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Student Accommodation

Best student broadband deals 2019

Fast WiFi is the number one ingredient for a happy student house. But how do you know if you're getting the best broadband deal? We've done the legwork for you!
student broadband

There are endless broadband offers out there, so it can get pretty overwhelming trying to pick out the best provider for your student house.

As part of our student bills series, we review and compare the best value broadband deals currently available for students.

Unlike other broadband comparisons, we take into account the hidden set-up fees to give you an accurate idea of the true cost (known as 'effective monthly cost'). No nasty surprises here!

We'll start by sharing the important things to look out for when choosing the right package, before coming to the comparison table and detailed reviews.

3 considerations when choosing broadband

  1. What speed do you need?

    Download speed is probably the biggest factor to consider, especially if you're sharing broadband with other housemates. If it's too slow, you're going to be suffering from buffering (and high blood pressure) for the length of the contract.

    The cheapest packages are standard broadband, with 'potential' download speeds of 17 Mbps (often far less). This option is suitable for low-medium use by about 3 people.

    If you have a need for speed, fibre is the word you're looking for. Expect speeds from 50 Mbps to 362 Mbps. Fibre-optic broadband is now available for 80% of the UK and has come down massively in price over the past few years. Overall it represents the best value for student houses, especially when the cost is split between housemates.

  2. How long will you be in your house?

    Students are typically best off with a 12 month contract to coincide with short-term tenancy agreements. If you are planning to stay put for longer, 18 month contracts can sometimes offer better value.

    Every now and then a 9 month student broadband deal pops up (we'll include these below if so). These shorter contracts can suit students not staying at uni over the summer months (ie. September - July), but aren't always cheaper overall.

  3. Are you interested in subscription TV?

    All-in-one bundles of TV and broadband often give the best overall value if you're likely to pay for a TV package anyway.

    For this guide we're focusing on broadband-only. See our TV and broadband bundle comparison for more.

Our comparison refers to effective monthly cost to uncover hidden fees (eg. router delivery). Dividing all contract costs by total months gives us this figure. Click the links below each figure for breakdowns.

Best broadband deals

ProviderAvg. SpeedContractEffective Monthly CostWebsite
Virgin Media
Virgin Media M50
54 Mbps
FIBRE
12
months
£30.92
Inc. fees
Visit »
Post Office broadband
Post Office Broadband
11 Mbps 12
months
£15.90 Inc. fees Visit »
BT Broadband
BT broadband
11 Mbps
FIBRE
24
months
£28.74 Inc. fees & reward Visit » £60 VOUCHER
Now broadband
Now Brilliant Broadband
11 Mbps 12
months
£18.00 Inc. fees Visit »
Plusnet
Plusnet Unlimited Broadband
10 Mbps 18
months
£15.10 Inc. fees & reward Visit » £70 CASHBACK
TalkTalk
TalkTalk Fast Broadband
11 Mbps 18
months
£17.95 Inc. fees Visit »
Sky Broadband
Sky Broadband Unlimited
11 Mbps 18
months
£21.12 Inc. fees Visit »
EE Broadband
EE Unlimited Broadband
10 Mbps 18
months
£20.56 Inc. fees Visit »
Hyperoptic Broadband
Hyperoptic Fibre Broadband
50 Mbps
FIBRE
12
month
£18.50 Inc. fees & reward Visit » LTD COVERAGE

Student broadband reviews

Virgin Media

Virgin Media broadband

M50 Fibre broadband

Not a bad offer if you’re after superfast broadband. You can also pay a little extra for faster speeds up to 363Mbps.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 54 Mbps 😮
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Extra: Talk Weekends calls
  • Advertised cost: £28pm
  • Effective cost: £30.92pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £371

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £336
  • Activation fee: £35
  • Calculation: (£336 + £35) / 12 = £30.92pm

Other packages

Virgin Media have some more options for students here too.

Visit deal page »

↑ Comparison table

Post Offce broadband

Post Office broadband

Unlimited Broadband

This is the cheapest 12 month broadband on the market at the moment. Great value if you don’t need the speed of fibre.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 11 Mbps
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Advertised cost: £15.90pm
  • Effective cost: £15.90pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £190.80

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £190.80
  • Activation fee: FREE
  • Calculation: (£190.80) / 12 = £15.90pm

Visit Post Office Broadband »

↑ Comparison table


BT broadband

BT broadband

Standard broadband

This is a decent price after you consider the £60 voucher. However, the 24 month contract ins’t ideal for most student houses.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 11 Mbps
  • Contract: 24 months
  • Reward: £60 Mastercard
  • Advertised cost: £29.99pm
  • Effective cost: £30.88pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £689.75

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 24 months: £719.76
  • Activation: £29.99
  • Reward: £60 voucher
  • Calculation: (£719.76 + £29.99 – £60) / 24 = £28.74pm

Visit BT Broadband »

↑ Comparison table


Now broadband

Now broadband

Brilliant Broadband

This is a great no thrills 12 month contract if you’re not after super fast speeds.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 11 Mbps
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Advertised cost: £18pm
  • Effective cost: £18pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £216

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £216
  • Activation fee: FREE
  • Calculation: (£216) / 12 = £18pm

Visit Now Broadband »

↑ Comparison table



Plusnet broadband

Plusnet broadband

Unlimited Broadband

Known for top drawer customer service, this is a decent deal for entry level broadband when you factor in the £70 cashback. The major downside is the 18 month contract.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 10 Mbps
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Reward: £70 cashback
  • Advertised cost: £18.99pm
  • Effective cost: £15.10pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £271.82

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 18 months: £341.82
  • Activation fee: Free
  • Reward: £70 cashback
  • Calculation: (£341.82 – £70) / 18 = £15.10pm

Visit Plusnet Broadband »

↑ Comparison table


TalkTalk broadband

TalkTalk broadband

Fast Broadband

Only worth considering if you’re happy with an 18 month contract, and even then it’s pricey.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 11 Mbps
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Advertised cost: £17.95pm
  • Effective cost: £17.95pm
  • Lifetime cost: £323.10

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 18 months: £359.10
  • Activation fee: FREE
  • Calculation: (£323.10) / 18 = £19.95pm

Visit TalkTalk Broadband »

↑ Comparison table


Sky broadband

Sky broadband

Essential

The 18 month contract makes this a no go for most students with a 12 month let.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 11 Mbps
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Advertised cost: £20pm
  • Effective cost: £21.12pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £380

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 18 months: £360
  • Activation fee: £20
  • Calculation: (£360 + £20) / 18 = £21.12pm

Visit Sky Broadband »

↑ Comparison table


EE broadband

EE broadband

Unlimited Broadband

EE mobile customers get an extra 5GB of free data, but otherwise better deals around with shorter contract lengths.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 10 Mbps
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Advertised cost: £20pm
  • Effective cost: £20.56pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £370

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 18 months: £360
  • Activation: £10
  • Calculation: (£360 + £10) / 18 = £20.56pm

Visit EE Broadband »

↑ Comparison table


Hyperoptic broadband

Hyperoptic broadband

Fibre Connection [LIMITED COVERAGE]

For a few pounds more it’s worth going with Virgin’s offer. Hyperoptic’s coverage is limited to certain buildings within a couple of major UK cities. Still 100% worth checking your postcode!

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 50 Mbps
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Reward: £50 voucher
  • Advertised cost: £21pm
  • Activation fee: £20
  • Effective cost: £18.50pm
  • Lifetime cost: £222

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £252
  • Reward: £50 voucher
  • Activation: £20
  • Calculation: (£252 – £50 + £20) / 12 = £18.50pm

Visit Hyperoptic Broadband »

↑ Comparison table

 

7 ways to get cheaper broadband

Not all of these tricks will apply to your provider or situation, but a couple might save you a few quid!

  1. Choose packages with unlimited data (we only review these)
  2. Pay for broadband upfront
  3. Opt-in to paperless billing
  4. Be aware of price hikes (switch or…)
  5. Haggle when the contract ends!
  6. It could be cheaper to pay a cancellation fee than see out a contract
  7. Seek out hidden charges when comparing (‘effective monthly cost’)

FAQs

Can I get broadband without a phone line?

For standard broadband (ADSL) an active phone line is needed as that’s how the data is transmitted. Fibre optic broadband runs along a separate cable, which means you can usually do away with the phone line. Check with the provider to find out for sure.

Until recently, broadband companies would charge extra for phone line rental alongside advertised broadband prices. They must now include line rental in the total price, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a phone line.

If you do need a phone line, it may need to be activated or reconnected by BT before you can install broadband.

Do I need to buy a router?

A working router is needed to share the broadband connection and transmit WiFi.

Most broadband providers supply you with their own standard router (sometimes at a cost), but it can sometimes be worth investing in a better one (browse on Amazon).

How long does it take to install broadband?

For phone line broadband connections it can take up to 2 weeks, whereas for fibre it can be activated sooner.

How long it will actually take depends on whether you need an engineer to come out or if anything needs activating.

How can I check my broadband speed?

Run a quick line test on SpeedTest.net to reveal your live download and upload speeds. If they’re way below the advertised speeds, complain to your provider.

How do I cancel broadband?

You have the right to cancel your broadband – without penalty – within the first 14 days of placing your order.

Beyond that, check with your provider for their early cancellation policy. It will almost certainly involve a penalty fee, but in some cases it can be worth paying to switch to a cheaper or better service.

At the end of your contract you usually need to give a month’s notice to the provider (but again check your specific terms).

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