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Broadband package deals explained

How to switch to the right broadband package deal

When you search for a new home broadband deal on Uswitch, you'll see a clear breakdown of monthly price and average speed as well as the length of contract. If there are any promotions or incentives such as bill credits or gift vouchers available, those will be clealy labelled as well.

You can also see a breakdown of the costs of each broadband package — such as line rental, setup cost and regular price — by clicking on the “price details” button.

Make sure that you're happy with the contract length on display and look out for the out-of-contract prices your provider will charge once your contract ends. This information will help you plan the right time to switch broadband package.

If the end of your contract is approaching, but you'd like some more time to find the right deal and best internet provider for you, you can sign up for regular email updates from us at Uswitch to get expert insight and advice. We'll also show you some of the latest money-saving deals on our site.

Compare broadband packages with Uswitch

Compare broadband packages by sorting our range of broadband dealsby popularity, speed, download allowance, bundle availability, broadband provider, contract length and price. You can also filter out deals that don't suit you based on speed, provider or included services.

It's also important to bear in mind the following when browsing home broadband packages from the most popular internet providers:

  • Broadband availability: Very few areas of the UK have access to every broadband package on the market. Enter your postcode and address into our broadband postcode checker to find out what's available in your area.
  • Broadband and TV deals: Broadband and TV deals Bundling these services together could benefit you greatly if you regularly use both, as it will put them into a single monthly bill. But it's only worth it if you actually want to watch enough of the channels it gives you access to.
  • Type of connection: The UK has a range of broadband networks, including copper ADSL, fibre-optic, cable and mobile broadband — each of which have its pros and cons. You can find out more information on them below.

Compare broadband deals at Uswitch to find the right package for your household.

When should I switch broadband provider?

When you last switched broadband, you probably would have signed up for a fixed-term contract to use the service. They usually last between 12-24 months, and they commit you to use that service for the whole period.

If you try to cancel your home broadband contract before its end date, you’ll likely be charged an ‘early termination’ fee to make up the rest of the monthly payments you agreed to. However, if you’re cancelling because you have an unresolvable issue with your connection, your provider may waive these charges.

So unless you’re not getting what you paid for, you should wait it out until the end of your contract if you want to avoid an expensive switch. But make sure you know when that end date is, because if you stay on the same package after your contract finishes, you’ll also be charged expensive fees.

End of contract notifications

Thankfully, Ofcom recently made it compulsory for broadband providers to let you know when your contract is ending. As you approach the end of your agreement, your provider is required to send you an end of contract notification (ECNs), to inform you that prices will increase, and that you can recontract or switch for free.

If you’ve received an ECN recently, it means you might soon be put onto a much more expensive out of contract tariff. The good news is, it also means that you can switch broadband provider free of charge.

What type of connection should I switch my broadband package to?

There are many types of broadband you could choose from on Uswitch and elsewhere, all of which have different levels of speed and reliability. Have a read of each of them to see which one suits you best.

ADSL broadband

A lot of home broadband packages require a copper landline in order to operate. A connection that relies entirely on this type of broadband is called ADSL, which stands for 'asymmetric digital subscriber line'.

ADSL broadband uses traditional phone lines to connect you all the way from your provider's broadband exchange to your home.

If you have an active Openreach line, you can either choose broadband packages that offer standard ADSL, which the majority of internet providers in the UK sell, or ADSL2, which is slightly faster but less widely available. But you could also choose a superfast fibre connection if you want faster internet.

ADSL is the oldest broadband technology that's still in regular use today, therefore it's also the slowest and, in most cases, the cheapest broadband connection type in regular use.

You’ll likely be able to get ADSL broadband in whichever property you move to in the future. But it’s always good to learn about what you should do if you're switching broadband while moving home.

Fibre-optic broadband packages

Fibre broadband has recently overtaken ADSL as the most widely-used home broadband connection in the UK.

This is a faster type of broadband due to its use of fibre-optic cables, which use pulses of light rather than electrical signals to transmit data either partially, or directly, to your home.

This means they can transfer much more data in a shorter time period than copper wires, so you can do a lot more with your broadband than what ADSL offers.

There are two main types of fibre broadband:

  • Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC): The cheaper but more widely available type of fibre broadband, this uses fibre-optic cables from your provider's exchange to your local street cabinet, and then swaps to the same copper phone lines as ADSL from there to your home.
  • Full fibre: Also known as 'fibre-to-the-premises' (FTTP), this is currently the fastest type of broadband you can get, with fibre-optic cables connecting all the way to your home.

Find out what types of fibre broadband could be available in your area with the Uswitch broadband availability checker guide.

Cable broadband packages

Cable broadband is a different type of fibre connection, and in the UK it's serviced almost exclusively by Virgin Media which currently reaches about 52% of UK homes.

It uses the same fibre-optic cables as other providers from the broadband exchange to the local street cabinet, but then connects its own 'coaxial' cables from the cabinet directly to your home.

This means you'll need an engineer to set up the connection at your home if it hasn't previously been installed.

Virgin Media's cable broadband is much faster than ADSL or FTTC broadband, providing UK customers with speeds of up to 600Mbps, and in a growing number of places, even 1Gbps (1000Mbps). However, for the most part, it's not as fast as full fibre broadband, which uses fibre entirely from the exchange to your house.

Learn more about cable broadband on our Virgin Media broadband deals page.

Mobile broadband packages

Mobile broadband runs on 4G and 5G mobile phone networks, so it doesn't require any fixed-line cables to connect to the internet.

It's perhaps best suited to people who need fast broadband but their homes don't have access to fibre broadband, or those who need to get online while they're on the move.

5G is a newer mobile broadband technology that can offer ultrafast connection speeds roughly up to 300Mbps. But 4G, which supplies 24Mbps average speeds, is currently much more widely available.

Compare mobile broadband deals on Uswitch.

Find more ways you can get broadband without a landline.

Broadband and phone deals

Broadband and phones deals are very common, and it was pretty much the norm to get a landline added in with your internet services up until very recently. If you regularly use a home phone to make and receive calls, it's definitely worth looking at our broadband and home phone deals page to see if you could find a great bundle deal.

What Black Friday and Cyber Monday broadband packages are available?

There is a wide range of heavily discounted broadband packages to choose from this Black Friday.

Whether you're looking for cheaper monthly rates, and enticing gift card or several months' bill credit, Black Friday broadband package offers are always worth checking out.

What broadband package is best for me?

There are several factors to take into account when choosing a provider. Key questions include the speed, the monthly cost, any one-off setup fees and the length of contract you'll have to sign up for. Finding the best broadband package means understanding what you want to use it for, how much you want to pay and what extras are on offer.

How do I know what broadband speed I need?

The two main factors to consider when determining the right speed are the number of users and the expected usage. Here are a few rough guidelines:

  • Below 30Mbps: 1 or 2 users, mainly web browsing
  • 30-60Mbps: 3+ users, infrequent streaming and gaming
  • 60-100Mbps: 5+ users, frequent HD streaming, multiple connections
  • 100Mbps+: 8+ users, multiple simultaneous streaming, large downloads

What's the difference between ADSL and cable broadband?

ADSL broadband delivers data services using the same copper cabling that connects your phone, and requires an active landline. Cable broadband uses dedicated fibre-optic cables to provide services. This makes it much faster than ADSL, with speeds of up to 512Mbps on offer, although its availability is more restricted.

Broadband deals news

News30 November 2021

Get up to £100 of gift vouchers with these Black Friday and Cyber Monday broadband deals

Black Friday and Cyber Monday broadband deals will not only save you money on your monthly bills, they often come with significant gift vouchers. You could get up to £100 from these providers.

Read more