Black Friday is a relatively recent import from America and seemed to come out of nowhere. The day after the U.S. Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday has been heralded as the beginning of the Christmas season and one of the busiest shopping days in the calendar. Brits have taken Black Friday and the following Cyber Monday to heart and now regard it as prime time to bag a bargain.
But retailers aren’t the only ones offering deep discounts or special offers on Black Friday. Many broadband suppliers want in on the action too.
How to buy the best broadband deal
Before we look at how to shop for broadband deals on Black Friday, let’s delve into some general tips you should know before buying any broadband service.
How do I get broadband?
Getting broadband is simple. After selecting a deal you’ll have to sign up with the internet service provider (ISP) at which point they will check whether your home can receive the desired service, and supply an estimated speed. Once availability is confirmed you’ll need to enter some personal details, and pay for any up-front costs.
Once your application is received it will typically take around 14 days for the service to be activated, but it can be a little longer if engineer work is required. The ISP will handle all arrangements, including the switch from an old provider if you already have broadband.
Do I need unlimited broadband?
In general unlimited broadband is the best option for most people. Unlimited broadband means you do not need to worry about how often you’re using the internet. Limited deals can be cheap, but are only suitable for small households where it’s mainly going to be used for undemanding tasks like web browsing and email, as exceeding the cap can be expensive. If there’s more than two people or you’re planning on download lots of files, playing games or streaming video and music then unlimited is always recommended.
What is line rental?
Line rental is the charge for using the phone line which is required for most broadband services. Until fairly recently line rental was separate from the cost of the broadband, but now the price you see for a broadband and phone line package always includes both.
Line rental is usually charged on a monthly basis, though some providers do have the option to pay in advance and receive a discount.
Can I get broadband without a phone or line rental?
The majority of broadband deals require an active telephone line. The exception to this rule is Virgin Media, which operates its own network using a different technology that does not rely on the Openreach (BT) network. The catch is that you must be in Virgin’s network area, so it’s not an option for a significant number of homes.
If you do get a broadband deal that includes line rental but are not using the phone line for calls, look for a package without inclusive calling as this will be a little cheaper.
Shop savvy, shop safely this Black Friday
The main difference when buying broadband compared to other Black Friday deals is that rather than a one-off cost that you buy in haste and potentially repent at your leisure, you will be pay for a broadband purchase for a year or two. That makes it even more important to shop savvy.
Don’t go to the store to buy broadband – Some companies have their own stores while others have a stall or presence inside shopping centres. They too have Black Friday deals and will do their utmost to get you to sign up. While you have a cooling off period, don’t get caught up in the shopping frenzy. Shop from home and compare prices as you would at any other time of year. We usually advocate supporting brick and mortar shops, but in this case, they are better avoided.
Compare your current deal realistically – If your current broadband contract had download limits but there is an offer for unlimited downloads for an extra few pounds, think before you buy. Did you hit your usage caps in your current contract? Do you actually need unlimited downloads? Will you exceed your usage cap enough to warrant that extra cost per month? If you never exceeded your usage previously, why pay more for something you won’t use?
Read the small print – Most broadband providers are clear about what to expect, what you will receive and your obligations under the contract. That doesn’t mean you take them at face value. Read any small print for hidden fees such as installation or engineer visits, hardware restrictions, usage restrictions, traffic management policies, privacy and changes to pricing during the contract.
Use your cooling off period – When you buy online, you have 14 days to change your mind on any purchase. Make good use of this right to compare deals once more before that time. You might be surprised at what you find!