For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.

Student Accommodation

Best student broadband deals 2020

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!

woman sat at desk and cables in internet router

Credit: insta-photos (left), Manuel Esteban (right) – Shutterstock

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 1Gbps. Fibre-optic broadband is now available for over 90% 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 M200
213 Mbps
FIBRE
12
months
£31.75
Inc. fees & reward
Visit » £50 VOUCHER
Now broadband
NOW Broadband Fab Fibre
36 Mbps
FIBRE
12
months
£25.42 Inc. fees Visit »
BT Broadband
Fibre 1
50 Mbps
FIBRE
12
months
£29.16 Inc. fees & reward Visit » £50 VOUCHER
Hyperoptic Broadband
Hyperoptic Ultrafast
500 Mbps
FIBRE
12
months
£37.42 Inc. fees Visit » LTD COVERAGE
John Lewis broadband
John Lewis Broadband
10 Mbps 12
months
£16.67 Inc. fees & reward Visit » £40 GIFT CARD
Plusnet
Plusnet Unlimited Broadband
10 Mbps 18
months
£18.99 Inc. fees Visit »
Sky Broadband
Sky Superfast
65 Mbps
FIBRE
18
months
£25.55 Inc. fees Visit »
TalkTalk
TalkTalk Fast Broadband
11 Mbps 18
months
£22.95 Inc. fees Visit »
EE Broadband
EE Unlimited Broadband
10 Mbps 18
months
£22.06 Inc. fees Visit »

Student broadband reviews


Virgin Media

Virgin Media broadband

M200 Fibre broadband

STS Exclusive! Free £50 Just Eat voucher and upgrade to ultrafast fibre makes this broadband package unbeatable for value.

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: 213 Mbps 😮
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Reward: £50 voucher
  • Advertised cost: £33pm
  • Effective cost: £31.75pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £406

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £396
  • Activation fee: £35
  • Reward: £50 voucher
  • Calculation: (£396 + £35 – £50) / 12 = £31.75pm

Other packages

Virgin Media have some more options available here too. However, if you want the voucher you will need to go through the number above.

Visit deal page »

↑ Comparison table


Now broadband

NOW broadband

Fab Fibre

A best buy for entry level fibre broadband. You get much faster speeds than standard broadband, essential for shared living and streaming.

The short contract length is perfect for most tenancies.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 36 Mbps
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Advertised cost: £25pm
  • Effective cost: £25.42pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £281

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £300
  • Activation/delivery fee: £5
  • Calculation: (£300 + £5) / 12 = £23.42pm

Visit NOW Broadband »

↑ Comparison table


BT broadband

BT broadband

Fibre 1

Taking into account the £50 voucher, this is a market leading offer for fibre broadband at this speed. Just look out for an email on how to claim your voucher after you sign up.

BT are also the only provider offering a 9 month student broadband deal this year. You won’t get a voucher with it but if you’re after a shorter contract then this is the one for you.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 50 Mbps
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Advertised cost: £29.99pm
  • Effective cost: £29.16pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £349.87

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £359.88
  • Activation: £39.99
  • Reward: £50 voucher
  • Calculation: (£359.88 + £39.99 – £50) / 12 = £29.16pm

Visit BT Broadband »

↑ Comparison table


Hyperoptic broadband

Hyperoptic broadband

Ultrafast [LIMITED COVERAGE]

Hyperoptic’s coverage is limited to certain buildings within a couple of major UK cities. Still, with an insane 500Mbps speed and low price it’s 100% worth checking your postcode!

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 500 Mbps
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Advertised cost: £35pm
  • Activation fee: £29
  • Effective cost: £37.42pm
  • Lifetime cost: £449

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £420
  • Activation: £29
  • Calculation: (£420 + £29) / 12 = £37.42pm

Visit Hyperoptic Broadband »

↑ Comparison table



John Lewis broadband logo

John Lewis broadband

Unlimited Broadband

This is good value when you factor in the £40 John Lewis gift card, if you don’t need the speed of fibre.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 10 Mbps
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Advertised cost: £20pm
  • Effective cost: £17.08pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £205

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 12 months: £240
  • Activation fee: Free
  • Reward: £40 e-gift card
  • Calculation: (£240 – £40) / 12 = £16.67pm

Visit John Lewis Broadband »

↑ Comparison table


Plusnet broadband

Plusnet broadband

Unlimited Broadband

Known for top drawer customer service, this a good price if you’re not after fiber.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 10 Mbps
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Advertised cost: £18.99pm
  • Effective cost: £18.99pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £341.82

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 18 months: £341.82
  • Activation fee: Free
  • Calculation: (£341.82) / 18 = £18.99pm

Visit Plusnet Broadband »

↑ Comparison table


Sky broadband

Sky broadband

Sky Superfast

A no-frills package from Sky offering good value but on a long 18 month contract.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 65 Mbps
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Advertised cost: £25pm
  • Effective cost: £25.55pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £459.95

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 18 months: £450
  • Activation fee: £9.95
  • Calculation: (£450 + £9.95) / 18 = £25.55pm

Visit Sky 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: £22.95pm
  • Effective cost: £22.95pm
  • Lifetime cost: £413.10

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 18 months: £413.10
  • Activation fee: Free
  • Calculation: (£413.10) / 18 = £22.95pm

Visit TalkTalk Broadband »

↑ Comparison table


EE broadband

EE broadband

Unlimited Broadband

EE mobile customers get a mobile data boost and a cheaper price, but otherwise better deals around with shorter contract lengths.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Average download speed: 10 Mbps
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Advertised cost: £21.50pm
  • Effective cost: £22.06pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £397

Effective cost breakdown

  • Broadband for 18 months: £387
  • Activation: £10
  • Calculation: (£387 + £10) / 18 = £22.06pm

Visit EE 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 14 days, 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).

Comments

Ask us a question or share your thoughts!

Tweet @savethestudent - Facebook Message - Email