Here’s everything you need to know about no upfront cost broadband, including how to find a deal, and whether avoiding set-up fees is worth it in the long term.
If you see a broadband package touted as having ‘no upfront cost,’ it means you won’t have to pay setup fees or, in some cases, equipment.
Broadband providers do this to entice prospective customers. But although you’ll save money in the short-term, deals with free setup might not necessarily be your best option.
Let’s take a closer look…
Can I get a broadband deal with no upfront cost?
Absolutely. Just enter your postcode below and we’ll show you deals available in your area.
Compare broadband deals in your area
After that, use our drop-down box to the right to filter for ‘Setup Costs.’ Deals which exclude setup costs will appear at the top of the table. You can also filter for package type, fast broadband, provider, and so on.
Bear in mind, you may be charged postage for a new router or any other equipment. And you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription for your broadband service – the connection itself isn’t free.
What upfront costs could you end up paying for?
When you opt for a broadband deal, there are a few different upfront fees which you could end up incurring. These include:
- Installation charge - An installation charge, also known as an installation fee, refers to the amount you may need to pay for an engineer to come and install your broadband. This usually only applies when you require a brand new phone line or are switching to full fibre, which requires more than simply plugging in a router.
- Additional installation fees – If you need a new line installed, especially if it’s full fibre, and your property is a little difficult to connect, extra fees may apply. This can include the cost of additional cabling or equipment.
- Activation fee - Some suppliers charge consumers for switching their new broadband service on. This is less common than previously, but be sure to check details of any deal before you sign up.
- Delivery charges - Some providers may ask you to cover the cost of the delivery of a new router. This isn’t as commonplace these days, but check anyway – and be aware that some suppliers will ask for your router back if you switch providers.
Which providers offer broadband with no upfront cost?
It’s worth noting that some providers offer no upfront cost packages as standard. While others relinquish setup costs for a limited time – usually as part of a special offer.
Deals with no upfront costs are available on ADSL broadband, fibre optic broadband, plus broadband and home phone bundles. They are less common on TV packages, though, so bear this in mind if TV is particularly important to you.
Lastly, it’s important to note that no upfront cost deals won’t necessarily be the cheapest. Often, providers request a higher sum upfront in exchange for a lower monthly premium, so bear this in mind before you pick a deal.
Providers that offer no upfront cost broadband include:
What are the pros and cons of no upfront cost deals?
On the face of it, broadband with no installation sounds like a sensible choice. But, believe it or not, it might end up costing you a little more over the course of your contract.
We’ve listed the pros and cons of no upfront broadband to help you decide if it’s right for you.
- Save money on installation – Installation costs can be expensive, especially if you need a new phone line installed at your home. To that end, a no upfront cost broadband deal is a good way to save money in the short term
- Might be more expensive long term – Deals with no set-up costs aren’t necessarily the cheapest packages overall. Sometimes, providers will offer a higher set-up fee in exchange for a lower monthly subscription. Luckily, our tool lets you sort by 'Total cost', so you'll be able to compare how much it'll cost you overall
- Miss out on top speeds – Some full fibre packages require a more complex installation, so you may need to pay for an engineer visit
- Miss out on free gifts - Broadband with no upfront cost may mean missing out on vouchers and reward cards, which are often available for switching customers willing to pay a small upfront fee. With such free gifts often totalling more than anything you pay upfront, this should be a key consideration. Read more in our broadband with free gifts guide
Broadband and TV with no upfront cost
It might not be the norm, but you can find broadband with no upfront cost and a TV package bundled together.
Simply enter your postcode in our ‘Compare broadband deals in your area’ tool at the top of this page. Next, select ‘Sort by: Set-up Costs’ from the drop-down menu on the right. Then on the left column, scroll down and toggle on ‘TV deals included’. This will show you broadband deals that include TV packages with no set-up fee.
A quick search shows Virgin Media to offer plenty of choice, but which providers appear will depend on where you live.
Do I need to pay for Wi-Fi setup?
You might have to – it depends on the package you buy. Broadband providers will supply you with a wireless router, and some may charge a one-off fee for set-up and installation.
If you’re taking out a phone line as well, and don’t currently have a landline, you will have to pay to have a new line installed. Some may charge miscellaneous setup fees for a phone line anyway, even if you currently have one installed – check with your provider before signing up.
If you are moving to a full fibre deal, you may need to pay for an engineer to set up the fibre connection into your home.
Are deals with no upfront cost cheaper in the long-run?
They can be, but it really depends on the deal. The best way to find out is to use our broadband checker to find two deals for your premises: one with an upfront cost and one without. Then click ‘More Details’, and in the ‘Costs’ section look at ‘Total contract cost’. This will tell you which deal works out cheaper in the long run.
Can I get free broadband?
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as free broadband. You can, however, find plenty of cheap broadband deals from some of the UK’s most well-known providers.
To find our lowest cost internet deals, simply enter your postcode into our postcode checker and filter by ‘First Year Cost.’ Alternatively, take a look at our cheap broadband deals page.
If you're struggling to afford broadband, you may be eligible for help. Our page on low income broadband goes into more detail.
Can I get broadband without a landline?
Yes, you can. These days, broadband-only deals are becoming increasingly common.
Typically, most broadband plans – both ADSL and FTTC fibre optic broadband – will come with a landline included. This is because these types of connection use Openreach's network of copper telephone wires to connect your home to the nearest cabinet.
So, although you may not use a landline to make any calls, you’ll still need it to deliver an internet connection to your home. Luckily, it's included in the cost of your package, and you won't have to pay for a calls package if you don't want one.
However, many providers now offer broadband without a landline, including BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Plusnet.
Not to mention, many providers (both big names and smaller specialist companies) provide full fibre options. As these ultrafast connections don't use copper cables at all, they don't require a telephone line to deliver your internet.