Best value student broadband 2017
A student house without internet is like the internet without cute cat vids. But how do you know you're getting the best deal? We've done the legwork!
There are plenty of broadband offers out there, so it can get pretty overwhelming trying to pick out the best provider for your student house. It's important to know exactly what you're getting with each deal (and at what cost!) before signing up to anything.
Here (and across our entire bills section) we compare the best value student broadband deals currently available, including a clear breakdown of what you're really getting for your money.
And unlike other broadband comparisons you'll find, we also take into account the hidden set-up fees to give you a more transparent indication of the overall cost. So there won't be any nasty surprises!
- An active landline is needed for most broadband contracts, but you can decide whether to bundle your home phone and broadband together (which is often cheaper) or set them up separately. Some landlines might also need to be activated before you can use them, which can cost around £50.
- A working router will also be necessary – you can either buy one yourself (find one on Amazon), or add it to your broadband order (sometimes free or just pay postage).
- Patience! It’s worth knowing that the whole process can take several weeks (usually between 3-6), so the earlier you order your broadband the better!
Don’t risk breaching any data or ‘fair use’ limits on your service, as the consequences can be extremely costly. The cheaper your broadband package is, the higher they tend to charge for this.
Think about how much you use the Internet, especially if you are sharing the connection between more than 3 people.
As an example, 2GB monthly download limit will allow you to watch around 3.5 hours of high quality iPlayer programs. Beware that ‘unlimited’ download packages can also come with restrictions.
Download speed is another of the big factors to consider if you’ll be sharing your broadband with a number of housemates. If it’s too slow, you’ll experience lag, buffering and more than a few arguments about who’s using all the bandwidth!
Be wary of advertised speed figures that on closer inspection are actually ‘up to’ a certain amount rather than guaranteeing you that speed. In this case, it’s likely you’ll rarely experience the maximum speed.
It’s a bit like a road having a 70MPH speed limit but traffic restricts you to doing 55 – if you really want the highest possible speed you might want to look into fibre-optic.
Do you already have a phone line installed or are you planning on bundling them together? It’s usually cheaper to do the latter.
Re-connection charges can also sometimes pop up if the phone line is currently inactive.
If you don’t need or want a phoneline, Virgin Media doesn’t require one (see the deal here).
More and more broadband providers offer you the option to pay for your whole contract, or sometimes just the phone line part of it, upfront. In some cases it can mean getting a month or more effectively free.
It will usually be labeled as something like “line saver”.
Be warned though as this is only a good option if you can afford to pay in one lump sum. Also, with most suppliers it voids the cooling off period you have meaning you may not be eligible for a refund if you have issues with the speed of your internet.
Although 18 month contracts can offer the best value, as a student you’re more likely to be wanting a 9 or 12 month contract to coincide with your short-term tenancy agreement.
This year, more suppliers than ever are offering 9 month contracts, specifically aimed at the student market. However they aren’t always necessary better value overall! See the table below for more info.
Most broadband contracts are a minimum of 12 months, but students tend only to use the service for 9 or 10 (September – July). Even so, in most cases you can save money by getting a 12 month contract and then cancelling or moving it over to your new house in the last 3 months.
You may have to pay a cancellation charge, but it can be cheaper than paying the remaining months in some cases.
For the best overall value, you may want to consider getting an all-in-one package including phone line, broadband and TV.
Read our Broadband & TV package guide to see if this would work out a better deal for you.
- Remember that the cost of broadband is likely to be divided between each housemate, meaning it’ll be cheaper when you share out the cost.
- Broadband activation could take up to 6 weeks with some suppliers, so it’s best to sort it early, and especially if you plan on living in the house throughout summer.
- Just because a company is offering ‘student broadband’ doesn’t guarantee you it’ll be the best option. Remember to compare deals across the market, as we have here.
- Most students will end up taking a 12 month contract (in September) and then have to cancel after 9 months if they intend to move out. Always check out the cancellation costs for your provider to avoid any shocks, or go for a 9 month contract.
- Keep an eye out for any other hidden charges (such as router costs, download penalties etc).
- Although the greatest care and research was taken when writing this guide, some of the information will inevitable change over time. We do our best make timely updates, but always check on the provider’s website too!