Shopping Around for the Best Broadband Deal

Written by Karen Bryan

bt broadband routerSurvey results just released by BroadbandChoices.co.uk reveal that more than one third of UK residents have been with their current home broadband provider for over four years. The chances are that, if you stick with the same provider, you are not getting the lowest possible price for your broadband.

Some people may have been deterred from changing broadband supplier for fear of not being able to get online during the switchover period.  However, once you get a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) from your current broadband supplier, the supplier switch should go virtually unnoticed.

The survey highlights that although broadband is now much cheaper than it was four years ago,  UK consumers may not be feeling the full benefit of that price reduction, as rental charges for landlines have increased. Unless you have cable broadband, you need a landline in order to get connected to broadband. If you’re lucky enough to have Virgin Media cable in your area, you can subscribe to their fixed line broadband service without paying for a landline connection, saving you more than £100 a year. We’ve never lived in an area which had cable.

Be aware that the price quoted for broadband varies according to postcode. There’s likely to be more competition if you live in a city, where there is more demand for broadband within a smaller geographic area.

Some of the cheapest broadband deals may have a monthly data limit of only 10GB. If you’re online frequently, doing more than browsing and emailing, you will use a lot more data than 10GB. Many providers offer unlimited usage  for only a few pounds more per month.

You also need to check out the connection speed that broadband suppliers offer in your postcode. It’s really frustrating not being able to connect to sites and upload your photos quickly, or watch TV online, without constant stops and starts. Although I want to find a cheap broadband deal, I’d rather pay a bit more for a decent connection.

It can be cheaper to sign up for your home broadband online. I’ve seen offers for £25 worth of store vouchers for online sign up.

Watch out for short term offers, e.g. there may be a discount for the first three months, making the price sound very low.  I’ve noticed TV ads where the offer price is in an enormous font, while the standard price is in a tiny font which is virtually impossible to read. It’s better to use the cost per year to carry out your comparisons. Also check out for how long the contract ties you in.