A no contract or short-term broadband deal is one that is offered on a month-to-month basis. This means that while it's still technically a contract, it only rolls over every 30 days.
No contract broadband can offer a lot of flexibility; they can be cancelled at any time with only 30 days notice, and you only need to pay for the remaining month on cancellation.
What broadband contract types are there?
Broadband is generally available in two contract types:-
The shortest and simplest type of broadband contract. Rolling monthly deals - also known as short-term and no-contract broadband - are for a month at a time. They can be cancelled at anytime with just 30-days notice.
Long-term contract broadband
Most fixed-line broadband contracts are available on 18 or 24 month contracts. Shorter 12-month contracts are also available with select providers.
Which is the cheapest no-contract broadband provider?
There are a number of broadband providers that offer no-contract options:-
Cuckoo broadband are one of the only providers who charge the same price for either their 12-month fixed or 30-day rolling contracts. They have both fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and full fibre (FTTP) broadband options available.
Bear in mind however, that a one-time setup fee of £60 applies.
Direct Save Telecom
One of the lesser-known broadband providers on the market, Direct Save Telecom offers a no-contract broadband option.
For £27.95 per month, you'll get a standard broadband (ADSL) connection with average download speeds of 11Mbps. While not as fast nor as flexible as their contracted broadband options, these speeds would be enough if you just want to surf the web and stream shows in standard definition on Netflix.
A one-time set up fee of £24.95 also applies.
Hyperoptic Broadband (Limited Availability)
London-based full fibre broadband provider Hyperoptic offers a total of four broadband packages on monthly-rolling options.
However, Hyperoptic is currently only available to around 900,000 premises in and around London.
If Hyperoptic is available in your area, its 30 day rolling contract broadband will incur a one-off activation fee of £29.
Similar to Cuckoo, NOW Broadband charges the same monthly cost for its internet deals regardless of whether you opt for a 12-month or monthly-rolling contract.
NOW broadband also has a wide range of TV options, all of which can be bundled with your broadband. Unlike most other providers, NOW's TV options are only available on a monthly-subscription basis.
What are the benefits of short-term broadband?
There are a couple of reasons why no-contract broadband may suit your needs more than a long-term option.
With short-term contract broadband, you can cancel with just 30-days notice. This is particularly handy for students, short-term renters, or for those who are in-between moving premises.
Being on a short-term contract means you'll only need to give 30-days notice of when you want to cancel, avoiding any exit fees.
On the other hand, if you sign-up for a 12,18, or 24-month deal and have to cancel at short notice, depending on how long is remaining on your contract, you usually need to pay exit fees, which can be very expensive.
What are the disadvantages of no-contract broadband?
Although no contract broadband has some advantages that may suit your circumstances, there are some other aspects to consider.
Higher set-up costs
Set-up fees apply for most no-contract broadband options. And, unlike fixed-line broadband options that usually include a router for free, you may need to pay for one up-front, which can be costly.
Higher monthly cost
Unless it's a provider like Cuckoo or NOW who charge the same price for their no-contract and long-term contract deals, prices for monthly-rolling options are usually set at a premium over long-term contracted deals.
What are the alternatives to no-contract broadband?
If you're looking for an alternative to no-contract home broadband, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that use mobile networks are a good choice. Because its quick and easy to set-up, mobile broadband is an especially good choice if you only need a connection for a very short period of time.
Mobile broadband provides a connection either via a dongle or by "tethering" to your mobile phone. It is available as a short-term deal or on pay-as-you-go (PAYG).
In some cases, 4G or 5G mobile broadband can be faster than some fixed-broadband connections, and its portability and ease-of-use means you can access the internet from almost anywhere at short notice.
However, most mobile broadband options come with data caps, meaning you will be limited to how much you can download. This is something to be mindful of, particularly if you are a heavy internet user.
4G/5G home broadband
These options are designed as a like-for-like stand-in for fixed-line home broadband, so you won't connect to the internet using a dongle or by tethering to your smartphone. But you will be given powerful home networking equipment as well as a higher data usage limit than standard mobile broadband.
Also, unlike fixed-line broadband which may require a visit from an engineer, 4G or 5G broadband can be self-installed and is ready to use as soon as you have received the hardware from your chosen provider.
What if I only need a broadband connection for a month or less?
If you only need an internet connection for a very short period - e.g., a month or less - a mobile broadband service is likely the best option. Not only is it easy to set-up, but you won't incur any financial penalties when you decide to stop using it.
Although you could sign-up for a fixed-broadband service for only a month, the process may be cumbersome and expensive. On average, broadband installation takes 14 working days, and around the same time to cancel it. And, depending on the provider, additional costs may apply if they have set-up fees.
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