Money expert's tips on lowering broadband bill that could reduce it to £10 a month

Large portions of Britain's phone bills went up in price this month -Credit:Getty Images/Maskot
Large portions of Britain's phone bills went up in price this month -Credit:Getty Images/Maskot

Broadband users across the UK have been hit with significant price increases - a blow amidst the current cost of living crisis.

Since the start of April, BT, Plusnet and EE hiked up their prices by 7.9 per cent, Sky by 8 per cent and O2 and Virgin Media by a staggering 8.8 per cent - even for those in the midst of a fixed-price contract. However, scrutinising your broadband expenditure could reveal unexpected ways to save money.

Liz Hunter, director at Money Expert, provided a complete guide to our sister site the Mirror on how billpayers could reduce their costs significantly.

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Firstly, check if your contract has expired

Investigate the terms of your contract to determine whether you're still bound by it. This information can typically be found online or in the original paperwork provided.

If your contract has ended, you're in a favourable position. This means that the agreement you had with your provider is no longer valid and you're free to switch to a more cost-effective deal without any exit fees.

If you're still within your contract, switching providers is still an option, but you may face an early cancellation fee. The silver lining?

Even if you don't want to pay this fee, there are strategies you can employ to lower your bill with your existing provider.

Consider the internet speed you actually require

Reflect on your daily internet usage. If you're the sole user in your household and only require the internet for casual browsing, sending emails, and watching low-resolution videos, then a speed of 30MBps or less should suffice.

However, if you work from home, use devices for entertainment such as gaming, and have multiple devices operating simultaneously, it might be worth considering faster speeds though this will come at a higher price.

For instance, a 24-month contract with BT offering 36Mbps currently costs around £28.99 per month. Upgrading to an ultra-fast 500Mbps speed would raise this to £49.99 per month.

Over the course of the two-year contract, that's an increase of over £500. If you're in contract and believe you could manage with a lower speed, you can use this as a bargaining chip with your current provider.

If you're out of contract, being informed allows you to avoid paying for more speed than necessary when securing a new deal.

Don't forget to verify what speeds are accessible in your area using Ofcom's Broadband Checker.

Consider package deals

Many providers offer bundled packages potentially including broadband, TV, and mobile at a lower total cost than purchasing each service individually. This can be an effective way to secure immediate savings, so it's wise to compare the potential cost of both during your search.

However, don't be fooled by your provider into purchasing unnecessary bundles. If you only watch free channels and use minimal mobile data, a large TV and mobile package may not be the best deal for you and could end up costing more in the long run.

Be aware that bundling can make it more difficult and inconvenient to cancel, switch providers or negotiate any mid-contract price increases.

Use comparison websites to find the best deals

Now that you're equipped with all the necessary information especially regarding the speed you require and whether you're open to a bundle deal visit a comparison website to see which provider can offer you the lowest price. Don't take any action yet, though.

For now, jot down the deals that seem to offer the best value. Ensure you note down the provider, contract length, speed, monthly cost, set-up cost and any bonuses or incentives.

Start bargaining it usually works

With a list of providers and their offers at hand, contact your provider and begin the negotiation process. Customers who are prepared to call and bargain with their broadband provider save an average of 7% almost enough to offset the impact of April's price increase according to Which.

If you're nearing the end of your contract or already out of it, try to see if they can match the deals you've found online or even better, offer a lower price. If you're still in contract, use your research to negotiate a better deal.

For instance, you might:

  • Request to cancel services you don't use, such as a TV package or landline.

  • Request to add services, like a mobile or TV package, to secure an overall discount.

  • Request to reduce the speed.

Don't forget to mention the deals you find online as leverage to secure a discount, especially if you found significantly cheaper deals from other providers. If you've been a customer for years, let them know customer loyalty really can work in your favour.

If you're still not satisfied, threaten to cancel

If your provider refuses to negotiate, threatening to cancel can be a good move to make. However, if you're still tied into a lengthy contract, make sure to find out the exit fee before you do so.

If you're out of contract or mid-contract, but comfortable paying the potential exit penalty you're in a much stronger position. Let your provider know that, regrettably, you're considering leaving.

This typically means you'll be passed to the 'customer retention' team, who're often able to offer much stronger discounts and better deals to tempt you to stay. If they can't, it could be time to leave and secure one of the better deals you found online.

Check if you're eligible for a social tariff

If you're finding it difficult to meet your broadband bill, you might qualify for a social tariff. These are reduced-rate broadband deals sometimes as low as £10 per month designed to help those on low incomes stay connected.

You'll typically be eligible if you're receiving benefits such as universal credit, pension credit or jobseeker's allowance. If you believe you might qualify, contact your provider to see if they offer a social tariff and request to switch.

If they don't provide one, you can change to a provider that does. In these cases, your provider might allow you to exit your current contract without incurring an exit fee.