Everything You Need to Know to Find the Right Broadband Deal for You
As with anything you purchase, the best deal depends on what you're looking to get out of the product or service. This means the best broadband deal will depend on a variety of factors and what you value most in your broadband.
Broadband can be confusing and we know it can be tough to make sense of it all. To help we've put together a comprehensive guide on how to find the right broadband deal for you.
How do I compare broadband deals in my area?
There are several key factors to keep in mind when searching for a broadband deal. Below is a summary of things to consider so that you can find the best broadband deal.
Arguably one of the most important things to get right, speed will determine how fast your broadband connection is. You'll want to compare available broadband speeds in the area from different broadband providers, as there's no point in finding cheap broadband deals if the speed won't support your usage.
Different households will have different usage requirements. This will depend on the number of devices relying on the broadband connection and the type of activity being carried out. Large households with more strenuous activities like gaming may require a faster broadband package than smaller households who are less dependent on their broadband speed.
Where you live will impact which broadband deals are available to you. ADSL, the slowest and oldest type of broadband connection, is available almost everywhere in the UK and only requires a telephone line to function. Fibre optic broadband is now available to over 95% of the UK, but rural areas might find this isn't available to them yet. FTTP (Fibre To The Premises), one of the fastest types of broadband, is usually only available in large towns and cities. To check which deals are available in your area you can use a quick and accurate broadband checker.
Generally, broadband deals become more expensive the faster they are. However, there are plenty of great broadband deals to be found with fast speeds at a reasonable price so it's key to check a comparison site for the best broadband deals. If you make your broadband buying decision purely based on a cheap price then you should prepare yourself for broadband speeds which may not fit the bill.
Broadband issues and slow connections can be frustrating, to say the least. When you're experiencing such issues it's important to be with a broadband provider who is easy to contact and able to help. Ofcom breakdown how broadband providers' customer satisfaction compares.
Contract lengths can vary across broadband deals, but are usually between 12 and 24 months long. It's important to check this with all deals as some can be 18 months or longer, and knowing your contract length is handy should you ever consider switching.
Freebies are often offered in broadband deals to help encourage you to pick a certain provider. Look out for the best free gifts such as cashback, vouchers and rewards. Although they can be enticing it's important to not make your buying decisions purely based on added extras.
What broadband speed do I need?
When searching for broadband deals you will see a vast spectrum of different broadband speeds, but how fast does your broadband actually need to be? Below we've outlined a basic breakdown to help give you a better idea of the broadband speed you need.
- Recommended for small households of 1-2 people.
- Suited for basic internet browsing.
- Buffering may occur whilst streaming.
- Capable of supporting a household of more than 3 people
- Moderate broadband usage.
- Can handle multiple devices streaming at once.
- Recommended for larger households with heavier usage.
- Capable of supporting online gaming with minimal issues.
- More than enough broadband speed for the average household.
- Highest speeds which are ample for almost any household.
- Recommended for frequent downloading of large files, and/ or serious gamers.
To gauge some perspective on how these broadband speeds equate to the real world, you can run a speed test with your current broadband and compare.
What types of broadband are there?
When considering what broadband deal to choose and from which broadband provider, you also want to look at the type of broadband technology they offer. Not all types of broadband listed are available everywhere, as it depends on the infrastructure in your area. Fibre broadband's availability is always expanding so make sure to keep an eye out for when it's installed in your area.
- The most basic broadband, ADSL uses a copper wire to connect you to the Internet, and can be connected using existing landline cables.
- As the oldest type of broadband, it is often the cheapest but also slowest and is categorised as standard' speed.
- ADSL in its fastest form can provide download speeds of up to 24Mbps, with ADSL Max reaching a maximum of 30Mbps.
- Fibre broadband comes in two forms: Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) or Fibre To The Premises (FTTP).
- FTTC uses fibre optic cables to connect to the local exchange cabinet where copper wires carry out the last part of the journey to a property. This is faster than ADSL but is slowed down by its reliance on the copper wiring in the final stage.
- FTTP provides fibre straight to the property and does not rely on copper wiring. With this FTTP is able to provide an even faster connection speed.
- FTTC is considered superfast' averaging download speeds of 80Mbps, whilst the less common FTTP is ultrafast' at over 300Mbps.
- A newer form of broadband, G.Fast is an adapted version of FTTC which is able to provide faster speeds.
- G.Fast works by altering the speeds of the fibre optic before it is transmitted through the wire cables to your house to improve broadband speed by up to 4x reaching 330Mbps for download speed.
- G.Fast is a good alternative for properties where FTTP broadband deals are not available.
- Mobile broadband can be used anywhere you have mobile signal and access to 3G, 4G or 5G.
- It doesn't require cabling or a landline connection and instead depends on mobile networks.
- Mobile broadband works via a USB computer plug-in, or a portable WiFi router known as a MiFi.
- Satellite broadband is usually only used in areas that lack broadband infrastructure.
- As its name would suggest, satellite broadband is provided through communication satellites.
- In most cases, satellite broadband is not as reliable as the more commonly used broadband technologies.
What type of broadband bundles are there?
There are many broadband providers who also have other media products they are able to bundle into broadband deals to make them more appealing. Broadband providers like Sky, Virgin Media and BT are able to bundle in TV package deals to entice possible customers. When bundled in with broadband deals, TV or phone contracts usually work out to be better value for money. Alternatively, broadband providers may try to entice you through extra freebies, some of which can be quite attractive such as laptops and tablets. Aside from likely cost benefits, broadband bundles can also make it easier to manage your bills and are worth a look at when selecting the best broadband deal for you.
Broadband deals FAQs
Is switching broadband easy?
The main thing to check switching broadband deals is your contract length. Leaving your contract early can result in you still having to pay for your remaining months or paying some kind of penalty fee. Apart from that, switching is simple there are many platforms that can compare broadband deals for you and help you switch to the right deal and broadband providers are keen to make the process as easy as possible.
What are Mbps?
Mbps stands for megabits per second' and is a measure of speed for broadband more specifically, it is a measurement of how much data is transferred per second. The higher the number, the faster your broadband speed.
Are all broadband providers available everywhere in the UK?
Not all broadband providers are available everywhere in the UK. You can use a broadband deals finder to check which providers are available in your area.
What slows down my broadband speed?
Advertised broadband speeds are averages, meaning it's not uncommon for customers to experience speeds below what they thought they would get. There are plenty of factors that may cause your broadband speed to struggle, including peak time usage, WiFi/router issues and provider/network issues.
Are unlimited broadband deals worth it?
If your household relies on n broadband for things like streaming, gaming, video calls, etc, an unlimited broadband deal can help save you from unexpected costs incurred from surpassing your data cap. In this case, unlimited broadband can be worth it. If your household doesn't use broadband a lot you could save yourself money by getting a more specific data allowance.