CAMBRIDGE, England, February 17 /PRNewswire/ -- It has been a tough 12 months, with the credit crunch turning into a full-blown recession, but it hasn't stopped the broadband market's continued growth. According to telecoms regulator Ofcom there were almost 17 million broadband connections in the UK by the end of September 2008, and the number is still rising.

But as purse strings are drawn tighter and competition for customers hots up between the broadband providers, there is plenty of good news out there for cash-strapped broadband bargain hunters. There are some great recession-busting deals out there; Broadband Genie editor Chris Marling looks at some of the best ways to save when you're looking to get online for less.

Lose the landline

Everyone should consider mobile broadband; you don't need to have a landline connection, which will probably save you around GBP10 per month, and you get the flexibility of taking your laptop on your travels too. For those in good 3G reception areas, maybe it's time to give up that fixed-line connection for good? If you aren't using the internet for streaming video, downloading large volumes of content or gaming, just keeping a mobile broadband connection is increasingly viable. To simply check email, browse social network sites or surf the web, a 1GB download allowance per month may be more than adequate. If you can do without a shiny new laptop, Orange, Vodafone and 3 all offer dongle-only mobile broadband contracts for GBP10 per month or less, with Vodafone boasting speeds up to 7.2Mb.

Bargain for a bargain

With the fixed-line market close to saturation, if you already have broadband you can be sure your current supplier won't want to lose you. If the service is right but the price is wrong, there's no harm in ringing them and saying so; it can be surprising how much rope is given to retention teams when it comes to keeping customers on board. Take a look around for another deal, then call up your current provider and tell them you're thinking about leaving; when you get through to the retention team, explain the deal you've seen and see if they'll match or beat it - you might be surprised by the results.

Lap up a laptop

So-called free laptop deals are getting better all the time, due to an increasingly competitive market. All five of the mobile broadband providers are now competing, with O2's late arrival sure to spark yet another round of price cutting as everyone scrabbles for those lucrative 24-month consumer contracts. You need to be sure you're getting what you actually want, but if that laptop is the one for you it can be a good way to finance an expensive bit of kit. If you're genuinely on the hunt for a good netbook all-rounder, for example, the Asus Eee PC 904 has been getting good reviews for its clear 8.9-inch screen, great battery life and large keyboard. T-Mobile has it on a 24-month GBP25 per month deal, including 200 free texts per month and a free dongle.

Bread and butter broadband

You don't need to go for a whiz-bang quadplay deal from the big players to get online. If you're happy with your telephone and TV, there are some broadband-only bargains out there. Eclipse Internet, Orange and Plusnet all offer services for less than GBP10 per month, with Eclipse offering speeds up to 24Mb, Orange free broadband to its mobile customers and Plusnet a free router and free broadband calls. There are also lots of deals offering incentives such as 'three months free'. These can sound good on paper, but it can also be a gimmick to dress up a pretty ordinary offering. Get that calculator out and see what it really means for the whole length of the contract.

Playing the game

Online games are getting better all the time, with both consoles and PCs now gateways to the ultimate challenge for gamers: player vs player. Serious gamers don't want to compromise on their connection, but that doesn't mean there aren't good deals to be had. Be Broadband was recently adopted as the ISP of choice for the British eSports Association, the official governing body for competitive gaming in the UK, and it has a match winning offer on the table too; sign up to any of its 'unlimited' tariffs online before the end of March to get yourself a free GBP40 Game voucher, GBP40 credit or a year's subscription to gadget mag T3. and give consumers access to the best online deals from all the major broadband companies, with hundreds of packages to choose from.


1. Broadband Genie is the UK's leading independent broadband and mobile broadband comparison website, providing consumers with an unbiased source of information on broadband prices and contracts and allowing them to compare broadband providers in an independent. Broadband Genie was launched in March 2004 as the first dedicated consumer comparison site for broadband, while Mobile Broadband Genie was the first independent mobile broadband comparison site, launched in October 2007. Both sites are among the most popular sites in their respective fields, and regularly feature in the national press. /

2. All queries and interview requests should be directed to Chris Marling at Broadband Genie: t +44(0)844-415-5531 / f +44(0)871-6618553 / m +44(0)7908-327303 / .


All queries and interview requests should be directed to Chris Marling at Broadband Genie: t +44(0)844-415-5531 / f +44(0)871-6618553 / m +44(0)7908-327303 / .