Looking for broadband on a short-term 12 month contract?
In this guide, we’ve reviewed the 5 best 12 month broadband deals in the UK at the moment.
We’ve also explained what you need to know when shopping for a short-term broadband plan, so you can find the right deal for your specific needs.
Best 12 month broadband deals
Let’s begin our reviews.
In this part, we’ve looked at 5 of the best 12 month broadband plans you can buy in the UK right now.
All of NOW Broadband’s deals come with a 12 month contract by default, including Super Fibre.
With this plan, you get a 67 Mbps average download speed, which is plenty for most families, and a 19 Mbps upload speed.
There’s just a £5 upfront cost, which is a lot lower than with most other providers that offer 12 month broadband deals. You can even get a 30-day pay as you go contract with NOW, albeit for a much higher upfront cost.
The downside to NOW Broadband is their Wi-Fi router – it’s not the best for large houses. The Wi-Fi signal might not reach the far corners of your house, unless you invest in Wi-Fi boosters, or upgrade to a better router.
However, for most households, NOW Broadband is a great choice. Their monthly costs are very reasonable given the speeds on offer, and the fact that the contract is so short.
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John Lewis is another provider that offers broadband contracts that last for only 12 months.
When compared to NOW Broadband, John Lewis has higher monthly costs, on broadband plans with similar speeds. However, they have no upfront costs on any of their deals, and also include evening and weekend calls, which is helpful if you ever use your landline.
You get unlimited usage with John Lewis Broadband, and line rental is also included in the per month cost, as well as a Wi-Fi router. There are also more calling package add-ons you can include for heavy home phone users.
It’s important to note though, John Lewis is a very basic broadband provider. There are no ultrafast fibre broadband plans available, and very little in the way of add-ons or bonuses included with their broadband deals.
However, if you want a 12 month broadband contract with superfast download speeds and no upfront cost, John Lewis Broadband Fibre Extra is a good choice.
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If you want ultrafast fibre download speeds on a short-term contract, Hyperoptic is your best bet.
Hyperoptic has broadband plans with download speeds ranging from 50 Mbps all the way up to 900 Mbps. And each is available on a 1 month, 12 month, or 24 month contract.
If you choose one of the shorter-term deals, you’ll have to pay a higher monthly cost, and you might also have to pay a setup fee that you’d otherwise be able to avoid with a long-term contract.
However, Hyperoptic’s prices are still very reasonable, given the average download speeds that they offer. You can also buy broadband without a phone line to save a bit of money, which is great.
The downside to Hyperoptic is they’re not available everywhere. Their network coverage is mostly concentrated in city centres at the moment. But it’s definitely worth checking their website to see if you can get Hyperoptic, if you’re looking for full fibre broadband on a 12 month contract.
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By default, Plusnet offers 18 month contracts with their broadband deals. However, if you look in the right place on their website, you’ll also find 12 month deals as well.
Compared to the 18 month broadband packages, Plusnet’s 12 month plans have a higher monthly cost. They normally add an upfront fee onto their short-term deals as well, which is a bit of a shame.
You also miss out on a Plusnet reward card offer that’s only available with the 18 month deal. As a result, if you want Plusnet Broadband, it’s really difficult to justify going for the short-term agreement.
However, you do get a decent 66 Mbps average download speed with their Unlimited Fibre Extra plan, and Plusnet’s UK-based customer service team scores well compared to other providers, according to Ofcom data.
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Direct Save Telecom is a much smaller broadband provider than most of the other companies we’ve looked at on this list.
You can kind of tell this from their website design – it does look a bit dated, and can be tricky to navigate compared to some other providers.
However, Direct Save Telecom does offer cheap, simple broadband plans on 12 month contracts, as well as no contract broadband on a month-to-month basis. Although it is worth mentioning, the pay as you go option has a very high per month price, and a decent setup cost.
This provider is a good choice if you want evening and weekend calling thrown in, and want decent rates on pay per minute landline calls. They have a good range of calling packs available for a reasonable monthly cost.
Also, although Direct Save Telecom has free setup on their broadband plans, they do charge a shipping fee for the router that they send you, meaning you’ll pay a decent amount upfront.
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What you need to know
In this part, we’ll explain what you need to know when shopping for a 12 month broadband deal.
Which British broadband providers offer 12 month contracts?
There are a few broadband providers in the UK that offer 12 month deals at the moment.
- NOW Broadband – on all of their plans (30 day broadband deals are also available)
- Plusnet Broadband – 18 months is the default, but you can choose 12 month deals as well
- Direct Save Telecom – on all of their plans (30 day broadband deals are also available)
- John Lewis Broadband – on all of their plans
- Zen – on all of their plans
- Hyperoptic – choice of 1 month, 12 months, or 24 months
Most of the other major broadband providers, like Sky, BT, and Virgin Media, don’t offer 1-year broadband plans at the moment.
Can you buy broadband without a contract?
If you want a short term broadband deal and think that a 12-month contract might be too long, you can get a pay as you go plan with some providers on a month-to-month basis.
At the moment, NOW Broadband offers the most widely-available 30-day broadband packages. Hyperoptic also offers these types of short-term deals, although their service isn’t available in as many locations – you might need to live in a major city to buy Hyperoptic Broadband.
It’s important to remember, there are downsides to short-term broadband deals. With a month-to-month contract, typically your upfront cost will be much higher than if you commit for 12 months. Your monthly cost may also be higher, depending on the provider and package you choose.
Can you buy broadband with a very short (less than 12 month) contract?
Currently, you can’t normally buy a broadband package on a contract that’s shorter than 12 months. There are some providers that offer broadband without a contract, but none currently offer 3 month or 6 month contracts.
There is an exception to this. Certain broadband providers offer 9 month contracts, but only for students. You will need to prove that you are studying full-time to be able to access these types of contracts.
Advantages of 12 month broadband deals
Here are some of the advantages, obvious and less obvious, of buying broadband on a 12 month contract rather than locking into an 18 month or 24 month agreement.
- You can leave your provider sooner, without paying an exit fee. If you try to leave a 24 month broadband contract halfway through, you’ll probably have to pay a significant penalty.
- If you do decide to leave your contract, the exit fee will likely be much lower with a 12 month contract. This is because exit fees are normally calculated based on the number of months left on the contract.
- 12 month broadband contracts are often quite simple, which can help you save money. Normally when providers add extras to a broadband deal, such as TV channels or free gifts, they increase the monthly cost, as well as the length of the contract.
Disadvantages of 12 month broadband deals
However, there are also some downsides to 12 month broadband deals that you need to be aware of.
- At the end of most broadband contracts, the broadband provider will significantly increase their monthly cost. The amount of the increase will depend on the provider. With a short-term contract, this price increase will happen sooner than it would with a long-term contract. Of course, there are also annual price increases you will likely have to put up with no matter your contract length.
- If you absolutely need a 12 month contract, you will be excluding a number of broadband providers that only offer 18 month and 24 month contracts. This means that you might miss out on some of the benefits that these other providers have to offer. For example, it can be difficult to find ultrafast fibre broadband on a 12 month agreement, unless Hyperoptic is available where you live. If you’re not sure whether a 12 month deal is right for you, read our broadband deals guide to get a better idea of what else is available on the market.
- With some broadband providers, their 12 month deals will have a higher monthly and/or upfront cost compared to their 18 month or 24 month plans. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule – some of the cheapest broadband deals available right now come with a contract that only lasts 12 months.
Will I have unlimited data with a 12 month broadband plan?
All British broadband providers now offer unlimited data with their broadband plans.
Therefore, no matter your contract length, you will get unlimited downloads and data usage with your new broadband deal.
What download and upload speeds can I get with a 12 month broadband deal?
In most parts of the UK, if you need a 12 month contract, you’ll only be able to get superfast broadband. This means that the maximum download speeds you’ll be able to get will be about 67 Mbps. In this case, your average upload speed will be about 19 Mbps.
The exception to this is if you live somewhere that Hyperoptic is available. In this case, you’ll be able to get average download and upload speeds of 900 Mbps, with ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises broadband.
To get these types of ultrafast download speeds in most parts of the UK, you’ll need to use Virgin Media, which offers an 18 month minimum contract, or an Openreach provider like BT, which offers a 24 month minimum contract. Otherwise, you will most likely be stuck with superfast fibre broadband, instead of ultrafast.
Other ways to get online on a short-term basis
Apart from buying a short-term broadband deal, you could also get online using a product like the Three 4G Hub.
This device uses mobile broadband signal to connect to the internet, just like your phone, offering download speeds of about 25-40 Mbps.
You can buy the 4G Hub on a month-to-month basis, or on a 12 month contract.
There are also MiFi devices, which are also available on short-term plans. These gadgets work very similarly to your phone’s hotspot – they have their own battery, and create a wireless network you can connect to.
However, mobile Wi-Fi is really only meant for getting online with a few devices at a time. These bits of kit don’t provide a really strong Wi-Fi signal like a proper router does.
Other broadband extras to consider
To save money, you might like to bundle some other services with your broadband deal.
As we touched on above, since 12 month broadband packages are normally more simple options, it might be more difficult to bundle other services with these types of short-term deals. However, it’s by no means impossible, depending on the services you’re looking to include.
- Landline phone: there are plenty of 1-year broadband offers that come with calling packs you can add on, including anytime calls or evening and weekend calls. NOW Broadband and John Lewis Broadband have a good selection of landline phone plans you can include for a reasonable price, without increasing your monthly cost too much. If you don’t plan on using your home phone at all, you will still need to pay for line rental, but this will be included in the monthly cost of your broadband plan.
- TV: unfortunately, most broadband and TV deals come with an 18 month or 24 month contract. This is because the provider will send you a TV box, and they need to recover the cost of doing this. However, with more flexible TV add-ons that don’t come with a TV box, you can normally bundle these with a 12 month broadband contract. NOW Broadband is a great option here – you can add on NOW TV on a monthly basis, which is a streaming platform you can access from any device. Depending on the package you buy, you can watch TV channels like Sky Sports, as well as Sky Cinema and Sky Atlantic.
- Other add-ons: on long-term broadband contracts, you’ll likely notice providers include benefits like reward cards, Wi-Fi signal boosters, and other free gifts. With broadband deals that last 12 months, these types of extras aren’t normally available.
This is the end of our buyer’s guide.
In most cases, we’d recommend NOW Broadband’s 12 month or 30 day contracts if you need short term broadband, and don’t mind having a 67 Mbps maximum download speed. If you live somewhere that Hyperoptic is available and you want ultrafast download speeds, they’re a great choice as well.
Not sure which broadband provider to choose? Feel free to leave a comment below, and we’ll respond as soon as we can.
About the author
Tyler built his first PC at the age of 12, and since then, he’s become obsessed with all things networking and internet-related. He’s a massive gamer, loves Rocket League, and also plays Sunday League football.