How to find the right student broadband deals?

Hey there! This broadband deal guide is for students! Yes, if you are a student living in the UK or planning to move to the UK and looking for fast but cheap broadband deals, then you have come to the right place.

This detailed guide will inform you about the best broadband deals currently floating in the UK and answer some of the most frequently asked questions. So, let’s go !!

NOW Broadband Fab Fibre and Super Fibre

While some providers in the UK offer broadband deals specifically designed for students, NOW doesn’t have one. Instead, the value for money on the broadband plans makes them one of the most sought broadband providers without any student discounts or offers. They have two plans that suit the students best- Fab Fibre and Super Fibre

Features

  • The average speed offered by NOW Broadband with their Fab Fibre plan is a decent 36 Mbps and 63 Mbps on the Super Fibre plan
  • The length of contract for both Fab Fibre and Super Fibre is 12 months
  • There is no data usage cap and you can enjoy unlimited downloads with both the plans
  • With Super Fibre you will get free Anytime calls for the first 12 months
  • If you are an existing customer of other broadband providers like BT, TalkTalk, EE, or Plusnet, then NOW will deal with all the cancellation processes and will make switching a seamless experience
  • You can also add an entertainment membership card at £5.99 per month for the first 12 months

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Month-to-month rolling contract available
  • The upfront cost is zero and the delivery charge is a mere £5
  • The speeds offered are decent

Cons

  • The activation charge for no-contract (month-to-month) is quite high

Price-

  • 12-month contract
    • £22 per month for both Fab Fibre and Super Fibre for the first 12 months
    • £32 per month for Fab Fibre and £35 per month for Super Fibre from 13th month
    • £0 setup cost and £5 delivery charge
  • No-contract
    • £60 activation charge
    • £5 delivery fee

BT Student Broadband

BT is one of the oldest names in the game of broadband deals. They are also one of the few companies that offer special deals designed just for students. All you need to do is sign up with your university or college email address and you will get an option of shorter contracts. They offer their three plans- Fibre essential, Fibre 1, and Fibre 2.

Features

  • While any regular BT broadband plans come with a minimum contract length of 24 months, the BT Student Broadband deals come with a shorter contract of 9 or 12 months
  • BT will send you a powerful hub that will send out strong and consistent WiFi signals
  • Fibre essential has an average download speed of 36 Mbps and that of Fibre 1 is 50 Mbps. Fibre 2 is the fastest with 67 Mbps
  • All three plans are broadband without any landline plans. If you have a home phone number, you will lose it by placing an order for any of these plans.

Pros

  • Important 9 months contract available
  • Monthly prices are affordable
  • The speeds are faster than an average broadband service provider

Cons

  • The upfront cost is pretty high

Price

  • For 9-month contract
    • Fibre essential – £27.99 per month and £39.99 upfront fee
    • Fibre 1- £31.99 per month and £29.99 upfront fee
    • Fibre 2- £33.99 per month and £29.99 upfront fee
  • For 12-month contract
    • Fibre essential – £24.99 per month with £39.99 upfront fee
    • Fibre 1 –    £29.99 per month with £29.99 upfront fee
    •  Fibre 2-    £31.99 per month with £29.99 upfront fee

Virgin Media Student Offer

In the UK, Virgin Media has a reputation for being an expensive broadband service provider. Their deals are not affordable easily unlike Now and Vodafone. They do compensate for that by providing unmatched internet speed but still, these premium plans are not for everyone. But they do have shortened the contract length for the students. There are multiple deals to choose from, but M100 and M200 are within budget. M350 is affordable as well on 30 days rolling contract for the first 12 months.

Features

  • M100 has an average download speed of 108 Mbps and upload speed of 10 Mbps whereas M200 has an average download speed of 213 Mbps and an average upload speed of 20 Mbps
  • The average download speed offered by M350 is 362 Mbps and has an upload speed of 36 Mbps
  • Both the plans come with Virgin Media Hub 3, which is one of the best WiFi routers available in the UK
  • If you are a student, you can choose a short contract length of 12 months or a 30 days contract

Pros

  • The speed offered is amazing at this price point
  • The built quality of hub 3 is great
  • No setup cost on 30 days rolling contracts
  • Can be bundled with your Mobile SIM plan or a TV plan

Cons

  • High upfront fee for a 12-month contract

Price

  • 12-month contract (£35 upfront fee)
    • M100 Fibre Broadband – £44 per month
    • M200 Fibre Broadband – £50 per month
  • 30 days rolling contract (zero setup cost)
  • M200 Fibre Broadband – £39 per month for the first 12 months and  £50 per month after that
  • M350 Fibre Broadband – £44 per month the first 12 months and then £56 per month after that

Hyperoptic Student Broadband

Hyperoptic is similar to Virgin Media broadband in terms of speed. They don’t have wide coverage across the UK, so you need to check for your location before you sign up for the same. Hyperoptic broadband network is available in most of the urban parts of the UK. They offer plenty of bandwidth for gaming and streaming for multiple people at a single point in time. For students, there are 4 plans to choose from- Fast, Superfast, Ultrafast, and Hyperfast.

Features

  • The average download speeds for all the four plans are-
    • Fast – 50 Mbps
    • Superfast – 150 Mbps
    • Ultrafast – 500 Mbps
    • Hyperfast – 1 Gbps (average speed of 900 Mbps)
  • Flexibility is the choice of contracts. You can sign up for 12 months, 24 months, or roll every month
  • They claim to match the price if you find the same package for a lesser price
  • Unlimited data with all of their plans. Installation takes merely one hour and you can book for the next day if Hyperoptic is available at your postcode location
  • The installation fee is zero along with the router delivery cost

Pros

  • The highest speed of 900 Mbps
  • Great value for money
  • Flexible contract lengths are available
  • Variety of plans to choose from

Cons

  • The upfront cost can be high when not on offer

Price

  • Fast – £20 per month
  • Superfast – £25 per month
  • Ultrafast – £35 per month
  • Hyperfast – £45 per month

John Lewis Fibre Broadband

Though John Lewis has no student-specific broadband plans, they do offer cheaper broadband deals in general on a short-period contract. There is no upfront fee for any of the broadband plans from John Lewis, so the overall cost comes down in the budget of most of the students.

Features

  • There are three tiers to choose from. The lowest one offers an average speed of 11 Mbps, the mid-tier provides an average speed of 36 Mbps and the fastest speed you can get on average is 66 Mbps
  • They offer unlimited data usage on all their plans at a very reasonable price
  • They include a free online security package from BullGuard that will protect your devices from viruses and other malicious software
  • The prices are the same all over the UK including the remote rural areas
  • UK based customer care available 24/7
  • The length of the contract is of 12 months

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Online security bundled for free
  • Can be bundled with anytime call deals

Cons

  • No option for ultrafast or superfast internet

Price

  • For 36- Mbps (most value for money) and a 12-month contract
    • £24 a month for the first 12 months and £42.47 after that

What should I look for when buying student broadband?

If you are a student and you are looking for the best broadband that suits your demand and is in your budget as well, then here are few pointers to consider for. You can compare various plans based on these pointers.

  • Length of contract – As a student, long contracts of 18 or 24 months will not be ideal for you as you might have to travel a lot or visit your families for an extended period on holidays. So, you need to find a plan that comes with a contract length of 9 or 12 months. You can also opt for monthly “pay as you go” rolling plans. This way you can avoid any cancellation charges while opting out of the plan.
  • A decent speed – Students need consistent speed and stability of the network. They will require a good amount of bandwidth for studying, coding, and uploading assignments and projects. Apart from that, entertainment like Netflix, gaming, and social media access should be fast and reliable. If you stay at a large student house, the bandwidth is critical as you will want to avoid any fall in speed when everyone gets online.
  • A wallet-friendly cost – Students have limited money to spend and they need to plan their expenditure properly. The same goes with the cost of broadband internet as well. You will need a broadband service provider that provides you with the cheapest but fast internet.

Which broadband providers offer student discounts?

There are a few broadband service providers in the UK that are considerate of students. As a result, they offer broadband internet plans specifically targeted to students. These plans or deals are either cheaper compared to a non-student deal or have a shorter contract length.

There are currently three companies offering student-friendly broadband plans that come with a considerable discount.

  • BT – With BT, you can get both a shorter contract and a cheaper price at the same time if you are a student. The contract length in of 9 or 12 months instead of the usual 24 months.
  • Hyperoptic- Hyperoptic has a monthly roll-on broadband deal for students instead of asking them to commit to a contract. They have also cut down on the monthly cost of the “pay as you go” plan for students.
  • Virgin Media – While Virgin Media is known for its high upfront fee on their usual broadband plans, they have special and affordable plans for the students. The length of the contract is of mere 30 days (instead of their regular 18-month) and the monthly cost is discounted as well.

Having said that, these are not the only choices you have for broadband deals if you are a student. While these three are offering special plans and discounts for students, they are in general premium service providers in the UK. You can also go for a broadband plan from NOW which has a low monthly cost on their regular plans and there is also the flexibility of a 1-month contract.

How do I set up a broadband connection and begin using WiFi?

If this is your first time buying a broadband internet plan, you need not panic a bit. It is fairly easy to install and start using WiFi. Just follow the instructions given below.

  • Visit the website of the broadband service provider that you have chosen after long consideration. Check their coverage map. All of them have one. Make sure your desired location falls on their map. If yes, then Sign up. Or else, look for another provider.
  • You might need to pass a credit check before signing the contract which should not be an issue if you have a good financial track record.
  • In case you are going to a new place for college or university, the provider will start setting up once you have signed up.
  • In case you already have a broadband connection and you are planning to switch to a new one, the new service provider will contact your old broadband provider and take care of the cancellation procedure for you. This is true for most service providers unless you are switching to a Virgin Media broadband plan. In that case, you will have to call the old provider yourself and tell them that you are switching.
  • The provider at times might need to send an engineer to set up the connection. This is most often not required at all.
  • Your WiFi router will get delivered via the mail. Once your broadband connection is installed and ready to use, you can hook the router to it and start using the WiFi immediately.

This multi-step short guide might sound complicated at first. But, in reality, it is very simple than you might think. Just think about getting a connection as soon as you can if you are moving to a new place for your studies. While switching providers, you should let them know a week before avoiding any downtime.

Which WiFi plan is best for students?

The best broadband deal for students in the UK is not any of the discounted or student-specific deals mentioned above. Rather, it is a regular plan from NOW BROADBAND.

  • The deal comes with a choice of a contract length of 12 months or short 30 days contract.
  • The setup cost is not too heavy on your budget and is pretty reasonable
  • NOW BROADBAND is an Open-reach broadband provider. That means they are available nearly everywhere in the UK.
  • You can switch to NOW broadband quite easily as they take care of the cancellation fuss.

The only problem with NOW Broadband is that you will need to be content with Superfast internet speeds only as they do not offer ultrafast fibre optics. If you are looking for fibre optic broadband plans, you can look at plans from Hyperoptic.

What broadband speed do students need?

This is a question that has a subjective answer. The speed needed by a student relies on many factors. These factors can be any or a combination of the following-

  • Number of students living in a particular household
  • How often the internet is needed
  • What is the primary reason for using the internet

As the number of users increases, the demand for data and speed increases proportionally. The speed and data requirement also depends on the average downloads and uploads carried out by the users.

On average, a broadband speed of 50 Mbps is more than enough if there are 2-3 heavy internet users. If the number increases, then a 100 Mbps speed will be great if the users are online all the time and you want to avoid your internet slowing down or dropping out.

There are a bunch of internet speed needs calculators available on the web where you can get a rough estimate of your requirement.

Can I use mobile broadband to get online more cheaply?

After all the research and browsing, if you find no broadband plans in the UK that fit into your budget or are not flexible enough in terms of contract length, then, you can look into mobile broadband plans as well. There are multiple mobile broadband options like using a dongle or a MiFi device that uses a data-only SIM card to provide you fast 4G internet.

You can also use your phone to tether and create a mobile hotspot to connect your other devices to the internet. With mobile broadband devices, you can save a lot of money and you don’t have to commit to a long-term contract as well.

The only problem with these devices is that they often come with a data usage cap. While unlimited data plans are available, they can be pricey. The network is not as stable as fixed-line broadband and the network outage is a common issue. Also, you won’t be able to get ultrafast internet speed like that on fibre optics broadband.

Should I look into broadband bundles?

You can purchase a broadband deal in the UK combined with other services like anytime calls or TV deals.

  • Virgin Media offers a broadband and TV deal
  • BT sells a broadband plan that comes with landline calling plans inclusive of the deal
  • BT also offers a broadband deal where you can bundle your mobile phone plan with your broadband plan. It will provide you a discount of £5 on your monthly phone bill if you are a BT Mobile customer and have purchased a broadband plan from them.

If you are a student, it is not wise to buy a broadband internet deal that comes bundled with other services. You probably don’t need landline calling minutes as you will always use you mobile phone to make calls. And TV is simply not for you as you will probably get all your entertainment juice from streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video that comes at a much lower monthly price.

I want to save as much money as possible, while still getting decent speeds. Which provider should I go with?

As I have already mentioned above, the best value for money broadband deal for the students is the one from NOW Broadband. The short-term contracts and competitive price points are the major points of attraction with this broadband plan from NOW.

However, if you choose to go with their monthly “pay as you go” scheme, you will need to pay a decent upfront or installation charge.

There are two variants of broadband to choose from. The cheaper one comes with an average download speed of 36 Mbps and the higher-end variant offers a maximum speed of 63 Mbps which is plenty for a group of 1-3 people.

I want fast fibre broadband. Which provider should I go With?

In terms of internet speed, Hyperoptic offers the best student-friendly broadband deals in the UK. You can get a mindboggling download speed of 1 Gbps which makes your job multifold faster compared to the standard broadband.

While speed is a major unique selling point, availability is an issue with Hyperoptic.  The reason is, Hyperoptic uses its own broadband network and it hasn’t reached everywhere in the UK. So, do not forget to check the coverage map before signing up. If Hyperoptic is not available at your location, then you can look at extremely fast home broadband options from Virgin Media.

I need a short-term month-to-month broadband contract. Which provider should I go with?

Several broadband service providers in the UK offer short-term month-to-month broadband contracts. Some of the major ones are-

  • NOW Broadband
  • Virgin Media
  • Hyperoptic

Out of these,  NOW has the lowest monthly charge when it comes to broadband deals for students. The plans are priced reasonably well. But the upfront fee is quite hefty and you might be tempted to sign a contract of 12 months.

The better option for month-to-month broadband is to use a deal with a cheap setup fee. You can opt for a MiFi device for that purpose. All you need to make sure is that your location gets a good 4G or 5G signal. This will prevent you from poor internet speed and network outages.

Also, make sure that the data cap on your Mobile broadband plan is optimum and meets your requirements. You can go for the unlimited data plan as well if your wallet allows you to do so.

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