Broadband-Only Buyers Guide
With the huge variety of broadband deals available in the UK it sometimes pays to keep it simple when looking for a supplier and choose a broadband-only deal. We know that sometimes all you want is broadband and nothing else, or you just can't find a suitable bundle so you are looking for broadband-only. We'll take a look at what's important when looking for just broadband and what some of the pitfalls will be.
What does broadband-only mean?
A broadband-only deal does pretty much what it says on the tin and will only provide you with a broadband service.
It's not a broadband and phone package, it's not going to include TV or anything else. Quite simply it's just broadband and nothing else.
Do I need a phone line to get broadband-only deals?
For most of the broadband-only deals available you will actually need a working phone line, and in most cases this means a working BT phone line.
These are mainly ADSL broadband deals and some BT Infinity based fibre optic deals. The exception to this rule is Virgin Media Fibre Optic Broadband which does not rely on BT's phone network and so doesn't require you to have a working phone line.
Is Fibre Optic an option?
Yes, very much so, you'll be wanting to look at Virgin Media Broadband and all the other fibre optic broadband suppliers.
You'll find however that these kind of deals aren't available in all parts of the country though, so it's important to use our broadband postcode checker to see if these are an option in your area.
Is broadband-only the cheapest way to get broadband?
Most people assume that just buying broadband is going to be their cheapest option, but in many cases it turns out not to be.
If cost is your biggest concern then you may find that if you are looking for the cheapest broadband then a bundle may well be the best way to go. Suppliers of bundles tend to pass the savings of grouping multiple products from a single rather than multiple source onto the customer meaning that their deals can be cheaper.
What are the advantages of broadband-only?
As we've seen that there are no cost savings in broadband-only products so why bother with them?
Well, the main benefit is that you can choose the best broadband deal for you without having to make any compromises. Just because you get your TV from a supplier doesn't mean that their broadband deals are going to be right for you, the same goes for phone suppliers. Freeing yourself from the compromises that a broadband bundle can force upon you leaves you to pick the very best broadband package for your individual needs.
What do I do to find broadband-only deals?
We can help!
The table below details all the broadband-only deals we list, please note that some deals optionally offer line rental, but all are available without it. If you're unsure what's available in your area, be sure to use our broadband postcode checker. We are Ofcom accredited so our results are accurate, up to date and transparent.
Is mobile broadband an option?
Mobile broadband can be an option if all you are interested in is broadband, and it does have the benefit of not requiring a phone line.
However mobile broadband is quite different from fixed broadband types, so we haven't taken it into account when writing this guide, we'd suggest that our mobile broadband section is the best place to start if you are thinking this is the type of broadband for you.
What do I need to think about when choosing a broadband-only deal?
You'll need to consider all the usual things:
- Speeds - make sure that the deal gives you the speeds you need, but take into account that speeds vary by area and that the fastest deals aren't available in all areas.
- Download allowance - the more you use your broadband connection the more download allowance you will need. Some deals say they provide "Unlimited download allowance" but some of these will have a fair use policy which makes them not truly unlimited, so always check the small print here.
- Contract length - contract lengths vary, the shortest minimum term is 1 month and some will lock you in for 2 years. The longer contract ones tend to be cheaper but are less flexible in case you want to move or switch suppliers.
- Cost - not much of an explanation required here, this is the monthly cost of the deal and any setup costs. Just be sure to check for any termination charges as well.
You'll also need to take into account any extra costs, such as phone line installation if you don't already have a phone line and the deal requires one, as well as line rental for your phone if required.
Will I get all the equipment I need?
With some deals yes, and with others no!
You'll need a router and microfilters for broadband through your phone line deals, fibre optic deals will require slightly different equipment. All providers should clearly state what equipment they will provide and what equipment they expect you to provide yourself. Always read the small print to make sure you'll get what you need.
I already have a broadband connection, how do I switch?
If you already have a broadband connection (and most people do) then switching is pretty simple.
Contact your current supplier and ask for your MAC code, you'll need this to give to your new supplier when switching, they will use this code to organise the switch behind the scenes for you.
We have a full guide to how to switch broadband suppliers which covers exactly how the process works and all the cases where things work slightly differently from the norm.
Are there specialist packages available?
If you need a specialist package such as broadband suitable for gaming, or broadband for home office use then a broadband-only deal could be perfect.
There are many specialist packages for just your kind of use and the broadband providers find that for specialist use a standalone broadband package is usually better than a package.
Will I be able to upgrade in the future?
Most broadband suppliers will allow you to upgrade in the future so long as your property is able to receive the upgraded service.
A supplier can't let you upgrade to a fibre optic deal if your area hasn't had fibre optic infrastructure installed for example. Upgrading will usually mean an increase in your monthly cost, so bear this in mind when considering an upgrade path.