You may not have realized it, but your cable bill has gotten too expensive. A 2017 survey by the consumer group Which? revealed 53 percent of U.K. households “are getting a raw deal” on cable and Internet service, with many major providers increasing rates repeatedly in recent years.

As a consumer, you don’t have to resign yourself to poor service or high rates. If you’re not happy with your current provider, you’re free to cut ties and find a better deal with another company – and doing so could save you hundreds of pounds every year.

Comparing Prices is Your Secret Weapon

When it comes to affordable cable and Internet, comparison shopping is the best approach. Fortunately for U.K. subscribers, there are several different cable and internet providers to choose from. Each company wants to attract and keep customers, so they’ll do whatever they can to entice you to sign up for their services.

And you don’t have to look far to find cheap cable. In fact, according to ISP Review, U.K. internet and cable can cost as little as £25 per month.

Of course, that’s just the typical monthly rate – and it doesn’t include any special deals or pricing that you can find by searching for and speaking with different cable companies. Providers often offer lower monthly rates as an introductory offer for new customers, which is why you should always be on the lookout for deals when comparing costs.

Price isn’t the only factor to consider, however. Low prices are only good when service is reliable and speed is consistent. The frustration of struggling with slow speeds and poor coverage isn’t worth the potential savings from a cheap provider. You also have to be on the lookout for the added expense of a line rental from companies delivering services over phone lines.

Why Comparison Shopping is a Smart Idea

Comparing prices gives you the chance to look at offers in detail. You want to know if:

  • Prices after introductory rates expire are higher than what you’re currently paying
  • Contract lengths are reasonable
  • You’ll be charged a high fee if you break the contract
  • There are caps or limits on bandwidth
  • “Hidden” costs make installation or payments more expensive

Familiarizing yourself with the details of the deals available from each provider arms you with the “secret weapon” of knowledge. Once you know the best prices for the level of service you want, you’re no longer at the mercy of your current provider and don’t have to feel powerless when the next round of rate hikes comes.

It’s up to you how to use the information you find. Smart shoppers will use this knowledge to negotiate an even better deal. Call your current provider and tell them you’re going to switch to a new company because you can get a better deal. They don’t want to lose you as a customer, so they may be willing to offer you either the same rate as a lower-priced competitor or give you something better at a reduced rate.

While comparing prices, don’t forget to compare what you’ll get, too. Look into bundle deals if you want TV, phone and internet services. These packages may be significantly cheaper than paying for each service separately, but this isn’t always the case. Do the math before signing up to make sure you’re actually saving money. If you find a package you like, ask if the provider has a referral program. Sometimes you can get a discount if a friend or family member signs up for the same service.

Where to Look

A quick search around top comparison websites like uSwitch, ISP Review and BroadbandChoices can give you an overview of the deals available from all major U.K. internet and cable providers. Because some comparison and review sites earn a commission if someone purchases services through their links, be sure to get information from more than one source.

You also have the option of calling providers directly to find out about current deals. This can backfire, however, if you aren’t discerning during the call. Sales teams are trained to sell, and representatives will do their best to entice you into signing up right away. After you get the information you want, politely thank the representative for his or her time and move on to your next call. You may wish to find out if providers have a mailing list you can join to be alerted when new sales and deals are available so that you can get information without spending time on the phone.

These tactics free you from the cycle of constant internet and cable rate hikes and give you the liberty to choose a provider with a better deal. Shop around with discernment, read the fine print and know exactly what each company is offering before you make the switch. When you find the best service at the lowest price, be sure to take advantage of it before the deal disappears.

Like anything, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least 3 or 4 options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.

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