January is usually the time when broadband companies launch a host of short-lived promotions to draw people in while they try to juggle their finances.

So Martin Lewis' Money Saving Experts do the same, and try to get the providers to squeeze their prices down even further.

This is doable as firms must now alert existing customers to the tariffs they offer new customers.

So if you're one of 9 million out of contract, you may be able to halve your costs.

Martin Lewis sets the benchmark for broadband costs at £30-£45/month for standard speed.

Even if you don't want to switch, you could use the prices below to haggle with your existing provider.

Virgin Media:

Virgin Media has a new 18 month contract, offering 108Mb mega-fast broadband for £18.40/month.

This is the cheapest mega-fast broadband and line (incl weekend calls), but only 52 per cent of homes can get it. 

Apply via MSE's Virgin Media link by Thursday January 21 (it'll tell you if you're eligible), and the cost will be £23.95/month, but you get an automatic £100 bill credit, so effectively the first four months are free.

Factor that in over the contract and it's £18.40/month on average. 

Shell Energy:

Shell Energy has three 12 month contract deals to choose from, offering 63Mb fibre for £19.50/month, 35Mb fibre £17.25/month and 11Mb basic £15/month.

These three cheap broadband and line prices include the market's cheapest and according to MSE, Shell packages are very competitive at £20-£26/month depending which of its 11Mb, 35Mb or 63Mb deals you choose.

It also gives an automatic three months' bill credit (worth £60-£80), which when factored in over the one year contract, gives the prices listed above. 

Will I get the advertised speed? 

At least 50 per cent of customers must get the advertised speed at peak times. 

Both providers mentioned above tell you the estimated max you're likely to get before applying.

Do check your current speed and see our eight speed boosting tips.

Switching usually means only about two hours of downtime. You're told the switch time in advance and it's often quick (though nothing is perfect).

Engineers won't usually need to visit, though they may do with some switches involving Virgin. 

You're allowed an engineer visit during lockdown, and they should obey social distancing rules.

About 60 per cent of Virgin customers won't need a visit (and they'll be told this before signing up).

Of the remaining 40 per cent it won't always be clear if an engineer needs to visit their home or just the local exchange.

Also, some leaving Virgin may need a new line installed if they don't have an Openreach one (as it supplies most other firms), and that may be delayed as it's prioritising urgent issues.