If your internet bills seem unfairly high, then it might be time to change. This article identifies why you may be paying too much and how to find a better deal elsewhere.
Broadband contracts are similar to mobile phone contracts, in that we tend to sign them then forget them. Ask yourself – when was the last time you checked the terms of your deal?
Checking how long is left on the minimum term, or indeed if it’s already expired, is vitally important. If you’re out of contract then you could be missing out on big savings.
Broadband contracts typically sign customers into deals for 12, 18 or 24-month periods. Once this expires, you aren’t cut off but instead retained on rolling terms.
These terms often come at a higher monthly rate, despite the fact you’re now free to leave and find better offers.
At any time, millions of people in the UK are out of contract and paying too much for their broadband thanks to this “loyalty penalty”. This is why no matter whether you want to switch providers or stay, you need to do something with your broadband when the contract term ends.
How to find a new deal
Generally, the best deals are available to those who switch broadband providers.
Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) want to entice and incentivise new customers, rather than retain current ones. Offers will vary, but switching offers the biggest rewards.
Start the search by thinking about the speed you need. Packages are priced by connection speed (Mbps) and the higher the bandwidth, the bigger the price. Use your current broadband as a benchmark – is it sufficient or too slow?
Standard fibre broadband packages of 35Mbps can often be adequate for most average family homes, depending on usage.
That said, you may need more with…
- High digital demands: Big file downloads and uploads, video streaming and online gaming etc.
- More users: The more people you have sharing the internet, the faster it’ll need to be. Add 10Mbps per additional person as an estimate.
- Multiple smart devices: Lots of “always on” internet-enabled devices can put a heavy burden on your broadband.
What’s a reasonable price to pay?
Landline broadband services are predominantly fibre connections and priced by average expected download speed. This is the big advertised number, in Mbps, that you’ll see on any broadband deal. Though keep in mind it’s a rough guide only and isn’t 100% guaranteed to your address.
Here’s roughly what you can expect to pay for various fibre broadband speeds:
- £20-25 for 35Mbps entry-level fibre.
- £25-£30 for 65Mbps.
- £30-40 for 100-500Mbps.
- £50+ for 500Mbps+ premium ultrafast.
Prices are approximate and should only be used as a general guide. Offers will vary across providers and special discounts can reduce the effective monthly tariffs.
Use a broadband comparison website to run a postcode search to find cheap broadband deals in your area.
Conversely, broadband services that bundle TV or mobile products may end up proving more expensive over the contract.
Do I need to cancel my old contract?
When you sign up with a new provider, most commonly they will actually handle the switch for you. However, this only applies between the majority of Openreach network providers such as BT, TalkTalk and Sky etc.
Notifying a provider personally of a switch is only required when switching between networks. For example, moving to Virgin Media from Vodafone means you’re switching to cable from Openreach broadband.
At least 30 days notice time is recommended, via email or phone, but check your existing provider for terms and conditions.
Bundles and gift cards
It can be easy to be persuaded to buy broadband purely based on attractive deals. Providers like to bundle all sorts of extras that often sway new customers to signup.
However, this isn’t always wise for saving money, particularly if TV packages or inclusive phone calls aren’t necessary. It’s best to only pay for what you really need, which includes not overpaying for higher speeds.
Where offers can be good is with incentives you might already see value in. Some providers include free gifts like voucher cards for leading retailers or even free tech like gaming consoles.
These gifts, plus any discounts on monthly tariffs for a period, can be offset from the contract cost for better savings overall.
I don’t want to leave my provider!
Of course, many customers often prefer to stay with a provider that they trust. It might make sense to forego bigger savings to retain a broadband service that already works well for you.
The good news is, renewing with a current provider will still be cheaper than staying on rolling terms. While you won’t get the deals that new customers enjoy, you should be incentivised to sign a new contract.
How to play the field for re-negotiating effectively:
- Shop around. Find deals from rival providers as if you were a new customer.
- Benchmark prices. Make note of ballpark tariffs for equivalent packages.
- Call and haggle. Speak to your provider and see if they make an offer.
Whether you stay or switch, a little market research goes a long way. The more information you have about what’s available, the better the opportunity to save money.
Shopping for broadband contracts can seem daunting but it really isn’t! Think about what you really need and use, with a close eye on affordability.
It’s worth remembering too that if you aren’t 100% satisfied with a new contract, you have 14 days fallback to cancel it free of charge.
So if your broadband has expired or is set to end then get looking and grab yourself some savings!