Best Broadband Deals: Shopping for a new broadband package can be a tricky and time-consuming business. Allow us to guide you to the best deals.
There’s a reasonable amount of a competition within the UK broadband space, but none of the suppliers make it easy to weigh things up. Each company presents its packages in a slightly different way to the rest, so side-by-side comparisons are often tricky.
That’s where we come in. Our team of experts have crunched the numbers and drawn out the relevant comparison points for you, covering everything from the cheapest broadband deals to the fastest.
This has involved analysing the UK’s big broadband suppliers and finding out what each has to offer. We’ve looked at speed, set-up fees, extra charges and sign-up offers. There are a lot of broadband deals with free gifts, such as pre-paid Mastercards, which essentially give you cashback.
We also recognise that there’s a lot of waffle out there, so we’ve laid out a useful jargon buster to help cut through the nonsense at the bottom of this article.
All prices were correct at time of publication but are subject to change. If you spot a deal you want, be sure to snap it up before it goes.
Best Broadband Deals: Virgin Media broadband deals
Virgin operates its own fibre optic network, which can offer the fastest speeds around. Those speeds can often be in excess of the stated figure as well.
On the down side, only around 60% of British households can access Virgin’s super-fast network, so there’s a reasonable chance that your postcode won’t be covered.
The company offers packages that combine TV, phone and broadband services in various combinations, and it offers these over 12-month or monthly rolling terms.
Cheapest Virgin Media broadband only deal
- Average 54 Mbps fibre with unlimited data usage | 12-month contract
- £35 a month | £20 set-up
If you just want a basic broadband offering, Virgin’s VIVID 50 is for you. There’s no line rental or extra TV services, just pure broadband. You get unlimited downloads and uploads, and the Virgin Media Hub 3 is included in the price. Virgin has reinstated its £20 set-up fee.
Note that opting to add a Virgin phone line knocks an initial £8 off the monthly bill, but that the monthly price will go up to £42 per month if you continue beyond the initial 12 month contract.
Sign up: Virgin Media Vivid 50
Cheapest Virgin Media Broadband, TV and Phone option
VIVID 50 Fibre Bundle
- Average 54 Mbps fibre with unlimited usage and weekend calls | 12-month contract | 70+ TV channels
- £32 a month for 12 months | Then £51 a month | £20 set-up
If you want to add a TV package to your broadband, this is the cheapest way to do it through Virgin. The Player bundle adds a TV V6 box that lets you pause, play and rewind live TV.
Through this device you can access more than 70 TV channels, including all the usual terrestrial options, various international news channels, and more. You can also access Netflix, provided you have a subscription.
Sign up: Virgin Media VIVID 50 Player Bundle
Cheapest option with Sky Sports HD and BT Sport HD included
Full House Bundle
- 108Mbps fibre with unlimited usage and weekend calls | 12-month contract | 230+ TV channels
- £57 a month for 12 months | Then £74 a month | £20 set-up
If you’re a sports fan, but are willing to give up a few Premier League games for a more moderately priced package, this is the bundle for you. It grants you all the BT Sport channels in HD as well as Sky Sports News HD and Sky Sports Mix HD.
What you don’t get is all of the main Sky Sports channels, which can be added for another £20 a month, or £27 if you want them in HD. It might be more economically sensible to choose the VIP bundle for £89 a month instead, although that package rises to £129 a month after 12 months. The extended Full House Bundle with extra Sky Sports is a better bet if you’re in for the long haul.
Best Broadband Deals: Sky Broadband deals
Sky piggybacks on BT’s Openreach network for its own broadband service, which is made up of a combination of ADSL and fibre optic options. However, it’s the media giant’s TV offering that really stands out from the crowd.
In addition to broadband, Sky offers various free gifts when you sign up as a new customer. Currently, this is a £50 prepaid MasterCard. Sky now only offers 18-month contracts.
Cheapest Sky Broadband package
- 11Mbps average speed | Unlimited usage | 12-month contract | Sky Talk
- £18 a month for 18 months | Then £30 a month | £19.95 set-up fee | Line rental included
If you want to get on the bottom rung of the Sky Broadband ladder with a broadband-only package, this is the cheapest way to do it. Broadband Unlimited isn’t particularly fast, but it’s good enough for a spot of Netflix streaming and general web browsing, and there are no data limits.
Right now, you also get a £50 prepaid Mastercard card to spend on whatever you want if you sign up.
Sign up: Sky Broadband Unlimited
Fastest Sky Broadband package
Sky Fibre Max
- 63Mbps average speed | Unlimited usage | 18-month contract | Sky Talk
- £27 a month for 18 months | Then £43.99 a month | £59.95 set-up fee | Line rental included
This is the fastest broadband-only package you can get on Sky, with average download speeds of 63Mbps. A great choice if you like to download a lot of games or movies.
Right now, you also get a £50 prepaid Mastercard card to spend on whatever you want if you sign up.
Sign up: Sky Fibre Max
Add Sky TV and Sports
You can bundle either of the above options with an Entertainment bundle for an extra £15 a month (so £33 and £42 respectively). This gives you a Sky Q 1TB box and a Sky Q Hub, with 300 channels and 60 Catch Up TV channels as standard.
From there you can add the Sky Sports bundle for an extra £22 per month, Sky Cinema for £10 a month, Box Sets for £5 per month and so on. If you want HD, you’ll need to pay an extra £5 per month.
There’s also a third, top-end TV tier that adds the Sky Q Entertainment Bundle and a 2TB Sky Q box into the equation for £54 per month. This adds options such as 4K Ultra HD and additional Sky Q Mini boxes for watching Sky content around your home.
Best Broadband Deals: Vodafone Broadband deals
Vodafone’s broadband packages are some of the cheapest and clearest on the market.
Of course, Vodafone is a mobile provider first and foremost, so it perhaps doesn’t come as a total surprise to learn that there are major incentives for existing customers to take up the company’s home broadband offering. Existing Vodafone customers can knock £2 off the monthly figures listed below.
Vodafone also offers a speed guarantee: if your broadband speed ever drops below the stated ‘minimum sync speed’ (either 25Mbps or 55Mbps, depending on the package) you’ll receive a 15% discount on your bill until the problem is solved.
Cheapest Vodafone broadband deal
- 35Mbps average speed | Unlimited usage | 18-month contract
- £23 a month (save £2 if existing Vodafone customer) | No set-up fee | Line rental included
Vodafone’s entry-level package was always an impressively cheap option, but it’s gotten even cheaper with a £2 price cut and no set-up fee. If you’re an existing customer, it’s an even more appealing option.
Sign up: Vodafone Superfast 1
Fastest Vodafone broadband deal
- 63Mbps average speed | Unlimited usage | 18-month contract
- £29 a month (save £2 if existing Vodafone customer) | No set-up fee | Line rental included
Vodafone’s ‘top’ package nets you top speeds that should equal the likes of Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet and EE.
Sign up: Vodafone Superfast 2
Best Broadband Deals: BT Broadband deals
BT remains the biggest player in the UK broadband scene, and it’s also made huge strides into the TV market in recent years. For comprehensive all-round packages, it’s right up there with Sky and Virgin, and the fact that it owns most of the UK’s broadband cables is a powerful incentive too.
BT Sport is hugely appealing for football fans, and it’s temptingly cheap to acquire through a BT broadband package. BT also often offers prepaid MasterCard deals. At the time of writing, you can get up to £110 on one of these Reward Cards.
Cheapest BT Broadband deal
Unlimited Standard Broadband
- 10Mbps average speed | Unlimited usage | 18-month contract
- £24.99 a month for 18 months | Then £45.49 a month | £20 postage | Line rental included
BT’s most basic package will suit anyone who just wants to browse the web and watch Netflix in HD. At the time of writing, you get a £70 BT Reward prepaid Mastercard when you sign up.
BT TV can also be added for a low monthly fee, starting with the appropriately named Starter Bundle for £50 up front and an extra £6 per month. This will get you a basic Freeview TV package and BT Sport.
Sign up: BT Unlimited Broadband
Best mid-range BT broadband deal
- 50Mbps average speed | Unlimited usage | 18-month contract
- £29.99 a month | Then £52.49 a month | £20 postage | Line rental included
BT’s Superfast Fibre package offers decent speeds for a reasonably competitive price – especially if you add the basic BT TV package on top. Right now, you also get a £100 prepaid Mastercard Reward Card.
Sign up: BT Unlimited Infinity Broadband
Best ultrafast BT Broadband deal
Ultrafast Fibre Plus
- 300Mbps average speed | Unlimited usage | 18-month contract
- £59.99 a month | Then £64.99 a month | £60 set-up fee | Line rental included
If you’re in an area that has access to it, BT’s Ultrafast Fibre package gets you ridiculously high speeds, which is perfect for watching content in 4K, downloading large files in the blink of an eye, and generally living the life of an online ninja. If your internet speed drops below 100Mbps, you can also claim £20 in compensation.
You can currently get a £140 BT Reward Card if you sign up to this package, too.
Sign up: BT Ultrafast Fibre Plus Broadband
Best Broadband Deals: Plusnet broadband deals
It might be owned by BT, but Plusnet is a very different kettle of fish to the broadband giant. The focus here is on no-nonsense yet flexible packages for a low price.
Plusnet also offers both 12 and 18-month packages as well as a one-month rolling contract option. Some of its upfront prices on ADSL broadband don’t include line rental, so be sure to click through to see how much it’ll cost. It’ll probably set you back around £19 a month if it isn’t included in your package.
On any of its deals you can also choose to save £2.50 a month by paying for your year of line rental upfront in one go.
Cheapest Plusnet deal
- 10Mbps average speed | Unlimited usage | 12-month contract
- £18.99 a month | Then £30 a month | £5 set-up | Line rental included
An enticing basic broadband package for light web browsers and occasional Netflix viewers. At the time of writing, signing up gets you a £50 prepaid debit card.
Sign up: Plusnet Unlimited
Fastest Plusnet deal
Unlimited Fibre Extra
- 76Mbps average speed | Unlimited usage | 12-month contract
- £28.99 a month | Then £40 a month | £9.95 set-up fee | Line rental included
Whichever way you look at it, £30 a month for proper fibre broadband is not to be sniffed at. Even the price at the end of your 12-month deal isn’t half bad, so you might not have to think twice about renewing a year from now.
Sign up: Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra
Best Broadband Deals: TalkTalk broadband deals
TalkTalk is another of the country’s smaller broadband providers that piggybacks on the BT Openreach network and places value above all else. It’s fond of a flash sale, so keep your eyes peeled.
Like PlusNet, it places its ‘no price rise guarantee’ (for the duration of your contract) front and centre of its advertising.
Cheapest TalkTalk deal
- 11Mbps average speed | Unlimited usage | 12-month contract
- £17.95 a month | Free Super Router | Line rental included | No set-up fee
If you’re not after blistering speeds or any other bells and whistles, this package is decent value. It’s a 12 month contract with unlimited usage and 11Mbps average speed, which is competitive with other entry-level packages.
You can currently add unlimited UK calls to the package for £7.50 per month, which is a 25% saving.
Sign up: TalkTalk Fast Broadband
Fastest TalkTalk deal
Faster Fibre Broadband
- Up to 38Mbps | Unlimited usage | 24-month contract
- £22.50 a month | Free Wi-Fi Hub | Line rental included | No set-up fee
If you need faster speeds for the likes of 4K video streaming or multiple users throughout the house, this package has a great saving and a fixed price guarantee for 24 months.
You can currently add unlimited UK calls to the package for £7.50 per month, which represents a 25% saving.
Sign up: TalkTalk Faster Fibre Broadband
How to choose the best broadband deals
You don’t always need the fastest speeds available. As a rule, the heavier a user your household is, the faster the speeds you’ll want. If you have four heavy users who stream video and music on their phones, watch 4K movies on Netflix and who knows what else, you’ll find your 11Mbps connection quickly gets saturated and nobody will have a good time.
Similarly, if you’re the sole occupant of your home, you probably don’t need an ultra-fast fibre deal unless you’re a very heavy user or you work from home. Or you just like things fast; we won’t judge.
Advertised speeds are also not guaranteed, which is why ISPs (Internet Service Providers) now show an ‘average speed’. There are a lot of elements that can affect the actual download and upload speeds you receive at your home. This can be anything from the distance of your home to the exchange, and the type of cabling that is run. During peak hours your download speed might also be impacted by having more people on the internet.
Caps and fair usage
That said, ISPs now have to be pretty transparent about the minimum and average speeds they offer, and they might even let you know if you’re about to hit a fair usage policy.
Speeds in your area
Every postcode gets slightly different broadband service because it entirely depends on the infrastructure in your local area. Every ISP website will let you know what your maximum speed is in your area and which is the fastest tariff you can choose based on that. We’ve linked various ISPs’ postcode checkers for you below:
- Virgin Media postcode checker
- Vodafone Broadband postcode checker
- BT Broadband postcode checker
- Plusnet postcode checker
- TalkTalk postcode checker
Cable, Fibre, ADSL and VDSL
ISPs almost never specify what sort of connection you’re going to be on unless they’re trying to show off, so you’ll mostly see ads for cable and fibre services because these are by far the fastest, offering in excess of 100Mbps. However, there is also a difference at the lower end of the spectrum.
Generally, you don’t need to worry about whether you’re getting an ADSL or VDSL connection unless you’re going to be buying a wireless router and modem yourself to replace the one provided by your ISP. Check with your supplier what sort of connection you’re getting, although if you’re getting anything more than 20Mbps, you’re probably on VDSL.
Because Virgin Media’s network is separate, you may have to wait days or weeks for installation because engineers will need to come to your property to install the cables by running them through your garden and your walls.
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