UK offers ‘poor’ value for money on broadband ‒ how to save money on your next deal


Updated on 21 January 2020 | 1 Comment

We are paying more for a slow broadband connection compared to other countries around the world, according to new research.

When it comes to broadband deals, the UK evidently has a lot to learn from other nations.

The latest global league table from comparison site Cable.co.uk has criticised the poor value for money on offer from UK providers.

While on the surface deals may appear cheap, you aren’t getting as much for your money compared to elsewhere on the continent according to the comparison site’s research.

Cable.co.uk recorded and compiled data from over 3,000 fixed-line broadband deals in 206 countries across the globe between 28 November 2019 and 8 January to put together a league table of the cheapest and most costly countries for an internet connection.

Compare broadband deals at Broadband Genie

Are UK broadband deals cheap?

On a purely pricing point, the UK does rather well when compared to our European cousins.

Looking solely at Western European nations, the UK is the fifth cheapest out of 29, with an average cost per month of $35.71 (£27.39).

This is nonetheless a fair bit behind France at $27.81 (£21.33) and Germany at $28.74 (£22), and a long way off the global leaders.

In Syria, for example, it costs just $6.60 (£5.06) a month, while in the Ukraine, you’re looking at a monthly bill of $6.64 (£5.09)

At the other end of the scale, the report found that Eritrea is the most expensive place to get a decent broadband deal, with the average cost of a fixed-line broadband package coming to a frankly farcical $2,666.24 (£2,044.49).

Close up of broadband router. (Image: Shutterstock)Why broadband speeds matter

Unfortunately, the headline price doesn’t necessarily tell us all that much.

It’s what you are paying for, not what you are paying, that really defines whether a deal represents good value.

And it’s here that the UK is very much playing catch up, due to the lower speeds on offer than across most of Western Europe.

To measure value for money, Cable.co.uk broke down those headline prices to calculate what people are paying per megabit, per month.

It found that in the UK, we are paying a rate of $1.07 (82p) for each megabit of data, putting us in a dreadful 23rd place out of 29 in Western Europe, and 81st in the world.

To put these figures into context, in Sweden people pay an average of $39.60 (£30.36) a month, so a little more than here in the UK.

But their speeds are so superior that it works out at just $0.12 (9p) per megabit.

Even in France and Germany, people are paying $0.49 (37p) and $0.50 (38p) respectively per megabit. They are paying less overall than in the UK and getting twice the value for money that we are to boot.

Looking for a new contract? Check out these broadband deals at TalkTalk

Where are we going wrong?

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, argues that it all comes down to our heavy reliance on networks that are part-copper ‒ we don’t have much on offer that’s really full fibre.

We’ve written before about the hurdles in the way of delivering genuinely superfast broadband across the country.

The reality is that until these issues are dealt with, and more providers can offer true full fibre deals, then the speeds on offer to most people are unlikely to change all that much.

Woman researching broadband deals. (Image: Shutterstock)

How to find the best value deal for you

The nation as a whole may be suffering from questionable value for money on their broadband deals, but that doesn’t mean that you have to!

By shopping around for new deals at the end of a contract, you can ensure you are always in a strong position to move to a new package or negotiate a more competitive deal from your existing provider.

A good place to start is working out whether you are already paying too much for what you use.

You can use a service like Is My Bill Fair to compare what you’re paying compared to the rest of the market, and then shop around for a deal that’s better value.

It’s also important to take a good look at precisely how you use your broadband. There’s little point paying for a superfast, unlimited service if you do little more than a few emails here and there, for example.

For more information, check out our guide on how to easily switch broadband providers.

Finally, remember to do your homework on which providers offer the best and most reliable service.

After all, there’s no point saving cash on a killer package, only for the connection to drop off every time the weather turns.

We’ve highlighted the suppliers on the receiving end of the most complaints, and which ones keep their customers happiest, in the UK’s best and worst broadband providers

*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.

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