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New cheapest broadband deal: how to get more for your money

John Fitzsimons
Written By:
John Fitzsimons

Sky has cut the price of its Unlimited Broadband package to just £15 a month, including line rental, making it the cheapest deal around.

The Sky package delivers download speeds of 17mb, with unlimited monthly usage. There is a one-off £19.95 set-up cost, and minimum contract of 12 months. In total, the first year will set you back £199.95.

According to Cable.co.uk, its nearest rival comes from energy firm First Utility, which has branched out into telecoms too. First Utility’s First Broadband package delivers the same speeds and unlimited usage policy as Sky’s deal, and what’s more there are no set up costs either. However, its monthly costs come to £18.99 a month including line rental, meaning a first year cost of £227.88.

Other packages from Origin, TalkTalk and Plusnet deliver similar speeds and usage, but will cost upwards or £230 in the first year.

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said this was the cheapest broadband deal seen in many years. He added: “Sky is not only now the cheapest provider while this offer is in place, it also offers some of the best speeds over ADSL (non-fibre), the lowest latency (good for online gaming), and the most reliable service. Were I not in the middle of my existing contract I would not hesitate to switch.”

However, it’s important to remember that this is only for new Sky customers – bad news if you are already on a Sky contract or have previously been a customer.

Getting the right package

It’s important to note that these packages are just for the broadband connection. If you want to add a home phone line and pay TV services to the package, then the final cost will vary again. It’s important to establish exactly what you are looking for from your deal – if you only use your broadband for checking emails then the speed of the connection is not as important as if you are a big streamer or online gamer.

This applies to additional services like the home phone line – if you only make calls at the weekend, then make sure the phone package you go for includes free weekend calls, rather than a certain amount of call time throughout the week, which will cost you more.

There’s more to it than price

There is much more to picking the right broadband provider than simply finding the cheapest deal. It’s also crucial that you find a provider that is reliable; you want to keep buffering woes to a minimum as much as possible.

As a result, it’s well worth keeping an eye on the complaints figures published each quarter by Ofgem, which highlight how many complaints per 100,000 customers each of the big providers receives over the three month period.

According to the most recent data, BT received the most complaints at 34 for every 100,000 customers, ahead of TalkTalk (29), Plusnet (25) and EE (24). By comparison, Virgin received just 13 complaints for every 100,000 customers, while Sky got just eight.

Of course, as this only covers the big providers, then you’ll need to look elsewhere for an idea of how reliable some of the smaller names are. A good place to start is the Which? annual broadband survey, which ranks providers based on a host of criteria including customer service, technical support, ease of use and value for money.

In its latest edition, Zen Internet topped the table with an overall satisfaction score of 86% ahead of Utility Warehouse (81%) and John Lewis Broadband (68%). At the other end, TalkTalk, BT and the Post Office all performed poorly.