Since its introduction to the masses more than a decade ago, broadband has exploded in popularity and there are now an incredible number of different providers and packages offering cheap and - for the most part - reliable access.
However, when it comes to broadband minimum terms normally apply with the customer obliged to sign up for at least 12 months. For the really competitive deals there may even be a 24 month tie-in.
While this isn't a problem if you're happy to lock in for a longer term, and indeed it's a really good way to cut down what you pay; if you know that you will only be in your accommodation for a short period of time then it's going to cause issue.
Perhaps you are visiting from overseas, are a student, or are planning another house move; these are all circumstances where committing to a longer term contract is impossible.
But there are now a whole range of short term broadband deals, specifically designed for individuals who are unlikely to be living in one place for more than a few months. We take a look at the best way to get a temporary broadband connection and what factors to consider on your search for the best deal possible.
How long do I need to sign up to a short term broadband contract for?
If you are a student you may want access to broadband for most of the year but with a long summer break, a 12 month contract means paying for something you won't be using for three months or more.
Some providers offer nine month contracts which are perfect if you know you will be staying in one place for most of the year.
However, if you are looking for something for even less time, there's lots of short term contract broadband deals from just one month. You'll generally have the option to take these out on a rolling basis.
You can also find short term broadband packages for three or six months.
Which is the best broadband provider for a short contract?
This is a common question but the answer depends on how long you can tie in for and what features are the most important to you.
Opting for a mobile broadband package will get you some of the best short contract broadband deals with a minimum period of just one month. However, there could be a fairly restrictive download limit which means if you are a heavy user, it could work out very expensive. You'll also need to use a dongle to access the net rather than a wireless hub or router.
It's therefore vital that you consider your usage patterns when working out the likely cost; paying for a more inclusive short contract broadband package may look more costly at first but save you money in the end.
If you compare short term broadband deals you will be able to identify the provider offering the deal which will work out the most cost-effective for you.
What things to consider when carrying out a short term broadband comparison?
Although download limits are a very important consideration, they are not the only thing you need to factor in.
When you make your short term broadband plans, consider whether you are willing to invest in a line rental. Short term broadband and line rental deals can be found; you aren't just limited to mobile broadband providers. The set-up costs may be more expensive but for a good download limit you may find the monthly cost is lower.
When you are looking for the right broadband minimum term conditions may be a very important factor but don't sacrifice quality. If your download speed is slow and unresponsive you will end up frustrated and regretting your decision. The speed you need depends on what you plan on using the internet for; gaming and media streaming will require a bigger download limit as well as a faster speed, ideally 30Mb or more. Remember that the speeds advertised are normally the maximum and that a lot of customers won't actually achieve this so don't pick one where the maximum speed is your minimum requirement! A broadband speed test and postcode check should help you see which deals are available where you live.
Finally, although there are many short term options home broadband may actually work out cheaper with a 12 month contract.
Depending on your circumstances, the cost of having a 12 month contract - and the benefits such as a free router and installation - may be significantly cheaper even if you have to pay a penalty for cutting it short.
If you think you will need broadband for a significant part of the year, check with the provider about what would happen if you needed to cut it short. You might find that a 12 month contract is viable after all even when the cancellation cost is factored into the equation.