This table has been sorted to display the fastest average* speed deals first.
|Product name||Contract length||Download limit||Download speed*||Monthly cost|
|John Lewis Unlimited Broadband with Evening & Weekend Calls||12 months||Unlimited||10Mb||£19 /month|
|Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Broadband & Phone Line||18 months||Unlimited||36Mb||£22.99 /month|
|SSE Unlimited Fibre and Line Rental Only||18 months||Unlimited||35Mb||£23 /month|
|Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra & Phone Line||18 months||Unlimited||66Mb||£24.99 /month|
|John Lewis Fibre Broadband with Evening & Weekend Calls||12 months||Unlimited||36Mb||£26 /month|
|SSE Unlimited Fibre Plus and Line Rental Only||18 months||Unlimited||63Mb||£26 /month|
|Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Broadband with Evening, Weekend UK & Mobile Calls||18 months||Unlimited||36Mb||£27.99 /month|
|Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Broadband with Unlimited UK & Mobile Calls||18 months||Unlimited||36Mb||£31.99 /month|
This table has been limited to display a maximum of 10 deals, sorted by the highest download speed 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 broadband deals, no upfront cost can be a very attractive incentive for signing up. If your financial circumstances would benefit from not paying anything for a month or two, the promise of broadband with no upfront fee could deliver the motivation to switch to a new provider.
Broadband no upfront payment deals are periodically offered by internet service providers (ISPs), but it’s up to them to decide which free installation broadband package they’re willing to offer. Below, we consider the types of broadband no upfront payment can secure.
Standard broadband (also known as ADSL) differs from fibre broadband because it travels along traditional copper cables instead of fibre optic ones. This will always be the cheapest broadband deal offered by any provider, and ADSL broadband with no upfront payments will enable you to get online affordably.
FTTC acknowledges the fact that fibre wires extend up to your nearest street cabinet, whereupon they revert back to traditional copper cabling into your home. FTTC is generally marketed as ‘fibre’, with several speed options starting around 36Mbps and extending as high as 100Mbps.
FTTP is also known as Fibre to the Home, or simply full fibre. This type of broadband is exclusively carried along fibre cables, without relying on copper phone lines at any stage. It’s the only type of broadband you can access without needing a working phone line, while it also delivers the best speeds.
Currently, less than one in six UK households can receive full fibre broadband, with Virgin Media offering the most extensive coverage. Free installation broadband can reduce the overall cost of FTTP, and Gigaclear presently offers free installation (though other costs may apply). However, this relatively youthful company only covers a small part of the UK, and the installation process is more complex than usual.
At the time of writing, these are the setup prices quoted by the major ISPs. It’s worth noting that all providers will charge extra for a new phone line to be installed.
Currently, BT has no mention of set up costs on its site, but every new customer will need to pay £9.99 towards a Wi-Fi router.
Virgin Media offers three types of fibre optic broadband at different speeds, all with the same £35 activation fee. The company also lists an equipment activation cost of up to £99.95 per item on its website, so check whether this (and a £5 home delivery charge) will be levied.
At present, TalkTalk doesn’t impose any set up fees on its broadband deals.
Plusnet is known for good value, often running deals that waive set-up fees or which provide cashback. The company presently charges a set-up fee of between £5 and £50 depending on your plan, with the latter levied on standard broadband with no annual contract.
NOW Broadband takes a different approach with its deals, often bundling in free TV. Currently there are no setup fees charged, but there is a £9.99 delivery charge for the router, whether you sign up to a contract or no-contract broadband service.
Vodafone customers essentially enjoy free broadband for their first month, with no fee for the Wi-Fi hub.
John Lewis Broadband is unique among other suppliers for having fixed prices. There are currently no set up fees or router costs.
If a supplier doesn’t charge a setup fee or postage and packaging, you’ll effectively enjoy free broadband until the first monthly bill is due. However, subsequent costs may outweigh the absence of initial fees, so don’t base your judgement on this alone.
In some cases, waived setup fees may be stealthily recouped elsewhere, through higher monthly costs or a longer contract. Pay close attention to the small print of your plan to determine how strong its value really is.
Broadband at no upfront cost can sometimes be combined with different services like TV packages, or mobile phone contracts. Broadband and TV deals with no upfront costs are rare, but you might be able to find a provider willing to bundle in TV alongside broadband with no upfront payments.
Until several years ago, the term ‘free’ broadband was used by providers to disguise the fact this cost was being incorporated into line rental. Ofcom rules now prevent ISPs from doing this.
As explained in the previous section, broadband with no upfront costs shouldn’t impose stealth charges elsewhere. The ISP should provide a normal service with a router delivered to your door. Ensure you don’t have to pay extra for postage and packaging. A new phone line installation could also cost as much as £140.
Depending on your provider, you could combine your broadband deal with a TV package and still enjoy paying no upfront fees. Virgin Media, Sky, BT and TalkTalk are among the providers who deliver TV and broadband deals, and they periodically promote offers that do away with set up costs.
ISPs use these terms interchangeably, though setup technically refers to the process of creating a new customer account and supplying a router and microfilters. Installation generally refers to having a phone line installed as part of activating broadband. Setup costs are more commonly discounted, while installation is rarely free unless it’s from a specialised provider like Gigaclear.
Not all providers require postage and packaging, but those that do generally won’t treat this as part of a setup fee.
Offers come out every few months, especially during peak sale times like January and July. Depending when your current broadband contract ends, you may be able to take advantage of these seasonal offers. Bear in mind it can take several weeks to make a switch, so advanced planning could pay dividends.
Most ISPs require one, but a few may be willing to sign up a new customer without checking their credit history. We recently published a guide to which companies offer broadband without a credit check.