It’s estimated that 40% of broadband customers are out-of-contract, that’s millions who could save!
Looking for the best broadband deals to boost your download speeds or cut the cost of your monthly bills? The latest batch of bargains from BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Hyperoptic, Sky and dozens of other providers have got you covered. While all of these internet firms provide discounts for existing subscribers, new customers usually get the best deals.
According to research from Ofcom, around 40% of all broadband customers are out of contract. That’s 8.5 million people across the UK who could unlock a better deal by renegotiating a new contract with the same provider or switching to a different company. Estimates from the team at Which? suggest that out-of-contract customers could save as much as £140 a year by switching to a different brand. Not to mention the other benefits, including a speedier Wi-Fi Hub included with your new bundle.
With record-breaking price rises on the horizon from BT, Plusnet, EE, and Virgin Media, there’s never been a better time to switch to a new broadband deal.
Below you’ll find our top picks for some of the standout deals available right now. If you need a little more information about your broadband connection, including the difference between a full-fibre connection and copper cable, keep scrolling to find all of the answers to your broadband-related queries…
Best Broadband Deals (February 2022): What Is The Best Deal In The UK Right Now?
This is a tough one. Hyperoptic is currently offering its 150Mbps connection for just £22 a month. For comparison, BT charges £34.99 a month for the exact same speeds. But while this would easily qualify as the best broadband deal in the UK right now… unfortunately, Hyperoptic has a very limited footprint. The new-kid-on-the-block only supplies broadband to some 57 towns and cities across the UK. While it’s expanding quickly, it currently only covers around 612,000 premises nationwide. If you’re lucky enough to have the full-fibre supplier in your street, grab the deal here.
For everyone else, the best broadband deal available nationwide right now is Vodafone.
While this brand might be better known for its phone masts, it has launched some aggressive broadband deals in recent weeks. Right now, you can get download speeds of 100Mbps for just £22 a month. With the average broadband speed in the UK at 70Mbps, you’ll be getting some solid download speeds, an unlimited download allowance, and no upfront cost. For comparison, BT is charging over £10 a month more (£32.99) for download speeds of 74Mbps.
Vodafone also includes a speed guarantee with its broadband plans, so if you’re struggling to achieve download speeds of at least 50Mbps, you’ll be able to walk away from your 24-month contract without paying an early termination fee. That should provide peace of mind for those who haven’t used Vodafone as a broadband supplier before.
Best Broadband Deals: What Is The Cheapest Broadband In The UK?
If you’re just looking to drop your monthly bills to the lowest price point, there are a number of stellar options around at the moment. First up, Vodafone is offering its Superfast 1 broadband plan for just £18 a month – that’s even cheaper than during its Black Friday sales last year. For that, you’ll get download speeds of 36Mbps, which is enough to stream Netflix in its highest picture quality (25Mbps minimum is recommended for 4K Ultra HD quality), but don’t expect to be able to make video calls, download software updates, or back-up hundreds of pictures to cloud at the same time. For light usage, this broadband plan will be absolutely fine. Vodafone even includes a speed guarantee, which lets you leave your contract without paying an early termination fee if you’re having trouble with poor download speeds. There’s no upfront cost too.
For £1 more a month, it’s worth checking out Vodafone’s Superfast 2 plan, which almost doubles the download speeds you can expect from your connection. With average download speeds of 73Mbps, this brilliant £19 a month broadband bundle is a great choice for anyone who works from home, or lives in a busy household with multiple people trying to stream from Spotify, Disney+, Prime Video or Netflix at peak times. Like the cheaper Superfast 1 bundle, there’s no upfront fee to worry about.
Both of these Vodafone deals are 24-month contracts, which means you won’t be able to switch providers or hunt for better deals for a little while. But given that we’ve never seen these speeds available at this price point, those looking to save as much as possible shouldn’t hesitate. Especially with those price rises on the horizon.
For comparison, Plusnet charges £24 a month for 66Mbps speeds, BT charges £27.99 a month for 36Mbps speeds, Shell Energy Broadband charges £21.99 a month for 67Mbps, and TalkTalk charges £22 a month for 38Mbps.
Best Broadband Deals: What Is The Best Deal On Full-Fibre Broadband?
If you’re looking for unfettered speed, you’ll need a full-fibre connection. Delivering broadband via fibre-optic cable results in much faster speeds and better reliability. Unfortunately, these next-generation connections aren’t currently available at every address in the UK.
Virgin Media has the biggest network of gigabit-capable connections across the country, with 15.5 million customers able to access average download speeds of 1,130Mbps (the average home broadband speed in the UK currently sits at 70Mbps – around 16x slower than what you can unlock with Virgin Media). Meanwhile, BT-owned Openreach is slowly upgrading thousands of connections across the UK, with plans to reach 25 million premises by December 2026. As it stands, roughly 6.4 million homes are up-and-running with full-fibre broadband infrastructure managed by Openreach, which is used by a number of popular brands like BT, EE, Sky, TalkTalk, and more.
The best deal from these nationwide full-fibre providers is undoubtedly TalkTalk. Its Future Fibre plan costs just £49 a month and unlocks download speeds of 900Mbps. Not only that, but subscribers will also be sent a pair of Amazon-designed Eero Pro 6 routers, which support the latest (and fastest) Wi-Fi 6 standard. With a £229 price tag each, this combination is easily the best Wi-Fi router bundle available from any broadband provider in the UK right now. The two Eero 6 nodes work in tandem to provide solid Wi-Fi signal across 4,000 square feet.
For comparison, BT charges £54.99 a month for its 900Mbps plan (although the first three months are currently half price at £27.49), Virgin Media charges £62 a month for its 1,130Mbps speeds, and Vodafone charges £70 a month for 910Mbps.
It’s worth keeping an eye on a number of smaller full-fibre broadband companies, including the likes of Hyperoptic, Community Fibre, Zzoomm, Giganet, which all offer 1Gbps download speeds (or higher). These lesser-known brands can offer incredible discounts that BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk never come close to matching. So, what’s the catch? Well, all of these up-and-coming firms have a very limited reach. For example, Community Fibre only operates in London… so if you live outside of the capital, you’re out of luck. Others only supply a few thousand homes. Nonetheless, if you’ve seen upgrade works taking place in your street, it’s worth checking out these brands.
Best Broadband Deals: What Is The Best Freebie Available?
Aside from dropping your monthly costs or unlocking faster speeds, another great reason to sign-up to a new contract is the generous freebie. Companies often bundle a brand-new television, Bluetooth speakers, Chromebooks, and other goodies to tempt you away from their rivals. Even when there isn’t a new gadget to open, broadband firms will include a pre-paid gift card to spend on anything you’d like.
If you’re looking for the ultimate freebie available today, look no further than BT Broadband’s Fibre 2 deal. Signing up to this broadband plan, you’ll get a £110 pre-paid card to spend anywhere that accepts Mastercard (which is basically anywhere). Not only that, but BT will increase your download speeds to match its Fibre 500 plan (usually £44.99 a month) for the first month free of charge.
For £32.99 a month, you’ll get a month of eye-wateringly fast speeds for free and £110 to spend on new gadgets to use with your speedy broadband. Even when the temporary speed boost subsides, you’ll still get a respectable 74Mbps, which is faster than the average home broadband connection in the UK. This deal is only available via Broadband Genie, so you’ll need to use the link here, rather than going via BT’s own website.
Best Broadband Deals: What Is The Best Social Tariff Available?
Regulatory body Ofcom has released its annual report into affordability, which has highlighted the low uptake of so-called “Social Tariffs,” which are only available to households that receive – or are eligible to receive – Universal Credit or other legacy benefits. There are only six broadband suppliers in the UK that offer these “Social Tariffs”: BT, Community Fibre, G.Network, Hyperoptic, KCOM and Virgin Media O2.
Each of these discounted bundles offers an average download speed of between 10 to 67Mbps. The latter is the average home broadband speed recorded in the UK last year. Prices for these discounted packages vary between £10 to £20 a month. And there are a number of other benefits too, BT only requires a 12-month minimum contract term for its Home Essentials bundle, which is half what you’ll need to sign-up for when buying one of its standard broadband bundles.
But despite the clear benefits of these “Social Tariffs”, of the 4.2 million households who receive Universal Credit and are eligible for these discounted deals, a meagre 55,000 homes have signed up. That’s just 1.2 percent of those eligible, Ofcom research shows.
So, if you live in one of the 4.2 million households eligible for a “Social Tariff”, we’d recommend signing up for BT’s Home Essentials plan. It includes average 67Mbps download speeds and 700 minutes of calls from the landline for £15 a month. For comparison, BT charges £32.99 a month for its Full Fibre 2 bundle, which offers average download speeds of 74Mbps. So, Universal Credit claimants will benefit from some hefty savings – around £17.99 a month, or over £215 over the course of a year. And the benefits don’t end there.
BT will never charge an early exit fee if your circumstances change, so you can leave within the 12-month minimum contract term and not worry about any extra charges. That’s different to every other broadband deal available from BT.
Best Broadband Deals: What Else Is Available in February 2022?
If none of the above quite fits what you’re looking for, don’t worry. Express.co.uk has scoured the biggest broadband providers to find their individual best prices and ultimate speeds. We’ve rounded up the best selection of cost and download speeds below. If you’re currently out-of-contract, you should be able to find a brilliant new deal below…
What Is Full-Fibre Broadband?
Fibre broadband is the future of the internet, and telecoms firms like Virgin Media and BT’s Openreach have been hard at work upgrading their networks to deliver these super-fast download speeds. While existing broadband connections rely on copper cables to deliver internet from those green communication boxes littered throughout UK streets, full-fibre broadband – as the name suggests – uses more powerful (and reliable) fibre-optic cables to your front door instead.
The fastest fibre broadband speeds currently available in the UK is offered with Virgin Media’s Gig1 package, which boasts average download speeds of 1,130Mbps. That’s light years ahead of the average broadband download speed in Blighty, which stands at around 70Mbps as measured earlier in 2021.
As an example of the benefits of fibre connections, Gigabit broadband will let you download a feature-length movie in High Definition in just 36 seconds, or a crisp Ultra HD 4K film in under three minutes. These speeds mean busy households will be able to back up their photos, download software updates, make video calls, binge boxsets in 4K, and play video games online all at the same time at peak times without a hint of buffering. It also future-proofs homes for the next wave of technology, including 8K video quality, virtual reality, and more.
By the end of 2021, Virgin Media upgraded its entire network of 15.5million homes to gigabit-capable broadband (although it will take longer until all of those customers are using full-fibre connections). So if you’re covered by Virgin Media you can sign up right away. While BT’s Openreach will finish its full-fibre network upgrade (some 25 million homes) by December 2026. So far, the super-fast downloads are available to more than six million properties covered by Openreach, which supplies infrastructure for BT, TalkTalk, Sky, Plusnet, EE, Vodafone, and many more.
Smaller companies, like Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and Community Fibre, have sprung up to bring full-fibre broadband to areas not currently served by either Virgin Media or Openreach. These include projects specifically targeted at rural villages or commuter towns. If you can’t wait for next-generation broadband, these are a great option – and can be cheaper than better-known brands too.
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Which Broadband Offers The Fastest Speeds?
In a nutshell, the fastest broadband speeds available in the UK come from Community Fibre, which offers a mind-bogglingly speedy 3Gbps. With download speeds of 3,000Mbps, you’ll be able to download movies, stream boxsets from Netflix, join video calls, back-up photos and data from your devices, and play online multiplayer around 43x faster than the average home broadband connection in the UK, which was measured at 70Mbps last year. At £89 a month, Community Fibre’s 3Gbps full-fibre broadband plan doesn’t come cheap. But the biggest hurdle is the availability.
Community Fibre is currently only available in London …and even if you do live in the capital, the 3Gbps package isn’t available anywhere. It’s worth checking to see whether the full-fibre in your street has been upgraded to support the speeds, but don’t hold your breath.
Virgin Media offers speeds up to 1Gbps, or 1,000Mbps – some 14x faster than the standard British homeowners’ internet connection, to more than 15.5million premises. For context, Netflix recommends at least 25Mbps to watch its boxsets and movies in the best picture quality available, 4K Ultra HD. That should give you some idea about the dizzying amount of bandwidth available with a 1Gbps connection for most users. Signing up to one of these full-fibre bundles will suit even the busiest households – with multiple people streaming music, making videocalls, collaborating on documents online, downloading video, backing up devices, and more, at the same time.
Plusnet promise fast and reliable fibre broadband
BT-owned Openreach, which is responsible for the broadband infrastructure used by BT, Sky, Plusnet, EE, and dozens more companies, is slowly upgrading its network to gigabit speeds. It has set a goal of reaching 25 million premises by December 2026, with 6 million already upgraded to the next-generation connection. Because the same infrastructure is used by all of these companies, if you can get 900Mbps speeds from BT, you’ll be able to get them from other providers, like TalkTalk.
If your street isn’t covered by Openreach or Virgin Media’s full-fibre plans, there are a number of other smaller providers springing up across the country to meet demand. Most of these are specialising in bringing full-fibre speeds to cities with lots of competition, or rural areas that might otherwise have to wait years to get a speed boost from Openreach. Hyperoptic, Community Fibre, Zzoomm, Giganet, and GoFibre are just a few of these new kids on the block that might be worth checking out.