun 20 Sept. The cheapest way is to pay £183.48 for a year upfront (rising to £194.28 on 20 Sept, so you're better off doing this sooner rather than later). Select this option during sign-up, or alternatively pay £16.99/mth until 20 Sept, and then £17.99/mth thereafter.

  • Unlimited broadband. You pay £7.50/mth, so £90 for the year. After 12 months it'll rise to £18/mth, so diarise to switch at this time.

  • 'Free' BT Hub router. You have to pay £6.95 to cover p&p.

  • 'Free' line installation. Don't have a line, or switching from cable? Normally you'd pay £130 for one to be installed, but with this deal it's free – see full info below (if it's a second line, you'll pay).

  • £50 cashback, BUT you must claim it. You need to register for this via an online form (bookmark this link) within two months of your broadband being activated. A cheque is then posted within 30 days. Warning: You need to claim the cashback, it isn't automatically sent - set a diary alert so you remember to claim - see full details.

  • Call costs. This plan comes with inclusive weekend calls (up to 60 mins per call). Call charges are also increasing on 20 Sept - for full info see below.

  • BT Sport. BT broadband customers get access to BT Sport. If you've also got BT TV or Sky TV, you can watch it on your telly through these platforms. Otherwise, you can watch it through the BT Sport app or through the online player. The channel entitlements and pricing of BT Sport are changing on 1 Aug though - see BT Sport changes for full info.

Analysis – this is a good deal if you want to go with BT

If you already have a router, you don't have to get a new one, but as most will we've factored it in.

If you pay line rental upfront and factor in the total broadband, line rental and router delivery cost over 12 months it comes to £280.43 excluding extra calls costs, equivalent to £23.37/mth (pay line rent monthly and it's £310.83, equivalent to £25.90/mth, including two months at the current rate and the rest at the increased rate post 20 Sept).

Plus you get the £50 cashback. Factor that in and it's effectively £230.43 excluding extra calls costs (£260.83 if line rent paid monthly), equivalent to £19.20/mth (£21.74/mth equiv if you pay line rent monthly).

Full BT tips, call charges and customer service ratings

Best buys Cheapest broadband-only deals

It’s outrageous that people who just want broadband almost always need to pay for a phone line too. There are some alternatives, as we explain below, but they're generally more expensive than the cheapest line rental and broadband deals (see above).

The alternative options include:

  • The cheapest no-phone-line broadband deal we could find is with Relish.net. It costs from £25/mth but it's only for those in central London - it uses its own 4G wireless network. As it's a new company, it's difficult to assess its reliability though.

  • If you go for mobile broadband you won't need line rental but it isn’t as reliable as home broadband. For more info and the best deals around, see our Mobile broadband guide.

  • Satellite broadband is suitable for people who live in rural areas where traditional fixed lines are unavailable. It uses a satellite dish to provide an internet connection to your router. However, you can only get speeds of up to 20Mb and it's very expensive.

Here's how the traditional standalone broadband deals compare, but be warned - taking a phone line is almost always cheaper.

Virgin Media

Fibre b'band only pay £342 for a year*

No line rental needed, though it's cheaper with it

  • Available to: 50% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 50Mb
  • Download limit: Unlimited
  • Traffic shaping? Yes at peak times
  • Contract length: 12 months
  • Deal requires line rental? No
  • Inclusive calls? No
  • New line installation: Free

The only no-line-rental option is Virgin Media*, costing £28.50/mth equivalent for new customers signing up to a 12-month contract.

Although you don't need a landline to get this, it works out cheaper to get Virgin broadband AND line rental, which is equivalent to £23.94/mth in comparison (if paying for line rental upfront).

  • Unlimited fibre optic broadband. It's £28.50/mth for 12 months, with speeds of up to 50Mb (depending on your postcode).

  • Installation. It's free with this deal.

Over the 12-month contract it's £342, excluding calls.

Full Virgin info and customer service ratings

Plusnet

Broadband-only pay £175 for a year*

You'll need a BT line to get it

  • Available to: 90% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 17Mb
  • Download limit: Unlimited
  • Traffic shaping? Yes
  • Contract length: 12 months
  • Deal requires line rental? No
  • Inclusive calls? No
  • New line installation: £49.99

If you're new to Plusnet and want to add unlimited broadband to existing line rental (which doesn't have to be with Plusnet, but must be a BT line), Plusnet* Unlimited is £12.49/mth.

You will need a phone line on top though, and it is likely to be cheaper to get broadband and line rental as a package.

  • Line rental. You must have an existing, working BT-based line for Plusnet broadband. This doesn't necessarily mean paying BT for its use - Sky use BT-based lines for example, it just can't be a cable line. If that's all you have, you'll need a new line installed.

  • Unlimited broadband. It's £12.49/mth for a year, so £149.88 for the year (available to 90% of the UK). There is also a £25 connection fee.

  • Need a new line? If you don't have one (or for those with cable or, in a few cases, Sky custs) it's £49.99 – you'll know before committing.

  • Optional 'free' wi-fi router. You'll have to pay a one-off £5.99 to cover p&p if you want one.

The cost of the broadband plus connection fee for the first year is £174.88, equivalent to £14.57/mth.

Plusnet customer service ratings

Best buys Cheapest short-term contract broadband

If you're planning to move home soon, living in student accommodation or want the freedom to leave with a short, no-penalty notice period, the deals below allow you to sign up on a monthly rolling contract, which although more expensive, can be cheaper than paying penalty charges to get out of a standard 12 or 18-month contract.

However, if you are planning to move, first check if your new contract's 'portable', meaning you can take it with you. Some providers will let you do this, but it's on a case-by-case basis.

DirectSave

Rolling 28-day contract, equiv £28.05/mth for first 12 mths*

Cancel with 28 days' notice

  • Available to: 89% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 17Mb
  • Download limit: 20GB
  • Traffic shaping? No
  • Contract length: 28 Days
  • Deal requires line rental? Yes
  • Inclusive calls? No
  • New line installation: £29.95

Newbies who take Direct Save Telecom's* line rental can get unlimited broadband on a 28-day rolling contract (its standard contract length is 24 months) for £11.95/mth.

However, if you need a new line, eg, if switching from cable or if you don't have a working line, it's £118 on top.

Not heard of Direct Save Telecom before? Read on for more.

  • Broadband. It's £11.95/mth. Direct Save Telecom could increase prices at any time, but as you're not tied into a long contract, you're free to leave by giving 28 days' notice. There's a 20GB/mth download limit.

  • Compulsory line rental. There are three line rental payment options. If you want to stick with no-contract line rental too, it's £15.35/mth. Cheaper options include signing up to an 18-month contract, paying £13.95/mth, or paying £132 upfront for a year (equivalent to £11/mth). Taking either of these will tie you into a contract though.

  • You need its router. It's 'free' but you'll need to pay £8.95 p&p.

  • Need a new line? If you need a new line installed it'll cost you £29.95.

The total broadband, line rental and router p&p cost for the first year is £336.55, equivalent to £28.05/mth.

Full Direct Save Telecom info and call charges

Problems with getting an MSE Blagged voucher?

If you signed up to an MSE Blagged Deal – a best-in-market deal we’ve negotiated exclusively – which involves you being sent a voucher, we’ll always do our best to ensure you get the voucher.

But as we warn above, there can occasionally be problems with the deal tracking. In particular, if you were running adblocking software or cookie blockers when you signed up for the deal, or exited your browser while in the process of signing up, this can stop it tracking correctly.

Key tips

  • Many vouchers are supposed to arrive within three months of installation (see each deal for specific details). If it hasn’t been that long yet, please be patient.

  • If you’re waiting for an email voucher, please do check your spam folder regularly in case it’s been diverted there.

Below we’ve listed the main past blagged deals, so you can check what you’re due.

Warning: This is an archive so these deals may no longer be available.

BT: Broadband and line rent deals

EE: Broadband and line rent deals

Plusnet: Broadband and line rent deals

TalkTalk: Broadband and line rent deals

Sky: Broadband and line rent deals

How to complain about your broadband provider

The broadband industry doesn't have the best customer service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include installation dates not being met, limited service or slow speeds, incorrect billing and more. It’s always worth trying to call your provider first, but if not then…

Free tool if you’re having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It’s totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with it to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver will automatically escalate it to the free Ombudsman Services (or CISAS if you're complaining about Virgin Media).

Important: if your issue is about a voucher or incentive that was part of an MSE Blagged deal, then instead just let us know by emailing voucherhelp@moneysavingexpert.com as that’s usually quicker.