Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert: How to get 50% off your broadband price

Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert on how to save money on your broadband deal. Picture: Archant/Mone

Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert on how to save money on your broadband deal. Picture: Archant/MoneySavingExpert - Credit: Archant/MoneySavingExpert

Broadband is a modern necessity, yet the bill is often forgotten and millions are out of contract and overpaying £200+ a year.

A range of new rules have come in which should help that a touch, but by far the best thing to do is sort it yourself.

- The first change is that providers will now need to warn you when your contract is ending.

These aren't just for broadband they apply to digital TV contracts, mobiles and home phones too.

- They must now alert you by letter, text or email 10 to 40 days before your contracts end, and each year they must keep reminding you if you stay out of contract.

MORE: Martin Lewis: If you're a customer of this company, you've been legally robbed- The alert must say what you're currently paying, what the price will rise to once the contract ends, and it must also include how to end your contract.

- Crucially the alerts must include what the best deal that firm offer to new customers.

Bizarrely, while your provider must tell you what new offers are available to new customers - so you can judge if you're being overcharged - they don't have to offer it to you.

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Though some of the bigger providers, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone have voluntarily agreed with the regulator that they will - in which case at the very least do that.

However, for years I've been saying that the best broadband deals are all about short term promotions, which include extra incentives on top of the tariffs, and these perks don't need to be included in the cheapest tariffs alerts (nor given to existing customers switching to them).

My suspicion is this means firms will start to increase the costs of tariffs, and instead give even bigger sign up perks to new customers only.

- The hottest broadband deals around

1. Shell (yep the energy firm) currently has a couple of deals, for broadband and line, both involve giving you bill credit and an Amazon voucher.

Factor those into the price over the year's contract and it's £12/mth for standard 11Mb speed or £16/mth for 35Mb fast fibre.

2. For fibre broadband and line the Post Office via is £21/mth and you get a £50 Amazon voucher, factor that in over the year's contract and it's £17/mth.

As I've said broadband deals are all about short lived promotions, usually only offered via comparison sites and not direct.

These are the best deals at the time of writing, but for my up to date top picks use my tool.

MORE: Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert: An urgent warning to anyone who's never owned a home- Rules about speeds have been strengthened

It used to be that only 10% of customers needed to be able to get the advertised speed, but now at least 50% do, and that's at peak time between 8pm-10pm.

Plus most big firms, including BT, Sky, Plusnet, and Virgin Media have agreed to Ofcom's code of practice that says they'll give you a personalised minimum speed before you sign-up, and if your speeds drop below this and they can't fix it for 30 days you have the right to leave penalty-free (even if you signed up to a phone and TV package at the same time as the broadband, you can leave the entire contract penalty-free).

- Don't want to switch? Haggle!

If you really want to stick with the same provider, then at least try and haggle down the price.

Call up your provider, especially if you're out of contract, and ask for a better deal - explain it's too costly and you can't afford it or quote the deals elsewhere. Be polite and charming, not aggressive.

If it says no, then tell it you're going to leave and ask to be put through to disconnections, known internally as 'customer retentions'.

As their job is to keep you, they have much greater discretion to give you better deals.

If it won't match the price, then do consider going elsewhere. Yet if you don't want to leave and you're worried they'll disconnect you, then if that happens just say "I need to check with my husband/wife/canary first."