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Cheap Broadband: Tesco vs TalkTalk vs Direct Save Telecom best value deals

There are some great value for money deals on home broadband at the moment and what’s on offer from ISPs including Tesco, TalkTalk, Direct Save Telecom and Primus Saver. 

Tesco is currently offering a generous discount which see the cost of broadband reduced to £2 for 12 months. TalkTalk’s broadband only package SimplyBroadband deal costs £3.50/month, not including line rental.

Direct Save Telecom continues to offer unlimited broadband for the super-low £1.95/month. Primus Saver have recently changed up their broadband offerings, bringing a calls-free £2.50/month deal to the table.

All of these packages look generous, but how do the actual services compare? Let’s take a closer look at what Tesco, TalkTalk, Direct Save Telecom and Primus Saver have to offer (click the links for a quick jump).

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Tesco Broadband: £2 for 12 months

Tesco Broadband’s offer lets you get unlimited ADSL broadband, providing speeds of up to 16Mbps, for just £2/month if you take out Tesco line rental for 12 months. This sees you paying just £24 for your broadband for a year.

Line rental costs £15.40/month which means at the time of writing you’ll pay just £17.40/month for broadband.

While no free landline calls are included in this offer, you can get free calls to other Tesco Homephone customers.

There’s a one off charge of £6 for delivery of the free wireless router but there’s no charge for connection.

The current 12 month offer only applies to customers who are covered by Tesco’s broadband network. Tesco’s network currently covers 60 per cent of the UK, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to order this. You’ll be told during the sign up process whether or not your home is covered by the network.

If you’re one of the 40 per cent not covered by the network, you’ll be offered a similar deal with an equivalent saving of £4/month.

Tesco Broadband also has a management policy in place. This slows down and prioritises certain types of traffic down at peak times. Software updates, network storage, P2P (peer to peer) and newsgroup traffic is slowed down Sunday to Friday from 5:30pm to 10:30pm and on Saturdays from midday until 10:30pm.

Tesco Broadband £2 for 12 months: What you get

  • Broadband cost: £2
  • Line rental: £15.40/month
  • Total monthly cost: £17.40/month
  • Contract length: 12 months
  • Set up fee: None
  • Typical download speed: 16Mbps
  • Usage cap: Unlimited
  • Traffic management: Yes – prioritises updates, network storage, P2P, Newsgroup. VoIP and gaming.
  • Extra benefits: Free calls to other Tesco Homephone numbers

TalkTalk SimplyBroadband 

TalkTalk SimplyBroadband is what is says on the tin – just broadband, no inclusive calls and no TalkTalk TV channels.

SimplyBroadband costs £3.50/month, making it one of the UK’s lowest priced deals for broadband. With the addition of the standard rate of line rental (£15.40/month) you’re paying a grand total of £17.90/month.

With VLR (Value Line Rental), you’ve got the option of paying for 12 months of line rental in advance, for a lump sum of £141. This is equivalent to paying £11.75/month, which would effectively bring your monthly costs down to £15.25/month.

As well as giving you unlimited broadband and speeds of up to 16Mbps, SimplyBroadband also comes with TalkTalk’s HomeSafe software built in.

This is a whole-home solution which families can use to restrict access to certain types of websites (such as gambling or adult sites). As HomeSafe filters access at the network level, this means that restrictions are applied to all devices, laptops, tablets and phones, that connect to the internet. It’s not a service for everyone and is entirely optional, but some customers will see it as a bonus.

TalkTalk has not enabled traffic management on SimplyBroadband, meaning you’re free to access whatever sites you want at any time of day, any day of the week. 

TalkTalk SimplyBroadband: What you get

  • Broadband cost: £3.50/month
  • Line rental: £15.95/month or £141/year with Value Line Rental
  • Total monthly cost: £19.45/month (equivalent to £15.25 with VLR)
  • Contract length: 12 months
  • Set up fee: £30
  • Typical download speed: 16Mbps
  • Usage cap: Unlimited
  • Traffic management: None
  • Extra benefits: HomeSafe parental controls

Direct Save Telecom: £1.95/month broadband with FREE calls

Direct Save Telecom is famous for its low prices and no-frills approach. CEO Stavros Tsolakis has even compared his own company to value supermarket chain Aldi. Direct Save Telecom’s broadband prices start at an incredible £1.95/month while line rental is also relatively low at £14.45/month. This works out at £16.40/month for broadband and line rental.

There is the option to pay for a year’s worth of line rental up front which will cost you £119.40. This is equivalent to paying £9.95/month, or £11.90/month once you’ve added the cost of broadband.  

However you choose to pay for line rental, there is a one-off £24.95 set-up fee.

Free Evening and Weekend calls to UK landlines (calls to 01, 02, 03 and 0845/0870 numbers) are included and a free wireless router, worth £35 is included, should you want to use it.

Top download speeds possible on Direct Save Telecom’s ADSL2+ connections are 24Mbps, but the ISP says that most customers can expect 14Mbps. While downloads are unlimited, traffic is managed at peak times.

Peak hours are 6:00pm and midnight, during which P2P, FTP and newsgroup traffic will be affected. 

Direct Save Telecom: £1.95/month broadband with FREE calls: What you get

  • Broadband Cost: £1.95/month
  • Line Rental: £14.45/month or £119.40/year
  • Total Monthly Cost: £16.40/month (or £11.90/month with line rental saver)
  • Contract Length: 24 months
  • Set up fee: £24.95
  • Typical Download Speed: 14Mbps
  • Usage Cap: Unlimited
  • Traffic Management: Yes, P2P, FTP, Newsgroups
  • Extra Benefits: Evening and Weekend Calls to UK landlines

Primus Saver Basic

Primus Saver Basic is a new Broadband Only service that doesn’t include any free calls or extra bells and whistles – just unlimited ADSL broadband for £2.50/month.

Line rental is charged at £14.90/month, which takes your total monthly cost up to £17.40.

There’s no option to pay for a year’s line rental in advance, something which Primus Saver discontinued earlier this year.

Though you’ve got the option of taking a free wireless router with Primus Saver Basic, there’s a one-off £7.95 fee for postage & packaging. There’s no activation fee for new customers.

Traffic management isn’t applied tp any of Primus Saver’s unlimited broadband packages.

Primus Saver Basic: What you get

  • Broadband cost: £2.50/month
  • Line rental: £14.90/month
  • Total monthly cost: £17.40/month
  • Contract length: 12 or 18 months.
  • Set up fee: None
  • Typical download speed: 16Mbps
  • Usage cap: Unlimited
  • Traffic management: None
  • Extra benefits: None

Best Value Broadband Deal: Recombu’s Verdict

If you’re simply after the lowest cost then go with Direct Save Telecom.

If you took their broadband deal and paid for line rental up front, you’d effectively be paying £11.90/month.

If you can’t stump up £141 in one go – more or less the same price for a year’s TV Licence, then you’ll still pay less for Direct Save’s broadband deal then you would with the rest.

The biggest disadvantage of Direct Save Telecom’s deal is that it locks you into a 24 months contract.

There is a rolling 28-day deal going with Direct Save Telecom, but here the cost of broadband rises to £11.95/month. Taken with the line rental saver option, this price increases to £21.90/month. Over a year this works out at £262.80.

The more flexible 12 month Tesco Broadband and Primus Saver Basic plans see you paying £208.80 in total, £54 less overall.

TalkTalk SimplyBroadband contract works out at £263.40 over a year, slightly more than the rest.

Depending on what you want to do with your broadband, it’s worth noting that TalkTalk and Primus Saver don’t shape traffic, whereas Tesco and Direct Save Telecom do.

If you’re not planning on using P2P services like BitTorrent then this might not be a problem. On the other hand, Tesco’s traffic management policy prioritised gaming and VoIP, so if you’re going to be making a lot of Skype calls to relatives or friends living abroad, then this might be better for you.

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