Whether your current broadband contract is coming to an end, you’re moving home, or you just simply want to improve your internet connection, choosing the right broadband provider for your needs is vital. And with so much choice out there, knowing what deal is best for you can be confusing.
Here at Simply Switch, we make that process easier for you. This guide will help you know what to look for depending on how you use the internet and what for, and then by using our price comparison tool you can compare the best broadband deals near you and switch within minutes.
Like most things in life, when it comes to broadband deals, you get what you pay for. So, while it’s important to keep costs down and not pay what you can’t afford, don’t go for the cheapest option just for the sake of it.
If you live in a large household with a lot of connected devices and users, or you like to watch movies on Netflix or download games on your PlayStation, you’ll soon find out that the cheapest deals won’t be enough. If you choose a cheap broadband deal with limited downloads, it could end up costing you more in the long run if you go over your monthly limit.
When choosing the right broadband deal, you need to think about who will be using it. The more people there are sharing the same connection, the slower the internet will be for everyone. When your household is using one broadband connection, all connected devices will be sharing the speed when using the internet at the same time. So, if you have broadband speeds of 35Mbps but there are five of you using your own devices, then you’ll get closer to 7Mbps each.
If you live alone, or just with one other person and you both use the internet for things like browsing emails, social media or online shopping, then you should be OK with a more basic and cheaper broadband package.
However, if you have a large family or share a flat with multiple housemates, you should consider getting a faster connection with unlimited usage. Faster broadband will allow you all to surf the internet and stream content at the same time without any interruptions or delays. And unlimited usage will let you all do as much you like online without having to worry about exceeding any limits.
Broadband packages come with a wide range of speeds, from cheaper, low-speed ADSL copper cable connections of around 11Mbps to superfast fibre optic broadband connections that have average download speeds of over 60Mbps.
Streaming services like Netflix advise you to have download speeds of at least 5Mbps to watch HD content. However, if there are multiple people in your household that like to stream TV shows and movies at the same time then it’s worth getting a faster connection. If you or your children like to download and play a lot of games on the PlayStation or Xbox, then getting a fast broadband connection is important to avoid lagging and ensure smooth gameplay.
When searching for a broadband package you also need to be aware of how much data you’re allowed to use each month. While most deals now offer unlimited usage, you can still find cheaper packages with a limit, for example 25GB. These could be useful if you only sparingly use the internet to browse emails or do a bit of online shopping every now and then. However, if you go for one of these cheap options but exceed your limit, you could easily end up spending more than if you’d have gone for the unlimited option.
If you stream content online, on either Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer or even just a few videos on YouTube, it’s always worth getting a broadband deal with unlimited data usage. This is because streaming videos takes up a large amount of data. With a limited usage package, you’ll soon go over your limit after just a couple of episodes of Friends.
Unless you’re with Virgin Media, your broadband connection will probably be delivered on the same cables as your landline. That’s why most broadband packages will include a home phone plan in the deal. And while not many of us use the home phone anymore in this age of smartphones, it’s still important to get the right deal to ensure you’re not getting ripped off.
If you still use the home phone quite a lot, then you should consider including anytime calls in your package. This will allow you to make any number of calls to UK numbers at any time of the week. A cheaper option would be to get inclusive evening and weekend calls, which allow you to make calls anytime on the weekend or in the evenings during the week. This is a good option if you work Monday to Friday and are therefore not at home to make calls during the week.
With most broadband providers, you can’t escape the fact that you’ll have to pay for a phone connection. If you never use your home phone, then to save money you should go for a pay as you go deal. This means you will only be charged for you home phone when you actually use it. If you don’t use it, then you won’t be charged for it.
Most broadband providers will now offer you bundle deals which include both your internet connection and TV. Bundle packages are a great option if you watch a lot of live TV, as you will most likely save money by paying for both services together rather than separately.
There’s a lot on offer out there, from Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk and Now TV. They all offer a variety of channels and different packages, so you should choose the one you want based on what kind of TV you want to watch, whether that’s movies, sports or soap operas.
Sky and Virgin Media’s TV packages come with the most extensive selection, with well over 200 channels on each of their basic packages. You can also add movies, sports and kids packages depending on what you like. You can also add on-demand streaming services to your TV, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
If you’re a sports fanatic, you should get either, or both of, the Sky Sports and BT Sport packages, which are also available to add to your Virgin Media or TalkTalk bundles. While Sky Sports have the most live Premier League football matches, Formula 1, golf and cricket, BT have all the Champions League and Europa League matches.
BT TV and TalkTalk TV are a good option if you’re worried about costs. They offer around 70 channels on their basic packages but also allow you to add extra channels if you wish.
If you’re not into sports, and you rarely watch live digital TV, you should consider getting a broadband only or broadband and phone package. You can still watch loads of TV and movies on-demand via streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. If this applies to you, you should prioritise getting a fast broadband connection with unlimited data usage.
Each broadband provider won’t be able to cover every part of the UK. This means that, unfortunately, some of the best broadband deals on the market might not be available in your area. BT have the widest range of cover, with around 90% of the country able to get a BT broadband connection. Some smaller providers will only cover a few specific areas, such as Relish who are only available in parts of central London and Swindon.
To find out what broadband deals you can get in your area, enter your postcode into our price comparison box and you will see a list of all the packages available in your neighbourhood.
With so much to consider, finding the right broadband provider can be a confusing task. Here at Simply Switch, we aim to make the process much easier for you. After reading this guide, you should have a better understanding of what you’re after, from superfast fibre optic broadband to a cheaper, simple package. You might want a bundle package that includes your home phone and TV, or maybe you just want a broadband only deal.
Finding out which broadband providers serve your area couldn’t be easier. Just enter your postcode into our price comparison tool and we will show you a list of all the deals available to you. Just choose the one that suits you, and we’ll make the switch happen.