Product review: Cheapest broadband in the UK

Published:
11 November 2010
Topic:
News,Broadband

Plusnet has thrown down the gauntlet to other internet providers by launching the cheapest standalone broadband service available in the UK.

Its new Value deal costs from just £6.49 a month - around half of what some providers charge - and, if you sign up through moneysupermarket.com, you'll also get £30 cashback, making this deal difficult to beat.

The company says that if you can find a lower price for standalone broadband anywhere else, it will guarantee to better it. We take a look at Plusnet's offer and examine whether it's the right package for you...

What's the deal?

Plusnet's £6.49 a month Value deal offers up to 20 Mb speeds and has a 10Gb usage allowance, and, as you get £30 cashback when you take out the deal through moneysupermarket.com, you effectively get nearly five months' broadband for free.

Mb stands for Megabits and the more Megabits a broadband package has, the quicker the service is, so, with speeds of up to 20Mb, this service should enable you to surf the internet quickly.

Gb stands for gigabyte which is essentially a unit of information and is equal to 1024 megabytes. An hour of video watched online uses around 100-150 megabytes, and you could surf the internet non-stop for about 100 hours for 1 gigabyte. This package's 10GB limit is therefore suitable for light to medium internet users, who occasionally download things and might look at a couple of YouTube videos a week.

Plusnet is also offering a deal called Plusnet Extra for heavier users, which has a 60GB usage allowance and up to 20 Mb speeds. This deal costs from £11.49 a month and you get £35 cashback when you sign up through moneysupermarket.com.

You'll need a Plusnet or other BT-based landline to get either of these broadband deals. Plusnet's landline service, called Home Phone, costs £11.25 a month and includes free evening and weekend calls You get the £30 or £35 cashback from moneysupermarket.com when you apply for the Value or Extra deals regardless of whether you sign up for Plusnet's Home Phone service.

If you are a new broadband customer and taking out a standalone broadband product, Plusnet says your broadband will be connected at least five to seven working days from the date you signed up. If you are switching from another provider, it will normally take between seven and 30 days to move across. Furthermore, if you are also taking out a home phone deal with Plusnet, this can also take longer, unless you are currently with BT, in which case it should take between five to seven days.

Any catches?

Customers only get 10GB usage with the Value deal - this is one of the lower limits but would most likely be plenty enough for most people who feel they have to pay a premium for unlimited usage.

There is also a £25 activation charge if you are signing up to broadband with a 12 month contract, but you can get this free if you add Home Phone to your order. You also get a free wireless router worth £40.

If you are signing up to broadband with no contract you must pay the £25 activation charge even if you add home phone to your order. You can use your own router if it's compatible, otherwise you'll need to pay for one up front.

It's worth remembering that while most people will pay £6.49 a month for the Value package, if you live outside a low cost area, then it will cost £6.49 for the first three months, then £10.79 or £12.99 depending on where you live. Plusnet says that 80% of people will be offered the £6.49 price, but it's worth checking to see what you will pay before signing up.

Verdict?

This is a great deal for moderate internet users. Mike Wilson, head of broadband and mobiles at moneysupermarket.com says: "PlusNet offer customers good value broadband with great customer service levels. Offering speeds of up to 20MB and a usage cap of 10GB the Value package will cater for most peoples daily needs. Furthermore, with the additional £30 cashback, moneysupermarket.com is now able to offer the UK's cheapest standalone broadband package for even less."

Remember, however, that if you do download a lot of information each month, the 10GB limit may not be sufficient. If you are a heavy user, therefore, then the Extra deal is worth considering as this is still competitive at £11.49 a month, and you get £35 cashback when you sign up to it through moneysupermarket.com.

Top tip

Think carefully about how you use the internet before opting for any deal. The right package to suit your needs will depend on where you live and whether you are a light, moderate or heavy user.

Prices change regularly, so it is worth checking every few months that you are on a competitive deal. Sticking with your provider simply because you have always been with them for a long time rarely pays off, and you could potentially save hundreds of pounds a year by moving to another deal.

However, always ask your existing provider first if they can offer you a better package first, and check that you aren't locked into a contract - if the answer to both these questions is no, then it may well be time to look elsewhere.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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