Saving Money on Broadband
According to data calculated by Ofcom, in December 2013 there were 22.6 million fixed residential and SME broadband connections, a 900,000 increase on December 2012. This year, broadband can be found in more households and within more businesses than ever before.
Broadband’s popularity has grown because as our world becomes more content and data-driven, we expect to be able to access it almost instantly. That’s why consumers now are increasingly opting for what is referred to as ‘super-fast’ broadband, which has uncanny download and upload speeds.
With broadband a more essential item in the home than ever before, we thought we would put together a handy guide for households and SMEs to help you save money on your broadband. Below you will find a series of tips and information about broadband and how to save money on it.
The first stage to saving money on broadband is to compare suppliers. At Befuddled.co.uk, you can search for and compare broadband suppliers side-by-side to make an informed decision on which supplier has the best home broadband deals for you.
The most popular broadband providers in the UK according to market research are:
- BT 31%
- Virgin Media 20%
- TalkTalk 15%
- Sky 20%
- EE 3%
- Others 10% (End of 2013)
When comparing broadband providers, you should also look at reviews and data. You can find user reviews online simply by searching on Google for ‘broadband supplier + reviews’. Chances are, you will find hundreds of reviews of a good and negative rating.
Data collected by Which? in 2014 found that Virgin and Sky have the fewest customer complaints while BT, EE, and TalkTalk had the highest number of customer complaints. The same data also found that Virgin Media and Plusnet offered the most reliable connection and Plusnet offers the best value.
Choosing a connection
The most important things to consider when choosing a connection are speed, cost, and contract length.
You need to fully understand what your needs are before you go for a connection, because broadband providers deliberately create deals that are designed for a mix of customers – not your individual needs.
Connection speed is without doubt the most hotly debated topic when it comes to broadband. The general rule of thumb is that the more Mbps / Megabits per second you get, the faster your broadband speed will be. Whilst most broadband packages have a decent download speed, though, many have a poor upload speed. Upload speed is important because this is the information that’s taken from the internet and sent to your computer. For example, your current connection might provide a download speed of 5.04 Mbps but an upload speed of 0.677 Mbps.
Whilst upload speed is less important than download speed for most people if you upload lots of high resolution photographs or videos to the internet you will need a connection with a fast upload speed.
Our top tip for saving money on your broadband when it comes to connection speed is to go for a connection which offers a good download and upload speed, because your uses / needs may change in the future. We would consider a solid connection to be 10 Mbps download and 8 Mbps upload.
When it comes to broadband cost, this is largely determined by the connection speed and any other products that get tied into a bundle. Broadband providers usually have special offers on to entice new customers to take out a connection with them, such a 6 months free or 6 months half price broadband.
When choosing a broadband provider, always read the fine print, and understand what the true cost of your broadband is; the price you pay after any special offers have ended. Cutting through all of the marketing and special offers is essential to choosing the right broadband deal for you.
For broadband with a good connection speed, the cost is surprisingly low. For example, Virgin Media’s 50Mb broadband & phone bundle can be found on price comparison websites for just £5 per month.
Most broadband contracts are 12-months in length, although some are 18-months. When choosing a broadband provider, we recommend that you go for a 12-month contract as this term length gives you more flexibility in the long-term. 18-month contracts are usually tied in with TV and phone line rental deals.
Incentives or perks are a great way to save money on broadband and other technologies. Typical examples include ‘only pay for calls you use, nothing more’ from TalkTalk and ‘free wireless router and unlimited calls’ from Virgin Media. Incentives are only offered alongside other technologies such as line rental so if you’re in need of a phone for example after moving house this is a good way to save money.
By the same token, incentives can cost you more money than you need to pay. For example, you might be interested in BT broadband but you might already have a BT line. In this case, a broadband package offering line rental might work out more expensive than simply a standalone broadband deal.
Befuddled.co.uk’s 7 top broadband money-saving tips:
- Compare broadband deals side-by-side online
- Go for a connection with a fast download and upload speed
- Go for a contract length of 12-months
- Work out the true cost of broadband; the cost after special offers have expired
- Always compare deals close to your contract expiration and consider switching
- Look for incentives such as free line rental and TV bundles
- Always read reviews and keep up to date with customer satisfaction surveys
Overall, saving money on your broadband is easy; it’s simply all about understanding what the deals you are looking at truly offer and comparing these deals side-by-side using Befuddled.co.uk‘s price comparison engine. If you need any more help saving money on broadband, feel free to send us a message for some unbiased advice./