How to Compare Broadband Deals
What You Need to Know
- Get to grips with jargon such as 'download limits' and 'connection speeds' before you begin shopping around for deals.
- Decide if you are happy to have bundled services, with your phone, TV and internet services provided together.
- Only compare using an Ofcom accredited site. Our recommendation is BroadbandChoices.
- Decide what’s important to you before you compare, including speed, download limits, brand and price.
- Look beyond the headline price and factor in possible additional costs such as connection fees and buying a router.
- Take customer service levels into account too when choosing an ISP.
- Once an introductory special deal runs out you will be on normal rates, so always be pared to switch provider to make sure you are not paying more than you have too every month.
Understand the Jargon
In order to really understand the broadband deals out there, you may need to brush up on your technical jargon.
Indeed, being bamboozled by specialist terms can cause you to pay over-the-odds for things you don’t need. Alternatively, you may end up missing out on what you’re really after.
So, take a little time and do your homework. Before you start looking to sign a contract with a provider, you should ensure you have a good knowledge of all the relevant terms.
For instance, you know that:
- ‘Bandwidth’ refers to the amount of data that can travel through an internet connection.
- “ISP” refers to the company providing the broadband service.
- The “speed” quoted refers to the amount of time it takes for data to reach your computer, or for you to send information over the internet.
Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be savvy enough to get searching for the perfect broadband deal for you.
Where to Compare
We recommend BroadbandChocies.co.uk, as their price comparison calculator is approved by Ofcom.
You can sort your results by a choice of:
- Contract Length
- Usage Limit
- One off costs
- First Year Cost
- Monthly Cost
So decide what is important to you and search according to your priorities.
There are currently only six sites that Ofcom has approved. Another one of them is Homephonechoices .co.uk.
Interestingly neither Moneysupermarket or uSwitch have this accreditation.
Ofcom state they give their Price Comparison Accreditation scheme logo based on their audit:
“Audit checks whether the information provided to consumers is accessible, accurate, transparent, comprehensive and up to date.”
You can see the full list of Ofcom accredited suppliers, here.
Broadband Only or Bundled Services
The cost of your broadband can often be cheaper if you are prepared to take more than one product from the same supplier.
For example, Virgin Media offer Super Fast Broadband where, if you get your TV services, such as channels and TV guide, and your phone services through them you will receive a discount on the price of all products.
So, decide if you are prepared to bundle and save.
Look Beyond the Headline Price
Price is likely to be one of the major factors influencing your choice of broadband provider, so it’s no surprise that most providers try to entice new customers with low up-front costs.
However, it’s wise not to be completely sold by the headline price. Instead you should take into account your likely level of usage.
For example, if you’re likely to be downloading movies and music on a regular basis, a package with a higher monthly cost but with no download limit is likely to work out better value in the long-run than a cheaper, but limited monthly package.
At the same time, you should also be on your guard for costly extras. Check to see if a broadband router and connection is included in the up-front price.
Likewise, see if a provider offers ‘free extras’ such as enhanced security, webspace or even laptop computers.
Check Local Connections
It’s also a good idea to do your homework and check if the speeds advertised by an internet service provider apply to your area.
Above all, before you commit yourself to anything, check whether or not you live in an area that benefits from fibre optic cables.
If this is not the case, then your broadband speed may be limited and certainly well short of the maximum advertised by prospective providers.
Make use of specialist online tools such as BroadbandChoices Speed Test tool.
Customer Support and Current Reviews
One other factor you should take into account when shopping around for a new broadband deal is the level of customer service on offer.
In theory, the more you pay, the better you should be looked after. However, this is usually not the case, so it pays to do your homework.
Consult consumer forums – for example those posted on the Which? website – and check to see which ISPs have won awards for their levels of customer service.
Notably, BroadbandChoices has yearly Customer Satisfaction Surveys. There are some surprising results; BT was the winner for customer service, whilst BE Broadband winning for broadband only services. These reviews are worth a read.
Again, there are dozens of broadband deals out there, so it’s best to take the time to find the package that’s ideally suited for you.
Sites like BroadbandChoices get offered exclusive deals, so it is worth checking out what’s on offer.
Current examples of specialist products include Plusnet’s Broadband Your Way Pro, which prioritises gaming-related traffic, and XLN Telecom’s package for home-based small businesses.
One of the most-popular type of broadband deal is the ‘bundle’ with the likes of Virgin, BT and Sky offering special prices for combined broadband, TV and fixed-line phone services.
Remember that once your deal ends you will be on the normal price, if you don’t shop around once your contract ends you could be over paying every month so be prepared to switch broadband providers to get the best deal.
- Make further savings with our guide to cheaper line rental.
- Use your broadband wisely and you could save money by shopping online.
- Worried about the security of your computer. Invest in anti-virus software.