It turns out line rental is not essential... unless you need it, of course.
Broadband customers used to often find themselves drawn to deal with a suspiciously low monthly cost, but upon further inspection, it was revealed that the actual cost is tripled or even quadrupled by the line rental.
In a way, this charge is treated as a standard service, essential to home broadband, and you’re stuck with it. This charge is still there, but comes in the form of the standard monthly fee, meaning it won't be shown as separate. You can however still find some alternative options.
Broadband without line rental isn’t a trick; you can take a broadband only package, with no inclusive calls and no landline, but providers offering this are few and far between, and things are likely to stay that way due to the infrastructural link between broadband and phone.
If you have ADSL broadband then you use the copper phone line for web connectivity, meaning you still need the line, even if you don’t make home phone calls. This means that if you want to stick with this kind of broadband then you have to take a deal which includes line rental.
Fibre-optic broadband is different; it uses a network of fibres to send and receive data, so you would think that this takes the phone line out of the equation.
Unfortunately, most providers offering fibre are still using the copper line for the final stretch, which is the distance between your home and the cabinet. You’re not being cheated, since you’re still getting the superfast speeds from the fibre network between the cabinet and the exchange, but for the provider to get the broadband to your home, the copper line is still needed.
FTTP, or Fibre to the Premises, runs the fibre network straight to your home, which renders the copper line obsolete in terms of broadband. You would still need it to make calls, but should you be happy to live without a home phone, then any FTTP provider should be able to offer you broadband without line rental.
The UK is not exactly rich with these kinds of providers, with Virgin Media running the only FTTP network. Virgin Media will still offer packages with inclusive calls, and therefore line rental, but you have the option, and it can save a lot of money over the year.
Line rental charges have recently been merged into the standard monthly fee, meaning you won't see a separate charge. This doesn't mean the charge has gone away, it just means you won't see it as a separate charge, or something that's bolted onto your 'free' broadband package.
Satellite broadband is an alternative type of web connection which has made significant improvements, and does not require a landline, but is currently quite expensive. You can read more about this in our satellite broadband guide.
A popular type of broadband which bypasses line rental is mobile broadband, which uses mobile internet for connectivity. Using a dongle with a preloaded data allowance, you can connect via 3G or 4G (depending on the device and provider), and this will get your laptop or tablet online, on the go.
Mobile broadband uses the same network you might connect to with your smartphone, and offers fast enough speed to check emails, update social media or watch video clips. It is difficult to predict speed and connectivity though, as it will depend on your location and various other factors.
Mobile broadband is available at a very low monthly cost thanks to the absence of line rental, and although it won’t be as fast as a home fibre connection, it is a great value alternative for when you’re out and about.
Find out whether you could be getting faster home broadband speeds. Our speed test will check your current broadband and let you compare with other speeds in your area.Test your broadband
Our handy broadband contract renewal reminder service will let you know when your contract is coming to an end, so you can look for the best new deals.Set your reminder
Answer a few quick questions and our broadband usage calculator will give you a data estimate for your household. Using this we’ll recommend the best kind of deal for you.Calculate