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.
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Broadband is an essential utility for students, with universities uploading course content, sending out important department-wide emails and granting access to online library records. Academic calendars tend to run on different schedules than the usual 12 to 18-month broadband plans, making cancelling your broadband contract early a real risk, so what options are available for students?
Student broadband packages are available on a month-to-month basis and with nine-month contracts. These specialist services are tailor-made to fit within academic term times, with many including introductory offers just for students.
Students need reliably fast speeds to keep up with the needs of multiple housemates using multiple devices at once. For this reason, fibre optic connections tend to be the best. Here’s a rundown of the different options you’ll find.
ADSL broadband offers decent speeds, with your connection passing through copper wires to get into the home. It offers speeds averaging around 11Mbps which is perfectly adequate for light, everyday household use. If you’re living in a student house with just one or two other light users, this would be fine.
In a shared house, the superfast connection speed provided by a FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) connection is often a better choice. These range between 24 and 100Mbps. With superfast speeds, multiple residents can connect to broadband at once, without the delays or interference you might experience with ADSL.
Are you living in a large student house? You could benefit from the very fastest speeds like those provided by an ultrafast student broadband connection. These are higher than 100Mbps, ideal for heavy internet use. If you have multiple gamers in the house or want to watch HD films on separate devices, this would be the best speed.
A final option is a mobile broadband connection. This uses a mobile dongle device to provide a 4G or sometimes 5G internet connection. If you work remotely from the train, café, or anywhere else without regular coverage, it might be a good option – just bear in mind that speeds can be quite slow compared to wired home broadband. For students with high internet needs, it might not fit the bill.
Another factor to consider is whether you need an unlimited plan. Most student broadband deals offer unlimited data allowances, which is handy for heavy internet users.
What type of media do you need as a student? You’ll be able to choose from packages that include broadband, TV and phone services.
If you and all of your housemates use your own mobile phones to keep in touch, you probably don’t need a landline. Broadband-only packages like those from Virgin Media help you do away with the cost of line rental.
Another option is to bundle your broadband with TV services. Providers like Virgin Media and NOW Broadband bundle broadband and TV into student-friendly packages, and in the case of NOW the contract is rolling on a month-to-month basis.
While Virgin Media provides student broadband without a line rental, most other providers operate using the Openreach telephone network. This means they require an active phone line, so you’ll be able to choose from many different calling packages. Phone and broadband will be sold to you as a bundled service, but you can opt for either inclusive or pay-as-you-go calling.
When you have multiple residents accessing Wi-Fi in the same house, you’ll need a router to make sure all devices are supported. Almost all broadband deals throw in a free Wi-Fi router, so you shouldn’t have to worry about purchasing one for the household. However, some providers charge you a one-time fee so be sure to check the fine print.
A number of providers offer student broadband deals. For example, Virgin Media, Onestream and BT all offer nine-month contracts designed to cover the academic year. If you leave student accommodation during the summer months, these cover the term nicely. However, this type of contract is typically only available at the start of the new academic year.
Providers like Hyperoptic and NOW Broadband offer rolling student contracts for even more flexible terms. This gives you the option of keeping your broadband over the summer, or cutting it short before the term is over. Flexible 30-day contracts let you avoid early termination fees, although you may pay more each month than you would with a longer contract.
As for mobile broadband, Three currently is targeting students with its 4G wireless router, the Huwawei AI Cube. This enables a student household to connect up to 64 devices with a 4G SIM.
Yes, no-contract or rolling monthly deals like the ones we’ve mentioned above could be used as alternatives to the nine-month student packages. In addition to these, some providers have been known to offer short-term contracts lasting for three or six months, although these are harder to come by.
As you can see, there are quite a few choices when it comes to finding a student Wi-Fi deal, so how can you find the best fit? Here’s what to look for.
How long will you be living in your student accommodation? Do you need a nine-month contract or does a more flexible rolling option suit you?
Generally, the bigger your household, the more speed you’ll need. A house with one or two occupants could get by with mobile broadband or standard ADSL speeds between 11 and 35Mbps. Larger households including three or more occupants tend to require fibre optic connections over 35Mbps.
This is because multiple users at once will strain a slower network. You can do a postcode check to see what’s available in your area.
Do you want to include TV and entertainment as part of the package? Look for student broadband deals that include a set-top box for instant access to streamlining digital TV. If you’re sharing the cost between a larger household, it could work out to be quite cost-effective.
You’ll have more options with this type of deal if you opt for a 12-month minimum contract, but NOW TV does offer rolling broadband and TV packages under its NOW Broadband wing.
Are you going to divide the cost of your student broadband with your housemates or are you footing the bill alone? Consider both the monthly costs as well as any associated fees. Many student Wi-Fi packages include set-up, line rental and installation fees. If you opt for rolling contracts, the upfront fees are often higher, similar to a rental deposit.
It’s always a good idea to read reviews before you commit to any provider or plan. Do the reported speeds measure up to the provider’s promises? Where is the customer service centre based and is assistance available 24-7? The last thing you want is to lose your connection in the middle of exam season or on deadline day.
Does the plan come with any student-friendly benefits like retail discounts or a top-of-the-line router? Are there cash incentives for students?
Once you’ve compared broadband deals and think you know what you want, what comes next? To take the next step, you’ll need to sit down as a household and answer the following questions.
Most providers require a designated bill payer whose name will appear on the contract. Choose someone who will be responsible enough to pay the direct debit each month and manage any contact with the provider. Before you volunteer, be sure to discuss how you’ll handle any disagreements about usage or unpaid bills.
In most cases, yes you will need to pass a credit check. Keep in mind that a credit check for a broadband package won’t be subject to the same strict criteria as a loan or credit card. However, if you don’t have the best credit history you might need to consider broadband deals with no credit check instead.
Will you pay for the entire contract up-front, or will you split the cost monthly between everyone in the house? How will housemates transfer money to the main bill payer? Setting up a monthly direct debit tends to be easiest.
When you’re about to leave your current accommodation, do you want to extend your broadband on a rolling contract? If so, that can give you the flexibility to shop around for a new provider in the future without experiencing any interruption to your usual service.
This depends. If the package is specifically sold as a student broadband deal, the answer is yes. In fact, some providers will ask for proof of study as part of the sign-up process. However, if you are choosing a rolling package that’s merely student-friendly, you don’t necessarily have to be a student.
The broadband service is identical, whether you choose a student or regular broadband package. What sets student broadband deals apart is the flexibility in contract terms and occasional introductory offers at the start of term.
You’ll need the same equipment as you would for any other broadband deal. An active phone line is usually required, along with a wireless router. These should be provided by your broadband supplier, but if you have your own already you might be able to substitute it.
This will vary depending on whether your deal is limited or unlimited. While most providers offer unlimited packages, others do have a usage allowance. If you want to stream and download media, download large PDF files for school and engage in online gaming, you’ll burn through an allowance quite quickly.
Although there are usually packages available from major providers like Virgin Media and BT, smaller providers may not offer student deals throughout the year. This type of package is less common than others, and is often time-limited to the start of the new academic year. If you search for student deals in the summer, you may have better luck.
Although there are fewer options, student broadband deals could save you a great deal of money with their shorter contract lengths and flexibility. If you are renting student accommodation for nine months out of the year, you’d save in comparison to paying the early cancellation fees associated with a lengthier contract.
However, if you plan to stay in your accommodation year-round, you might be better off looking at unlimited broadband deals instead. A longer-term contract would give you more choice not only of speed and provider, but it would also be likely to include more perks from cashback bonuses to free setup and equipment.