Top tips for saving money on your broadband bill!

Fed up of paying over the odds for your broadband? Unsure whether to switch or stick to the t’internet you know?

Our friends at Broadband Genie hear you loud and clear. Here’s Jamie Kavanaugh with some top tips for getting cheap and reliable broadband…

If you’re coming to the end of your current broadband contract you have more options than ever before to switch or save on your internet service. Good news, right?

Changing broadband providers is now as simple as changing utilities. Gone are the days of MAC codes and endless phone calls to your provider in order to leave. The process is just as easy as switching gas or electricity providers. In many cases, all the work is now handled by the providers, so it really is easier than ever!

Here are some things to bear in mind when planning to switch broadband provider.

When can I switch broadband providers?

The best time to shop around for a new broadband provider is within 28 days of the end of your contract. In this time period, you’re especially attractive in the eyes of vendors, so make sure you do your research.

We suggest switching regularly, or at least checking the market at the end of every contract term to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Can I switch while I’m still in a broadband contract?

Technically, yes.

If you no longer want to be with the broadband provider that you have a contract with, you can switch whenever you like. However, you’ll often be penalised with early exit fees.

The only exception to this is if the service you’ve been provided hasn’t been great, or if you’ve experienced mid-contract price rises above inflation. If this is the case, you can make a complaint and ask that the provider allows you to leave without penalty.

For more information about leaving your broadband contract early without a penalty, read Broadband Genie’s guide.

Does switching always guarantee I’ll save money?

No, and this is where you need to be careful and do your research.

Before you jump ship, go check out what your current provider’s up to (provided you’re happy with their overall service). They may have lowered their prices, introduced new products and services or be willing to negotiate on price to keep you as a customer.

The best thing you can do is use a comparison site and enter your postcode to find out what’s available in your area. You can then make an informed decision whether to switch providers or take a new product with your existing provider.

Give your current provider a quick call before you switch and tell them you’re planning to leave. You may be surprised at what they’ll offer in order to keep you as a customer.

Should I switch for cashback or a free gift?

As you compare broadband deals, you’ll quickly find that some providers offer free gifts as part of an introductory offer.

While they may be ‘marketed as’ free, they may not actually be free. Cryptic we know, but hear us out:

There may be no specific charge for that gift, but the overall cost of the package may include and sometimes exceed, the cost of that gift, meaning you save little to nothing in the long run.

For example, some broadband providers offer a free TV or Amazon Echo for signing up. Others offer cashback, pre-pay credit cards, shopping vouchers and other inducements to sign up.

The monthly cost of that deal may be only slightly higher than competitors. However, compare it over the 18 or 24 month length of the contract, and that extra cost could potentially buy the ‘free’ gift with change left over. What’s even the point?

The same is true for applying through cashback websites. It’s only worthwhile if the cashback exceeds the money you’d save by staying put or going with another offer.

Don’t be afraid to ‘look a gift horse in the mouth’, when it comes to so-called freebies. Always tally up the total cost of the package over the length of the contract. If the deal compares well for cost, speed and customer service, it may be worth taking.

What about introductory offers?

Some providers offer discounted prices as an introductory offer which can work out a very good deal. All you need to be aware of here is the period of the offer and how long you will pay the standard cost until the end of your contract.

Again, make sure to add up the total amount you’ll pay over the contract term and compare it to the competition before you sign. Sometimes an introductory offer isn’t quite the bargain it initially appears!

How do I determine value vs. cost?

It’s easy to only consider the monthly cost when comparing broadband deals but that isn’t the whole picture. Like most things in life, you have to consider value rather than just how much it costs. For example:

  • Will the service offer the speed you need? If you’re an enthusiastic online gamer for instance, you’re likely to need that heavy-duty, super-fast broadband.
  • Are there data caps?
  • Is the provider regarded as reliable?
  • How do customers rate the customer service? Feefo and Trustpilot are likely to have customer reviews for any broadband provider you’re looking into

Ultimately, some providers are just better than others, for any number of reasons. With that in mind, it  may be worth paying a little extra for a more reliable connection and better customer service than buying the cheapest possible deal with an unreliable provider.

Good value is when the broadband you’re paying for is always working and the customer service team supports you when you need it most.

Is it worth getting a package deal or bundle?

Many of the major players offer product bundles that can include landline, mobile, TV and broadband. If you actually use these other products, bundled offers may offer good value. If you don’t use a landline or the same TV service, not so much.

Like with the free gifts, don’t be seduced by shiny packages or bundling. Take a good look at your needs and only consider these offers if the bundles meet those needs.

The same can be said for extra features. You’ll be offered extras when signing up such as call waiting, static IP address, extra security and other options. Don’t sign up for them if you don’t need them, unless they’re free.

What about data caps?

Data caps are restrictive and should be avoided at all costs unless you really don’t use the internet much. The current market offers unlimited broadband at a very similar price to limited so there really is no need to suffer data caps. Be aware of what you’re signing up for before you commit.

I think I should switch my broadband – how do I do this?

Here’s an easy, step-by-step guide to how to switch.

  1.    Make sure you’re at, or close to, the end of your current contract.
  2.    Take a look at what broadband you have and what you think you need.
  3.    Keep this article bookmarked or print it out so you can refer back to it
  4.    Compare broadband providers using all the tips we include here.
  5.    Sign up for the deal that offers the best value for you.

Will I need to call a broadband engineer out?

You shouldn’t need an engineer visit if you’re switching from one Openreach (BT) network provider to another. That includes most large and small providers except Virgin Media and some niche providers.

If you’re planning to switch between networks, i.e. between a BT Openreach provider or reseller and Virgin Media, you’ll usually have to contact your existing provider to cancel your contract. There’ll likely be an engineer visit as the two types of network use different technology and will need different connection hardware.

That’s all you need to know to find a great deal on your next broadband contract. Now get out there and get that deal!

Do you have any tips on how to save money on your broadband? Have you recently switched and saved some cash? Tell us all about it in the comments!

 

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