|Product name||Contract length||Download limit||Download speed*||Monthly cost|
|Direct Save Telecom Unlimited Broadband||12 months||Unlimited||11Mb||£18.95 /month|
|John Lewis Unlimited Broadband with Evening & Weekend Calls||12 months||Unlimited||10Mb||£19 /month|
|Direct Save Telecom Unlimited Fibre Broadband 35Mb||12 months||Unlimited||35Mb||£24.95 /month|
|John Lewis Fibre Broadband with Evening & Weekend Calls||12 months||Unlimited||36Mb||£26 /month|
|Direct Save Telecom Unlimited Fibre Broadband 35Mb Evening and Weekend Calls||12 months||Unlimited||35Mb||£27.95 /month|
|Direct Save Telecom Unlimited Fibre Broadband 63Mb||12 months||Unlimited||63Mb||£27.95 /month|
|Direct Save Telecom Unlimited Broadband Evening and Weekend Calls||12 months||Unlimited||11Mb||£29.95 /month|
|John Lewis Fibre Extra Broadband with Evening & Weekend Calls||12 months||Unlimited||66Mb||£30 /month|
This table has been limited to display a maximum of 10 deals, sorted by the lowest monthly price first.
*The average download speed displayed in Mb is the speed available to 50% of customers with this product during peak time (between 8pm and 10pm). The actual speed you will get depends on a variety of factors such as your cabling, your area, how far you are from the telephone exchange as well as time of day. The majority of providers will tell you the speed you will likely receive when you begin your online sign up — this may differ from the average speed displayed on our table.
The deals available at your postcode are subject to local availability. The provider will confirm availability for your line.
Money services are provided at no cost to you, but we may receive a commission from the companies we refer you to.
When it comes to choosing a broadband contract, every household has its own needs. For many, committing to a long broadband contract saves money, yet committing for too long could mean missing out on better deals elsewhere. That is why many people opt for a 12-month broadband contract, which is long enough to save money but leaves other options open.
Here are some things to consider when comparing year-long broadband deals:
Price is important for many people, but it’s important to factor in not just the monthly fee but also any additional costs. Some internet service providers (ISPs) charge setup fees, and customers bundling broadband with phone and/or entertainment packages should make sure they’re not spending more than they would elsewhere – even if the basic broadband is cheaper. Line rental, installation and router costs can all add to the total cost.
In other cases, download speed is the customer’s priority. Download speeds affect most online activity, from browsing to streaming. ISPs often advertise them as the ‘average speed’ of a broadband deal.
Upload speeds indicate how quickly the user can despatch data to the internet, for things like email and uploading videos. Upload speeds are often hidden in the small print of broadband ads and contracts.
Speeds are important to anyone who uses the internet for more than light browsing and streaming, and for multi-person households. Fibre broadband services offer the highest speeds, but they also cost more than ‘standard broadband’ delivered via ADSL.
Most broadband plans now offer unlimited downloads, and while providers are allowed to manage the traffic on their network for a few very specific reasons, this should not happen often.
It is sensible to look for a provider offering truly unlimited broadband, with no traffic management, to avoid any extra charges or service quality changes. This is particularly true for larger households where multiple people go online at the same time, and for keen gamers and streamers of HD/4K content.
Even the best broadband providers sometimes hit snags, and it’s important to know how each provider would respond to potential issues. Checking online reviews to see how each provider ranks for both connection quality and customer service can be enlightening – and in some cases it may save a lot of headaches down the line.
Ofcom also provides regular reports on UK broadband providers.
Some 12-month broadband deals come with extra features and perks, like internet security software and discounted calling plans. These are only worth pursuing if they are useful. Alternatively, many 12-month broadband plans let customers bundle their internet with mobile, TV and other services. This can save money, but again, that’s only true if the services are actually used.
At time of writing (November 2020) several UK broadband providers sell 12-month deals, and a comparison tool can be useful to see what 12-month broadband deals are available each month.
Currently, providers offering 12-month broadband deals include:
Direct Save Telecom
John Lewis Broadband (which is provided by Plusnet)
Post Office Broadband
Vodafone (mobile Wi-Fi SIMs)
Some providers offer 12-month deals for specific groups; the BT broadband 12-month contract for new customers is currently restricted to students. However, providers frequently change their offerings, so it’s entirely possible that another BT 12-month contract will be available soon.
There are three main kinds of broadband offered by UK providers. These are ADSL, which uses copper telephone wires, and two types of fibre broadband. Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) has a fibre connection up to the cabinet and then copper wire from the cabinet to the home, whereas Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) is a full fibre connection.
At time of writing (November 2020), FTTC connections are quite widespread with FTTP connections much less so. However, the UK government is currently rolling out a programme to make ‘gigabit-capable’ connections available throughout the UK. Fibre of all types is becoming more common.
ADSL is available almost everywhere, but as fibre takes over, a few providers are beginning to withdraw their ADSL services – or at least to advertise them less openly.
Mobile broadband, which uses the 4G/5G mobile network, is another option available on 12-month broadband deals. It tends to be slower and more expensive than the fixed-line alternatives.
The broadband speed needed by a household depends on its internet use. Not everyone needs ultrafast broadband, but some will be frustrated by ADSL. Prices increase with higher speeds, but few things in life are as frustrating as slow broadband, so it pays to be realistic about the speeds required.
Often referred to as ‘standard broadband’, ADSL offers average download speeds in the region of 11Mbps. That’s fine for light use in small households, but not for households where multiple people are online at the same time. It’s absolutely too slow for gamers and people who enjoy streaming HD/UHD content – they need fibre.
Most standard fibre deals offer download speeds ranging from 36Mbps to 70Mbps. These speeds suit most average-sized UK households – those who use the internet for activities like browsing, streaming and emailing.
Anything higher than superfast is known as ultrafast. These speeds are only possible on a fibre connection, and would be best for heavy internet users and large households who are often online at the same time.
The best broadband deal will vary by household, though different providers have different USPs to tempt new customers. The following providers are among those that offer 12-month contracts:
John Lewis Broadband is provided by Plusnet, notable for its use of fixed prices. This means customers pay the same regardless of location, which is not true of all ISPs.
NOW Broadband allows customers to combine TV, phone and broadband into one 12-month contract. This is a value for money option for anyone wanting to add an entertainment package to their broadband deal.
Plusnet, a sister company of BT, is known for customer service and offers incentives like cashback. Some of Plusnet’s deals also do away with set-up costs, in keeping with other ISPs.
A well-known high street name, the Post Office offers flexible ways to pay (cash, debit card, in-store and cheque). That makes it a great choice for anyone who prefers not to use direct debit.
In line with the UK government’s commitment to bring a ‘gigabit capable’ broadband connection to every UK home, fibre connections are currently being rolled-out nationwide. FTTC connections are already available in most areas, while FTTP connections are becoming more common. This expansion is happening rapidly, and fibre will soon become the standard for home broadband across the UK.
Most major broadband providers offer a number of add-ons and extras with their broadband packages, including TV bundles. A good TV bundle combined with a decent broadband connection gives the consumer access to a vast selection of premium TV channels, on-demand content, rewinding and recording functions, and more.
Apart from Virgin Media, which uses its own cable network, and a few FTTP providers like Hyperoptic, other broadband connections tend to require a traditional landline. That’s why most providers offer calling plans alongside their broadband deals. However, some ISPs like Sky are now offering dedicated broadband-only fibre connections which don’t require a phone line. This is thanks to a new service called SOGEA, offered by Openreach to ISPs using their fibre broadband infrastructure.
Some providers bundle in line rental free with a 12-month broadband deal. This gives customers the option to use a standard calling plan, or choose a broader plan with extras like international calling. Other ISPs are also mobile network operators. They tend to offer packages that combine broadband and mobile services. It’s sometimes possible to bundle broadband, mobile, landline and TV plans together for major savings; this is known as quad-play.
The length of a contract will also determine the penalties payable if a customer decides to cancel that broadband contract early.
Broadband plans come with cancellation charges written into the contract. Usually this is a set price, which is multiplied by the amount of time left on the contract at the point of cancellation. For a 12-month broadband deal, even if the customer cancels in month two, the fee payable is the cancellation fee multiplied by ten (the number of months remaining). Cancelling a 24-month plan in the same way would clearly cost much more.
This is something customers should consider if they plan to move home within the next couple of years.
One-year broadband contracts offer more stability than monthly rolling contracts, and more flexibility than standard contracts of 18 to 24 months. This makes a broadband 12-month contract a great middleweight option.
A 12-month broadband contract can also be an ideal choice for students, who know they will need broadband in their accommodation for at least a year, but are likely to be moving afterwards.