Can you get broadband without a phone line?

Landline telephone

If you're anything like us, most of your landline calls these days come from salespeople, spammers and scammers.

Most real calls are now handled on our mobiles, and we only have a landline because we need it for broadband.

But do we need actually need a phone line, or can we get broadband without one?

How to get broadband without a phone line

In short, yes, you can get broadband without a phone line, but your choices are limited.

Most UK providers work on the BT-owned Openreach network, which carries the broadband signal into your home via the old copper telephone wires. This is true even with fibre, where the fibre cables only run as far as your nearest street cabinet. A working phone line is a must with any of these providers, which include the likes of BT, Sky, EE, Plusnet and many more.

To get broadband without a phone line, then, you need to choose a provider that doesn't use Openreach. The biggest of these is Virgin Media.

Virgin use their own cable infrastructure that's totally separate from the phone network. When you get it installed an engineer runs a cable from a connection point on the pavement, to a wall box they attach to the outside of your house. This also happens to be why Virgin can offer faster speeds, since the coaxial cables they use for this are a lot more efficient than copper wires.

You can still get a phone line with Virgin if you want one, and you can usually keep your number, too. But if you don't need it, you don't have to have it.

Virgin Media broadband is available to over half the UK. Use our postcode checker to see if you can get it where you are.

Other than Virgin, you've got two options.

One is to use a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) provider. These run the fibre cables right up to your house, bypassing the need to use the existing phone network. These services are a lot faster, providing speeds of up to 1Gb. However, they aren't widely available: the Government has pledged to invest £5 billion in extending this "full-fibre" network nationwide, but until then it's mostly accessible only to new build areas and apartment blocks.

Full-fibre is available from smaller names like Hyperoptic and Gigaclear, and big brands like Vodafone. A landline isn't included at all with these services, so if you need one you'll have to acquire it separately through a different provider. Full-fibre suppliers usually offer a VOIP calls package, which gives you a phone number and allows you to make landline-equivalent calls over the internet. Of course, if your internet goes down so does your phone service.

The other option to look at for broadband without a phone line is mobile broadband. Most of the major mobile networks offer broadband plans over their 4G and 5G networks specifically for home use. They often come with data limits and can be more expensive, so aren't for everyone. But they are worth looking at.

Got a phone line? You don't need a phone

It has to be said that there's no price benefit to choosing broadband without a phone line. The charge for line rental is now built into the total price of your broadband package, and it doesn't work out any more expensive to take this route than going landline-free.

So if Virgin or FTTH providers are off limits to you, or you'd rather pick from a larger number of suppliers, feel free to shop around for the best broadband deals.

You will need a phone line for these other providers, and if you're switching away from Virgin and don't already have an active line installed you'll need to get that sorted first. Suppliers will take care of it for you when you sign up, and you can expect to pay extra for it. This can be anything up to around £60, depending on the provider and what deal you're signing up to.

But remember that just because you need a phone line, it doesn't mean you have to use it.

If it's a brand new line and no-one's got your number, just don't plug in a phone and you can forget it's there. If people do have your number, leave a phone connected for incoming calls only.

Keep this in mind when you sign up to a broadband plan. Most providers offer an optional calls package, giving you a range of anytime, evening, weekend or international calls for a flat rate. Make sure you need this before you sign up to it; it's an easy way to add an extra £5 or £10 a month to your bill without any real benefit. If you normally have leftover minutes on your mobile plan you'll probably be better off sticking with that instead.

Ready to shop for broadband with or without a phone line? Check out the latest deals now.

Posted by Andy Betts on 2020-03-13 17:32 in Features

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