Broadband Deals for Students
If you’re living in private accommodation during your time at university the chances are you will at some point find yourself on the lookout for broadband deals. As with any other utility bill it’s a good idea to shop around for broadband, because the prices vary wildly from company to company.
You can also find a range of student broadband deals at BroadbandforStudents.co.uk.
What do you need to get a broadband connection?
If you’re in an inner-city area that has cable facilities you do not need a working phone line. If you’re in an area where cable is not available however you will need a phone line in order to have a DSL connection installed.
Having a working phone line isn’t free – it usually costs around £12-13 per month, this is known as line rental. If you’re in a DSL-only area this is not an option, which can be a bit of a problem for students who are on a budget.
How much does setup cost?
It differs between the different broadband providers out there – some will allow you to have a free broadband setup whilst others will charge you a large fee. Be careful not to lock yourself into a long contract with a company who offer free setup – if you try to exit the contract prematurely they’re likely to bill you for the setup fee retrospectively.
Broadband setup costs vary from nothing to at all, to several hundred pounds. As well as looking at the monthly cost of your broadband connection, make sure you consider the initial cost of having it setup, too! It could well work out more cost effective to go with a company who offer free installation but slightly higher monthly fees, than to go with a company who offer cheap monthly prices but a high installation fee.
Download limits & speeds
If there are several of you sharing the connection it’ll be a good idea to get a fast broadband service with a large download cap. Going for a budget broadband service is fine if you’re living alone, but if there are three, four, five or more people living in a house using the same connection it will soon slow down to a snail’s pace. Things like online gaming, music downloads and TV streaming all eat up bandwidth – so to avoid a poor browsing experience make sure you’ve got a hefty connection.
Different companies offer different caps and limits when it comes to downloads. Sometimes you’ll have no choice but to go with a company who offer a very low cap (if you haven’t got access to cable, for example). In situations like this you need to communicate to your house mates that there’s a limit in place and it mustn’t be breached, going over download limits can land you with charges and fines, and some companies may even cut you off if you go over the limit consistently.
Don’t tie yourself into a contract
A lot of broadband companies now enforce minimum contracts. This is a problem for students who only tend to live in a certain house or room for nine months of the year (during semesters). There’s little point taking out a broadband contract for 24 months if you know you won’t be around to see the contract out, the fact is broadband companies won’t just wave you goodbye, they’ll make you pay your way out of the contract early.
Finding a broadband supplier
There are lots of companies out there who offer broadband and internet connections. Take a look at the following price comparison sites to see which providers operate in your area, and what services they offer:
Top tip for avoiding contracts and line rental – get a dongle!
Most students don’t realise that there’s an alternative to a DSL connection, or a cable connection. Have you thought about investing in a broadband dongle? Most of the main mobile phone networks now do these, and they come in a variety of price brackets. There are pay as you go dongles out there, and also contract dongles where you can burn through as much data as you like within any given month. Here are some of the reasons you should consider a dongle:
- Take it with you everywhere you go, providing you can get a signal you’ll be able to get online!
- No line rental is required like it is with DSL
- If there’s a contract period that’s not a problem because you can take the dongle with you anywhere you go
- Dongles often work out cheaper than fixed internet connections
- Use it on any device you own that has a USB port
Some students may also want to look into tethering their smartphones – this is also a good way to get online. Just remember that most mobile phone networks charge a monthly premium to allow you to connect your phone to your computer to tether the internet – and they may also charge you for the data that you use.
Having the internet is a necessity for students, it’s really important to have it so you can research essays online, buy course materials online and so on. Don’t dive in feet first when looking for broadband though because you could end up locked into a contract that you’ll have to buy your way out of – which is never cheap! A dongle is a great way to save money and have a more flexible internet solution that you can use where ever you go.
Saving money on dongles & fixed connections
One of the best ways to save money on a dongle, and on a fixed internet connection is to sign up with the internet supplier through a cash back website. By signing up through Quidco or Topcashback you can save a lot of money – which is always handy!
Another top tip is to seek internet from your mobile phone supplier, they will often do a good deal for existing customers who wish to take broadband or a dongle with them.