The two questions we get asked the most are: “Can I get broadband without a phone line?” and “Why do I have to pay for line rental if I never use a landline?”
In most cases the answers to these questions are: no, and, because that’s the way most home broadband works.
While most people under 35 use their mobile phone as their primary means of getting in touch with others, either through phone calls, Facetime, Skype, Facebook or WhatsApp messaging, there are still millions of people who do use their home landline.
And as much as a landline may feel like a throwback to a bygone time, it can be quite useful, especially if you get free calls with your package.
You don’t have to use these free calls and you don’t even have to have a phone plugged into your phone line to use your broadband.
Why do you need a phone line for broadband?
The majority of providers in the UK use phone lines to deliver their broadband, and, as a result, you will have to pay for a phone line in order to use their services.
The cost tends to be included within your package, and, unless you choose to use your landline phone for calls, there will be no extra charges.
What is line rental?
Line rental is what it sounds like.
Your ISP rents a line from Openreach, or whoever it is that provides the broadband network near you, and then passes on the cost to you.
You’re paying to rent space on that telephone line, the one that gives you broadband to your home.
Most phone lines in the UK are still operated by British Telecom, and so it is no surprise that BT broadband requires a phone line.
If you choose to plug a phone into your phone line, you will get unlimited calls at weekend to UK landlines as standard, even with BT’s cheapest deals.
DirectSave Telecom only offer broadband packages that include line rental, but, again, there are benefits.
Along with selling 12 and 18 month contracts, DirectSave are one of the only ISPs on our list to offer one-month or 30-day rolling deals.
These no-contract bundles mean you can switch away much more easily than if you’re signed up to a longer deal. THey include free phone calls to UK landlines, cheaper calls to mobiles, and no minimum call spend. If you already have a phone line, you can also keep your number if requested.
While EE does sell traditional broadband, which needs a phone line to work, they also sell 4G home broadband, which does not.
4G internet from EE doesn’t need a physical telephone line to be installed, you simply pick up a 4GEE Home Router, plug it in, and connect to it, you are then able to use the internet immediately.
If you live in a remote or rural area, you may need an external antenna to get the most from your 4GEE router.
You can’t get broadband without a phone line from First Utility. While they focus on low starting prices rather than phone calls bundled in with the cheapest deals, you can add evening and weekend, anytime, or international call packages when you sign up or switch.
Each of John Lewis’ three broadband packages require a phone line to work, and the monthly cost of your bill will include line rental. There is an extra charge of £49.99 if you don’t already have a phone line at home and need one fitted when your broadband is set up.
Free evening and weekend calls are included with the packages, while bolt-ons can be added at a small extra cost (£5 for anytime, £7 for anytime and international).
Now Broadband – the offshoot of streaming TV company NowTV – can be sold to you without a long contract, but does need a phone line to work. Line rental is included in your package, but they will charge you a setup fee and to deliver your home router, something that most other ISPs offer for free.
Plusnet offer various broadband packages, which all require a home a telephone line to work, and the monthly price includes line rental. There are no free call packages as standard, but if you need them they can be added from an extra £4 a month.
Sky, like most other providers, require a phone line for their broadband packages. There will be a setup fee, but line rental is included. Inclusive calls package Sky Talk can be added for a small extra charge.
TalkTalk broadband does need a phone line to work. They offer free setup with their broadband packages and line rental is included. On top of that, there are monthly extras including free landline and international calls which can be added or removed on a month-by-month basis.
Virgin are one of the only big providers to offer broadband packages with no phone line and no line rental charges.
Vodafone broadband does require a phone line. If you don’t already have an Openreach phone line at home, Vodafone will charge you £60 to install a new one.