Getting a great value broadband package is one of the easiest ways you can save money on household bills, but what should you look for when comparing offers to ensure you have the best deal at the right price? Here we will show you a few ways you can save money on a broadband contract.
Contract lengths and cancellation fees
Before we delve into money-saving tips it is important to note the potential expense involved in cancelling a broadband contract.
If you are not yet out of the minimum contract term (or at least remarkably close to the end of it) then cancelling can be costly. It is generally better to stick with the provider until the contract ends to avoid these fees.
To avoid this in the future always choose a broadband contract length that fits your living arrangements. If you have no immediate plans that may impact the broadband service, you will get the best value from a contract length of 12-24 months. But if you know you may have to cancel in less than a year it is worth looking at short term and rolling monthly deals. Students can also find student broadband deals with nine-month contracts.
Switch early, switch often.
The best deals are often reserved for new customers, so a simple way of ensuring you have always got a good value broadband package is to switch to the latest deal as soon as your contract expires.
Check the small print though: some providers exclude previous customers from these offers.
But you do not always need to go through with the switch to get a better deal. Calling your current ISP and telling them you want to leave may result in them offering you a new package. Just remember that this will mean signing up for another contract, so you are going to be locked in with them again for up to 24 months.
Choosing the right speed
Not everyone needs ultrafast fibre optic broadband. If your internet usage is mainly web browsing, email and social media then a cheap ADSL service is more than sufficient (and still perfectly capable of handling video streaming, online gaming, downloads and other demanding tasks).
On the other hand, there is no sense in focusing on price alone and getting a service that is not up to scratch. If the connection is serving multiple users in a family or shared home, or you are someone who wants to download quickly and stream high-def video, then it is worth signing up for a faster fibre optic service. For more information, use Broadband Genie’s guide to fibre optic broadband.
On a related note, we would generally recommend avoiding packages with a monthly data usage limit. These can be suitable for one person with quite simple requirements but it’s extremely easy nowadays to burn through a data cap in no time at all and find your speed restricted for the rest of the month or, even worse, paying out more due to the extra fees. Unlimited broadband is the best option for most of us.
Special offers and free gifts
The broadband market is competitive so there is always a selection of special offers. Sometimes these are just a nice bonus, or they can add up to a significant cost saving.
Special offers can include:
- Discounted monthly pricing
It is common for providers to offer a cheaper monthly rate for a set period, and the best deals will cut the price for the entire term of the contract. These can be really good value, but make sure it remains affordable after the discount ends.
- Free setup
Standard setup costs vary from around £10 up to £60, depending on the type of service and package, so a free setup offer is not necessarily going to save you a huge amount in the grand scheme of things. It is also important to note that free setup will not apply if you require a new phone line installation.
- Shopping vouchers
Shopping vouchers are a popular gift. Sometimes these will be for specific stores (M&S and Amazon are popular) or they may be valid at an array of high street outlets. Typically, you can find ISPs offering £25-£100 worth, and when this is taken off the total annual cost of the broadband it can be a big money saver.
- Pre-paid credit cards
Even better than shopping vouchers are credit cards pre-loaded with a cash limit that can be spent just about anywhere. The only catch may be that you do not always receive an actual physical card, which limits their use to online stores.
Cashback deals come in the form of either a cheque or a bill credit. It is a welcome saving, but the amounts tend to be smaller than voucher or credit card offers so these are not usually as enticing. Do read the small print so you know when and how the money should be reimbursed, and to see whether it requires you to fill out an application form.