Looking to switch broadband provider?
In this guide, we’ve looked at the 10 best broadband deals in the UK at the moment. We’ve also explained the key differences between each provider, and which is the best value for money.
After, we’ve explained what you need to know when choosing a new broadband deal.
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Best broadband deals
Let’s begin our reviews.
Below, we’ve looked at 10 of the best broadband deals in the UK in 2023.
1. BT Fibre 1
BT isn’t the cheapest provider on the market, but there are a lot of things to like about their broadband deals.
Firstly, they offer a minimum speed guarantee, rather than just an average download speed. This ensures that if your speed ever drops too much, you’ll be entitled to getting it fixed. Many other providers don’t have this type of guarantee.
Secondly, BT has very good customer service, on average, according to Ofcom data. They have relatively few customer complaints, and you’ll spend less time on hold when calling them, compared to most other providers.
You also get a decent-size reward card with most BT broadband deals, which helps to offset the cost of at least a few months worth of broadband service. This works just like a prepaid debit card – you can use it when shopping for example.
By default, BT’s default contract is 24 months, which is quite long, however they also offer 12 month broadband deals, albeit with a higher monthly cost.
The one downside to BT is they sometimes have quite a high upfront cost. You’ll normally have to pay a relatively large setup fee to join them.
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If you’re looking for a cheaper broadband provider, with fewer bonuses and perks, NOW Broadband is a great choice.
NOW offers some of the cheapest superfast fibre broadband deals on the market – their monthly costs are very low, and the upfront cost is just £5.
You can get a 63 Mbps average download speed with their Super Fibre deal for a very reasonable price, and they also have a 36 Mbps Fab Fibre plan available. We recommend choosing Super Fibre if you can get it, since it’s often only a pound or two per month more expensive.
All NOW Broadband deals come with unlimited downloads and a 12 month contract, meaning you’re not locked in for a long time. However, you should be aware that the price will increase a decent bit at the end of this initial agreement.
Also, you can even choose to not have a contract with NOW, and buy broadband on a month-to-month basis, although your upfront cost will be much higher.
Very few broadband providers allow you to do this, so it’s great that NOW Broadband gives you the option to avoid a long-term contract.
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Vodafone’s broadband deals are some of the most difficult to understand on the market – they have so many different options, it can be quite confusing. However, they’re definitely worth checking out.
- If you’re looking for cheap broadband, Vodafone’s regular broadband plans are a great choice. They offer very competitive monthly costs on plans ranging from a 36 Mbps average download speed, up to a full fibre 910 Mbps average download speed. You can also add on an “Xtra” perk to this plan, to get anytime landline calls and Apple TV.
- If you’re looking for a more comprehensive broadband deal, Vodafone Pro II Broadband is also worth checking out. For a higher monthly cost, you get a 4G broadband backup, keeping you online if your fibre internet connection goes down, as well as Vodafone’s Ultra Hub router, with Wi-Fi 6E, giving you better Wi-Fi speeds at home.
With Pro II, you also get better support (called “Wi-Fi Xperts”) and a free Norton Antivirus subscription.
To explain, whether you buy Vodafone Broadband or Vodafone Pro II Broadband, you can still choose from the full range of different speed packages that Vodafone offers. For example, you could get a basic broadband package with extremely fast speeds, or a more comprehensive Pro II plan with slower download speeds, if you wanted to.
No matter which option you choose, and how much bandwidth you go for, each Vodafone Broadband plan comes with no upfront costs, and a 24 month minimum contract.
Also, if you’re a Vodafone pay monthly mobile customer, you can get a discount on your broadband deal, which is a nice touch.
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If you can get Virgin Media where you live, it’s definitely worth considering their broadband deals.
Virgin offers faster maximum download speeds than BT and other Openreach providers- their Gig1 fibre broadband plan offers average download speeds of 1130 Mbps.
However, these ultrafast broadband deals can be very expensive. Most of the time, we recommend M125, which offers plenty of bandwidth for most households.
Also, Virgin Media is a great choice for a broadband and TV deal. They have an absolutely huge range of cable TV channels available, and don’t need to install a satellite dish to get you connected.
Thanks to their new merger with O2, you can get an O2 Volt SIM card bundled with your Virgin Media broadband plan. If you’re looking for a mobile deal, this can be a good offer to take advantage of, because it allows you to cut your combined monthly bill on both services.
The downside to Virgin Media is it can be a bit tricky to switch to them. You will most likely have to have an engineer come and visit. And if you’re currently with an Openreach provider, you’ll have to contact them to cancel the old connection.
Also, Virgin Media doesn’t have the best customer service, according to Ofcom data. Their hold times can sometimes be quite long, and they have a decent number of customer complaints, compared to other providers.
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Hyperoptic is another broadband provider that has their own broadband network. The issue is, it’s mostly available in cities, and they don’t cover a huge number of addresses.
However, if you can get Hyperoptic, their broadband plans are definitely worth checking out.
Hyperoptic offers a range of different deals, ranging from 50 Mbps up to 1000 Mbps. The great thing is, each plan has the same download and upload speed, meaning you won’t be stuck with much slower upload than download speeds, like you are with most other providers.
You can also choose your contract length with Hyperoptic – 24 months is the default, but you can also choose a 12 month contract, or a monthly rolling agreement – this flexibility is great to have. Most deals have no upfront cost, unless you choose a month-to-month plan.
Hyperoptic doesn’t offer many other perks, such as TV deals, but their Wi-Fi router is pretty good. If you want fast speeds for a reasonable price, and live in a major city, Hyperoptic is a great choice.
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Another good-value choice is Plusnet Full Fibre 74.
Plusnet is owned by BT, and as a result, their deals are quite similar to their parent company’s. You have the option of an average download speed of anywhere from 36 Mbps up to 900 Mbps.
Plusnet offers good customer service, just like BT. They actually use the same UK-based contact centre.
The other main difference is, Plusnet is more basic – they’re a bit cheaper, and they have fewer add-ons available. You can’t get Wi-Fi boosters like you can with BT, for example, and you also can’t get a landline phone service.
Also, Plusnet’s contracts are 24 months long, meaning you’ll have to commit for a fairly long time. This is their main downside, but a 24 month contract does have its benefits – you won’t have to worry about renewing for a long time, for example.
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Sky Broadband is another great choice if you’re looking for a broadband and TV bundle – they have a huge range of channels available, and a good choice of different ways to watch TV – whether you want a dongle to cast with, a TV box, or a smart TV.
When it comes to Sky Broadband, they advertise three different plans, but there are actually others available once you put in your postcode. You can get ultrafast download speeds with Sky if you live in an area with full fibre broadband, but their plans are a little bit expensive.
As well as having reasonably high monthly costs, Sky also charges a decent setup fee, and you only have the choice of an 18 month contract.
The big upside to Sky Broadband is their customer service. When it comes to numbers of complaints, and responsiveness to customer enquiries, Sky performs better than nearly all other major providers, according to Ofcom data.
You also get a minimum speed guarantee, although it’s a bit more hidden than BT’s – you’ll need to look in the terms and conditions to find it. Plus, Sky guarantees good Wi-Fi signal, in all corners of your home, which can be especially useful if you have a big house.
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Shell Energy Broadband is a relatively cheap broadband provider. Their monthly costs are competitive, and they have no setup fees, although there is a router postage charge that you have to pay.
However, unlike most other cheap providers, Shell has a huge range of fibre broadband plans available, including one with a 944 Mbps average download speed.
Also, as a Shell Energy customer, you might be eligible for a discount on Shell broadband, helping to lower your monthly cost.
The disadvantage to Shell is their customer service isn’t the best. They receive a fairly large number of broadband and landline service complaints, on a per-customer basis.
Overall, if you don’t mind an 18 month contract, and use other Shell services, their broadband deals are worth checking out. Just be aware that you might get better customer support with a more expensive provider.
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If you live in an area with Gigaclear coverage (meaning, south of Birmingham, especially around Oxford and Gloucester, as well as from London to Colchester), their broadband offers are definitely worth checking out.
Like Hyperoptic, Gigaclear offers full fibre broadband with symmetrical download and upload speeds. Their plans are very fast – you can get up to 830 Mbps with their Hyperfast 900 package.
The thing that’s different about Gigaclear is their pricing. They only have 18 month contracts, and for the first 12 months, the monthly cost is very low. In the 13th month, the price increases significantly.
Gigaclear is good value for money for the first 12 months, but after that, and once you’re out of contract, the price is quite high. However, there are no installation or activation fees on any of their broadband plans.
We just wish that Gigaclear was available for more people – their broadband network isn’t very large at the moment, although it is expanding.
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10. EE Fibre Plus
The main reason you might like to choose EE Broadband is they offer discounts for their mobile phone customers. If you’re a pay monthly mobile customer with EE, you can typically get £3-£5 per month off your broadband bill.
Also, as well as a discount, mobile customers also get 5-20GB of bonus data if they join EE Broadband. These two benefits alone make EE a pretty good choice if you’re already with their mobile phone service.
But is EE Broadband worth considering if you’re not an EE customer already?
All of their deals come with a 24 month minimum contract, however there are no upfront fees, except on the basic 10 Mbps deal. Their monthly costs aren’t the lowest, but they’re not extremely high either.
In most cases, we’d recommend BT instead of EE if you’re looking for a good broadband deal and aren’t just looking to reduce your per month cost as much as possible, unless you’re an EE mobile customer. With BT, you get a bit more for your money, such as a minimum speed guarantee.
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What you need to know
In this section, we’ll explain what you need to know when searching for a new broadband provider.
What makes a good broadband deal
There are a number of good things to look for when choosing a broadband deal.
- A reasonable monthly cost, given the speeds you’re getting. For superfast broadband, with average download speeds of about 30-60 Mbps, you shouldn’t pay more than £20-£25 per month. And for ultrafast broadband plans, with speeds of more than 300 Mbps, you should expect to pay about £35-£50 per month, depending on the exact download speeds you’re receiving.
- A low setup fee. Unless the provider is shipping you a top-of-the-line Wi-Fi router, or you’re entering into a short-term contract, there’s no reason for them to charge you £20-£30 or more in upfront costs.
- A provider with good customer service. Assessing a broadband provider’s customer service can be hard ahead of time, and two different customers can have completely different experiences with the same company. However, Ofcom does publish data on the number of complaints each major broadband provider receives each year. At the moment, BT and Sky are performing well, and NOW Broadband also receives relatively few customer complaints.
- A good Wi-Fi router. When you buy broadband, you’ll nearly always have a new Wi-Fi router shipped to you in the mail, which is great, because it means you don’t have to worry about finding a compatible one yourself. Although each major provider generally sends new customers a decent broadband router, not all Wi-Fi routers are created equal. Ensure that the router you’re getting has enough Ethernet ports for the number of devices you want to plug into it, unless you just plan on using Wi-Fi to get online. Also, it’s nice to have a router that supports Wi-Fi 6E – the latest Wi-Fi communications standard. This will improve your Wi-Fi coverage and speeds at home.
How to save money on broadband
With the amount of inflation we’re experiencing in the UK at the moment, you might be wondering how best to save money on your monthly broadband bill.
Here are some tips to cut your broadband costs.
- Only pay for the amount of bandwidth you really need. Full fibre ultrafast broadband is expensive – there’s no point paying £50 per month for gigabit download speeds if you don’t really need it. However, at the same time, you need to ensure you have enough bandwidth, to avoid buffering when watching videos, or slow file downloads. To work out how much bandwidth you really need, given how you use the internet, and the number of people in the house, you can use our broadband speed needs calculator.
- Choose a cheaper broadband provider. Some broadband providers add on heaps of additional services to their broadband plans, which means that they have to charge a higher monthly cost. For example, Virgin Media now includes O2 SIM cards with many of their broadband packages, and Vodafone offers a 4G broadband backup service on their more expensive plans. If you choose a more basic provider that focuses on just broadband, like NOW Broadband, you’ll likely save a lot of money.
- Ensure that you always stay in contract. Broadband providers make most of their profit when your contract expires, when they hike your monthly cost. To save money, set a reminder for when your contract is about to expire, and make sure to switch broadband provider, or negotiate a new deal with your current company. If you explain to your broadband provider that you’re considering leaving, they will likely offer you a new contract with a more reasonable monthly cost.
- Sign a long-term contract, if you can. By doing this, you’ll not only delay the amount of time until your monthly cost increases, but you’ll also be able to minimise the upfront cost you’ll pay on your new broadband deal. Most broadband providers have lower setup fees on their long-term contracts, and sometimes also lower monthly costs, because they know that you’ll stay with them for longer.
- Look out for social tariffs. A broadband social tariff is a special, cheaper deal that’s available for people on benefits, such as Universal Credit. There is no real downside to these subsidised broadband plans – they’re not ultrafast, but they still offer plenty of bandwidth, and have unlimited data. It used to be that only BT and Virgin Media offered these social tariffs, but Sky, Vodafone, and others now do the same.
- Look out for other discounts that you might be entitled to, based on other services that you use. For example, if you’re a pay monthly Vodafone mobile customer, you can get a cheaper price on Vodafone Broadband. There are a few providers that offer broadband and mobile phone deals.
Openreach vs other broadband networks
There are two main broadband networks that service the UK at the moment: Openreach and Virgin Media.
Openreach is owned by BT, and is the fibre broadband infrastructure that the vast majority of providers use, including BT, Sky, NOW Broadband, Plusnet, TalkTalk Broadband, and others.
On the other hand, Virgin Media owns and operates their own separate broadband network.
The main thing you need to know about these two networks is it’s a bit of a hassle to switch between them.
If you move between two Openreach providers, you don’t need to contact your old provider to cancel the connection – everything is taken care of for you. On the other hand, if you switch from Openreach to Virgin Media for example, you’ll need to cancel your old plan yourself, and Virgin Media might need to send an engineer to your address, if it’s your first time using their service.
Other than that, the two networks operate quite similarly. You can get faster maximum download speeds with Virgin, and faster maximum upload speeds with Openreach, although the difference isn’t huge.
It’s also important to note, there are other small fibre networks available in certain areas, like Hyperoptic. These “altnets” as they are called don’t normally service many addresses, but they can offer very fast download speeds for a reasonable price.
Which is the best broadband provider in the UK at the moment?
In terms of speeds, customer service, and value for money, we think that BT is the best broadband provider at the moment.
Although there are cheaper providers out there, BT has a range of broadband deals, including ultrafast fibre options, that are great value, given what you’re getting. For example, with BT, you get a minimum speed guarantee, rather than just an average advertised download speed.
However, BT isn’t the best option if you’re on a tight budget – their monthly costs aren’t the lowest.
Which is the fastest broadband provider in the UK at the moment?
Virgin Media is the fastest broadband provider in the UK at the moment. Their Gig1 full fibre broadband plan has an average download speed of 1130 Mbps.
However, Virgin Media isn’t available everywhere in the UK. If you can’t get Virgin Media, you’ll most likely have to use a full fibre Openreach broadband provider, such as BT or Sky, to get fast speeds. In this case, you’ll be able to get maximum average download speeds of about 900 Mbps.
It’s important to note, although Openreach providers have slower average download speeds, their upload speeds are considerably higher than Virgin Media’s. Virgin’s Gig1 plan offers a 52 Mbps upload speed, while BT Full Fibre 900 offers 110 Mbps.
Which is the cheapest broadband provider in the UK at the moment?
If you’re just looking to save as much money on broadband as possible, and just want superfast fibre, NOW Broadband is a great choice.
They offer speeds of up to 63 Mbps for a very reasonable monthly cost, and a low upfront cost. Their default contract length is just 12 months, and you can also buy broadband on a month-to-month basis as well.
The reason NOW Broadband is cheap is they don’t try to add on heaps of benefits, like landline calling minutes. However, they do have TV plans available if you want to watch Sky channels.
Will my broadband deal come with unlimited downloads?
All fibre broadband deals sold in the UK currently come with unlimited downloads and uploads.
If you buy a new broadband deal, you won’t need to worry about any data usage limits when you get online.
Average vs minimum download speeds explained
Different broadband plans and their speeds are advertised differently, and it’s important to be aware of this.
Most broadband plans will be advertised based on an average download speed, and an average upload speed. What the average speed means depends on your provider.
For example, with BT and Plusnet, the average speed is what’s available for “50% of customers at peak time (8-10pm)”.
Apart from the minimum speed, some providers also give you a minimum speed guarantee, which is good to have.
This minimum speed will be lower than the advertised average speed, and if your speeds drop below the minimum, you might be entitled to leave your contract, if your provider can’t fix the issue.
Broadband line rental explained
Depending on where you live in the UK, you might need to have a phone line to get broadband at home. In this case, you’ll need to pay for line rental, whether you use your home phone or not.
In this case, where you have to use fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) broadband, the line rental charge will be included in your monthly cost. It won’t be displayed separately.
However, if you can get full fibre broadband, also known as fibre to the premises (FTTP), you don’t have to have a landline, and therefore, you don’t have to pay for line rental. If you choose not to have a home phone, you’ll save a few pounds per month on your broadband connection.
Broadband contracts explained
When you enter into a broadband contract, typically you’ll have to choose one of the following contract lengths:
- 9 months – normally only available for students, and only with certain providers, such as BT.
- 12 months – only a few providers offer this. Typically, these 12 month broadband deals come with a high upfront cost, or the monthly cost will increase significantly at the end of the contract.
- 18 months – a common choice, may or may not have a setup cost.
- 24 months – also common, doesn’t normally come with an upfront cost.
The contract you should choose depends on your specific needs. For example, you might prefer to have a 24 month contract, so that you don’t have to worry about an end-of-contract price rise for a long time. On the other hand, you might not want to commit to a given broadband provider for more than 12 months, so you might only sign a 12 month contract.
It’s important to choose the right contract length, because if you leave your plan mid-contract, you’ll have to pay a significant early termination fee.
You can also buy broadband on a month-to-month basis from some providers, like NOW Broadband. Just note that if you do this, the upfront fee will be quite high.
Will my broadband plan have mid-contract price rises?
Almost all broadband packages on sale at the moment have in-contract price rises. In fact, Ofcom is investigating whether providers are making these price rises clear enough to consumers.
What normally happens is, the price will rise by a certain percentage, plus inflation, each year, typically in the month of April. This information will be outlined in your broadband contract.
However, providers can also perform other price increases while you’re still in the middle of an agreement. In this case, you will have the opportunity to cancel the contract without paying an exit fee.
Should you bundle other services with your broadband?
If there are other services you know that you need, you might be able to save money by bundling them with a new broadband deal.
Here are some examples of what you can bundle with your broadband deal, and what you need to know about doing so.
- Cable TV channels. If you want to watch Sky Atlantic, Sky Sports, or TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport) for example, you might be able to save money with a broadband and TV deal. Just be aware that these bundles can get very expensive, very quickly, especially if you choose a deal with a TV box. To save a bit of money, go for a plan that gives you access to a streaming service instead, to access the shows you want to watch.
- Landline calling minutes. If you make a lot of landline calls, it might make sense to a broadband plan with anytime calls, rather than paying per minute, to save money. There are also deals with inclusive evening and weekend calls, if you’re not making calls in the middle of the day on weekdays.
- SIM cards. Some providers like BT and Virgin Media give you the option of bundling a data SIM card with your broadband deal. If you’re currently out of contract on your mobile phone, or you want a data SIM for an iPad, these offers can be good to take advantage of.
I can’t get fast broadband where I live – what can I do?
If you live in a rural area, or somewhere that doesn’t have fibre broadband, there are a few options you have to potentially get faster download speeds.
4G dongles and MiFi devices connect to the 4G network, just like your phone, allowing you to get speeds of around 15-30 Mbps, on average. They’re also portable, and come with more flexible contracts than most home broadband deals.
5G routers like the Three 5G Hub connect to 5G, potentially giving you download speeds of up to 500 Mbps or even more. The one issue is their latency isn’t as good as fixed-line broadband.
Satellite broadband is another option if you live in the countryside, but it is expensive, and will have a very high latency of 100-200 milliseconds or more, meaning you may experience lag on video calls.
How to keep your email address when changing broadband provider
If you have an @sky.co.uk email address for example, you might be wondering what happens if you change broadband provider.
Unfortunately, depending on who you’re using, your email inbox might be deleted when you change to a different provider.
- Sky let you access your inbox and keep your emails indefinitely.
- Virgin Media will delete your email account after 90 days.
- BT tries to charge you £5 per month to maintain your inbox.
It’s a good idea to begin using a separate email service, like Gmail, when switching to a new broadband provider.
Once you set up a new inbox, import your contacts and messages from your old email account, and begin switching the email address on your important accounts. Then, if you have the option, set up forwarding on your old account, to redirect emails to your new inbox.
Just remember that once you switch, the forwarding might eventually be disabled, unless you’re with a provider that allows you to keep your old email account indefinitely.
This is the end of our broadband deals guide.
Remember, the most important thing when choosing a broadband deal is how much bandwidth you get. If your download speeds are too slow, you’ll face buffering when watching videos, especially when other people get online. On the other hand, with too much bandwidth, you’ll likely be wasting at least a hundred pounds a year on your broadband connection.
If you’re not sure which provider and plan to pick, feel free to leave a comment below, and we’ll respond as soon as possible.
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.