By Martin and Consumer Team | Edited by Steve N Updated Weekly
Too many stick with their broadband provider through thick and thin, overpaying by Ј100s a year. If that's you, it's likely you can do the double whammy of boosting your package while massively slicing your bills.
To benchmark, those on standard deals typically pay BT Ј35/mth and Virgin Ј34.50/mth.
What is broadband?
These days broadband is the standard way of connecting to the internet. Originally people used to dial up over their phone connection. Broadband got its name as it allowed a broader range of information to be carried than old dial-up connections.
There are two main types of broadband:
- Home broadband: This is hard-wired into your house. It's either carried through your phone line (known as ADSL) or by cable. This is what this guide focuses on.
- Mobile broadband: This isn't generally as fast or reliable, but as it's via the mobile networks, it's far more flexible. If you're looking for that, see our Mobile Broadband guide, which includes how to find free hotspots.
With home broadband, it's important to understand that while the information is carried via your phone line, you can still use the phone while you're online - and the broadband connection is always on. Read more
on how home broadband works.
ADSL is an abbreviation of asymmetric digital subscriber line – which just means broadband through a phone line. A splitter, or filter lets you use the line for broadband and telephone calls at the same time. Superfast broadband is supplied over optical fibres, as used for cable TV.
Internet broadband speed is measured in megabits per second (Mb) – that's the speed at which data is transferred over the line.
Switching broadband can save Ј100s
Many people have a broadband provider they're comfortable with and stick with it for ease. But this becomes a licence for providers to print money, as older packages are more expensive and tend to allow lower downloads at slower speeds.
Assuming you already have home broadband (if not, read on to choose), it's crucial to work out what you're paying and the service you're getting. However.
Never just look at your broadband cost. Always look at your phone line rental too. Often, the services are interlinked, so cheap broadband can mean a costly phone service.
Here are some typical costs the big networks are charging for long-standing deals. By contrast, using the best deals in this guide, you can often get broadband and home phone for around Ј12 a month.
Typical standard broadband and line rental costs