As part of the DIY Nous method for saving money on household utilities, this is a step-by-step approach after you have named your broadband provider and double-checked the terms of your contract with them.
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If you’re in contract, cancelling your broadband could result in early termination charges. Cancelling or making changes can be done for free once your initial contract is over, and generally requires one month’s notice.
Most broadband providers are known to increase prices at the mid-point and at the end of the contract, meaning customers can pay significantly more over time for the same service. If you’re out of contract, it’s likely you’re paying more than you need to, and cancelling, reducing or renegotiating are all options worth thinking through.
The biggest question is what speed you need. Many households are paying for broadband that is far faster than they actually require. This table below is a guide to the speed you need for different types of activities online. It could be that Superfast, rather than Ultrafast is actually enough for your household?
|Type of broadband||Speeds||Activities|
|ADSL||10-11 Mbps||Make a high definition video call using apps such as Zoom, Teams, Facetime or Whatsapp. Download a 1 hour HD TV show (1GB) in 15 mins.|
|Superfast Fibre||30-60 Mbps||1 person streaming 4K video. Download a 1 hour TV show (1GB) in 4 mins. Several devices on the wifi at once.|
|Ultrafast Fibre||60-1000 Mbps||Multiple people streaming 4K video. Download a 1 hour HD TV show in under 30 seconds. Improved upload speeds for gaming and video conferencing|
|Gigabit||60-1000 Mbps||Provides quicker downloads than most ultrafast packages. Can download a full 4K film in less than 15 mins. May be delivered over technologies that are more reliable.|
It’s also worth noting that if you have 5G in your area, it might be cheaper to use the data on a 5G mobile broadband tariff or your mobile phone rather than having separate broadband – particularly if you’re not at home much. At Nous we run our whole office on 5G routers. It’s available in many larger towns and cities, but varies by network.
Once you’ve established what speed you need, the best deals are available to new customers via price comparison websites.
Full Fibre (FTTP) is only available to 28% of UK households at the moment, but depending on where you live you could get faster, more reliable speed at a cheaper price. Hyperoptic, Community Fibre and CityFibre are known for good customer service and are cheaper than the traditional providers, so worth a look if they serve your area. Not all of them are on price comparison sites.
But before you switch to another provider with a better price, call your current provider up, tell them you are going to leave, and let them know what price they need to match. You may find yourself getting that price, or close to it, and you won’t have to go through any of the bother of plugging in a new router from the new provider.
If your current provider is on the Openreach network (see our network guide) then choosing another Openreach provider usually means you can get set up without an engineer home visit.