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Cheap Broadband

B'band & line rent £81 for 12mths, inc £75 cashback

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 £432/yr, TalkTalk £230/yr, Sky £290/yr and Virgin £410/yr. The deals below can bring it down to just £81 for 12mths, including £75 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 £17.99 £432
Sky £10 £16.40 £317
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 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 £204 for 12mths 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 £81 for a year incl £75 cashback*

If line rent paid upfront. Paid monthly it's £129 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 (69% rate it great). Until Tue 1 Sept Plusnet* newbies can get the following on a 12-month contract:

  • Compulsory line rental. Pay £155.88 for a year upfront (you must opt for this at sign-up), equivalent to £12.99/mth. Or you can pay £16.99 monthly.

  • Unlimited broadband (available to 90% of the UK). It's 'free' for 12 months. This rises to either £9.99/mth or £17.49/mth when the contract ends depending on where you live - for around 90% of the UK it will be £9.99; you'll be told 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.

  • £75 cashback but you'll need to claim it. Once your broadband is live, you'll be sent an email with instructions of how to claim your cashback. Once you've submitted your claim (which you must do within two months of the offer ending), it'll send you a £75 cheque.

  • 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 (this rises to £6.99 from 2 Sept).

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 the line rental upfront it's £155.88 over 12mths excluding call costs, equivalent to £12.99/mth (pay line rent monthly and it's £203.88, equiv to £16.99/mth).

Plus you'll get the £75 cashback. Factor that in, and it's effectively £80.88 for the year, equiv to just £6.74/mth (pay line rent monthly and it's £128.88, equivalent to £10.74/mth).

Full Plusnet tips, call charges & customer service ratings

Sky

B'band plus line rent £204 over a year, get £100 M&S vch*

£16.98/mth equiv for Sky newbies only

  • Available to: 93% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 17Mb
  • Download limit: Unlimited
  • Traffic shaping? No
  • Contract length: 12 months
  • Deal requires line rental? Yes
  • Inclusive calls? No
  • New line installation: £20

Until Thu 10 Sept, newbies to Sky* (those who haven't had any Sky service in the past 12 months) who take Sky's £16.40/mth line rental can get its broadband for 'free' on a 12-month contract.

Plus you can get a £100 M&S or Tesco voucher, £100 credit on a prepaid Mastercard, a Samsung Glaxy Tab 4 (the cheapest we found it was around £100), a Sonos PLAY:1 speaker (we found it for £130) or a Toshiba 14-inch laptop (worth around £200) – you’ll need to claim whatever you choose though, it’s not automatic.

  • Line rental. You'll pay £16.40/mth for this, so a total of £196.80 for the year.

  • Unlimited broadband. You get a year’s 'free' unlimited 'up to' 17Mb broadband. It rises to £10/mth after the 12mth contract ends.

  • No calls included. Calls costs are on par with BT (9.5p/min to landlines, 12.7p/min to mobiles, 15.9p connection-fee). Sky also employs an unbilled calls credit limit (see below for info).

  • Choose from a £100 M&S or Tesco voucher, £100 credit on a prepaid MasterCard, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, a Sonos PLAY:1 speaker or a Toshiba laptop. You'll have to claim your reward once your broadband is activated. Go to www.sky.com/claim and log in using your Sky account details (you'll get these when you sign up). Make sure that you claim your reward within 90 days or you may lose out. For more help go to how to claim your reward.
  • Compulsory 'Free' router. You have to pay £6.95 for p&p.

  • Need a new line? If you don't have a line, or you're switching from cable, you'll need to pay for a new line. However, if you have a BT line but pay another provider to use it, or you pay BT directly for your phone line, you may still have to pay the fee (see below).

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

Analysis – this is a good deal, if you'll use the voucher

If you take the standard broadband, the line rental, and the router p&p, the total over the 12-month contract is £203.75, equiv to £16.98/mth. Plus, you can choose a £100 M&S or Tesco voucher, £100 in credit on a prepaid MasterCard, a Samsung tablet or a Toshiba laptop.

If you were going to spend £100 at M&S, Tesco or on the prepaid card anyway, factor it in and it's £103.75 over a year, equivalent to £8.65/mth. As the tablet and laptop prices can vary, we've excluded it from our analysis.

Full Sky tips, call charges & customer service ratings

ee

B'band & line rent pay £183 for a year, get £50 vch*

If line rent paid upfront. Paid monthly it's £215

  • Available to: 95% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 17Mb
  • Download limit: Unlimited
  • Traffic shaping? Yes, at peak times
  • Contract length: 12 months
  • Deal requires line rental? Yes
  • Inclusive calls? Weekend
  • New line installation: £30

Until Sat 31 Oct, new customers to EE broadband* can get its unlimited broadband on a 12-month contract, plus we've blagged a £50 Amazon voucher if you sign up via our link and use the code MSE50.

Here's a breakdown of the deal:

  • Unlimited broadband (avail to 95% of UK). You pay £1/mth, so £12 for the year. Note that after the first year the price is likely to rise, so check then if you can get cheaper elsewhere.

  • Compulsory line rental. You can pay £165 for the year upfront (you must opt for this at sign-up) equiv to £13.75/mth. If not, you can pay £16.40/mth.

  • Call costs: Weekend calls to landlines are included. Others are slightly less than with BT (see below).

  • Need a new line? If you don't have a line (or for those with a cable one or, in a few cases, Sky customers), it's £30 – you'll be told before you commit.

  • Compulsory 'free' wi-fi router. Technically the router is 'free', but you have to get one and pay a one-off £6 to cover p&p.

  • £50 Amazon voucher. Use the code MSE50 when you sign up via the link above and EE will automatically send you a £50 Amazon voucher within three months of your broadband being connected. How to ensure you get the voucher

  • Still in contract? Get up to £100 credit to cover switching costs. If you're in contract elsewhere and have to pay to switch, EE gives up to £100 credit to cover costs (excl call charges). You have to pay your old provider upfront, then claim through EE within 90 days of your new broadband going live. You'll need to upload your last bill from your old provider to the EE site - it'll then credit your account once it's verified your request.

Analysis - cheap deal, especially if you'll use the voucher

The following analysis excludes call costs, as they depend on you as an individual, and the £30 new line installation fee for those on cable or who need a new line.

If you pay line rental upfront, the total broadband, line rental and router delivery cost for the first year is £183, equivalent to £15.25/mth. If you pay line rental monthly, the total broadband, line rental cost and router delivery cost for the first year is £214.80, equivalent to £17.90/mth. Plus you get the £50 Amazon voucher.

If you were going to spend that anyway, factor it in and it's £133 all-in over 12 months, equivalent to £11.08/mth. If you pay line rental monthly, it's £164.80 all-in, equivalent to £13.73/mth.

Full EE 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 or 150 calls per month (whichever you hit first) 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

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.

Sky

Fibre and line rent £440 over 18mths, get £100 vch*

If line rent paid upfront. Pay monthly, it's £459

  • Available to: 60% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 38Mb 
  • Download limit: Unlimited 
  • Traffic shaping? No 
  • Contract length: 18 months
  • Deal requires line rental? Yes
  • Inclusive calls? None
  • New line installation: Free

Until Thu 3 Sept, newbies to TalkTalk's Fibre Broadband* get the following on an 18-month contract:

  • Line rental. It's currently £16.70/mth, increasing to £17.70/mth from 1 Oct, so £317.60 over 18 months, based on paying the current rate for the first month. When signing up you can choose to pay £191.16 upfront for the first year, then £17.70/mth for the remaining six months - £297.80 in total, equivalent to £16.54/mth.

  • Up to 38Mb fibre broadband, unlimited usage. It's £7.50/mth for the entire 18-month contract. After this it'll rise to £15/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

  • 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.

Analysis - a competitive deal, especially if you can't get Virgin

Add up line rent (with a year paid upfront), the broadband cost and router p&p and it's £439.55 for 18mths, equivalent to £24.42/mth (pay line rent monthly and it's £459.35, equiv to £25.52/mth). Plus you get the £100 Love2Shop voucher.

If you were going to spend that anyway, factor it in and it's £339.55 all-in over 18 months, equivalent to £18.86/mth (pay line rent monthly and it's £359.35, equiv to £19.96/mth).

Full TalkTalk tips & call charges

Fibre and line rent £419 over 18mths*

If line rent paid upfront. Pay monthly, it's £459

  • Available to: 50% of UK
  • Speed: Up to 50Mb
  • Download limit: Unlimited
  • Traffic shaping? Yes, at peak times
  • Contract length: 18 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 18-month contract with Virgin Media via Broadbandchoices* and get the following on its 50Mb fibre package:

  • Compulsory line rental. It's £16.99/mth but it's cheapest to opt to pay £164 upfront for a year (equivalent to £13.67/mth), then £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.

  • Unlimited 'up to' 50Mb fibre-optic broadband (available to 50% of the UK). You pay £4/mth for the the first 12 months, then £17.50/mth for the remainder of the 18-month contract - a total of £153.

  • Call costs: Weekend calls (up to 60 mins per call) to landlines, Virgin Mobile numbers, and all calls to 0870 numbers are included. For other call costs, 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 18 months it's £418.94 all-in, equivalent to £23.27/mth. If you pay line rental monthly, factoring in the total broadband and line rental cost over 18 months it's £458.82 all-in, or £25.49/mth.

Full Virgin tips, call charges and 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 £280 for a year, get £25 vch*

If line rent paid upfront. Paid monthly it's £313 for a 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

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. 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). Alternatively you can pay monthly - it's £17.99/mth.

  • 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).

  • £25 Sainsbury's in-store voucher BUT you must claim it. Frustratingly, you need to register for this via an online form (bookmark this link) once the broadband's activated. It's then posted within 30 days so diarise carefully. Warning: You need to claim this voucher, 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 Lite. BT broadband customers get access to BT Sport Lite. 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 changed on 1 Aug – 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 £312.83, equivalent to £26.07/mth).

Plus you get the £25 Sainsbury's voucher. If you were going to spend in-store at Sainsbury's anyway, factor that in and it's effectively £255.43 excluding extra calls costs (£287.83 if line rent paid monthly), equivalent to £21.29/mth (£23.99/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 £23.27/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: £118

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.

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 deal?

If you signed up to an MSE Blagged deal – a best-in-market offer 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.

MSE Big Broadband Switch Event: Sky billing issues

We've heard from a few users who signed up to the Sky deal in our recent Big Broadband Switch Event that they've been charged the full price for the TV in their first bill. Sky told us this is a result of Sky TV installation taking place before broadband and phone service.

Sky is aware of this issue and has assured us that it will be refunding customers who have been overcharged so you won't end up paying anything more than the prices we featured when we ran the deal (if you're not sure what they were, see below). Sky's said it will be contacting all affected customers about this but we'll update this page when we find out more.

Below we’ve listed the main past blagged deals, including the MSE Broadband Switch Event Sky deal, 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 can 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.