1-minute guide to Broadband



Switching your broadband is SO easy, can save you a fortune AND give you a faster speed

Many people are paying for broadband speeds they are NOT getting

It can cost £1 for every GB you go over your data allowance – do you know what you use?

DON’T let complicated bundles and long contracts trap you into a bad deal

You can call the FREE switching service 0800 781 4020 (or 0203 092 5045 from mobile) today to find the best deal for you. Lines open until 9pm Monday to Friday and 6:30pm on weekends

Need to know

  • Pick the right amount of data. You will be charged or have your account upgraded to the next tariff if you go over. Have a look at the data usage calculator before picking a deal, not everyone needs to be paying for unlimited. To give you an idea 1GB= 1 movie or 16 hours surfing
  • Unlimited packages don’t always do what they say on the tin.  Sky, Virgin, Plusnet and BT are truly unlimited. The other networks can cap your usage during peak times or slow you down with ‘traffic management’
  • Slow internet can be really frustrating BUT don’t go for a package that offers super quick speeds (at added expense) without first making sure you can get those speeds in your area. The speed checker below will tell you what your current speed is and which networks offer the best in your area
  • Broadband providers have to demonstrate that the ‘up to’ speeds they advertise are received by ONLY 10% of those using the service
  • Providers use a technique called ‘dripping’ to draw you to the positive parts of the contract. BE SAVVY always know:

– The broadband price after the opening deal (eg. Free for 6 months)

– The line rental: many sites will advertise cheap or free internet without mentioning line rental which is normally around £15

– The length of contract

– The installation costs

  • KNOW YOUR RIGHTS if the provider increases the cost of your Broadband during the contract they must give 30 days notice, during this 30 days you will be abe to leave your contract without any penalty
  • Many providers will charge you early termination fees if you want to leave your contract early. If you’re not satisfied with the service you’re receiving then you MUST complain. The provider may be able to alter your package or improve your service so that you don’t have to cancel and get stung for the cancellation fee

How fast is your broadband?

uSwitch broadband speed checker

Why we like it:

  • Check your speed in three simple steps
  • Find out what speeds are in your local area
  • Compare and switch!

Watch out:

  • Make sure you run the test from the location you are checking

Bye bye buffering! Fibre optic broadband

  • Standard internet travels along a copper wire. Fibre optic broadband travels along a fibre optic cable which has less resistance and so much faster speeds- up to 100Mb 
  • It is still around £10 a month more expensive than standard internet. For very heavy internet users or people willing to pay for speed the general consensus is that it is worth the extra money
  • It will be gradually dropping in price as more providers start offering it
  • You don’t need extra equipment to receive to receive fibre optic broadband but you do need to be in an area that has been cabled. Virgin, BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky and Talk Talk all offer fibre optic broadband with varying availability. You can find out whether you can receive fibre optic broadband and what the best deals available for you are on our own comparison checker
  • Call the FREE switching service 0800 781 4020 (or 02030925045 from mobile) today to find the best deal for you. Lines open until 9pm Monday to Friday and 6:30pm on weekends

Go direct

The BEST way to ensure you’re getting the right deal is to compare what’s available in your area with the right usage allowance

However, these are the best value deals currently on offer

Pop Telecom

Why we like it:

  • Unlimited broadband £3 for 12 months then £10/month
  • FREE wireless router
  • FREE activation
  • Uncapped download
  • Up to 17mb download speed
  • UK customer service & technical support

Watch out:

  • £16.99 line rental per month
  • 12 month contract
  • £6.99 router delivery
  • No inclusive calls
Virgin Media

Why we like it:

  • broadbandchoices exclusive: £9 p/m for 12 months
  • **Superfast** up to 50mb download speed (faster than many others)
  • unlimited downloads
  • unlimited weekend calls
  • Fibre Broadband

Watch out:

  • £21 a month after 12 months
  • 18 month contract
  • £18 line rental
  • check you can get that speed in your area
  • Cheapest deal includes phone
  • an activation fee of £14.99
BT Infintity 1

Why we like it:

  • £10 a month
  • up to 38mb download speed
  • free BT Sport app and online player
  • Unlimited BT Wifi hotspots
  • fibre broadband
  • unlimited weekend calls
  • £50 and £100 Sainsbury’s Gift Cards

Watch out:

  • £17.99 monthly line rental
  • £6.95 hub delivery charge
  • 20gb usage limit
  • 12 month contract
  • £35 activation fee

Why we like it:

  • totally unlimited broadband for 12 months + £75 reward when you join without Sky TV
  • up to 17mb download speed

Watch out:

  • £17.40 line rental
  • 12 month contract
  • £9.95 for router delivery
  • £10 a month after 12 months

Why we like it:

  • Free unlimited broadband for 12 months
  • Up to 17mb download speed

Watch out:

  • £9.99 per month after 12 months
  • £16.99 monthly line rental
  • No inclusive phone calls
  • Cheapest deal includes phone calls packages
  • 18 month contract

Why we like it:

  • Free for 12 months
  • unlimited broadband
  • up to 17mb download speed
  • free wireless router
  • £100 Love to Shop voucher when you buy online

Watch out:

  • £6.75 router delivery charge
  • £17.70 monthly line rental
  • 12 month contract

The inside track

  • Patience will be needed. It can take 14 days plus to go from order to activation, especially if you live in a busy area
  • If you are getting a contract for a new home most providers will allow you to order (and pay) before you live there so you can plan your activation date to be around the same time as your move in date
  • At the end of your contract you will still need to give a months notice to terminate the contract for most providers or you will end up paying an extra month. You will probably be offered incentives to stay with them but BE AWARE that this probably comes attached to another 12 or 18 month contract
  • You can monitor your usage and make sure you don’t go over your allowance., many providers will offer to send you emails when you are coming close to your allowance. There are also apps you can download like Netmeter that allows you to monitor your bandwidth
  • There are an increasing number of places you can get free Cloud Wifi including McDonalds, Wetherspoons and even train stations
  • When it comes to customer service, do not assume that just because a call centre is based abroad it isn’t very good. This is not true. Madasafish has a call centre in South Africa but consistently scored highly for customer satisfaction. When calling a call centre, if you are concerned about call charges then go to SayNoTo0870 to get a cheaper landline number
Previous article1-minute guide to Energy Switching
Next article1-minute guide to Bargain Holidays
Sarah Willingham
Sarah Willingham is a serial entrepreneur, business investor and leading consumer expert. She has received a number of accolades for her contribution to business including The Sunday Times 500 Most Influential People in Britain 2016, The Times 35 Most Successful Women Under 35, Business Weekly’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Courvoisier Top 500 and an entry into the Who’s Who of British Business Leaders. She holds three business degrees including an MBA from Cranfield School of Management, where she is also an advisory board member.