Did you know that you could be paying over the odds for your broadband? Or that it’s even possible to haggle your way into a better deal? Well, both of those statements are true, which is why we have put together this comprehensive guide to help you ensure that you’re getting the best service and value for your money.
Making broadband simple
We’re all bombarded with advertisements shouting about the latest, greatest and apparently cheapest broadband deals, however the true cost of these packages really becomes clear once special time-sensitive offers have expired. Plus, broadband providers also take every opportunity to increase their prices, which means that you could quickly go from having a good deal to paying far too much for your service.
If your current deal is ending, your bill has suddenly increased significantly, or a promotional offer has expired, we’re here with our top tips to help you save some money. Don’t forget, if you are struggling to make ends meet, the Money Helper  and Citizen’s Advice  can offer practical advice and support that will ease some of the pressure on your finances and well-being.
Could switching providers help you get a better broadband deal?
From utilities to mobile phones, many of us have switched providers in search of a better deal for something we use every day. Broadband services are no different and switching to a new provider could mean that you receive a better service at a lower price. This is something that is simple to do if you are out of contract with your current provider, however, if you are mid-contract you will likely be required to pay an exit fee or buy yourself out by paying the outstanding amount.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re considering switching broadband providers.
What do you want and need from your broadband service?
There are various different types of broadband available, including ADSL and fibre. Fibre broadband is also often called superfast broadband and as the name suggests, it can offer incredibly fast speeds. While fibre broadband is more expensive, if you enjoy gaming or watch a lot of streaming services, it may well be worth the investment.
Ofcom  rules mean that providers must base the average speed they advertise on that which is available to at least half of their customers during peak times. Most families will find that a speed of 34Mb will suffice within a household where multiple devices are generally used at the same time.
You will also need to consider whether you want limited or unlimited data. The majority of broadband deals will come with unlimited data, which means you are free to use the internet as frequently as you want without needing to keep an eye on your data usage. There will be extra costs incurred for exceeding your data limit, which can be very costly and is why unlimited packages are better suited to most consumers.
Which services are available where you live?
The broadband services available can vary significantly from postcode to postcode, however, comparison websites like Free Price Compare  can help you to understand exactly which services are available where you live.
Do you want a TV and/or phone package with your broadband?
Many broadband providers also have a selection of bundles, which may include TV channels and phone calls. As most broadband services require an active phone line, it may well be worth considering a phone package alongside your chosen broadband solution.
In terms of TV packages, whether you want to invest in a bundle will depend mostly on the types of TV channels you like to watch. If you find that you mainly watch Freeview channels or subscribe to one or more services like Amazon Prime or Netflix, you might not get the most value from a TV and broadband package.
How long do you want your contract to last?
Broadband contracts typically run for between 12 and 24 months, however, there are also rolling contracts available which can be a good way to try out a new provider. Having a calculator on hand when you’re searching for deals can be beneficial to accurately determine how much a specific deal will cost you every month over the course of your contracted term.
Is switching providers the only way to get a better broadband deal?
The short answer is: no! It is also possible to haggle with your current provider to secure yourself the best broadband deal in the UK. It is perfectly normal to feel a bit apprehensive about haggling with your broadband provider, but it is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you aren’t paying more for your service than you need to.
It is worth noting here that Virgin, Sky and TalkTalk all appear in the list of the top 10 service companies worth haggling with, as compiled by MoneySavingExpert . The rate of success consumers had when negotiating with these providers sat at 83%, 81% and 91% respectively.
A survey has found that on average, broadband customers managed to reduce their bills by 20% which amounts to a saving of around £85 per year . Customers looking to secure the best broadband TV deal managed to secure even more impressive savings, reducing their annual bill by an average of £128. Plus, the same research indicates that on average more than 85%  of consumers who haggled with their broadband provider were offered an incentive or a discount to stay.
Speaking of incentives, there are a number of deals that can be secured by haggling with your existing provider, including free equipment upgrades, enhanced landline services, or the opportunity to continue paying the same fee but for an upgraded package deal with more services.
So, if you’re interested in seeing what your broadband provider can do for you with a bit of negotiating, here are some top tips.
1. Be prepared
Broadband providers have heard it all, which is why you are far more likely to successfully secure a better deal if you are armed with the right facts. It is a good idea to spend a bit of time comparing broadband deals from rival providers, which is something that Free Price Compare can help you with.
2. Make a strong case
There are numerous factors that can help you to successfully negotiate with your provider, including the length of time you have been using their services and whether you have experienced any problems with your service in the past. Even conducting a simple broadband speed test  before you call could make all the difference, particularly if you are experiencing speeds that are markedly lower than those advertised by your provider.
Don’t forget, if you have multiple services from the same provider, they likely aren’t going to want to lose your custom if they can avoid it.
3. Try another team
If the customer service team at your provider isn’t offering you the deal you want, ask to be redirected to the retention team. You will have to make your case again, however, they are often in a position to offer much better deals and discounts.
4. Always double-check the terms
It is important to pay close attention to the new deal you are being offered, which may lock you into a longer contract, for example. Your provider may start by offering upgrades to all or part of your service, but if you are specifically looking for a reduced price don’t be afraid to stand your ground.
5. Use silence to your advantage
Did you know that staying silent is a tried and tested sales technique? By using silence, providers want to encourage you to fill the awkward pause by agreeing to the first offer they have made. Instead, try using this technique yourself to encourage your provider to give you an even better offer.
6. Step away
If your haggling isn’t getting you anywhere, it is perfectly acceptable to step away for a few days and then try again. If your provider still isn’t offering you what you want the second time around, it might be the time to start looking at switching to another provider.
Key takeaway: the best broadband deal gives you everything you need
We all want to get the best value for money, which is why it is important to remember that your ideal broadband deal may not be the fastest or cheapest around. It also may not come with the most added extras.
So, rather than going in with a “more is more” mindset, it will be advantageous to ensure you approach the task with a solid understanding of what you really need. If you’re a single person who only uses the internet to browse social media, a standard package at a really low price is likely to provide you with the best value for money. But if you have a family who all want to use different devices at the same time, you should be focusing on securing a good deal with fast speeds and unlimited data.
Don’t forget that not all broadband services are available in every area, so although recommendations from friends and family members can be helpful, their favourite provider may not be able to offer the same service where you live.
What to look for when comparing broadband deals
When you’re looking for your perfect broadband package, there are several key things to keep in mind.
Cost per month
The monthly cost is clearly one of the most important considerations you will need to make, which will typically run for a set duration and may increase sharply thereafter.
Speed and data
Compare the speeds available from each potential provider in your local area to ensure that you are looking at deals that are suitable for your needs. If you choose a deal based solely on price but it doesn’t offer you the speeds and data capacity you need, it won’t provide you with the best value for money.
Don’t overlook setup costs. Some providers will include these fees within the overall price of the deal they are offering, however, many providers will charge extra fees for things like the delivery of your router and the activation of your new phone and broadband line.
Many providers will run special offers to entice new customers to sign up. Don’t be distracted by these offerings and instead focus on what you’re actually getting for your money. If you do decide that a provider has the right deal for you, the signup gift cards, cash back, or free gifts available to you will simply be the added bonus they are supposed to be.
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