Signing up to a new broadband deal can be quite the commitment, with contracts running for as long as two years. You don’t want to get locked into a bad deal, that’s why finding the right provider is so important.
If you’re not happy with your provider, you do have certain rights to cancel. But this can mean huge cancellation fees, so it's better to choose carefully from the start.
Whether you regret not including TV in your latest bundle or wish you’d chosen fibre optic broadband instead, here’s how to choose the best broadband provider for you.
Everyone uses broadband differently; some want only basic services, others the whole shebang.
What matters most is choosing the right broadband not just for your day-to-day needs, but also your circumstances. For example:
Whatever your broadband requirements, switching providers could give you more options than you realised.
In the UK, there are lots of broadband providers. For example:
This list is by no means exhaustive, and you may find another broadband provider that’s right for you.
Just make sure you decide what you want from your next broadband provider ahead of time - it’ll save you a lot of hassle when comparing deals and narrowing down your options.
Broadband deals aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
Keep in mind these things when choosing a new broadband deal:
For a basic internet connection, simply compare broadband in your area and go for the most cost-effective deal.
But ask yourself a few questions first: are you likely to move home before the contract is up? Do you need a faster connection? Are you in a rural area where standard ADSL broadband may be too slow to work efficiently?
Answering yes to any of these could make you regret taking out a broadband contract purely based on price.
While price is a good place to start, it’s not the be-all and end-all of choosing a broadband provider. Many of us go far beyond basic surfing and need speeds that’ll support movie nights, gaming sessions, and Netflix binging.
Using a broadband speed checker will let you know roughly what sort of download rate you’re currently getting. Then, you’ll be able to decide if regular broadband is enough, or if fibre would be better.
If you live in a rural area where it’s difficult to maintain a reliable hard-wired connection, you may need to consider satellite broadband for decent speeds.
Remember, contracts can seem long and lonely when you’re locked in with a bad connection, so make sure you get it right before signing up for anything.
Since May 2011, Ofcom has banned broadband providers from tying customers into contracts longer than 24 months. Still, two years is a significant length of time.
If you’re not sure what your circumstances will be like in a year or so, a two-year broadband contract might not be the best fit for you, as you definitely don’t want to be paying any cancellation fees.
While most contracts are 12 or 18 months, there are short-term and even no-contract options available that could better suit your needs.
Broadband contracts with no download limit are becoming increasingly common, but you may still find that cheaper deals limit the amount you can download.
If you choose an unlimited broadband deal, make sure you don’t go over the fair use limit - it could work out more expensive. Also, if you ever use your broadband to stream TV, your allowance will go down quicker.
The broadband available to you will be defined to some extent by where you live.
Remember to check your area before committing to any new broadband deal, otherwise you could end up paying for a contract that isn’t suitable for your needs.
Different broadband providers serve different areas. For example, you might not be able to get cable broadband services like Virgin Media if you’re in the countryside.
Other providers, like Plusnet, will be able to supply some areas of the country more affordably than others, so you might find better deals with different providers in different areas.
Given how easy it is for viruses to infect computers through visiting dodgy sites, opening email attachments and downloading files, internet security should be top priority.
Protect your computer and data against these types of attacks by choosing the right broadband provider. Fortunately, as with wireless routers, security suites are included with most broadband packages nowadays.
If you enjoy a lot of television, you might want to consider a bundle deal that includes both your broadband and TV from the same provider.
Bundle deals can work out to be good value for some, but make sure it really is the best option for you before basing your choice of provider on one of these offerings.
Do you need those extra channels? You might find a stand-alone broadband deal is better for you in the long run.