Savvy Students Can Beat the Cost of Living Increases with these Tips for the Best Student Broadband Packages…
The online tutoring days of the pandemic have hopefully passed, and now it’s time to get a broadband package that suits a more normal approach to uni life.
Some lectures may still be delivered online, and lecturers are still likely to continue to use online calls as a way of keeping in touch with their students. But it’s the resources available on the net that are an endless help to a student’s studies —and a decent internet connection can provide for hours of Netflix movie nights with your housemates too.
This Uswitch.com student broadband guide will ensure you get the right package at the right price.
Do student broadband packages exist?
Not really. Be aware that there is rarely such a thing as ‘student broadband’ – only broadband packages that are more tailored to suit the student lifestyle.
These deals have low monthly costs and shorter contract terms than alternative packages. But often you will have to dig a little deeper into a package on offer to know whether it will suit you.
Nine month contracts, when they’re actually available, can be popular as they accommodate the academic year, but they’re hard to find for most of the year. More flexible ‘rolling’ contracts are also available which allow you to leave at, say, 30-days’ notice, but they often come with higher monthly prices.
Don’t rule out standard 12-month deals.
Just like most contracts, the longer they are the cheaper they can be per month. Sometimes standard 12-month broadband packages actually work out cheaper than the nine-month broadband deals. However, the flexibility that a ninth-month contract has can come with some additional costs, such as set-up fees or higher monthly prices.
Because of this, it’s worth doing your calculations to see if it’s cheaper to pay for the additional three months, or to double-check what early termination fees you’d have if you decided to cancel earlier. On Uswitch, you can see the total cost of a broadband contract if you click on the ‘Price details’ button on any of our deals.
Bills and housemates. How to avoid the headache.
Consider how many people will be using your internet connection before deciding on the right package for you.
If there is between one and three of you, you could be better off opting for a cheaper, slower broadband package. However, if you’re living in a house of more than three students, you’ll want a quicker connection to account for all that streaming, downloading and online working.
But it’s not just about speed. You’ll need to figure out the best way for you all to pay this bill, amongst all the other bills you may be charged for living there. There are services out there specifically for students to help split the cost of bills.
How fast does it need to be?
Really think about the amount of devices that are going to be connected in your house. The sheer number of laptops, smartphones, games consoles and streaming sticks connected to the internet between you and all of your housemates will all add up and make your demand for speed heavier.
For that reason, a broadband package with unlimited usage and a package that delivers a speedier fibre broadband connection will suit those in a household of three or more.
There are a range of fast connections from superfast fibre-to-the-cabinet to ultrafast full fibre packages, but price will also vary depending on the speed you choose. So make sure you agree with your housemates a budget that fits your demand for internet.
My phone’s data is just as good as broadband.
Your phone’s internet connection will be a good backup option if you’re having issues connecting to your Wi-Fi, but you probably shouldn’t rely on it for your main broadband connection. Especially not if you have housemates who want to use the internet too.
You could opt for a mobile broadband hub as a secondary Wi-Fi connection, but be aware that unless you’re in an area with 5G, it might not be able to handle multiple housemates at once.
The major advantage of mobile broadband over home broadband is that you won’t have to pay line rental fees. However, the downside is that mobile data dongle and MiFi deals that feature unlimited downloads are quite rare, so you’ll have to ration your usage. Also, the connections are not as reliable and more prone to cut out, which is not ideal for online meetings with tutors.
Can’t students get the internet for free?
As a savvy student, you’re probably aware of the many places you can go to access free Wi-Fi: the Students’ Union, halls of residence, campus library, local cafes and coffee shops, and most chain fast food places.
Just be aware that when using public Wi-Fi — it’s safest not to access sensitive sites such as banking apps or online retailers, so just use it for basic browsing and research purposes.
But in reality, due to the amount of time a student spends online and the nature of its use, it will be much more convenient to have a home broadband connection.
Here are some of the best student broadband packages.
Max Beckett, broadband expert for Uswitch.com says:
“Choosing a broadband package that suits the needs of you and all of your housemates can be tricky.
The main things to consider are how long you will be in your accommodation, how many hours a day you’ll each be online, what types of things you will be using the internet for and how many housemates will be using the internet. This will determine the contract length you need, the minimum broadband speed required for your shared house, and how much you should be spending.
However, if your individual needs are different from the rest of your household, don’t rule out other options such as free on-campus Wi-Fi, or using your mobile’s data to get you by here and there. Just make sure this is discussed with your housemates beforehand.”