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Broadband and TV

Many broadband providers also offer a digital TV service, with Sky and Virgin Media the two most recognisable. But as our broadband becomes quicker and more reliable, many other providers are able to offer a digital TV service that's delivered via a broadband connection, including the popular on demand services.

The available channels and services do vary from provider to provider and package to package, so it's worth checking the detail on your chosen package to see what's on offer. Check the compare button on our results table for up to five different packages to see what channels are on offer, side-by-side.

Fibre Optic

Often referred to as "superfast broadband", fibre optic offers most UK households the fastest available broadband speeds.

Instead of using the copper telephone network, which is how most ADSL broadband is delivered, superfast is transmitted through fibre optic cables. The signal doesn't degrade using fibre optic cables, which means speeds are much faster. Whereas ADSL can offers speeds of up to 16 Mbps (Megabits per second), we're looking at a minimum of 38 Mbps with fibre.

Virgin Media offers the fastest fibre speeds, in excess of 100 Mbps in some cases and is the widest available provider in the UK at the moment. But Sky, Plusnet, Primus, EE and BT as well as some other providers also offer the service.

Unlimited Broadband

Unlimited means that the broadband you receive at home will have no caps on usage or downloads.

This means that whenever you want to use the internet, for downloading, streaming or just general browsing, you can do so without ever worrying about incurring extra charges.

Some providers have been known to implement traffic management on their networks, meaning that the speed of a user's broadband is controlled during peak times and this could be the case even with unlimited broadband. It's worth checking with your provider for more information on traffic management.

Anytime Calls

If you want to have the cost of local and national landline calls included in your broadband package, click this button. Anytime covers your local and national calls during the daytime, evening and at weekends, which means you won't pay extra on your monthly bill for making calls. However some providers will charge for 0870 and 0845 calls, and international calls will also be charged, so do check the details of the package to see what's included.

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How to understand your usage

Your broadband usage, measured in megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB), can be a puzzling subject to fully understand. It's not easy to be truly accurate with how much broadband you're consuming on a monthly basis.

That's why we've cut through the technical jargon by creating three different types of broadband user. Simply match your activities to one of the user types below:

Light users A single user, or perhaps there's two of you, who like to browse the internet, send emails and maybe download a few songs during the evenings and at weekends. Browsing, email, iTunes
Look for

Packages with 2GB of use or more

Medium users Perhaps you're a small family, or a couple who like to watch iPlayer or catch-up TV a few times a week, on top of the usual website browsing, email sending and occasional Skype calls. iPlayer, Skype
Look for

Packages with 20GB or more

Heavy users You're either a large family or shared household. You like to stream TV or Netflix, perhaps play some online video games and generally enjoy living in a connected world. Steaming TV or Movies, gaming
Look for

Packages with unlimited usage

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How to understand the different broadband speeds

There are three different types of broadband speeds that are available to you when you take out a new deal. These are ADSL, fibre and superfast fibre.

ADSL

ADSL is broadband that's delivered into your house via a telephone line and used by the majority of households in Britain.

These deals offer speeds of up to 16 megabits per second (Mb). ADSL broadband is generally fast enough for you to stream television without too much buffering or pausing and certainly fast enough for day-to-day internet browsing and emailing.

Fibre

Using fibre optic cables to transfer data, you can achieve speeds of up to 38Mb with a fibre broadband connection.

You will happily watch live TV and play online video games with a fibre broadband connection offering minimal delays or lags.

Superfast fibre

Superfast refers to fibre optic broadband connections with speeds over 38Mb.

You may opt for a superfast fibre broadband connection if you require large downloads delivered to you quickly, or were a regular player of online video games that needed a faster than average connection in order to play seamlessly.

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Provider
Offer
Package
Compare
Speed
Usage
Monthly
Popularity
BT Total Broadband Router or other hardware Unlimited Broadband Up to 17 Mb per second Unlimited Unltd £16 Per month + £15.99 line rental Go to site

Package costs

Monthly £16.00
Setup £6.95
Offer  9 month student contract.
1st year cost £198.95
Monthly line rental £15.99
1st year inc. line rental £390.83
Contract length 9 months
You can choose to pay 12 months line rental in advance for £159.84, equivalent to a monthly price of £13.32.
Online exclusive: 9 month student contract.
Online exclusive
POP Telecom Receive a free POP Privilege card offering hundreds of discounts and privileges from brand name companies. £0.50 a month for 12m, then £10. 50p Broadband Up to 16 Mb per second 40 GB £0.50 Per month + £15.70 line rental Go to site
Or call to order
0333 123 6197

Package costs

Monthly £10.00
Setup Free
Offer  Receive a free POP Privilege card offering hundreds of discounts and privileges from brand name companies. £0.50 a month for 12m, then £10.
1st year cost £6.00
Monthly line rental £15.70
1st year inc. line rental £194.40
Contract length 12 months
You can choose to pay 12 months line rental in advance for £167.88, equivalent to a monthly price of £13.99.
MoneySuperMarket exclusive: Receive a free POP Privilege card offering hundreds of discounts and privileges from brand name companies. £0.50 a month for 12m, then £10.
Or call to order
0333 123 6197
Go to site
MoneySuperMarket exclusive
POP Telecom Receive a free POP Privilege card offering hundreds of discounts and privileges from brand name companies. £2 a month for 12m, then £11. £2 Unlimited Broadband Up to 16 Mb per second Unlimited Unltd £2 Per month + £15.70 line rental Go to site
Or call to order
0333 123 6197

Package costs

Monthly £11.00
Setup Free
Offer  Receive a free POP Privilege card offering hundreds of discounts and privileges from brand name companies. £2 a month for 12m, then £11.
1st year cost £24.00
Monthly line rental £15.70
1st year inc. line rental £212.40
Contract length 12 months
You can choose to pay 12 months line rental in advance for £167.88, equivalent to a monthly price of £13.99.
MoneySuperMarket exclusive: Receive a free POP Privilege card offering hundreds of discounts and privileges from brand name companies. £2 a month for 12m, then £11.
Or call to order
0333 123 6197
Go to site
MoneySuperMarket exclusive
TalkTalk Our best ever TalkTalk offer. 12 months free broadband and a £75 shopping voucher. 12m free, then £3.50 a month. Totally unlimited broadband Up to 17 Mb per second Unlimited Unltd £0 Per month + £15.95 line rental Go to site

Package costs

Monthly £3.50
Setup £5.00
Offer  Our best ever TalkTalk offer. 12 months free broadband and a £75 shopping voucher. 12m free, then £3.50 a month.
1st year cost £5.00
Monthly line rental £15.95
1st year inc. line rental £196.40
Contract length 12 months
You can choose to pay 12 months line rental in advance for £172.20, equivalent to a monthly price of £14.35.
MoneySuperMarket exclusive: Our best ever TalkTalk offer. 12 months free broadband and a £75 shopping voucher. 12m free, then £3.50 a month.
MoneySuperMarket exclusive
Virgin Media Router or other hardware Up to 50Mb student broadband and Talk Weekends Up to 50 Mb per second Unlimited Unltd £15.50 Per month + £15.99 line rental Go to site
Or call to order
0333 123 6196

Package costs

Monthly £15.50
Setup £49.95
Offer  9 month contract so you only pay for what you need.
1st year cost £235.95
Monthly line rental £15.99
1st year inc. line rental £427.83
Contract length 9 months
Offer: 9 month contract so you only pay for what you need.
Or call to order
0333 123 6196
Go to site
Offer
12

What types of broadband is available for students?

Of course there are no specific student broadband packages, but there are packages which might be more appealing to students given their features. This might be cheap monthly fees, short or rolling contracts, or free hardware.

You can choose between standard ADSL broadband, mobile broadband or even super-fast fibre optic broadband if you can get it. There are also options to bundle in digital TV and phone packages with your broadband, which can actually work out cheaper than broadband alone in some instances.

Whichever you're interested in, you need to think about how you will be using it, whether you will be sharing it and how much you can afford to pay for it.

How to choose a student broadband package

Most rented student accommodation comes with contracts of a year or even less as many students tend to go home during the summer months. For this reason, it may be worth avoiding broadband contracts longer than 12 months.

Shorter broadband contracts sometimes come with higher monthly fees and connection charges, but the convenience of a one month rolling contract might outweigh the extra cost because it can be ideal for students.

There are longer contracts which might entice you in with free laptops or tablets, but if you actually work out the cost of the contract over the entire term, you'll probably find you more than pay for the freebies. That said, if you need a new computer for university and cost isn't too much of an issue, you might prefer the convenience of getting your broadband and computer in one package.

As well as contract terms, you'll need to think about speed and download limits. If you're sharing a connection with other house or flatmates, you're probably going to get through a lot of data, especially if you're streaming video, downloading music or video and using VoIP services like Skype to speak to your family.

The more users there are using one connection, the slower each user's connection will be, so it's probably worth opting for something a little higher to offset this. Similarly, you don't want to get hit by download limits, so it may be worth looking at broadband tariffs with unlimited data allowances.

Be aware that some unlimited download tariffs come with fair usage policies attached, whereas others are truly unlimited.

If you're after a really fast connection and your university accommodation is in a cabled area, you may be able to get speeds of up to 100Mb with a fibre optic connection. Your actual speed will depend on your location though, and fibre optic connections are the most expensive of the lot.

You should also check each tariff's payment method. In most instances it will be via Direct Debit, but there are other payment methods which can carry additional charges. If you're sharing a web connection and paying via Direct Debit, you'll have to agree on whose account payment will be taken and how that person will be reimbursed.

Compare student broadband with MoneySuperMarket

When it comes to internet for students, there are a lot of options and a lot of things to think about – so it's worth talking to your flat or housemates to agree on what you need. If you're getting broadband on your own, think about what you can realistically afford.

Our broadband comparison service covers ADSL, fibre optic and mobile broadband, allowing you to compare tariffs by price, contract term, provider, speed and download limit with just a few clicks.

For more information, read our complete a student broadband guide.

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