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Best cheap fibre and broadband deals

By Hamse Yusuf

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Best cheap fibre and broadband deals

Which? rounds up the best-value fibre and broadband deals to help you choose the perfect package at a great price.

Finding the right broadband provider can be a daunting prospect. With so many deals to choose from, many of which tie you to a provider for 18 months or longer, you’ll need to make sure you choose one who is reliable and best serves your needs. 

We've chosen what we believe to be the best-value broadband deals today, including standard (also known as ADSL), superfast and ultrafast (also known as fibre), to help you decide what type of broadband is best for you.

Find out more about the best and worst broadband providers for 2019, based on our in-depth customer survey.

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What broadband speed is right for me?

The first thing you need to decide when shopping for broadband is the right kind of package.

Broadband providers will either offer standard, superfast or ultrafast 'fibre' broadband, and often it can be difficult to figure out which one you need.

On the one hand, you do not want to be overpaying for speeds that you don't need, but on the other you do not want too low a speed so that your internet connection does not function properly.

Our quiz below takes all the guesswork out of figuring out what speed is right for you and gives you a result based on how you use the internet.

Best standard broadband deals 

These deals typically have an average speed of 10-11Mbps (megabits per second) and are suited for people who do not have many internet-enabled devices and/or who do not use the internet frequently. These speeds should still be fine for browsing or light streaming on services such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

Post Office Unlimited Broadband

  • Average Speed: 11Mbps
  • Contract Length: 12 months
  • Price: £15.90 per month
  • Upfront costs: £0

Total cost over contract: £204
Effective cost per month: £15.90

Post Office may not be the first provider that springs to mind when it comes to broadband but compared to major providers, it is currently offering one of the cheapest standard packages in the UK at just £15.90, down from £17.

There are no setup costs, nothing to pay upfront and a short 12-month contract which will definitely suit those who are not looking for long-term commitment.

For those looking to fix their price for longer, Post Office Broadband is offering 18 or 24 month contracts for just a few pounds more a month - at £18.

As an added bonus, Post Office customers get free weekend calls to UK landlines and UK-based technical support.

Check out Post Office's Unlimited Broadband deal and read our Post Office broadband review to see how they fare in our survey.

SSE Unlimited Broadband 

  • Average Speed: 11Mbps
  • Contract Length: 18 months 
  • Price: £18 per month 
  • Upfront costs: £0 

    Total cost over contract: £324
    Effective cost per month: £18

Although better known as an energy provider, SSE have some competitive deals currently on offer for new customers. Currently, their standard broadband offering is one of the cheapest in the UK at £18 on an 18-month contract.

SSE customers also get a 60-day happiness guarantee and no price hikes during their initial contract. 

Check out SSE's Unlimited Broadband deal and read our SSE review to see how they fare in our survey.

Best superfast fibre broadband deals 

These deals typically have average speeds ranging from 35 to 67Mbps and are suited for people who share their connection with others and/or who frequently use the internet, whether you browse all the time or stream a lot of on-demand content.

Vodafone Superfast 1

  • Average Speed: 35Mbps
  • Contract Length: 18 months
  • Price: £23 per month
  • Upfront costs: £0

Total cost over contract: £414
Effective cost per month: £23

Vodafone's Superfast packages have had a recent price cut to once again become one of the cheapest fibre providers in the UK. At £23, you can get average speeds of 35Mbps on an 18-month contract with prices only going up £3 a month afterwards.

Vodafone's deal also comes with its Ultimate Broadband Guarantee – which gives you a 15% discount on your bill if speeds fall below their minimum guarantee.

Check out Vodafone's Superfast 1 deal and read our Vodafone review to see how they fare in our survey.

Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra

  • Average Speed: 66Mbps
  • Contract Length: 12 months
  • Price: £27.50 per month
  • Upfront costs: £0
     
    Total cost over contract: £495
    Effective cost per month: £27.50

Plusnet is known for very competitive incentives alongside low prices and this deal is no exception. Plusnet is currently offering its fastest package at £27.50 with no upfront costs.

New customers can also get a £70 prepaid card to spend if they take out the package by 6th August.

Check out Plusnet's Unlimited Fibre Extra deal and read our Plusnet review to see how it fares in our survey.

Best ultrafast fibre broadband deals 

These deals are for the heavy internet user and/or very large families, who need lots of bandwidth in order for everyone to be satisfied. If you have kids who love gaming or you're set on watching Netflix or BBC iPlayer in 4K, ultrafast is for you.

Virgin Media M100

  • Average Speed: 108Mbps
  • Contract Length: 12 months
  • Price: £33 per month
  • Upfront costs: £35

Total cost over contract: £431
Effective cost per month: £35.92

Despite increasing its setup cost by £10, Virgin Media's ultrafast broadband deals are difficult to beat elsewhere.

Currently it is offering average speeds of 108Mbps for £33 per month on a short 12-month contract, cheaper than many fibre deal three times slower.

M100 customers also get weekend calls at no extra cost with Talk Weekends.

After the initial contract, the price rises to £49 a month, a 49% increase in price.

Check out Virgin's M100 deal and read our Virgin Media broadband review to see how they fare in our survey.

Virgin Media M200

  • Average Speed: 213Mbps
  • Contract Length: 12 months 
  • Price: £38 per month
  • Upfront costs: £35

Total cost over contract: £491
Effective cost per month: £40.92

Like M100, M200 has also seen its setups costs increase by £10 but offer double its speeds for £5 more a month. 

M350 customers also get weekend calls at no extra cost with Talk Weekends.

After the initial contract, the price rises to £59 a month, a 37% increase.

Check out Virgin's M200 deal and read our Virgin Media broadband review to see how it fares in our survey.

Thinking of switching provider? It doesn’t need to be difficult. We asked almost 1,000 switchers how they found it, and 77% agree the process was easy. Read our guide on how to switch your broadband provider for essential help and advice.

What else should I consider when buying broadband?

I rarely use my home phone (landline) – can I save money on a broadband-only deal?

Many broadband-only deals still require you to also have line rental with the provider or from elsewhere. Often, it is cheaper to buy both from the same place rather than sourcing line rental with another provider.

However, other plans (such as Vodafone’s Superfast plans) also come with no cost for line rental and a landline, using a pay-as-you-go model for calls by charging a price per minute. As long as you don't plan to use your home phone much, these plans may appeal to you as a way to save money by not paying for a landline you don't use.

Do I need unlimited broadband?

The question of whether to get a limited or unlimited package is far less important than it used to be.

Limited broadband packages would set a fair-usage policy or ‘cap’, which if exceeded may have resulted in additional charges, a slowed-down internet connection or no connection at all. The benefit of these limited deals is that they would usually be cheaper.

Most modern packages are unlimited, which means you don’t have to worry how much data you use. If you do encounter a limited data deal, think carefully about whether this will be enough to get you through the month, and check to see what happens if you exceed it.

Is unlimited broadband truly unlimited?

Fair-usage caps (a set amount of monthly data that if exceeded may result in you being charged) used to be fairly common, essentially turning ‘unlimited’ plans into limited plans with a high data cap.

Today, most providers offer a truly unlimited service, but some smaller providers do still have traffic management policies in place. These slow down certain kinds of internet activities that require a lot of bandwidth once you hit a preset limit.

For example, some providers slow down the speed of certain internet activities (such as peer-to-peer downloads) in order for other activities which are time-sensitive (such as online gaming and video calls) to not be interrupted.

It’s always worth checking whether any speed-limiting or traffic management takes place if you’re considering switching provider.

Are there any upfront or hidden costs?

Broadband plans often come with upfront costs, which can take various forms. Common examples include paying for a router to be delivered, set-up fees, connection charges and new line fees. You might also be expected to pay an upfront fee for a PVR (set-top box) if a TV package is included, which may or may not be optional. It is important to factor in these costs when deciding what broadband deal is right for you. Our reviews include an ‘effective cost’ for this reason.

You might also want to consider the telephone package. If you’re used to free evening and weekend or free anytime calls and want to keep these benefits, chances are you’ll be paying extra on top of the advertised fee on a new broadband package.

What contract length is right for me?

Contract lengths are also an important consideration. Some deals might seem cheaper on the surface, offering lower monthly prices. But long contract terms mean that you may end up paying more than you wanted to over that period of time. Conversely, some providers have price guarantees, and a longer contract can offer reassurance that this won’t go up until it expires.

Our deals include the total cost over contract, and the effective cost per month.

What if I’m still in a contract with my provider and want to switch?

If you’re still in contract with your provider, you may have to pay off the remainder of your contract if you leave.

However, Ofcom rules state that if you experience price increases mid-contract, you have 30 days from when you are officially notified of the increase when you can switch without paying a penalty. Read more about your rights if a broadband provider increases prices.

In some circumstances, such as when you’re coming to the end of a contract and see a particularly good limited-time offer elsewhere, it might be worth paying off the contract. You might also consider this if the service you’re getting is poor, and you feel you might get a better service with a different provider.

But generally it’s a good idea to wait until your contract expires before you consider moving. It’s important to know exactly when this will be, since in many cases your monthly cost will rise when your contract expires, so you may be paying more than you need to.

In these situations you could switch, or haggle. In the latter case, information such as the deals we’ve listed above can be very useful, since rival prices are great ammunition to try and get a discount. Read our guide on how to haggle for the best broadband deal

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