If you think you have to be locked into a lengthy, rigid, and costly contract to get the quality broadband service you need, think again. Not only is it possible to get no-contract broadband, but there are a range of such services to choose between.
Companies that offer broadband without contract
Contracts for broadband internet often used to be twelve or eighteen months long, but contracts of 24 months seem more common nowadays.
There are many reasons why you might not wish to be locked into a long agreement. Perhaps you’re in student accommodation, delayed in moving to a new house, or looking for broadband for a holiday home.
Whatever your circumstances, while there are fewer options for no-contract broadband, these are offered by some UK companies. Though they’re all called thirty-day contracts, because there’s no compulsory renewal they’re not true contracts in practice. You can renew or not as you please.
In all cases, you’ll of course pay more for short-term service than you would within a long-term contract. You should also expect to pay one-off set-up fees. All of the following are full-fibre packages with no landline required, as of December 2020, and speeds are in Megabytes per second (Mb). This gives an idea of what’s around:
|Community Fibre Superfast
|Community Fibre Ultrafast
|Cuckoo Simple Broadband
|Direct Save Telecom
|Hyperoptic Fibre 50, no phone
|Hyperoptic Fibre 50 with phone
|Hyperoptic Fibre 500
By now you will have the general idea:
- There are a handful of companies offering no-contract broadband.
- Packages are available at very variable speeds and set-up costs, with and without phones.
- In all cases, you don’t have to worry about metering data usage.
Broadband service modalities
Modalities refer to the different modes of delivery of fixed-line broadband internet, whether you have a short-term agreement or a long-term contract. Speed and mode are highly related.
The three most common UK types are as follows.
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) is most common, delivered through phone line copper wires using two forms of technology. ADSL1 has a maximum speed of eight megabits per second (Mbit/s), and ADSL2+ 24Mbit/s. These are only averages, as ADSL is slower the further a home is from its telephone exchange.
Coaxial and fibre optic cables deliver superfast broadband, phone, and television. The speeds are possible because, unlike ADSL, cables aren‘t affected by distance. With the newest technology, broadband packages can offer up to 152Mbit/s.
This is a more sophisticated fibre, in which clusters of tiny cables finer than a hair are used. In the UK they’re usually fibre-to-the-cabinet services, meaning cables run from telephone exchanges to street cabinets, from where they connect to homes via copper wires. Speeds are said to be 38Mbit/s or 76Mbit/s.
You’ll note that all no-contract broadband packages offer the faster fibre modalities, hence no landlines being required. This is a benefit over the more common ADSL contracts.
Contract broadband periods
Most people sign broadband contracts without really reading them. They’re written in legalese rather than English, and grow longer by the year. The main thing to know is the contract length, or term. It can cost a lot to break a contract early.
Very basic broadband services can be contracted for a minimum of twelve months, but more expensive, complex services, like fibre broadband or digital television, can be for eighteen months or even two years. Be aware that if you change your package partway, you may be locked into a new contract, extending the term yet further.
Automatically Renewable Contracts, known as ‘renew or else’ contracts, are no longer permitted. When an initial contract period ends, nowadays most customers are moved to a 30-day rolling contract, with a 30-day notice period for cancellation.
If this all seems overly restrictive, no-contract broadband may be attractive to you, despite slightly higher costs. Is that option actually well-regarded?
No-contract internet reviews
Because fewer consumers choose no-contract broadband, it can be tricky to find reviews of the suppliers. It’s also difficult to separate such reviews out from the vast number of reviews for contract broadband suppliers you can search online.
It’s recommended, then, that if you want no-contract broadband and have found a deal that interests you, search a solid review engine such as TrustPilot using the company name to assess them before you buy. Never buy broadband blindly.