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If you’re ready to switch broadband providers and get started with a new broadband package, one thing that might put you off is the thought of paying set-up fees or installation costs. If the monthly rate is lower but you have to pay out a significant amount upfront, is it really worth it to switch now?
The short answer is probably still yes. Here are a few providers and services to consider when you’re looking to get broadband with no upfront costs.
You can get all of the following types of broadband with free installation and without any upfront costs:
Fibre-optic - superfast part-fibre and ultrafast full fibre broadband
Cable broadband from Virgin Media
There’s nothing about the type of broadband that requires your new provider to charge you a setup fee or an installation charge. However, some services more typically charge for installation.
For instance, if new home equipment is needed or a new line needs to be installed, some providers – particularly the larger, more established ones – will charge an installation fee.
On the other hand, newer and smaller broadband providers who are looking to establish themselves in the market are more likely to offer a ‘no upfront cost’ broadband deal. So if they’re available to your home, they might be an option worth considering.
If you choose a broadband provider that doesn't offer free installation, you may have to pay upfront fees. These fees can vary but typically include installation costs and setup fees. Here are some examples of upfront fees:
A setup or activation fee could be thought of as an administrative fee, something that covers the costs of getting you signed up to your new broadband provider.
The two terms tend to be used interchangeably and are more common in shorter-term broadband contracts, so you’re likely to see these fees for one-month broadband deals.
You may find a small delivery charge included when signing up to a new provider.
This usually covers the costs of sending out your new Wi-Fi router or set-top box if you’ve signed up for a broadband and TV deal, and it shouldn’t set you back more than £5-£10 when you sign up.
As mentioned above, there are times when new equipment or a new broadband line will need to be installed in order for you to access certain services. This will sometimes come with an installation fee.
For instance, if you’re moving from any of the providers that use Openreach to deliver their services – such as BT, Sky or TalkTalk – to a provider like Virgin Media or Hyperoptic, you’ll likely need to have a new cable or fibre-optic line installed.
Similarly, if you sign up for TV services from Sky along with your broadband, you might need to pay an installation fee to get your dish and set-top box installed.
Installation charges vary from as little as £20 to £100, and you might need to pay these charges even if the broadband package has free setup.
Broadband installation times can vary depending on the provider and the type of broadband you choose. However, most installations take about 10-14 days to book in advance.
It’s important to know that you likely won’t have any significant downtime on your broadband when you switch providers. Your existing connection will work up until your installation date, and the actual installation (where your internet may be down) will take a few hours at the most.
Once booked, an engineer visit can take anywhere between 30 minutes for a simple installation, to three hours if a new line needs to be installed in the property.
You can get broadband with no upfront cost from many of the major UK providers.
Earning its reputation as an affordable broadband provider with excellent customer service, Plusnet doesn’t charge any upfront costs unless you need a new phone line installed, which will cost you an installation fee of £50.
The majority of TalkTalk broadband deals come with free setup, but you could be charged for new equipment if you sign up for a broadband and TV deal.
Despite offering some incredibly fast broadband speeds, Vodafone doesn’t charge any setup fees when you take out a new deal with the provider.
Providers that regularly charge setup fees or installation costs will sometimes waive them as part of a promotion or special offer, especially around key dates in the year such as Black Friday.
Otherwise, be sure to factor in the additional costs when comparing broadband deals.
As the UK’s largest and longest-trading internet provider, BT still charges setup fees on the majority of its broadband packages – anything from £29.99 to £59.99 for some broadband and TV packages.
You might be able to get a broadband deal from BT without any upfront costs from time to time during the occasional promotion, however, the provider is more likely to offer reward cards or bill credit instead of reduced sign-up fees.
Sky’s biggest selling point has always been its award-winning TV service. As such, there’s usually a setup and/or installation fee attached to new Sky packages.
You’re more likely to find discounted or free setup on higher-cost deals, such as a full-service TV and broadband subscription.
NOW Broadband deals will usually include a small upfront cost, but this is often waived as part of a promotion.
NOW TV memberships are very different from NOW broadband packages. Operating more like Netflix, you can sign up for, and cancel, these as and when you like without paying any sign-up fees.
It’s fairly typical for Virgin Media to charge an installation fee when new customers sign up because a new broadband line is usually required. However, if your property has had a Virgin Media connection previously installed, you likely won’t have to pay a setup charge.
You may often see ‘no setup fee’ on many Virgin Media deals, but you may still be required to pay an installation fee when arranging an engineer visit.
The fewer costs we need to pay in order to get set up on a new broadband deal the better. However, there are a few small drawbacks to choosing broadband deals with no upfront costs.
Fewer expensive charges to pay when you sign up.
You still get a wide selection of deals, as packages with no setup costs are fairly common across the market.
Fewer options as some deals won’t be available without paying a setup fee, and these deals might end up being better value in the long run.
Limited services - additional services like TV or phone deals often come with setup costs.
Additional ‘hidden’ costs might be included such as installation costs or engineer fees.
You can definitely get a broadband and TV deal with no upfront cost, as providers like Sky often use this as a promotion to entice new customers.
With the introduction of Sky Stream TV, which has less physical equipment needed in order to access Sky content, setup fees are lower and therefore waived more often to make the offer seem more appealing.
Of the major providers that offer broadband and TV deals, BT is the most likely to charge a setup fee for its services.
In many cases, no, you can self-install your broadband with easy-to-follow instructions provided by your broadband provider. This can save you time and money, and you can enjoy your broadband service without having to wait for an engineer to install it.
However, if you need a new broadband line installed - whether it’s a full fibre cable or Virgin Media connection - you’ll need an engineer to come and set this up for you.