A Guide To The Best Broadband Deals Available

When it comes to choosing the best broadband deals, UK households have more options than ever before. So many, in fact, that it can be hard to find the right balance between performance and value for money. Fortunately, the team at Broadband Plans are here to guide you. We can help you to choose the best broadband deals from the most reliable Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Last update: October 2021

Nonetheless, we understand that you need to make an informed decision based on all the available data. While we’d love to discuss the best broadband deals for your unique needs over the phone, we’re also more than happy to provide some information here that will help to guide and inform your decision…

What is the best broadband deal in the UK?

It’s the question that we’re asked the most, all day every day. What is the best broadband deal in the UK? Unfortunately, it’s not an easy question to answer, because there are so many variables at play. It depends on your location, and the best quality broadband connection that’s available in your area. It depends on your household’s needs, what you use the internet for, and the minimum speeds that will facilitate your ability to work, relax and play at home without limitations and frustrations.
The best broadband deal for you may not necessarily be the best broadband deal for your friends or neighbours. Every household needs to find the right balance between affordability and performance.

What are the best broadband deals in my area?

Most of the UK now has access to good quality fibre-broadband connection. However, the best broadband deals in your area will nonetheless be dictated by the type of connection you can get in your area.
While there are lots of ISPs like BT, Sky, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk that offer lots of different kinds of broadband connection, there are others that specialise in a particular type of connection. For instance, companies like Hyperoptic and People’s Fibre specialise in delivering fibre broadband connections directly to your home without the need to share space in an exchange cabinet. On the other hand, mobile companies like EE, O2, and Vodafone provide mobile broadband connections that can be invaluable to those in areas with no cabling infrastructure.

What is the best kind of broadband in my area?

The best way to see what kind of broadband is available in your area is to consult the telecoms watchdog Ofcom’s website. Input your postcode and you’ll be able to see what kind of connection is available in your area.
Here, we’ll look at the different kinds of broadband in your area, and what kind of deals you can expect.

ADSL broadband

ADSL broadband is the most common, and often the cheapest form of broadband connection. An ADSL connection is available to most households, since it relies on the same network of copper wiring used by your phone line.
Because ADSL uses a phone line, you’ll need to pay for line rental from Openreach as part of your tariff. Although download speeds are limited to around 10 Mbps (up to 24 Mbps if you live close enough to the exchange to get ADSL2), this is perfectly adequate for many households. This is fast enough for web browsing, streaming video in HD, and social media use.
ADSL broadband is one of the cheapest ways to get connected. Shell Energy’s just £18.99 per month with no setup costs and unlimited downloads.

Fibre broadband

Fibre broadband can deliver the fastest and most reliable broadband connection, capable of delivering superfast and ultrafast speeds of up to 1Gbps. And because there are lots of different kinds of fibre broadband, it’s easy to find the right combination of performance and value-for-money for your home.
There are two kinds of fibre broadband connection:

  • Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC)- This is where a connection is shared with others in your area using the same exchange. It still requires phone line rental, and is capable of download speeds of up to 200Mbps. You may find that your connection’s performance fluctuates throughout the day as other households use the same connection.
  • Fibre To The Premises (FTTP)- This is where a direct fibre connection is made within your home. This is the fastest and most reliable form of fibre connection, capable of download speeds up to 1Gbps. However, it is also the costliest option, and only available to around 14% of UK households.

To give you an idea of costs, Virgin Media offers a superfast fibre broadband deal starting at £24.99 per month, while FTTP specialist Hyperoptic offers 150Mb fibre deals starting at £29 per month.

4G and 5G home broadband: What are they?

There are some areas across the country that do not have the cabling infrastructure for fibre broadband, and struggle to get a reliable ADSL connection because of their distance from the nearest exchange.
Mobile broadband can be an effective way to overcome these limitations.
Some plans use wireless dongles that plug into the device you want to access the internet with, while others have a mobile smart hub which works in the same way as a conventional router. There’s no need for an engineer or installation. Just plug in and you’re ready to go. However, this type of connection is reliant on the network coverage in your area, and may impose download limits.
Most of the mobile broadband deals at the moment use 4G internet, which is capable of download speeds of up to 40Mbps. However, 5G mobile broadband is slowly but surely making its way across the country. This could enable households to achieve download speeds of up to 1Gbps without a fibre connection.
Mobile networks like 3 offer 4G home broadband deals starting at £17 per month.

Satellite broadband

Satellite broadband can be a viable option in remote or rural areas where there is neither a fibre cabling infrastructure nor adequate mobile network coverage. However, installation costs can go as high as £600 and there are no longer government subsidies to offset the cost. Speeds are comparable with ADSL, and usually max out at 30Mbps. Monthly costs tend to be quite high, with the most expensive high-performance deals costing over £80 per month. However, deals can go as low as £20 per month. You’ll need a satellite specialist like BigBlu or AirWave to install a satellite broadband connection.

Are broadband-only deals cheaper?

A broadband-only deal is one that does not require line rental, and isn’t bundled in with other services like landline phone or TV packages. Broadband-only deals can be more cost-effective if you’re unlikely to ever use your landline phone. However, keep in mind that even most fibre broadband deals still require line rental. Even if you don’t intend to use your landline phone.

Are broadband, TV and phone bundles cheaper?

Many larger providers like BT, Sky and Virgin media combine broadband deals with phone and TV packages. Some energy suppliers like SSE and Utility Warehouse will even combine these with gas and electricity tariffs. These often come with discounts that can be very attractive.
However, it’s important to be pragmatic when approaching these deals. If you exclusively use your mobile phone to make calls, and get your entertainment from streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, these bundle deals may be a false economy.
The team at Broadband Plans can help you to explore all of your options and find the best match for your needs, lifestyle and budget.

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Who is the best broadband provider in the UK?

In this interconnected age, there are lots of ISPs to choose from offering broadband deals that cater to a wide range of needs. These range from huge players like Virgin Media and Sky to mobile giants like Talktalk, Vodafone and EE and smaller suppliers like Ask4 (which specialises in deals for students and multi-tenant households).
But which is the best broadband provider in the UK?
Of course “best” is highly subjective, which is why the Broadband Plans team will search the market high and low to find the best broadband deals for your household’s needs from suppliers of all shapes and sizes.
So while we may not be able to list the best suppliers here, we can certainly give you an objective account of the biggest…

Who are the biggest broadband providers in the UK?

If we use hard data like subscription numbers, we can identify the biggest broadband providers in the UK. In the table below, you can see the country’s top 10 broadband providers by number of subscribers.


ISP Name Number of Subscribers
BT (Including PlusNet & EE) 9,300,000
Sky Broadband 6,200,000
Virgin Media 5,420,100
TalkTalk 4,220,000
Vodafone UK 876,000
Glide 400,000
Post Office 400,000
Zen Internet 150,000
Ask4 130,000
KCOM 126,900



With this in mind, let’s take a look at the top 5 ISP’s broadband deals and performance according to Ofcom.

BT broadband deals and performance

Telecoms giant BT is, not unexpectedly, the largest ISP in the country. You can see their broadband deals compared in the table below.


Broadband Deals BT Broadband BT Fibre Essential BT Fibre 1 BT Fibre 2 BT Ultrafast Fibre 100 BT Ultrafast Fibre 300 BT Full Fibre 900
Price per month (inc line rental) £25 £25 £28 £30 £40 £50 £60
Upfront cost Free Free Free Free Free Free Free
Average speed 10Mbits/sec 36Mbits/sec 50Mbits/sec 67Mbits/sec 145Mbits/sec 300Mbits/sec 900Mbits/sec
Usage allowance Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Contract length 24 months 24 months 24 months 24 months 24 months 24 months 24 months



Ofcom performance against industry averages is as follows:

Industry average BT broadband
Customer satisfaction 85% 86%
Net Promoter Score 12 12
Complaints to Ofcom per 1000 subscribers 52 50


Plusnet broadband deals and performance

Plusnet was acquired by BT in 2007. However, it is run as an autonomous company. As such, their deals and offerings are different to BTs. You can see their full range of broadband deals in the table below:


Broadband Deals Unlimited Broadband Unlimited Fibre Unlimited Fibre Extra Unlimited Broadband (18mths) Unlimited Fibre (18mths) Unlimited Fibre Extra (18mths)
Price per month (inc line rental) £24 £30 £37 £19 £23 £25
Upfront cost £5 £10 £10 Free Free Free
Average speed 10Mbits/sec 36Mbits/sec 66Mbits/sec 10Mbits/sec 36Mbits/sec 66Mbits/sec
Usage allowance Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Contract length 12 months 12 months 12 months 18 months 18 months 18 months



Ofcom performance against industry averages is as follows.

EE broadband deals and performance

The mobile giant formerly known as Orange is also part of the BT group. However, it also has its own range of broadband deals. You can see the details below:


Broadband deals Standard Broadband Fibre Broadband Fibre Plus Broadband Fibre Max 100 Fibre Max 300 Full Fibre Max 900
Price per month (inc line rental) £22.50 £27 £30 £39 £47 £60
Upfront cost £10 Free Free £25 £25 £25
Average speed 10Mbits/sec 36Mbits/sec 67Mbits/sec 145Mbits/sec 300Mbits/sec 900Mbits/sec
Usage allowance Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Contract length 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months



Ofcom performance against industry averages is as follows:

Industry average EE
Customer satisfaction 85% 88%
Net Promoter Score 12 17
Complaints to Ofcom per 1,000 subscribers 52 22


Sky broadband deals and performance


Broadband deals Sky Broadband Essential Sky Broadband Superfast Sky Broadband Ultrafast
Price per month (inc line rental) £25 £26 £33
Upfront cost £19.95 £19.95 £19.95
Average speed 11Mbits/sec 59Mbits/sec 145Mbits/sec
Usage allowance Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Contract length 18 months 18 months 18 months



Ofcom performance against industry averages is as follows:

Industry average Sky Broadband
Customer satisfaction 85% 86%
Net Promoter Score 12 9
Complaints to Ofcom per 1,000 subscribers 52 21


Virgin Media broadband deals and performance


Broadband deals M50 M100 M200 M350 M500 Gig1
Price per month (inc line rental) £28 £34 £40 £46 £62 £62
Upfront cost £35 £35 £35 £35 £35 £35
Average speed 54Mbits/sec 108Mbits/sec 213Mbits/sec 362Mbits/sec 516Mbits/sec 1,140Mbits/sec
Usage allowance Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Contract length 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months 18 months



Ofcom performance against industry averages is as follows:

Industry average Virgin Media
Customer satisfaction 85% 85%
Net Promoter Score 12 19
Complaints to Ofcom per 1,000 subscribers 52 60


Who is the most reliable broadband provider in the UK?

We’re all looking for an affordable broadband deal. But low prices aren’t the only thing we should look for in a broadband provider. We also need to know that we’ll get the level of customer service that we deserve as well as a reliable connection that won’t let us down when we need it most.
So, who is the most reliable broadband provider in the UK?
Comparing Ofcom data for the biggest broadband providers in the country, we can form a clear picture of which ISP is the most reliable. There are a number of factors which need to be borne in mind, including:

  • Overall customer satisfaction
  • Connection speed (average vs advertised)
  • Number of disconnections per day
  • Number of customer complaints

Based on these, the 3 highest-performing ISPs are (in descending order)

  • EE
  • BT
  • Virgin Media

Virgin Media uses its own network to provide fast and reliable broadband. However, it doesn’t score as highly as the top two in terms of customer service. While BT offers great connection speeds and reliable connections, it also lags behind EE in terms of customer satisfaction.

What is the cheapest broadband deal in the UK?

The cheapest deal for you will depend on the type of connection available in your area. There are also extras like phone, TV and utility deals which may also add value for money if they are attuned to your specific needs.
Here we’ll look at the cheapest deals for each available type of connection. Keep in mind, however, that many prices will be promotional, and as such are likely to rise after your contract has ended. We have tried to include post-promotional costs where possible.

Cheapest ADSL deals


ISP Name Monthly subscription charge
Now Broadband £18
Shell Energy £18.99 (£21.99 after promotion ends)
Plusnet £18.99
John Lewis Broadband £19.00
EE £21.50 (£27.99 after promotion ends)
TalkTalk £24.95


Cheapest superfast fibre deals


ISP Name Monthly subscription charge
Shell Energy £21.99 (£30.99 after promotion ends)
TalkTalk £22.00 (£29.95 after promotion ends)
Vodafone £22.00
Hyperoptic £22.00
Onestream £22.50 (£27.99 after promotion ends)
XLN Telecom £22.74 (£47.94 after promotion ends)
NOW £22.99 (£40.00 after promotion ends)
Plusnet £22.99 (£36.52 after promotion ends)
SSE £23.00
Origin Broadband £23.99


Cheapest ultrafast fibre deals


ISP Name Monthly subscription charge
Vodafone £26.00
Virgin Media £28.00 (£44.00 after promotion ends)
Hyperoptic £29.00 (£35.00 after promotion ends)
TalkTalk £29.95 (£39.95 after promotion ends)
Giganet £35.00
TalkTalk Business £35.94 (£41.94 after promotion ends)
Pulse8 £36.00
Zen Internet £38.99
EE £39.00 (£44.00 after promotion ends)
BT £39.99 (£47.99 after promotion ends)


Which broadband provider has the best reviews?

When looking at different broadband providers’ websites, it’s easy to be bamboozled by the bold claims about lightning-fast download speeds and peerless customer service. However, it’s important to take all of these with a grain of salt.
The claims made in the slick marketing materials provided by suppliers can be a world away from the lived experiences of real customers. Which is why it’s important to know where to look to get quantitative and qualitative data that tells you how customers really feel about their broadband providers.

How to compare broadband provider reviews

Ofcom has lots of data comparing customer service for various ISPs. However, this data is purely quantitative. Statistics can be useful, but they are only one part of the bigger picture. Which is why we also recommend reading customer reviews for different providers on platforms like Google, Reviews.io and Trustpilot. The latter is a very useful resource as it combines useful customer scores to give you an overview of customer sentiment, as well as more qualitative data in the form of customer reviews.
To give you an overview, we have provided the Trustpilot scores (out of 5) for the 10 biggest broadband providers in the UK in the table below:


ISP Name Trustpilot Score
BT (Including PlusNet & EE) 1.4 BT / 1.4 Plusnet / 2.3 EE
Sky Broadband 1.2
Virgin Media 1.2
TalkTalk 2.5
Vodafone UK 2.1
Glide No reviews
Post Office 1.5
Zen Internet 4.1
Ask4 4.2
KCOM 2.7



As we can see, some of the top ISPs have less than stellar Trustpilot scores. But keep in mind that these scores are designed to provide an overview of all of a provider’s services. These will often include more than broadband. Fortunately, you can search through reviews for keywords like “broadband” to see how a provider delivers in this field.

Girl using laptop

How do I choose the best broadband deal?

The broadband market is bigger than ever, with suppliers of all shapes and sizes competing for your attention, all promising the best deals. But how do you know which is the best broadband plan for your household?
Of course, the Broadband Plans team are right behind you, ready to advise you on the best broadband deal in your area. Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to think about…

How to compare broadband deals

In one respect, your broadband deals are just like your energy tariff. You need to keep switching regularly to ensure that you’re getting the best broadband deal for your money. As soon as your contract ends, your costs are likely to rise. So it’s important to start looking into the best broadband deals before your contract expires. Your supplier will provide you with an end of contract notification when your contract is about to expire. This means that you can think about switching without worrying about early exit fees.
Here are some things that you should consider when deciding on the best broadband deals for you…

Cost

It goes without saying that monthly cost is an important consideration. The cost of your broadband is a recurring monthly expense that you’ll need to factor into your budget.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should choose your broadband deal solely on the basis of cost. Performance still matters, especially if you’re working from home. A slow connection may negatively impact your productivity, which in turn may impact your profitability.

Contract length / flexibility

So, you’ve seen a broadband deal at a great rate. Before you click the “Sign Up” button, make sure you understand the length of your commitment. Many high-performance broadband deals, for instance, will require a commitment of 18-24 months. If you see a better deal within this time, you can still switch suppliers. But you will likely have to pay an early exit fee. This can range from around £45 to over £80.

Speed

Broadband (especially full fibre broadband) is capable of some very impressive speeds of up to 1gbps. But that doesn’t mean that everyone will benefit from such a lightning fast connection. Indeed, broadband of this speed will be surplus to most household requirements.
If you only use the internet for browsing, shopping, social media, etc. you can get away with having a download speed of around 10 Mbps. If, however, you want to stream or live stream in 4H UHD, play a lot of online games or rely on video conferencing for work, you may benefit from a superfast connection. A connection between 35 Mbps and 300 Mbps is referred to as superfast. A connection between 300 Mbps and 1 Gbps is classed as ultrafast. This is the best choice for households where several people are online at the same time engaged in high-bandwidth activities like streaming in 4K, uploading video or video chatting.

Setup costs

Some broadband deals (unless they require an ADSL connection) will require a setup cost. This will usually be between £10 and £30 and will be added to your first bill. However, you can typically expect broadband deals without setup costs to require a longer commitment. Remember, nothing’s free!

Download / upload limits

Some broadband deals (typically mobile broadband deals) will come with restrictions on how much you can download or upload within a particular billing period. These can range from 2 or 3 GB per month to over 10 times that. But keep in mind that while 2GB sounds like a lot, it can quickly dry up. Listening to an hour of music on Spotify, for instance, uses around 80Mb.

Extras

Some ISPs will add on extra incentives to encourage you to sign up. These may include things like vouchers, giftcards or cashback. These can be an attractive sweetener added to an already appealing broadband package. However, deals with these extras will usually require a longer commitment on your part with higher early exit fees. Again, nothing is free!

How do I choose a broadband plan?

Keep the above in mind when choosing a broadband plan. But rather than spending hours searching through the offerings of different ISPs, get in touch with the Broadband Plans team today.
We can help you find the best value deal for your money, and we’ll even manage your switch from end-to-end. So you can enjoy better broadband quickly and 100% hassle-free. Want to know more?
Give us a call today on 0330 054 0020.

Call us to switch your broadband provider for free!

0330 054 0020

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FAQ

Who is the best broadband supplier in the UK?

That’s a tricky question to answer as the best broadband supplier for you is a very personal choice. That said, the top 5 most popular providers (at least in terms of subscriber numbers) are:

  • BT (9,300,000 subscribers)
  • Sky Broadband (6,200,000 subscribers)
  • Virgin Media (5,420,100 subscribers)
  • TalkTalk (4,220,000 subscribers)
  • Vodafone UK (876,000 subscribers)

Which broadband supplier has the best customer score?

Looking at different ISPs’ Trustpilot scores, the providers with the highest customer ratings are Ask4 (4.2), Zen Internet (4.1), and Kcon (2.7).

Is 10Mbps broadband fast enough?

If you can only get an ADSL connection in your area, your speeds may be capped at around 10 Mbps. However, this should be more than sufficient for most activities such as browsing, shopping, social media use and even streaming in HD.

Is it cheaper to bundle my broadband with other utilities?

There are many ISPs that bundle their broadband deals with other utilities like landline phone call and digital TV packages. Some will even add in other utilities like gas and electricity. However, it’s only cheaper to bundle these utilities if you’re certain that you’ll use them all. Otherwise, they could represent a false economy.

What’s the difference between broadband speed and bandwidth?

Your bandwidth determines how much data can be uploaded or downloaded through your connection. Your speed is the rate at which that data can be downloaded. Both speed and bandwidth are important factors in ascertaining the performance of your connection.

Updated on 12 Jul, 2021

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Chérie

Junior Copywriting Specialist in Broadband