With the cost of living climbing and budgets being squeezed to their limits, we’re investigating ways consumers can save on their broadband and pay less for their connection.
Desperate to reduce your monthly outgoings? With inflation skyrocketing in recent months, you might be looking for ways you can cut the cost of your monthly bill. And while there are plenty of ways you can make cutbacks, we’re turning our attention to broadband.
With price hikes underway, it’s important you explore all your options when it comes to broadband. This could mean switching providers, downsizing your package or haggling your way to a better deal.
What’s in this Guide:
- Ways to Save on your Broadband
- Full Fibre – What is it and do you need it?
- Broadband Deals for Low-Income Families
Ways to Save on your Broadband
1. Never pay more than you have to
As it stands, the higher the broadband speed, the more you will pay! The same goes for broadband bundles, if you opt for high-end package deals you can expect to be paying premium prices. If this sounds like you, have you considered whether or not you’re actually using the additional services you’re paying for?
Broadband providers have now waived their early exit fees, meaning customers can downgrade to cheaper packages mind-contract at no extra cost. This is great news if you’re looking to save some extra cash each month on your package.
However, with a cheaper deal often comes slower speeds. Make sure if you’re looking for a cheaper package you’re opting for the same speed and perhaps cutting back on other extras.
Likewise, if you find your current broadband speed is too slow, you may come across a faster broadband deal at the same rate or cheaper making it worthwhile to upgrade with your provider. But if you’d prefer to wait until you can switch, broadband prices change all the time to entice new customers so it’s always worth shopping around.
As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get, otherwise known as the art of haggling. And while haggling with a provider isn’t a definite way to secure a better deal on your broadband, it’s sure worth a try.
Some providers are known for being more lenient when it comes to haggling, while others – not so much. But with providers now being pressured to offer both new & existing customers the same rates, it’s always worth bartering with your provider if you’re a long-term customer.
If you’re struggling to keep up with your payments now price hikes have set in, or feel like you’re not getting value for money from your provider, why not attempt to contact your provider and negotiate a new rate? Even if the outcome isn’t as expected, it’s worth informing the network you have an issue with their service.
3. Choose the right contract length
Contract lengths for broadband typically range from monthly rolling to 1, 2 or 3-year commitments. And depending on where you live, will determine the length of the contract you choose.
If you’re renting a property or a student at university, monthly rolling or short contracts can seem tempting as you might not be sure how long you plan to stay at the address you are in. However, shorter contracts can actually be more expensive compared to long-term contracts.
But on the contrary, if you choose a longer contract and for some reason have to move home during your contract, you may be stung with a termination fee if the network cannot be covered from your new home.
If you don’t plan on leaving your home anytime soon, the contract length isn’t something you need to worry about but always keep this in mind when choosing your next broadband deal as monthly prices can vary based on how long your agreement is.
4. Look out for incentives
You may notice more and more broadband providers offering incentives to entice new customers! These are becoming increasingly more common but shouldn’t always be something you base your decision on. From vouchers to rewards cards and even tech gifts like speakers, tablets and headphones, network providers are clever and know exactly what will sweeten their deals.
However, remember that you won’t automatically receive these gifts & incentives immediately after signing up. You will usually have to apply for them and this can have a time limit. Once your connection is set up, your provider usually sends you an email where you are able to apply but in some cases, customers are left to find these forms by themselves.
So, if you do go for a deal where there is an incentive offer, be sure to make a note of what’s necessary to claim it and set a reminder so you don’t forget to do so!
5. Reconsider your Bundle
If you currently have a Pay TV service and have had the same deal for several years, it might be time to consider whether it’s worth the money or if you can get a better deal elsewhere.
In recent years, Pay TV has changed drastically with consumers now able to get their Sky TV favourites with their Virgin Media or Talk Talk plans for example. And with streaming services and monthly changeable deals becoming more common, many of us do not watch our Pay TV channels as much as we used to.
If you’ve been in the same contract for a while, it’s worth checking whether or not you still need your service and whether you can get a better deal with a different provider.
Research carried out by Which? Found that long-standing TV and Broadband customers on average pay over £100 a month more for their contract compared with new customers!
Broadband on its own costs on average £19 less per month than TV & Broadband deals so it’s always worth exploring your options. And if you do wish to stay in a Pay TV contract, switching providers can also prove to save you money as new customers will typically pay less than £40 per month as opposed to long-standing customers who can pay upwards of £60.
6. Beware of Price Hikes
When taking out a new broadband contract, make sure you double-check the terms and conditions for any hidden price increases. In recent years, providers have started including annual price hikes into their contracts that usually take effect around springtime.
These annual increases are based on the CPI rate of inflation released in January with an extra few percent added on top. This means you could end up paying up to 10% extra on your broadband contract than the price you originally agreed to in just one year, plus even more if you have a 24-month contract!
And, while you’re usually given the right to cancel your contract without an exit fee if your provider announces a price rise if they’re mentioned in the T&Cs, this escape route no longer applies. If this happens, your only options are to accept the higher price or pay a hefty fee to cancel if you’re within your minimum contract period.
Of course, this crafty money-making tactic isn’t true of all providers, but it is becoming more common. To make sure you don’t fall victim to this, make sure you double-check the terms and conditions before taking out a contract or choosing a provider that promises not to increase your annual rate.
7. Switch providers
One of the easiest ways to save on your broadband is to switch providers. Once you reach the end of your contract, compare prices from different companies and see if you find a cheaper quote somewhere else.
Before making the switch, it’s always worth ringing your current provider to see if they will match the price or lower your current rate. Just remember to check introductory offers with other broadband companies before you make your final decision as you may be eligible for up to 90% off if you’re a new customer.
8. Watch out for limited broadband deals
When taking out a new broadband contract, make sure your package is ‘unlimited’ to avoid any unexpected charges. Although limited broadband deals are rare these days, they do still exist. Limited packages cap you at a certain amount, limiting your internet use and adding extra fees if you go over your allowance. The majority of providers have scrapped this type of contract but it is still worth double-checking before you tie yourself into a limited contract.
9. Refer a Friend
If you don’t want to switch broadband providers but are looking for a few ways to make some money back on your contract, why not recruit some friends and family? Loads of broadband companies offer friend referral schemes that reward you and a friend with things like gift cards and discounts on your tariffs.
Here are a few that we’ve found, check if your provider is on the list and make yourself some money:
- If you refer a friend or family member to Community Fibre, you’ll both get a £100 Amazon voucher as a reward.
- Refer a Friend to BT Broadband and you’ll both get a £50 gift card for Amazon.co.uk.
- For every person you refer to Plusnet, you’ll receive up to £1.25 off your monthly payments.
- Introduce a friend to Sky and you’ll both get a £75 prepaid Mastercard when they join Sky TV with broadband.
- If you have a broadband contract with Virgin Media, refer a friend and you’ll both pocket up to £50 cash.
- Receive an Amazon Gift Card worth up to £25 when you refer someone to Vodafone Home Broadband.
Refer a friend to Hyperoptic Broadband and you’ll both qualify for a £25 bill credit.
10. Get Cashback
There are loads of cashback sites out there that will reward you with some money back when you sign up for a new broadband deal. Cashback rewards can be redeemed on offers from various providers such as BT, EE, Plusnet and Virgin Media with amounts spanning all the way up to £165!
Although cashback offers are great incentives, they’re not always guaranteed, so don’t take a contract out just because you think you’ll get some money back. You need to make sure your new broadband is a great price with or without the extra rewards.
11. Check your Landline
For many of us, landlines are a thing of the past- but if you’ve had the same broadband package for a few years, have you checked if it’s still racking up costs on your monthly bill?
If your broadband contract includes landline and a call package but you rarely use the home phone, you may be paying more than you need to. Some landline deals include extras that you may have forgotten about such as evening and weekend call packages and international calls. You might even be charged an extra few quid a month for add-ons like 1571 voicemail.
If you haven’t looked over your broadband and call contract in a while, double-check what you’re paying for. You may find you’re able to reduce your monthly total by ditching any unnecessary landline charges.
Full Fibre – What is it and do you need it?
Fibre to the Premises, also referred to as FTTP or FTTH (fibre to the home), in simplified terms, is where fibre optic cables are laid directly from the broadband exchange into your home and can offer speeds of up to 1000Mbps (megabits per second). Also known as full-fibre, this is on average around 30 times faster than standard fibre.
FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) is what 96% of households across the UK are currently using and involves running fibre cables from the exchange to a box on the street using copper wires which then connect your home to the box offering significantly lower speeds of up to 80Mbps.
So, you might be wondering, how do I get ultrafast, full-fibre broadband? Well, unfortunately, these speeds are currently only offered to 33% of households in the UK with plans to move to 86% by December 2026.
However, keep in mind that just because you can get full fibre broadband, doesn’t mean that it’s worthwhile. Remember, with much higher speeds, comes a higher cost. If your standard fibre works well for browsing and streaming, it’s probably not worth the upgrade. Although if you’re a large family of gamers or there are multiple people using the broadband at the same time, faster speeds may be worthwhile. So before you decide to upgrade, make sure it’s worth the extra cost.
FTTP in London with Community Fibre
Using the most advanced technology available, Community Fibre is one of the few networks offering Full Fibre Broadband with speeds of up to 3,000mps! At the moment, this is only available to London residents but aims to reach all UK homes by 2026.
Without having to rely on street cabinets, fibre optic cables can run straight to your home offering up to 57x faster speeds than average broadband. And for London residents, consumers can expect some fantastic deals from Community Fibre – with packages starting at just £17.99 per month*.
Broadband Deals for Low-Income Families
These days, broadband is a necessity for most households, yet millions around the UK still struggle to pay their monthly broadband bills. If you’re one of the many that are finding it hard to keep up or you’re in a low-income household, check to see if you’re eligible for a social tariff.
Social tariffs allow broadband discounts for customers that receive means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit and are available from popular providers such as BT, Hyperoptic, Sky and Virgin Media.
Providers like NOW, Country Connect and KCOM also offer social tariffs while TalkTalk works with the Department for Work and Pensions to provide six months of free fibre broadband to selected jobseekers. If you’re on Universal Credit ask your work coach at the Jobcentre if you’re eligible.
According to Ofcom, 4.2 million households around the UK are eligible for social tariffs, yet only 55,000 have signed up. This means many of you may be missing out on low-cost broadband offers that’ll make getting online much easier and cost-effective.
Check if you’re eligible online, show your new provider evidence and enjoy fast broadband speeds at cheaper prices!
Will cheap broadband be fast enough?
Will cheap broadband be fast enough?
If you use the internet to work, stream or browse then a cheap deal with an average of 11Mb is more than enough. Streaming platforms like Netflix recommend 5Mb to stream in HD while networks like Microsoft Teams require just 1.5Mb for HD video quality. If you have more than four internet users in your household or need the internet for competitive gaming or 4K video streaming then you should consider a higher speed.
Can broadband providers offer better deals to new customers?
Broadband providers usually offer exclusive deals and incentives to new customers to encourage them to sign up. Existing customers will not be offered these deals unless their contract is coming to an end, in which case they are offered the same deals as new customer.
How can I save money on the internet?
Reducing your internet speed, purchasing your own modem or router, negotiating with your provider or seeing what government subsidies are available to you are all great ways to bag cheaper internet. You could also look at bundling your services together or opting for a low speed broadband deal if you’re really looking to cut back. It’s also worth noting that if your contract is coming to an end, switching to a new provider is a great way to make the most of a new customer saving.
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