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How to pay less for your broadband bills

How to pay less for your broadband bills

With broadband prices on the rise, follow these tips to make sure you're not paying more than you have to

When you open your broadband bill this spring you’ll probably find it’s almost 14% higher than last month. That’s a staggering amount extra to pay, but these tips will hopefully mean you will pay less not more for your internet access. 

Why are you paying more?

While inflation has a large part to pay, there may be other factors driving up your bill

This larger increase than normal is because December’s inflation (which many providers use plus another 3 or 4%) was a massive 10.5%. But even without this, there’s a good chance you’ve slept walked into paying more than you initially did when you signed up. 

Often welcome deals are for a short period, perhaps just six months, before increasing for the rest of your contract. And they can even go up again once you’re outside of that initial 18 or 24 period. And of course, previous yearly increases will have had an impact too. 

How to cut your bills

Check what kind of broadband you need to avoid paying more for something you won't use

Well, first you need to check your contract situation. For those out of contract, you’ve got the power to switch to a different provider at a lower price without paying an early exit penalty.  

Before looking at your options you’ll first want to check what you pay now and what you get for it. This will be on your bill. Speed is the main driver for the cost of internet access, so it’s worth seeing if you actually need your current level.  

"For those out of contract, you’ve got the power to switch to a different provider at a lower price"

If you’re mainly browsing and sending emails you might be ok with the basic 10Mbs, and if you do some streaming on top you’ll be fine with speeds of around 35 to 36Mbs. For busier homes, you’ll want perhaps 60Mbs, while lots of smart devices might require the top speeds

It’s likely you’ll have both broadband and a landline, and the latter might come with extra call packages. Do you need these? Ditch them if you don’t. Do you even need the line itself? If not you can look for broadband-only services, though these can sometimes cost you more! 

Browse the market

You can often get better deals by going to lesser-known companies

Next, you’ll need to see what’s out there, and you can use a comparison site to see a range of providers and tariffs. Look out too for extra deals such as credit on your first bill or a free gift card. Cashback sites are also worth checking for additional discounts. 

The biggest names tend to be the most expensive. If you’ve not heard of smaller but cheaper providers then it’s worth doing some quick research to find out customer service ratings. Sometimes it’s better to pay a little more if good service is important to you. 

"The biggest names tend to be the most expensive"

You can simply choose one of these options and create a new contract. You won’t have to give notice to your existing supplier—it’ll all be done by the new firm unless you move to a cable provider such as Virgin Media where you’ll need to talk to them too. 

It’s unlikely you’ll need an engineer to come to your home unless you need a new fibre or cable line installed. Instead, you’ll get a new router in the post that you set up. On the day of the switchover, you might find there are a couple of hours when you lose access, and you’ll need to connect all your devices again with the new ID and password. But I think the admin is well worth it for the savings. 

Haggle for the best price

Your current provider may be able to offer you a better deal. You just have to ask

Alternatively, either to see if you can get a better deal or because switching could cause issues (perhaps your email address is tied to your current provider), you can try haggling

Broadband firms are among those most likely to give you some discounts if you threaten to leave, so it’s well worth a go. Call them up and say you want to give notice. This will get you to the cancellation or retentions department—the people who have access to the biggest savings. 

"Don’t take their first offer, and don’t be tempted into upgrades or extras instead of a discount"

Be polite and just tell them you’re going to quit as you’ve found a better deal elsewhere (use the research from comparison sites as your baseline price). Don’t take their first offer, and don’t be tempted into upgrades or extras instead of a discount.

If they can match what you’ve found elsewhere, or just get pretty close, it can often be easier to stick with them rather than switch away, though don’t forget to factor in any extra cashback or savings you’ve found for joining another provider. 

Buying bundles

Paying for bundles can be more complicated buy you may still be able to save

It can get more complicated if you’re also bundling in pay TV or mobile phones with your internet, but the same steps will work here too—as long as you’re out of contract. 

For those with a broadband tariff still under contract there’s less you can do. Most will have to wait until you’re not locked in. But in some circumstances, it’s worth trying a few things. 

You could see if any extras you have aren’t tied to the initial contract—though these tend to be with non-broadband services. Still, it’s worth a look, and you might be able to remove things like additional TV channels or call packages without starting a new contract. 

Check what you're owed

Technical or service issues can be another reason to request a discount, or even the ability to leave penalty-free. You’ll often need to give them the opportunity to fix the issue first, which can take some time. 

And if you receive certain benefits such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Care Leaver’s Support you will be eligible for a social tariff at some providers (though it varies by the provider which benefits are required).  

These deals usually cost between £15 and £20 a month, and you should be able to sign up for one of these even if you’re in contract. If your supplier doesn’t offer a social tariff then most will let you leave penalty-free so you can access the deal. 

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