MSE News

Fibre deals are getting cheaper – stop overpaying for broadband

The cheapest fibre broadband deals on average have dropped to the lowest in years at under £19/month, new research from MoneySavingExpert.com reveals – check now to see if you're paying too much.

A steady stream of cheap fibre deals has meant the average cost of taking a new fibre broadband contract (with average speeds of 35Mb-36Mb) now stands at £18.65/mth, after factoring in vouchers or cashback. 

In a year of price rises and increases from the big players such as BT and Virgin Media, millions will be forking out even more for the same service – with out-of-contract fibre prices now starting from £37.49/mth.

Yet, during the same period, we've seen the effective price of the cheapest fibre broadband deals fall, making the potential savings from switching the highest they have been in years.

Compare the best deals in your area with our Broadband Unbundled tool.

The cheapest prices – are you paying too much?

We've crunched the numbers and tracked the price of the cheapest deals featured on MoneySavingExpert each week since January 2016.

All deals are compared using the equivalent monthly price, calculated by totalling all costs over the contracted period – including any set-up or delivery fees – minus any promotional cashback or reward. This total cost figure is then divided by the contract length – usually 12 or 18 months – to get the effective monthly cost.

Looking at quarterly periods, the last 12 months has seen the largest downward trend of fibre pricing, from a starting point of £21.57/mth at the end of last year to an effective cost of £18.65/mth today. 

Fast fibre is now available to over 90% of the UK, yet only around 40% of households have taken it up, according to Ofcom's annual report. 

On the surface, fibre is becoming more affordable in comparison to standard speed, so if you've the need for speed, now is a good time to consider an upgrade.

However, don't be tempted to overpay for speed you don't need – if you just use the internet for emailing and basic browsing, then standard speeds should be enough.

We haven't seen the same trend in prices for standard speed broadband (average speeds of 10Mb-11Mb) – as the table below shows. The average price of new deals has been trending upwards since 2016 – but there are still cheap deals to be had.

Right now, new customers to Plusnet can sign up to a deal which works out at an equivalent £10.24/mth. Compared to BT's out-of-contract price at £45.49/mth, this represents a saving of over £420/yr from switching provider. 

Use these as a benchmark when looking for your next deal or when haggling.

TalkTalk and Vodafone are battling it out for the cheapest deals

This year has seen two providers dominate the fibre broadband price war, with Vodafone and TalkTalk battling it out for the cheapest spot.

To date, Vodafone has come out top, offering the cheapest option for 18 weeks this year, with TalkTalk a close second at 15 weeks. TalkTalk has also been vying for the cheapest standard speed broadband too, at 14 weeks as the cheapest option, with Plusnet in second place with 10 weeks.

However, while these providers consistently offer competitive deals, the cheapest we've seen this year have been an equivalent £8.33/mth from Sky for standard 11Mb broadband and £16.76/mth from Now Broadband for 36Mb fibre, so it's always worth comparing deals before you sign up.

You need to switch regularly to always bag a cheap deal

If you want to constantly win the broadband price game, you need to be on the ball.

Most broadband providers bank on you not changing once your initial promotional rate ends, so follow these steps to always ensure you get the best deal:

1. Check when your contract ends, if you leave before this date you will usually be charged a penalty.
2. Around one month before it ends, compare the deals available to you in your area using our Broadband Unbundled tool.
3. Switch to the best deal for you; your new provider will usually notify your existing provider and arrange a switch date.
4. Make sure you claim and activate any rewards as part of the deal.

For more information, see our top need-to-knows in our Broadband Unbundled tool.

Don't want to switch? Haggle with your current provider

For those who don't want to switch, the other option is to haggle.

Our latest poll showed 82% of broadband customers overall who tried to haggle were successful in negotiating a better deal. With some firms, the success rate was even higher – for example, 85% of Sky customers claimed victory in reducing their costs.

Use the above prices as a benchmark and give your provider a call. See our 15 top haggling tips for more information.