Can You Really Get Broadband With No Upfront Costs?

If you’ve been looking into getting broadband but are put off by the thought of having to pay significant upfront costs, then worry no more. It is actually possible to get excellent broadband with no upfront cost required, making broadband an affordable option for most households.

Here at Broadway Broadband, we pride ourselves on making broadband available to as many communities as possible. Read on to find out more about some of the costs associated with broadband deals in general, and learn how Broadway can help you get connected without any upfront cost.

What are upfront broadband costs?

Upfront costs refer to the initial charge for joining a new contract. Broken down individually, we can see the entire process of an internet service provider (ISP) putting your deal into place.

Set up and activation fees – Activation isn’t a simple matter of clicking on a button, but rather the lengthy administration behind it. As for the set-up, that’s self-explanatory: sometimes an engineer has to be sent out to do work to connect your house to the system.

This almost always includes setting up the actual router, and part of the set-up costs may come from the delivery of the router itself.

You should also look into the type the router being provided, as different routers have different capabilities. For example, WiFi range. It would be frustrating to find out that you could have had similar quality WiFi, but with no upfront cost required.

Phone lines – It’s not often you come across a house without an active phone line, but with the advent of mobile phones, the use of house phones has dropped dramatically. If you don’t have one, then unless you opt for a broadband-only deal (see FAQs for more information), you may need to cover the costs of installation. The costs can range from £20 – £100 but can often be significantly more in rural areas.

Delivery – There is sometimes a delivery charge for your router (usually no more than £5-10) so make sure you coordinate your timetable with the driver’s arrival, or you may find yourself with a delayed installation, or worse, additional fees.

First month’s payment – Monthly payments are always going to be a part of broadband deals. However, a lot of internet providers will require you to pay for your first month right away.

As you can see, there can be quite a few costs associated with the installation of new internet deals and this, combined with price increases over time, is a big reason why so many UK consumers look at ISPs with an element of distrust.

And so, in order to remain competitive and provide a better service to their customers, internet providers began to reduce the amount of charges to their customers by offering broadband deals with no upfront costs whatsoever.

It’s safe to say that consumers are often a little suspicious about ‘hidden’ costs that may arise when they switch to a new ISP or get broadband for the first time, and the information below may help you avoid difficult situations.

Can I get free broadband?

No, unfortunately free broadband does not exist.

Unlike the United States (which has a soft monopoly), the UK has a vibrant and highly competitive market of internet providers. That being said, relationships between internet providers and consumers have not always been perfect. This is in part because of the rising costs of broadband, but also because of additional costs that the customer may not have been aware of when they first signed up to a deal.

Schemes such as “free broadband deals, no upfront costs” might have looked great in principle, but when charges such as a required landline were added, any deal might have ended up costing far more than first anticipated. Thankfully, ISPs are required to be more transparent with costs, meaning that customers shouldn’t be getting any surprises.

What is a broadband social tariff?

Broadband social tariffs are a way for low-income households to acquire broadband to use the internet.

If you are let down by the fact that free broadband technically doesn’t exist, then perhaps it would cheer you up to learn that there are alternatives for low-income households. Whilst they still involve some cost, they are a great deal cheaper than the standard going rates for broadband. These changes come from a realisation that the internet plays too important a role in the day-to-day lives of everyone.

The best thing about social tariffs is that you’re not paying for leftovers or an inferior service to regular broadband. The only difference between the two is the “essential” definition, rendering it available at a lower price due to the necessity of the internet.

Social Tariffs are usually priced around the £20 mark. However, those in receipt of Universal Credit could find themselves paying absolutely nothing at all. Perhaps you won’t get your entire family on high-quality WiFi, but it’ll serve to keep you connected to the digital space, where more opportunities open up every day.

Can I get broadband without a contract?

Yes. No-contract deals are better known as one-month contracts, or rolling deals. Similar to a lot of subscription-based models, when you sign up for this format you will pay month to month until you cancel.

This is mainly aimed at people who find themselves in temporary situations, such as students learning away from their hometown. Regardless of your reasons, being free from a binding contract that keeps you locked-in with high cancellation fees is enticing to many.

What are the benefits of no-contract broadband deals?

The biggest appeal of no-contract broadband is the freedom – you can cancel at any time. With no expectation of being committed for a long period of time, you’re free to end the contract if you find yourself having money troubles, or the need to focus expenses elsewhere.

Another huge bonus is the lack of a cancellation fee. One thing that a lot of people have trouble escaping is a cancellation fee, which scales with how long you’ve been in the contract.

Finally, it’s a nice holdover for when you’re looking for a better deal to come along. Or if you want to experiment with what works for you as a consumer and what level of service you need from your internet provider.

What are the disadvantages of no-contract broadband deals?

Unfortunately, there is a cost for the high flexibility that this provides.

For one, the set-up is much less likely to be free due to the risks involved with a client leaving the service. Without a means to keep someone in the contract, then there’s always a chance that the customer could leave before the company has begun to make a profit. As a result, the set-up will almost certainly not be discounted from the final charge and the common price point for set-ups with no-contract deals tends to be around the £25 mark.

Not only does the set-up cost more, but so does the monthly cost. Add to this that there will likely be price changes as time goes on, and you’ll see that no-contract broadband tends to be for a small number of people. Also, as an additional disadvantage, you can kiss goodbye any chance of getting some extra treat thrown in with your deal. That means no console, no TV, no phone – all possible extras for a fairly expensive deal.

What are hidden broadband costs?

Hidden broadband costs refer to the fees that are not highlighted within contracts. A lot of these can be found by examining the contract you’re bought into, but it may be easier to ring them directly.

One example of this is ISPs that ‘rent’ their routers out to customers. It’s been something of a hidden practice, but part of the monthly fee could come from the property being hired. If you’re unsure if you’re renting then you should probably ask your ISP. It’s possible to get rid of the cost altogether, but it would require not only sending the router back but replacing it with the one you’ve bought on your own.

Another thing you will want to be careful of is capped internet usage. Some providers have limited their customers’ data as a means to reduce their own costs. Some have even been thought to do so as a means of forcing customers to upgrade their packages.

Other hidden costs can come from data overage fees. Whilst this is much more common with mobile phones, data packages that don’t come unlimited could all potentially have a cap placed on your usage. Or, worse, they could charge you for going over the agreed amount. There are data trackers available for download (as well as some native settings on selected operating systems) that can track and gauge how much you’re using. Your ISP, however, does tend to send warnings when you’re about to go over your data limit.


Can I get broadband without a landline?

As discussed above, part of a starting fee with an ISP could be the installation or reinstallation of a landline, which could cost you a great deal of money. However, it is absolutely possible to get around this cost by opting for a broadband-only deal, which completely discounts the need for a phone line.

Read more about how to get broadband without a landline

Can I get broadband without a credit check?

There’s a service to bypass any need for a credit check by taking a ‘no credit check broadband’ deal. This is ideal for people who have had a difficult time financially or have made mistakes that have damaged their credit score.

Can I get WiFi with no upfront cost?

WiFi is a wireless mode of internet connection made via a router. You can buy your own router, or your ISP can provide one – some deals grant you routers with high-quality WiFi, with no upfront cost required.

Whilst there may have been some issues in the past, thankfully ISPs are required to be more transparent about their costs, including any upfront costs around installation and set up.

With Broadway, you can be confident that you only pay what you expect for your service, and in the majority of cases you’ll be able to get connected without any upfront cost. Because we plan, build and operate all our own network, we have full control over where we build and we work closely with local Governments to bring cost effective solutions for whole communities. Speak to one of our team to find out how we can help you.