What is student broadband?
It works like regular broadband but usually offers more generous download limits and flexibility at a lower cost than most standard packages.
Student broadband is specifically designed to meet the needs of students, from the connectivity speed to the length of your contract.
What do you need to get online?
You need several things in place before you can get online:
An active phone line: ADSL is the most widely available type of broadband and requires an active phone line to supply your connection. Your broadband company or your letting agent can check if you have a phone line.
Your supplier may charge a call-out fee if your phone line needs activating, which can range between £20 and £130.
A wireless router: This turns your phone line internet connection into radio signals so that you can connect multiple wireless devices to your broadband at the same time.
Your provider will supply a router with your chosen package and any extra cost will be outlined in your contract.
Which broadband package is best for you?
This will depend on several things:
How much data you need: Think about how often you use the internet and how much data you access. This is known as your data allowance and it will affect which package you choose.
The download speed you need: You will also need to consider your speed requirements, particularly if you plan on using your broadband to watch films or download music.
Cost: You could save money by getting broadband without a phone, but you will still need to pay for a phone line to supply your connection. This is known as line rental and is included in the cost of most broadband packages.
Alternatively, you could choose a mobile broadband package if you know your data usage is going to be minimal.
What about broadband bundles?
Bundling your broadband, landline and TV together could also save you money but only if you need all of the different services.
Opting for an unlimited download allowance could also save you money in the long run, as you will not face restrictions or additional charges for exceeding your limit.
What speed will you need?
The broadband speed you need will depend on:
How you use your broadband: You will need a different broadband speed depending on whether you plan to use your internet for checking emails and writing essays, or streaming music and online gaming.
If you regularly download or stream media content, you should opt for a higher speed to prevent buffering.
How many people share the connection: If you have lots of housemates your broadband connection will be slower when all of you are online. Most of you will probably have several devices connected at once which will also slow down your connection.
A big household will need faster broadband, so consider spending a bit more on your package to avoid slow connectivity during peak times.
Why not try superfast fibre broadband?
If it is available where you live, you may want to consider fibre optic broadband.
It reduces the likelihood of delays when several devices are connected at once by providing ultra-fast download speeds and a reliable connection.
While this is usually more expensive than standard broadband packages, sharing the cost between you and your housemates will make the high-speed service more affordable.
How long will your contract last?
This is designed to cover the academic year so you only pay for your broadband during term time and avoid unnecessary costs while you are back home.
A shorter contract term could be the best option if you spend time away from your accommodation during the summer, but longer contracts could be more cost effective if you plan to spend more than 12 months in one student house.
When should you sort your broadband?
Most broadband companies only make their introductory offers and reduced length contracts available between July and October, so they run for the academic year.
You need to allow enough time for your service to be activated by the time you need it, and installation and setup will take a minimum of two weeks.
What happens next?
Once you have chosen the right package for you, think about:
How you plan to pay: Broadband companies will offer a number of payment facilities, so consider whether you want to pay for the service in full or if you would prefer to split the cost monthly.
Whose name will be on the contract: Most suppliers only allow for one named person on the account. Some companies may allow for you and your housemates to be named on your contract, so check this before you decide who the named account holder should be.
Renewing your contract: When the time comes for you to leave your current accommodation, you might consider extending your broadband on a monthly rolling contract. This gives you more flexibility to switch supplier without losing your service.
Make sure you shop around to get the best student broadband deals by going to our comparison page.
Student broadband FAQs
Do I need to be a student to get student broadband?
Yes, you must be a current UK student to be eligible. Some providers will ask for proof of study so check the terms of the offer before signing up.
Will my university supply broadband?
Most universities supply internet access in halls of residence and on campus. If you live in a student house you will need to set up your own broadband.
Can I get student broadband as a bundle with TV and phone?
Yes, you will be able to access all the usual bundles available under a standard broadband contract.