The price gap between the cheapest fibre and standard broadband deals is closing, new analysis by MSE reveals.

Our research shows the average price difference between fibre and its slower cousin, has been squeezed to less than £7/mth. Top deals for standard broadband, including line rent, have been trending steadily upwards from around £10/mth to £14/mth, a 40% increase over the last 30 months.

At the same time, figures reveal that if you’ve been paying more than £22/mth for your fibre, including your line, you’ve probably been shelling out too much.

The highest average monthly price for fast fibre (with top speeds of around 38Mb) for any quarter since the start of 2016  was £21.57 – while it dropped recently to an average low of £19.52.

See our Broadband Unbundled comparison tool to check the best deals available in your postcode.

Cheapest deals have increased by 40%

We analysed the cheapest deals featured on MoneySavingExpert each week for standard speed ADSL (with top speeds of 17Mb) and fibre broadband (52Mb) since January 2016.

All deals are equivalent monthly prices, 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.

Despite outlier deals of £5.08/mth (June 2016), effective monthly prices over the two years for standard speed deals have trended upwards from a starting point of £10 to almost £14 in June 2018, a 40% increase on the cheapest deals. Over the same period, fibre deals have remained largely static with a flat trendline at £20/mth.

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. Some 15% of respondents to its yearly survey who did not have fibre said they were put off by the perceived high prices – but our analysis suggests that as the price differential shrinks, now could be a good time to look at fast fibre deals.

Average monthly prices of the cheapest broadband & line rental deals as featured on MoneySavingExpert.com

Period Standard Speed (i) Fast Fibre (ii) Price Difference
2016 Jan-Mar
£11.85
£19.66
£7.81
Apr-Jun
£9.16
£19.57
£10.41
Jul-Sep
£8.64
£20.45
£11.81
Oct-Dec
£13.01
£20.29
£7.28
2016
£10.67
£19.99
£9.33
2017 Jan-Mar
£12.77
£21.38
£8.61
Apr-Jun
£12.08
£19.56
£7.49
Jul-Sep
£12.60
£19.78
£7.18
Oct-Dec
£14.66
£21.57
£6.91
2017
£13.03
£20.57
£7.55
2018 Jan-Mar
£13.32
£19.79
£6.47
Apr-Jun
£12.46
£19.52
£7.06
2018 (to date)
£12.92
£19.67
£6.74
(i) With top speeds of 17Mb (ii) With top speeds of 52Mb

It is still possible to get a good deal for all speeds as some buck the trend

Last month, we reported as many as 6.5 million could be overpaying for their broadband, but the good news is there are still deals that buck the trend, and if you're out of contract on default prices then you're almost guaranteed to save by switching or haggling.

Last week, saw the return of standard speeds for £10.24/mth from Plusnet, which is also offering the cheapest deals for fast fibre at £18.33/mth and superfast fibre for £20.84/mth.

The links above take you to our Broadband Unbundled tool to check if the deal's available at your postcode or, if you'd rather stay put, see our 15 top haggling tips for more information on negotiating a cheap price with your current provider.

Martin Lewis
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"Don't overpay for speed you don't need"

Guy Anker, MoneySavingExpert's Deputy Editor said: "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.

"However, don't be tempted to overpay for speed you don't need. The price gap between fibre and standard speeds may be closing, but even £6/mth extra represents over £70 extra a year, so make sure it’s necessary before you commit.

"If you just use the internet for emailing and basic browsing then standard speeds should be enough.

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