Having access to reliable internet is essential for designers. To help you get online for less, we've gathered the best broadband deals right now. You may feel aggrieved at having to dedicate a portion of your budget to simply connecting to the internet, but choose the wrong broadband deal and you could be left with a painfully slow service or paying too much for a package you just don't need.
There are plenty of cheap broadband deals around, but figuring out the best bargain can be tricky. We've done the hard work for you, scouring the market and narrowing down the multitudes of packages into our intuitive broadband comparison below.
We've unearthed internet deals that will suit freelancers on a tight budget, but you'll also see super-fast fibre broadband in case it's available where you live and your accounts can stretch that far. If you're still scratching your head at the sheer number of options out there, below the deals we have some advice to help you come to your decision.
What broadband speed do I need?
Generally, we would say that you should get the fastest internet that you can allow your budget to stretch to. So if there's fibre where you live, it's worth shelling out the extra cash for a faster broadband deal to ensure your work is never hindered by a faltering connection speed. Here are the best fibre broadband deals currently available. That said, if the only thing you really need it for is checking and replying to emails and the odd bit of Google research, 10-11Mb should be sufficient.
Small business or agency
Don't be faffing around with slower internet if you've got a busy office with (hopefully) busy employees. Be sure to get at least 30Mb fibre broadband. We'd actually recommend you go the next level and sign up for nothing short of 50Mb. That equates to more than 6MB per second on average, which should be a fast enough connection to cope with at least seven people online at once.
What contract length should I go for?
12 months remains the most common contract length that internet providers will give you, especially with standard ADSL internet. However, more and more companies are now making 18 months the norm for fibre broadband deals.
It's worth having a quick think ahead now before you choose your plan. If you're in a situation where you're unsure where you'll be and what you'll be doing next year, make sure to pick a one year term – the costs of breaking a longer contract can be severe. Otherwise, 18 months can give a little more surety, as some providers guarantee you the cheaper introductory rate for the entirety of the broadband contract.
Do I have to pay more to have a phone line?
Not any more you don't. Not so long ago, you would have to add on an extra cost for line rental, but now it's included in the internet providers' tariffs.