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How to setup broadband in student accommodation: an FAQ

Settling into new student digs takes some adjustment, but student broadband can at least make getting online less stressful.

Broadband arguably tops food and water as a basic human need for students. It's essential for uni work, life admin and entertainment such as music/TV streaming or gaming.

Getting online for work, rest, and play can’t be understated. We understand there is so much to arrange and pay for when leaving home for further education. The process can seem a bit daunting, especially if it's moving away from home or managing bills for the first time.

But don’t worry because help is at hand; we've put together this guide that will answer all your questions about broadband while at university.

What is student broadband?

Student broadband is basically a more flexible package only available to students.

Providers offer exclusive deals either discounted in price or reduced in contract length. Typical student terms are say, 9 months rather than the normal duration for regular customers.

Speed, data limits and service support are identical – just a shorter minimum term.

Which providers offer student broadband?

Not all broadband providers offer it and often those that do make it limited to certain periods.

Leading big brand ISPs like BT, Sky and Virgin Media are all known to make student packages available:

  • BT student broadband . Sign up with a university email and choose between 9 or 12-month fibre (36-67Mbps) contracts. The 9-month contract has a slightly higher monthly tariff.

  • Virgin Media student broadband . Includes 30-day rolling contracts to best fit short-term tenancies within September-July term times.

Many more providers will have similar offers available, so it’s best to check around the start of each academic year. The easiest way to do this is through a broadband price comparison website , this will allow you to compare deals available at your address.

How do I sign up to a student broadband contract?

Signing up for student broadband is exactly the same process as any package.

Find a provider, pick the package that works for you and order it online. What you might be asked is to register with a valid university or college email address.

Other forms of identification such as Student ID or Unique Learner Number (ULN) might be needed to prove eligibility.

What can I do if I can't find a student broadband deal?

It’s true, you may not find a student broadband deal at all or one that is suitable.

But all is not lost and there are regular options that could still suit your needs. As we’ve seen, some providers allow you to sign monthly rolling contracts instead.

While these packages are usually more expensive, they provide freedom of cancellation with no termination fees. 

Or even a normal 12-month contract could fit fine across a term time.

Broadband providers tend to give the best lowest monthly tariffs on longer contracts. So while an 18-24 months deal looks cheaper, these will be costly to break before the minimum term expires. 

How do you sign up to a deal in a shared house?

If moving into a shared student house, you want to check that broadband isn’t already included. Usually, it will be the case that it’s already set up and ready to go.

Discuss the current package with housemates and landlord. Find out if the other occupants are happy with the current service and ask if a change is possible.

Remember that only one person can be named on the contract. They will be responsible for billing and any admin, so make sure they are reliable and willing.

Do I need to pass a credit check for a broadband contract?

Broadband providers will run an informal credit check on customers at signup. This is a standard procedure and isn’t vigorous or too difficult to pass.

If issues arise, it’s likely that you can use bank references or name family guarantors to placate a provider.

Generally, you will face no problems, but some providers make it a selling point to promise a less strict policy with no credit checks. 

When will the connection be active?

The time to activate a new account connection will vary on the installation required.

Typically, customers are advised to allow 14 working days from signup. It might turn out to be faster or longer depending on what’s already installed at the property.

If you are opting for Virgin Media or full-fibre broadband (FTTP) and those connections already exist, then it could be up and running within a week.

Do I need to cancel the contract when I move out?

Cancelling or changing the contract around a move will depend on certain scenarios:

  • Living alone. You will need to cancel the contract or arrange to move the service to a new address. 

  • Shared household. Discuss with housemates how you will divide the bills if and when someone leaves.

  • Contract holder leaves. Ask to transfer the existing account to a new named holder or signup for a new service. 

A great final golden rule is always communication. Speak with a provider, explain the situation, and most will be only too happy to arrange a broadband deal that works for you.

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