Student Accommodation

Best student broadband deals 2018

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 (though Virgin Media's offer includes TV!). 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 Player Bundle
54 Mbps
FIBRE
12
months
£25.33
Inc. fees & reward
Visit » £100 VOUCHER
TalkTalk
TalkTalk Fast Broadband
11 Mbps 12
months
£17.95 Inc. fees Visit »
BT Broadband
BT Superfast Fibre
50 Mbps
FIBRE
9
months
£40 Inc. fees Visit » FREE BT SPORT
Plusnet
Plusnet Unlimited Broadband
10 Mbps 12
months
£17.49 Inc. fees & reward Visit » £50 REWARD
Sky Broadband
Sky Broadband Unlimited
11 Mbps 18
months
£22.78 Inc. fees & reward Visit » £50 REWARD
EE Broadband
EE Unlimited Broadband
10 Mbps 18
months
£20.06 Inc. fees Visit »
Hyperoptic Broadband
Hyperoptic Fibre Broadband
30 Mbps
FIBRE
12
months
£16 No extra fees Visit » LTD COVERAGE

Student broadband reviews

Virgin Media

Virgin Media broadband

The Player Bundle

STS Exclusive! Free £100 Nando’s voucher and upgrade to ultrafast fibre makes this broadband package unbeatable for value, it even includes TV!

As an exclusive and limited availability offer, you must call freephone 0800 090 1352 to secure it.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 54 Mbps 😮
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Reward: £100 Restaurant Choice voucher
  • Extra: 70+ TV channels, smart TV box + Talk Weekends calls
  • Advertised cost: £32pm
  • Effective cost: £25.33pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £304

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £384
  • Activation fee: £20
  • Reward: £100 voucher
  • Calculation: (£384 + £20 – £100) / 12 = £25.33pm

Other packages

Virgin Media’s Vivid 100 is only a 30 day rolling contract, but higher cost and no TV.

Perhaps worth considering if you don’t need the full 12 months.

Visit deal page »

↑ Comparison table

 

TalkTalk broadband

TalkTalk broadband

Fast Broadband

Straight-up pricing and cheapest 12 month contract at this standard speed. For heavy use or larger houses, Virgin Media is worth the extra cost.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 11 Mbps
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Advertised cost: £17.95pm
  • Effective cost: £17.95pm
  • Lifetime cost: £215.40

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £215.40
  • Activation fee: FREE
  • Calculation: (£215.40) / 12 = £17.95pm

Visit TalkTalk Broadband »

↑ Comparison table

 

BT broadband

BT broadband

Superfast Fibre Unlimited

The only 9 month student broadband offer this year. Tempting for sports lovers with the free BT Sport app, but Virgin Media’s lifetime cost is almost £100 less for double the speed and TV despite being a longer contract.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 50 Mbps
  • Contract: 9 months
  • Reward: Free BT Sport app
  • Advertised cost: £35pm
  • Effective cost: £40pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £359.99

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 9 months: £315
  • Activation: £44.99
  • Calculation: (£315 + £44.99) / 9 = £40pm

Visit BT Broadband »

↑ Comparison table

 

Plusnet broadband

Plusnet broadband

Unlimited Broadband

Known for top drawer customer service, this isn’t a great deal as it’s an 18 month contract but does come with a £50 voucher.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 10 Mbps
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Reward: £50 Prepaid card
  • Advertised cost: £19.99pm
  • Effective cost: £17.49pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £314.82

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £359.82
  • Activation fee: £5
  • Reward: £50
  • Calculation: (£359.82 + £5 – £50) / 18 = £17.49pm

Visit Plusnet Broadband »

↑ Comparison table

 

Sky broadband

Sky broadband

Broadband Unlimited

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
  • Reward: £50
  • Advertised cost: £25pm
  • Effective cost: £22.78pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £409.95

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 18 months: £450
  • Activation fee: £9.95
  • Reward: £50
  • Calculation: (£450 + £9.95 – £50) / 18 = £22.78pm

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: £19.50pm
  • Effective cost: £20.06pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £361

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 18 months: £351
  • Activation: £10
  • Calculation: (£351+ £10) / 18 = £20.06pm

Visit EE Broadband »

↑ Comparison table

 

Hyperoptic broadband

Hyperoptic broadband

Fibre Connection [LIMITED COVERAGE]

This deal is an absolute steal but unfortunately Hyperoptic’s coverage is limited to certain buildings within a couple of major UK cities. Still worth checking your postcode!

Tip: Make sure you use the code FLATMATE18.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 30 Mbps
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Advertised cost: £16pm
  • Effective cost: £16pm
  • Lifetime cost: £192

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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