By Adam Marshall
Contributions from Tom Brook
Take a look at the best broadband deals available from all of the top providers and bag the perfect deal for your home.
Although searching for a new home internet package may not sound like an exciting prospect, the deal you choose could actually be one of your most important purchases of the year. This is particularly the case if you work from home, love to stream or want to spend your weekends downloading and watching the latest releases in UHD.After all, select the wrong deal and you'll either end up over-paying or struggling with buffering and slow speeds.
Thankfully, by actively looking for the best home broadband deals available rather than simply renewing your current deal, you'll make sure that you're getting the highest-possible speeds at the best-possible price. Plus, if you time it right, you may be able to get a freebie or an incentive like a gift card as well.
Looking for a new broadband deal in 2023? Well, the first thing you should know is that broadband deals tend to fall into one of a few categories - ADSL (slower and more affordable), fibre broadband deals (faster and usually slightly more expensive) and finally, broadband and TV deals (offering a bundle of internet and TV if you've got more money to spend).
Whether you're simply after something cheap and easy, some lightning fast fibre speeds or you want to go all out with broadband, TV and extra add-ons, we've hunted down all the best deals available from the country's top providers. If you already know what kind of broadband plan you want, simply use our price comparison widget below to compare the best and cheapest options from big names like TalkTalk, Virgin, BT and Sky.
Not sure what you need with your internet or want to learn more? Read on to find out more about choosing fibre speeds, what the best broadband deals are and plenty more.
Which provider has the best broadband deals?
Today, you have more choice than ever when it comes to choosing an internet service provider (ISP).
Although major providers such as Sky, BT and Virgin Media take much of the limelight, a number of lesser-known providers also offer great deals at competitive prices. As these providers also usually use the Openreach network, they're also able to offer fast speeds and reliable connections.
As you may expect, each internet service provider specialises in a different type of internet package. For example, while Sky specialises in internet and TV bundles, Virgin Media specialises in offering the quickest speeds available. By contrast, challenger brands such as TalkTalk focus on providing the cheapest deals on the market.
With this in mind, here are the main broadband providers and the types of packages they're known for:
- Virgin broadband: best for super-fast speeds
- Sky broadband: best quad-play provider
- BT broadband: best all-round internet provider
- Vodafone: affordable pricing for fibre internet
- Plusnet: frequently the cheapest provider for both fibre and ADSL
- TalkTalk: affordable internet across all categories
- Now Broadband: cheapest for broadband and TV
However, you should only use this information as a guide. After all, although each provider has its own specialisms, the majority offer a great range of deals. For example, although Sky offers a selection of TV and internet bundles, the provider does also offer internet-only deals with quick speeds.
As a result, before you purchase a deal with one provider, you should scour the market to see what else is available. Keep in mind that various providers also offer special deals, discounts and offers throughout the year. This means the right provider for your needs could change on a monthly basis.
Do I need ADSL or fibre broadband?
Whether you need an ADSL connection or fibre broadband will be determined by three main factors: where you live, how much you want to pay and what you use the internet for.
The physical location of your property may determine the type of connection you will need to sign up for. Although the fibre rollout is well underway, some people in rural areas cannot access fibre connections. To check that you can receive a fibre connection, try a postcode checker.
If you're eligible for fibre, then you next need to consider what you use the internet for. If you only use the internet for sending emails, checking your social media and downloading in SD, then an ADSL internet deal might be the best option for you. ADSL connections provide you with the slowest speeds available, but the deals available are often the cheapest around.
However, if you regularly download in HD or UHD, have streaming requirements or live in a household where multiple people are trying to get online at the same time, then ADSL speeds are likely to be too slow for your needs. In these scenarios, you'll struggle with buffering and lag. In these scenarios, you'll be much better served by a fibre broadband deal. This is because fibre internet provides much faster speeds. However, as you may expect, these faster speeds do come at an additional cost.
Still unsure whether an ADSL or a fibre deal is right for you? Well, the truth is that is that in today's modern world where people stream, download films and watch their favourite TV shows on Netflix, the majority of people now opt for fibre packages. If it helps at all, the vast majority of providers now offer fibre deals. This has driven down the price of these options considerably and now means that fibre options are only a couple of pounds more per month than ADSL packages.
Which broadband speed do I need?
Broadband speeds are represented in megabits per second, or Mbps. Crudely speaking, the more Mbps, the faster the broadband speed. But, the advertised speed is the 'average' and doesn't necessarily represent the actual speed you will receive. That varies depending where you live.
Here's a brief guide to what some of the advertised average speeds mean in practice:
0-12Mbps - This entry-level broadband speed is transmitted via an ADSL connection to your nearest BT exchange. These connections should be fast enough for small households where only one or two people are using the internet at once. But, be aware that if you stream TV or you play games online, you may experience some interruptions and buffering.
25-50Mbps - These fast speeds are usually available at affordable prices. Connections at the top of this speed range are ideal for families where four or five members are all streaming, downloading and surfing at once.
50-100Mb - If you stream 4K TV or have loads of people trying to use your broadband connection at once, then it may be worth paying more for the extra speed. With these speeds, you're pretty much guaranteed lag-free use - plus, the providers often sweeten the deal with added extras and rewards.
100Mb+ - These are the quickest speeds on the market. However, unless you live in a vast house, have loads of connected devices or every family member is continually streaming in UHD, you're unlikely to get much value.
What is 'average' speed for broadband?
When you're looking for a new broadband deal, you'll notice that you're given an 'average' speed for each offer you're shown. This is an illustration of the speed you can expect to receive if you take out this package.
Before May 2018, internet service providers (ISPs) used to be able to advertised 'up to' speeds. However, the Advertising Standards Authority decided that this did not provide customers with a fair reflection of the speeds they could actually expect to receive.
As a result, ever since, ISPs must now provide an 'average' speed. For advertising purposes, average in this context means the speed in Mbps that is received by over 50% of users in the UK between 8pm and 10pm (peak time).
Although the 'average' speed is a fairer reflection of the speed you're likely to receive, it is not a guarantee. For this reason, before you sign up with a provider, you should also check what the minimum speed you're guaranteed to receive is. By doing so, you can make sure that even this slower speed is enough to suit your needs.
For context, according to Ofcom, the average UK home broadband speed in March 2021 was79.1Mbps. However, if your home cannot receive full fibre broadband, the speed you'll receive will likely be much, much lower than this.
Is fibre broadband available in my area?
Fibre broadband packages used to only be available in major cities and well-connected areas. However, although the technology is new, it's now widely available. In fact, estimates now suggest that almost 90% of households in the UK can receive a fibre broadband connection.
That said, you shouldn't take it for granted that your home can receive a fibre broadband connection. If you live in a remote area or a rural location, you may find out that only ADSL connections are available. Thankfully, checking availability in your area is quick and simple.
If you'd like to find out exactly what connections are available at your home, then scroll to the top of this page and tell us your postcode. Using this information, we can tell you whether you can get fast fibre broadband at your address.If you can, head over to our best fibre deals guide to see all of your options and read the latest buying advice.
Broadband contracts and pricing:
What contract length should I go for?
Whether you'd like to take out a contract that lasts for either one month or a couple of years, you'll find a great amount of choice available. However, finding the best option for you can be difficult.
For example, while one-month contracts provide you with a great amount of flexibility, they're also the most expensive options available. Similarly, while two-year contracts help you lock in a great price and often come with a number of incentives, they keep you with the same provider for a very long period of time. To escape, you often have to pay a hefty penalty fee.
The right deal for you will depend on the amount you want to pay and the level of flexibility you require. Regardless, whether you opt for a short or a long-term deal, you must remember that your monthly tariff will be hiked at the conclusion of the contract. For this reason, when your contract is due to come to an end, we recommend you come back here and grab yourself another great deal.
Will I have to pay anything upfront for broadband?
Maybe! Although some providers specialise in fee-free contracts, the majority of internet service providers now ask customers to pay 'setup', 'upfront' and 'activation' fees when they take out their contracts.The good news is that these providers are often willing to waive these fees if you're willing to sign up for a long-term contract.
It's tricky to say how much you'll need to pay as an upfront fee when you take out a new broadband contract. This is because while some providers will only charge £5 for the delivery of the router, others will charge for an engineer visit or for an activation cost. Generally speaking though, our research has revealed that the upfront cost people pay for broadband generally ranges from between £20 and £80.
However... on top of this cost, you also must be aware that if you take out a broadband and TV package, you might be charged for the TV set-top box as well as broadband installation.The same can be said if you take out a broadband and phone package.
Do I have to pay more to have a phone line?
Whether or not you'll need to pay more to have a phone line depends on the exact deal you choose.
In 2023, many of the best broadband deals include a landline within the monthly price. However, not all deals work in this way and so-called 'broadband only deals' are becoming increasingly popular.Some providers even specialise in these deals.
If you regularly use a landline to make and receive calls, you should make sure that a phone line is included within your package. If one isn't, then you'll need to add it at an additional cost.
On top of this, you should also be aware that if you add a personalised call plan to your package, it will become more expensive. If a landline is included in your deal then it will likely come with free calls at a certain time (such as on a weekend). If you want to add unlimited evening, daytime or international calls to your plan, it will likely cost more.
Broadband deals FAQ
Is Wi-Fi and broadband the same thing?
Yes and no. Although most people use the two terms interchangeably and with most broadband deals you actually receive both Wi-Fi and broadband, they are actually different things. Let's explain...
In order to get a broadband connection, a cable is run from a cabinet on your street to your home. This cable is used to connect you to an internet service provider and gives you a high-speed connection known as broadband.
Meanwhile, Wi-Fi how your broadband connection is distributed to your devices, such as your laptops and smart devices. This process works wirelessly.
To add an extra confusing factor, it is possible to connect some devices directly to your router using an Ethernet cable. This then provides a faster connection.
Can I cancel my internet plan early?
Yes. But although it's possible to cancel your internet plan early, we recommend that you don't take this step unless you absolutely have to.
This is because large cancellation fees are usually associated with cancelling your contract early. The exact amount you'll need to pay for leaving your contract will primarily be determined by your current provider and the amount of time you have left on your deal. While some internet service providers ask you to pay a certain amount per month you have left, others charge a flat fee.
To find out exactly how much it will cost you to exit your contract, you should check your contract.This should clearly state both what you need to do to cancel your contract early (you can't just cancel your direct debit) and how much it will cost.
My contract has ended, should I change plans?
If your current contract has ended or is due to end shortly, then you should use this page to find the best deals available in your area. By doing so, you could save a considerable sum of money. You could also unlock faster speeds.
If you fail to shop around and instead choose to just renew your current deal or allow your internet service provider to move you onto a different deal they've selected, then you'll likely not receive the best price for your broadband. Although this is undoubtedly the most convenient way for you to select a new deal, it can also be incredibly costly.
If you instead actively hunt out the best deals, then you'll be able to save a considerable sum. If you like your current provider and you want to stay with them, then it's worth ringing them and haggling over price. However, you should be aware that most of the best deals are only available for new customers. This means that loyalty isn't often rewarded.
4G and 5G home broadband: what are they?
4G and 5G broadband solutions are different to the traditional fixed-line solutions we've spoken about here. This is because, rather than relying on fibre optic cables and landlines, they instead work like your smartphone does and they harness the power of mobile data.
This means that rather than using cables that enter your home, your router instead contains a SIM card that uses mobile data. It then sends this signal to your devices and allows them to connect to the internet in the same way they would if you had a traditional fixed-line connection.
Both 4G broadband and 5G broadband offer a number of benefits over traditional broadband options. For example, you can set your broadband up yourself. Plus, the solutions are portable (you can use them anywhere with a plug).On top of this, many also come with flexible contracts, including rolling one-month deals.
However, there are also downsides to 4G and 5G broadband options. For example, if you don't live in an area with a reliable 5G connection, then you can't purchase 5G home broadband. This means you can only select a 4G home broadband deal, which will be much slower than a fibre broadband package. Similarly, many plans come with data limits.These are easy to exceed if you like to download movies in UHD or regularly stream.
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Adam was formerly the Content Director of Subscriptions and Services at Future, meaning that he oversaw many of the articles TechRadar produces about antivirus software, VPN, TV streaming, broadband and mobile phone contracts - from buying guides and deals news, to industry interest pieces and reviews. Leading and developing a great team, Adam also dusted off his keyboard to write articles for the likes of TechRadar, T3 and Tom's Guide.
With contributions from
- Tom Brook
How do I choose the best broadband deal? ›
- Key points. Comparing broadband will find your cheapest deal, but make sure it has the features you need. ...
- Choosing the cheapest broadband deal. ...
- Choosing the right speed. ...
- Choose the correct contract length. ...
- Know your limits. ...
- Availability in your area. ...
- Consider bundle deals.
- Reliance Jio Infocomm limited: ...
- Bharti Airtel Limited: ...
- Vodafone Idea limited: ...
- Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) ...
- MNTL Limited: ...
- Excitel Broadband: ...
- Hathway Cables and datacom limited: ...
- Tata communications limited:
An internet speed of at least 25 Mbps is good for Wi-Fi. That will make sure that multiple people get adequate bandwidth on your Wi-Fi network while multiple devices are being used at the same time. For larger households, a speed of 100 Mbps is even better.How do I find the best broadband in my area? ›
- Availability. The first and foremost factor of consideration is the availability of the broadband network in our area. ...
- Speed. ...
- Type Of Cable. ...
- Data Cap. ...
- Customer Service. ...
- Add-ons. ...
- Contention Ratio. ...
U.S. News Rating
1 spot in our rating of the Best Internet Providers of 2023 are AT&T and Verizon, followed by Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum, Mediacom, and Astound Broadband. In a three-way tie for No. 8 are CenturyLink, Frontier, and HughesNet. Optimum, Viasat, and Suddenlink round out our list.
Broadband connections are far more secure and consistent than Wi-Fi connections. 4. Plus, you can always connect it to a Wi-Fi router to enjoy high-speed wireless internet connectivity on your mobile and computer devices at the same time.Which type of broadband service is the cheapest? ›
Dial-up internet connection is the cheapest method to connect to the internet. The connection is slow compared to other connections. The internet speed in the dial-up connection ranges from 2400 bps to 56 kbps.Which is the fastest broadband service to the home? ›
Xfinity: Xfinity from Comcast is the winner for the fastest internet service. In some areas, you can find speeds as fast as 2,000 Mbps, or 2 Gbps. That's twice as fast as the 1 Gbps you'll find in many metropolitan areas.How many devices is too many for home WiFi? ›
Wondering if you have too many devices on WiFi? Most of the wireless routers and access points state they can support about 250 devices connected at once. This WiFi connection number includes computers, cameras, tablets, mobile smartphones, appliances, and a wide variety of other devices that are now internet-enabled.What is a good broadband speed? ›
What is a good broadband download speed Mbps? A download speed of at least 25Mbps is considered good for most internet activities, however we recommend having at least 40Mbps if you have multiple users in the house. For those who like to stream in Ultra HD, we'd recommend a speedier connection.
What is a good internet speed for home? ›
A good internet speed is around 100 Mbps download speed and 20 Mbps upload. This should satisfy households that are streaming on multiple devices, online gaming, and working from home. The average internet speed in the U.S. is currently 189 Mbps download and 23 Mbps upload.What is the strongest Internet provider? ›
Google Fiber is the fastest internet provider in the United States, delivering the fastest average speeds to its customers on the most consistent basis. With maximum advertised speeds up to 2,000 Mbps and 12-month average download speeds of 167.1 Mbps, the fiber provider earns an integrated speed score (ISS) of 185.2.What is the fastest broadband ever? ›
The highest internet speed ever recorded is a whopping 319 Terabits or 319,000,000 Megabits per second. Of course, home broadband speeds are nowhere even close to that. Nor would you need them to be.What is the difference between broadband and internet? ›
In a nutshell…
The internet is a huge network of websites and information that spans the entire world. Broadband allows you to access all of this information from your own home via a router. An ethernet cable can be used to connect your computer to your router, giving you fast internet access.
Broadband is the physical connection that runs from the exchange to your property. Wi-Fi is a wireless connection from your Wi-Fi router to your devices – your phone, laptop, smart TV or gaming system.What is the difference between router and broadband? ›
Essentially WiFi is a wireless connection in your house or business, that connects your phone or computer to your modem/router, while Broadband is the actual internet connection that your modem/router uses to send and receive data from your house to the wider world.Who has the best unlimited WIFI? ›
- Best overall: Verizon Fios Internet 200/200.
- Best for availability: Spectrum Internet®
- Best for speed: Google Fiber 1 Gig.
- Best for cheap internet: Astound Broadband 100 Mbps Internet.
- Best for rural users: Rise Broadband 50 Mbps Unlimited.
- #1 Xfinity Internet.
- #2 Cox Internet.
- #3 Spectrum Internet.
- #3 Mediacom Internet.
- #5 Astound Broadband.
- #6 Optimum. #7 SuddenLink.
Full fibre broadband offers the fastest download speeds available – up to and even beyond 1000Mbps in some cases.Which broadband technology is the fastest? ›
Fiber internet is the fastest internet you can get. It uses bundled fiber-optic strands wrapped in a reflective case to transmit large amounts of data with light signals. Most fiber internet plans give you 1,000 Mbps speeds, although some providers can get you speeds of up to 2,000 Mbps or even 6,000 Mbps.
Who has the highest broadband speed? ›
Fastest internet available in the world
The fastest internet widely available domestically in the world has a download speed of 2000Mbps (2Gbps), provided mainly in the USA by Google Fibre or Xfinity.