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BT and Virgin Media Offer 9 Month UK Student Broadband Contracts

Friday, August 7th, 2015 (7:42 am) - Score 3,701

Over the next few months a new batch of students will be looking to take up their university or college places and as such BT and Virgin Media have introduced new packages that seem tailored to their needs with a shorter 9 month contract term. Mind you they’re not the only options in town.

Price, performance and usage flexibility are also just as important as contract length to students, particularly if you plan to share the accommodation. Admittedly this doesn’t mean to say that you should ignore all contracts longer than 9 months, but do consider how much extra it might cost to cancel packages with longer terms.

Similarly it’s always wise to plan your service ahead of time, particularly as there’s often a couple of weeks wait before anything gets installed. Finally, make sure that the shorter contract term applies to both the broadband and phone line rental so that they’re not out of sync for when you need to cancel, which could attract additional costs or hassle.

The Options

First up we have Virgin Media’s Student Deals, which being a cable operator is not available to everybody (around 44% of UK premises and mostly in urban areas). Never the less they offer a range of unlimited usage 50Mbps (£32 per month), 100Mbps (£37) and 152Mbps (£44.50) standalone broadband packages (i.e. no need to pay for a separate phone line). It’s also free to install (self-install option) and you get an included SuperHub wireless router.

By comparison BT’s Student Deals are available across the vast majority of the United Kingdom, although they do require you to take and pay separately for their phone line rental. The download performance is also a lot more variable and can’t match the best of Virgin Media, although upload speeds on their “fibre” (FTTC / Infinity) service can go faster on the top packages (up to 19.5Mbps).

At present BT’s student broadband offerings seem to consist of just two high-end packages, although they do also have a special range of TV bundles as well and that’s something we didn’t see on Virgin Media’s offer where the 9 month term is currently only for broadband connectivity.

Take note that line rental can also be pre-paid for a year with BT at £183.48 (equivalent to £15.29 per month), which on the surface is better than the standard monthly price of £16.99, but obviously such a pre-payment means you’re effectively paying for 12 months instead of 9 and that removes the benefit.

Unlimited Broadband
* Up to 17Mb download speed
* Totally Unlimited Usage
* Unlimited Wi-Fi (BTWifi Hotspots)
* Included HomeHub Wireless Router
* Free BTSport Lite TV
* 9 Month Contract

PRICE: £12.50 a month + line rental cost

Unlimited Infinity 2
* Up to 76Mb download speed
* Totally Unlimited Usage
* Unlimited Wi-Fi (BTWifi Hotspots)
* Included HomeHub Wireless Router
* Free BTSport Lite TV
* 9 Month Contract

PRICE: £22.50 a month + line rental cost

Take note that the order process for student deals is usually a bit different from the normal process, which at times can make it tedious. For example, BT won’t let you begin the process unless you have a student email address associated with your university or college. Usually some form of valid student ID or verification will be required.

Naturally this is designed to stop any old Joe or Jane from taking the 9 month deals, but it’s also quite annoying as sometimes you won’t get such an address until later. At this point you might wish to look elsewhere.

Alternatives

Of course you don’t have to pick from one of the big boys, which may be best if quality and good customer support is more important to you than price. In that sense there are plenty of smaller providers around that offer shorter or even monthly contract terms on some packages, such as Zen Internet, IDNet, AAISP, ICUK, Aquiss and many more.

But take note that most FTTC based “fibre broadband” packages continue to come with a 12 month term and, much like BT, they usually also need an existing phone line rental service to be installed in order for the broadband side to work. Check out our UK ISP Listings for a bigger selection.

Otherwise if you’re only a light Internet user and don’t plan to share accommodation then sometimes the cheapest option is to forget about a fixed line service and just use a Mobile Broadband SIM (assuming the signal is good enough), or even your existing Smartphone setup to act as a WiFi Hotspot (most modern smartphones can do this with a single tap).

Just make sure your contract has a big enough data allowance for your needs and supports Tethering (e.g. Three UK might put “all-you-can-eat” data on their top contracts, but when you tether the limit is often just a few GigaBytes).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Ignition says:

    Must be the summer, that lull in capacity issues on VM’s network until the shared houses are populated by heavy broadband users again.

    Although I say that, BT Wholesale have SVLAN capacity issues due to it too.

  2. Paul B says:

    When I were a student, five of us used to share a 512kbps Cable connection, with an old PC acting as a stand-in router. The fact you can now get up to 152Mbps in student hovels, would have blown my then, nerdy, 19 year old mind. The fact we used all that bandwidth on Audiogalaxy, Counter-strike (and more nefarious activities) is neither here nor there…

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