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12-month broadband deals offer you more flexibility than most broadband tariffs on the market, as they come with a shorter contract length.
Most providers will offer either 18-month or 24-month contracts with their broadband deals, which are often much more suited to homeowners or renters with a longer tenancy. But if you’re a student, you rent short-term or you like to regularly look out for the best broadband deals, a 12-month option may be better suited to you.
But since many come with a higher monthly price, are they worth it for you and your budget? Here’s all you need to know about 12-month broadband deals.
While they’re a lot less common than 18 or 24-month contracts, 12-month deals are certainly out there. So you’ll likely be able to find many types of broadband on a 12-month basis.
Not only are different types of broadband available (fibre, copper or mobile broadband), but you can opt for 12-month broadband packages that include home phone or TV as well.
You may be more likely to get 12-month broadband if you’re a student, too. Some providers offer specific contracts for people in full-time study, so they can cancel (or renew) their contract when their academic year ends. If this applies to you, try browsing student broadband offers.
If you’re considering a 12-month broadband contract, you’ll need to make sure it’s a good fit for you and your household first. Here are the main benefits and downsides that come with this contract length.
More flexibility: You can cancel your contract sooner if your situation changes (such as moving out)
Find better deals sooner: Shorter contracts mean you can compare broadband offers and find a better deal more often
Higher monthly prices: 12-month contracts tend to come with higher monthly prices than 18 or 24-month tariffs
More admin: You’ll need to remember to switch or re-contract your broadband more often if you want to avoid falling out of contract
Not all providers offer 12-month contracts on Uswitch. But some will let you choose this option when you’re signing up to their broadband service.
If you’re living somewhere on a short-term basis, such as renting on a yearly contract, a 12-month broadband deal can make life a lot easier. It’d be easier to align with the end of your tenancy. And it reduces the risk of having to pay an expensive exit fee if you have to move out before the contract ends.
Additionally, if you like keeping on top of your bills and making savings wherever you can, a 12-month contract will give you more opportunity to do that. You won’t be locked into the same contract for 18-24 months, which means you can more regularly find the right deal for you.
But this flexibility does often come at a price. Since you’ll be committing for a shorter time, many providers make the monthly prices of 12-month deals noticeably more expensive than their deals with longer contracts.
So you’ll likely have to be comfortable with paying a higher amount for the extra freedom this contract length gives you.
The shortest contract option is usually a 30-day or monthly rolling period. They’re also called ‘no contract’ because it normally takes 30 days to cancel or switch your contract, so this is the shortest period you can hold a broadband contract for.
As is the case with 12-month contracts, monthly prices for this contract length tend to be considerably higher than longer commitments. Make sure to factor this in if you’re looking for a flexible service.
18 months is one of the most common contract lengths for broadband. Many providers offer their broadband deals for an 18-month period as standard, including Virgin Media, Sky and Shell Energy Broadband.
While it’s a longer commitment than some other options, monthly prices for an 18-month term are usually a little lower as a result.
24 months is likely the longest contract length you’ll come across for broadband, and many providers offer this term as standard. They’re useful for people who are happy to stay with the same provider for a long period of time. And they involve less admin since you’re committing to a service for two years.
Since this is an even longer commitment, you may find that some 24-month contracts come with cheaper monthly prices than 18-month terms too. However, this won’t always be the case - BT is a 24-month provider, but its prices are often higher than average due to the premium service it offers.
You might find some 36-month contracts for a number of services, such as mobile phone contracts, but they are very rare for broadband.
If you have an option for a three-year broadband contract, you will have to accept that it will be a long time before you can switch to a new broadband deal. And if you’re with a provider that includes price rises in its T&Cs, your price could go up quite considerably over that time period.
You will fall out of contract once your 12-month contract ends. This often means your monthly bill will go up to a more expensive price, although some providers increase their prices more than others.
However, being out of contract also means that you are free to switch (or re-contract) to a better deal straight away. You won’t be charged any exit fees for doing so because your minimum term would have ended.
This is standard practice for most broadband contracts that last over 12 months. Which means that regardless of your contract length, if your term is coming to an end soon, make sure you compare broadband deals before you’re moved onto a more expensive price plan.
You can cancel your current contract at any time, but you’ll most likely have to pay exit fees if you want to do this before the end of your minimum term.
The amount you’ll have to pay is usually the total cost of the months you have left on your contract. For example, if you have three months to go, your charge for leaving will be noticeably lower than if you have nine months to go.
Some providers let you cancel your contract early if they increase your prices during your contract term. Which means you won’t have to pay an exit fee if you’re with one of those brands. However, since 12-month contracts are already a little less common than other contract types, you likely won’t find many 12-month providers that have this policy in place.
A good example of this is NOW Broadband. It offers 12-month deals and it’ll let you leave your contract early for free if it increases your prices during your minimum term.
Learn more about 2023’s mid-contract price increases with our guide: