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The top broadband boosting need-to-knows

Don’t believe the hype. While UK broadband speeds average 7.6Mb/s, many pay for packages offering triple this, but don’t get anywhere near it. Time to sort it…

1. Check broadband speed. New ad rules require ‘up to’ speeds, but just mean a meagre 10% need to get that. So check your broadband speed* then read on to see if one promises less, costs less, but delivers the same.

2. How to boost your broadband speed. Many small things help. 1. Use a shorter cable from phone point to router. 2. Replace microfilters. 3. Plug in, don’t wi-fi, for big downloads. 4. Consider a signal-boosting gadget for your phone socket. Much more in the Boost Broadband Speeds guide.

3. Before you switch broadband… 1. Been with provider less than a year? Check leaving doesn’t breach contract. 2. Check neighbours’ speeds for your new provider with StreetStats*. 3. Sadly, most cheap broadband deals are only available to 80% of the UK. Use our Cheapest Broadband For Me tool to see what’s available where you are.

4. NEW! £6/mth broadband + £25 set up. This special link gets Primus* at £5.99/mth + £25 set up, with 10GB monthly downloads and speeds ‘up to’ 14Mb. For 50p/mth more, BT-owned Plusnet* has good feedback and while its download limit’s also 10GB, it’s unlimited from midnight-8am — great for scheduling films/games. See our Cheap Broadband guide.

5. New cheapest line rental £6.29/mth. If you only use a landline for broadband, paying line rental’s frustrating. So go cheap. Primus has cut its Line Rental Saver* deal to £6.29/mth. To add in inclusive evening & weekend calls, its Home Phone Saver* is £7.99/mth. Alternatively, BT’s Line Rental Saver* is £129/year upfront (£10.75/mth). See Cheap Home Phones.

6. Urgent. Cheap broadband AND line rental £9/mth all-in. Sign up for TalkTalk’s Essentials package* by 11.59pm tonight (Wed) and it’s half price for 12 mths (£3.25/mth), plus you get a £50 Tesco voucher, and line rental is £114 for a year upfront. Factor the voucher as cash and it averages £8.58/mth on a 12mth contract. See TalkTalk Essentials deal & Cheap Broadband.

7. Cheapest unlimited downloads £15/mth + £26 set-up. Watch lots of iPlayer & Netflix, use Spotify, or download games and it’s easy to bust limits and pay penalties up to £5/GB. The cheapest unlimited download deal is O2* at £15.25/mth (much cheaper for O2 mobile customers) with speeds ‘up to’ 20Mb. See our Cheap Broadband guide.

8. Cheapest fast fibre optic broadband £21.49/mth + £55 set-up. The cheapest’s Plusnet’s Extra Fibre* £21.49/mth package with a big 120GB download limit (unlimited midnight to 8am). Speed is ‘up to’ 38Mb, and fibre optic is often consistently faster than normal. See Cheap Broadband.

9. Free phone line installation (normally up to £130). Broadband usually needs a landline, which can cost up to £130 to install. Until 20 May the Post Office* has no-cost, no-contract landline connection. You could get it then switch, though it has good packages. See Free line installation.

10. Free antivirus software and office software. Antivirus is crucial. Without it, if you’re defrauded via PC, a bank could argue negligence and not cover you. Yet Free Antivirus Programs offer just as much protection as paid-for services. Plus, while you’re at it, kit out your PC with Free Office Software incl lots of design/photo programs.

11. Haggle to cut costs. Here are 11 tips for the price of 10. If you can’t (or don’t want to) switch, then haggle. In our recent poll, 75% of TalkTalk customers and 71% of O2 customers negotiated a better deal. Politely tell it you want a better deal and will ditch it if not.

 

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