BT Broadband Buyers Guide

The UK's largest telecoms provider offering nationwide broadband availability with the same low prices even in rural areas

  • Wide range of packages available with truly unlimited usage
  • Faster than average basic fibre with Superfast Fibre averaging at 50Mb
  • Free access to over 5 million BT Wi-fi hotspots
  • Free technical support over a variety of media
  • Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back
  • Wide range of TV inclusive options with BT TV and the exclusive AMC channel
  • Superfast Fibre comes with the fastest and smartest hub of any major broadband provider
  • BT Sport Pack, exclusively covering UEFA football and 42 Premier League matches

Go to site

BT Fibre Essential
£24.99 for 24 months
£32.99 thereafter

£19.99 upfront cost

  • 24 months reduced price!
  • 36Mb average download speed
  • 9Mb average upload speed!
  • Truly unlimited usage
  • 36Mb average download speed
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi access
  • BT Home Hub 5 with N-rated Wi-Fi
  • BT Virus Protect on 2 devices
  • 200GB Cloud Storage
  • Only pay for the calls you use
  • 24 month contract

Buy now

BT Fibre 2 with Calls
£29.99 for 24 months
£37.99 thereafter

£9.99 upfront cost

  • 24 months reduced price!
  • 67Mb average download speed
  • 18Mb average upload speed!
  • Truly unlimited usage
  • BT Smart Hub with ac-rated Wi-Fi and smart technology to give faster connections in more rooms!
  • Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back
  • Only pay for the calls you use
  • No activation fee
  • 24 month contract

Buy now

BT TV Entertainment with Fibre 1 and Calls
£38.99 for 24 months
£46.99 thereafter

£9.99 upfront cost

  • 24 months reduced price!
  • 50Mb average download speed
  • 9Mb average upload speed!
  • Truly unlimited usage
  • AMC channel free with BT TV
  • BT Smart Hub with ac-rated Wi-Fi and smart technology to give faster connections in more rooms!
  • Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back
  • Only pay for the calls you use
  • No activation fee
  • 24 month contract

Buy now

Reasons to choose BT

  • Established reputation - BT have been operating for a very long time, and it's a name that people know and trust
  • Available nationwide - BT Broadband's lowest prices are available at all BT telephone exchanges, even in rural areas
  • Superfast Fibre 2 - BT were the first to offer the higher fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) speeds, now at 67Mb average speed, and ultrafast 160Mb and 300Mb fibre to the home products are rolling out in some areas
  • Faster basic fibre - BT's Superfast Fibre 1 fibre products offer speeds averaging 50Mb, beating most competitors' approximately 36Mb average speed products
  • Complete Wi-fi Guarantee - add W-Fi discs for £10 a month to increase coverage around your house
  • Variety of packages with truly unlimited usage
  • BT TV - enjoy a range of TV channels, movies, sport and catchup TV powered by YouView
  • Comprehensive security - with BT Virus Protect, Web Protect and True Key
  • Extensive support options - you can get in touch with BT in a variety of ways, including the phone, online chat, online forums and Twitter
  • Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back
  • Smart Hub for Superfast Fibre - router with the latest 802.11ac wireless technology and smart techology to get faster Wi-Fi connections in more rooms of your home. BT claim this beats the latest hubs from other major UK broadband providers
  • BT Wi-Fi - free and unlimited access over 4 million wi-fi hotspots in the UK - the UK's largest hotspot network
  • BT Cloud storage - for storing your personal files, the amount depends on the size of the package

Possible downsides

  • Must use BT for phone - unlike some providers, such as Plusnet, it's not possible to take your call plan and line rental from another phone supplier
  • If you can get Fibre in your area, you will not be offered the slowe, standard broadband packages
  • Best Hub not on standard broadband - If you're not opting for BT Superfast Fibre you need to pay £50 extra for the BT Smart Hub, or opt for the slower free Home Hub 4
  • No short contracts - All products are on 18 month contracts and prices rise from the 19th month
  • No fixed price term - Prices may rise during your 18 month minimum contract

Features at a glance

  • Download speeds average at 10Mb for standard broadband, 50Mb for Superfast Fibre and 67Mb for Superfast Fibre 2

  • 24 month contracts on all deals

  • Truly unlimited download allowances

  • Many deals with free or discounted activation

  • Free customer support, 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 8pm Saturday and Sunday

  • Security includes fre BT Virus Protect for between two and 15 devices, Web Protect and True Key, plus Parental Controls

  • BT Home Hub 4 802.11n wireless router as standard or 802.11ac BT Smart Hub with BT Superfast Fibre

  • Range of BT TV packages available from BT TV Starter to Total Entertainment with exclusive channels and Ultra HD

  • No inclusive calls, option to upgrade to 500 anytime minutes for £5 a month or unlimited calls for £12 a month

  • Free access to thousands of wi-fi hotspots worldwide

  • Line rental required for all packages

  • BT Broadband have published a Traffic Management Policy

3 stars
  satisfaction rating based on 11605 customer ratings since 2019-03-29. See more BT customer ratings and reviews.

Details last checked on 2020-03-27

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Package    
Speed    
Usage  (Sorted)  
Contract    
1st Year Cost    
Monthly Cost    
BT Fibre Essential More Info

Special offer: 24 months reduced price!
Add 500 mins anytime calls for just £5 a month or Unlimited Calls for £12 a month!
Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back!

802.11n Wireless RouterPhone CallingLine Rental

averages
36Mb
truly
unlimited
24
months
£320 £24.99
£32.99 after 24 months

£19.99 upfront cost

Go to site
BT Broadband with Calls More Info

Special offer: 24 months reduced price!
Add 500 mins anytime calls for just £5 a month or Unlimited Calls for £12 a month!
Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back!

Phone CallingLine Rental

averages
10Mb
truly
unlimited
24
months
£320 £24.99
£32.99 after 24 months
Only available in non-fibre areas

£19.99 upfront cost

Go to site
BT Fibre 1 with Calls More Info

Online exclusive: £80 BT Gift Card + 24 months reduced price + Smart Hub + no activation fee!
Add 500 mins anytime calls for just £5 a month or Unlimited Calls for £12 a month!
Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back!

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingLine Rental

averages
50Mb
truly
unlimited
24
months
£358 £28.99
£36.99 after 24 months
Gift card only available to new customers signing up online

£9.99 upfront cost

Go to site
BT Fibre 2 with Calls More Info

Special offer: 24 months reduced price + Smart Hub + no activation fee!
Add 500 mins anytime calls for just £5 a month or Unlimited Calls for £12 a month!
Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back!

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingLine Rental

averages
67Mb
truly
unlimited
24
months
£370 £29.99
£37.99 after 24 months

£9.99 upfront cost

Go to site
BT TV Entertainment with Fibre 1 and Calls More Info

Special offer: 24 months reduced price + free AMC channel + Smart Hub + no activation fee!
Add 500 mins anytime calls for just £5 a month or Unlimited Calls for £12 a month!
Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back!

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingTelevision ServiceLine Rental

averages
50Mb
truly
unlimited
24
months
£478 £38.99
£46.99 after 24 months

£9.99 upfront cost

Go to site
BT Fibre 100 with Calls More Info

Special offer: 24 months reduced price + Smart Hub + no activation fee!
Add 500 mins anytime calls for just £5 a month or Unlimited Calls for £12 a month!
Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back!

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingLine Rental

averages
145Mb
truly
unlimited
24
months
£490 £39.99
£47.99 after 24 months

£9.99 upfront cost

Go to site
BT TV Big Entertainment with Fibre 1 and Calls More Info

Special offer: 24 months reduced price + free AMC channel + Smart Hub + no activation fee!
Add 500 mins anytime calls for just £5 a month or Unlimited Calls for £12 a month!
Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back!

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingTelevision ServiceLine Rental

averages
50Mb
truly
unlimited
24
months
£598 £48.99
£56.99 after 24 months

£9.99 upfront cost

Go to site
BT Fibre 250 with Calls More Info

Special offer: 24 months reduced price + Smart Hub + no activation fee!
Add 500 mins anytime calls for just £5 a month or Unlimited Calls for £12 a month!
Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back!

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingLine Rental

averages
300Mb
truly
unlimited
24
months
£610 £49.99
£52.99 after 24 months

£9.99 upfront cost

Go to site
BT TV VIP with Fibre 1 and Calls More Info

Special offer: 24 months reduced price + free AMC channel + Smart Hub + no activation fee!
Add 500 mins anytime calls for just £5 a month or Unlimited Calls for £12 a month!
Stay Fast Guarantee - get your promised speeds or £20 back!

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingTelevision ServiceLine Rental

averages
50Mb
truly
unlimited
24
months
£1078 £88.99
£96.99 after 24 months

£9.99 upfront cost

Go to site
  • ICON KEY
  • Wireless Router
  • 802.11n Wireless Router
  • 802.11ac Wireless Router
  • Phone Calling
  • Television Service
  • Line Rental

Details last checked on 2020-03-27

Customer Reviews

Sometimes the best way to get a feel for a broadband provider is to read what those who are already customers think of the service they're receiving. Below are all the reviews we've received for BT.

Customer Ratings Summary

  • Satisfaction
    3 stars
  • Customer Service
    3 stars
  • Speed
    2.8 stars
  • Reliability
    3 stars

Based on 11616 customer ratings since 2019-03-28

Show all time ratings

Add your own review of BT

Ratings are left by users of our speed test as well as by reviewers. Recent star ratings summarise the last 12 months of ratings or the last 100 placed, whichever is largest.

Reviewer Location Reviewing Date Ratings
Absolutely disgusting customer service. My father died last Wednesday after being in hospital for 7 weeks prior to his death.
Tried to contact BT on Friday to cancel the contract but unable to get through. Today, I managed to fet through, however cancellation will only take affect from today...not when he died.
Just a money grabbing, inferior broadband company.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
STAFFORD BT  
Terrible broadband slow issues with internet at times sometimes wifi is slower than other days wifi router restarts on its own and take long to reset itself you pay for a service and don't receive the speed you of for still slow nd not a difference when buying a different pack
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Streathm BT  
TERRIBLE service. Penalised for being loyal- still paying £45/month when they are offering the same service far cheaper (£20/month). Do they not have a duty of care to inform you of better packages? PLUS I was getting 2-3mB not the 30mb minimum... compensation of £20 IF I signed up to a new contract! Absolutely appalling.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
winchester BT  
Had BT for 2 months now, had several issues, slow speed was the first. Guaranteed minimum speed of 32Mbps, any time i run a test with nothing else connected but my laptop, i'm lucky to get anything above 22Mbps. Phoned BT, customer support was good and attentive, they identified a fault, the BT engineer came out, and was receiving above 30Mbps. Four weeks later, it keeps dropping out, reported again, there is another fault with the line, speed is slow again. Waiting on it to be 'fixed'. Not holding my breath that it will stay fixed.
Also you should note, that with my previous broadband provider, the router where it was placed offered a solid wi-fi signal throughout the house. With the BT router, in the same location, the wi-fi signal is very patchy. This can only be on purpose to encourage you to spend additional on their wi-fi extender at £100 each.
I will be considering my options over the course of the next couple of months.
  • Satisfaction
    3 stars
  • Customer Service
    5 stars
  • Speed
    3 stars
  • Reliability
    1 star
Kilwinning BT  
If I could rate 0 stars I would.
This is the first time I've EVER wrote a review about internet providers..
BT is horrible from the service itself, to the support "they offer."
*AT LEAST* twice a night, my router will turn off/disconnect broadband randomly during movies, games, etc.
There are no reports of outage or weather problems. Just an awesome added benefit you purchase along with your package.
Aside from when the actual service deciding to work on it's own will, you will not get what you pay for. Speeds are fairly reduced from the actual amount (and package you believed to have had) to pay.

To sum up this review, save your time. Save your money. Save your countless frustrations. Find a different more reliable service before you're stuck like me!
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Thetford BT  
Bt is a joke, not funny.
Very bad internet company.. they take more than two weeks to send an engineer to install the broadband, then he doesn’t show up and they give you another two weeks to wait.. Awful customers service, they don’t know how to deal with problems and people. I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone. I’m using it only because if I don’t I have to pay a year contract anyway, but it’s taking almost half a year to get my broadband working so... choose something else, anything.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
London BT  
Paying for fast speed get just 12.5mb its appalling,and you cannot speak to a person to get resolved.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Brighton BT  
Shocking service, kept on hold for half an hour each time to then be told there’s a fault and your internet will be turned on no later than midnight tonight. Check the internet the next morning, still no internet and repeat this process every day for a week! And guess what, still no internet and still left on hold for half an hour when you call!
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Surrey BT  
Awful - don’t go with this awful company! They do nothing but lie, cheat and make up excuses. Do not give them your time or money
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Norfolk BT  
The worst customer service i have ever experienced.
They can change your plan without telling you. They renew your plan without telling you. Then they tell you your "discount" runs out then extends your contract past this point and then double your prices.
The manager that we spoke to was argumentative, withholding information and rude.
Ill never use BT Again.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Cheshire BT  

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The reviews published on this page are those of the individual authors who have warrantied that they abide by our review guidelines. Reviews are not the opinion of Broadband.co.uk.

Working From Home

UK broadband has more than enough capacity to handle the surge in home workers

Posted on 2020-03-23 18:17 in News Vodafone Plusnet BT Virgin Media Sky EE

With millions of people now having to work from home there's been a lot of speculation about whether the UK's broadband infrastructure will be able to handle a massive surge in demand.

Well don't worry, because the expectation is that it can. That's the word from BT, who say they've got "more than enough capacity…to handle mass-scale home-working in response to COVID-19".

Last week, the company shared some data to demonstrate just how well their network was able to cope with higher levels of usage. They showed that in the previous week a couple of major video game releases and Champions League football had combined to hit new record levels of traffic for BT - to the tune of 17.5 terabits per second (Tbps) - without the network buckling under the strain.

The increase in home working meanwhile, has seen daytime traffic increase by as much as 60%, but still remains well below the record at around 7.5Tbps. Of course, with schools now closed, it's likely that traffic will go up further during the day, but the industry is confident that it will be able to handle it.

Our own speed test data, compiled from thousands of speed tests each month, supports the view that broadband connections aren't slowing down as well. We pulled the average home broadband speed results from the middle of February, and they were 44Mbps. The period between the 8th and the 14th of March saw average speeds of 43.9Mbps, while between the 15th to the 23rd of March, average speeds were 44.7Mbps. The speed differences displayed are of no real significance, and we're happy that people shouldn't be seeing any negative impact on their connection, despite the current change in UK working arrangements.

Are you working from home? Check out our tips on how to minimise disruption to your broadband service, and make sure it's good enough for what you need.

To help things along, TV streaming companies have agreed temporary measures to slash the amount of data they use by as much as a quarter. Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ are streaming their content at a lower bitrate, while YouTube now defaults to an SD stream - although you can still manually set videos to play at a higher resolution if you want to. The BBC also seems likely to make a change in the not too distant future.

Will you notice the difference? Possibly not, although it depends what you're watching. Streaming at a lower bitrate means that the video is more heavily compressed. With the way video compression works it's more noticeable in busy scenes with lots of fast movement, where the image may become blocky or distorted. In slower scenes, you'll have to look pretty closely to see any effect.

As for streaming in SD, as with YouTube, that might not look great if you watch on a massive 4K telly, but for viewing on a smaller screen like a tablet it should be just fine.

How to pause your Sky Sports and BT Sport subscriptions

In other news, Sky and BT have taken the decision to allow customers to pause their sports channel subscriptions for as long as there's no actual sport taking place. You can do this at sky.com/pausesport or at bt.com/tv. Unfortunately, you can't pause these channels if you've got them through Virgin Media.

BT have removed data caps on all their broadband products. This won't affect most people, since most of their plans are already unlimited. But if you're on an older deal you'll no longer have to worry about managing your usage.

And lots of broadband providers have issued statements to explain their COVID-19 plans, including what happens if you need a callout from a technician to solve a problem. You should have received this via email, but if you haven't you can read them online from BT, Sky, Virgin Media, EE, Vodafone and Plusnet.

Comments

Wi-Fi disc to extend signal

How to get Wi-Fi in every room of your house

Posted on 2019-11-22 16:05 in Features Sky BT

Struggling with patchy Wi-Fi coverage around your house? There's nothing worse than having no-go areas in your home where you can't get online to do some work or catch up on some Netflix. But what can you do?

First of all, try and nail down the problem. Load up our Speed Test tool on your phone or laptop, run it in every room and compare the results. It only takes a few seconds each time, and will give you the full picture of how good your Wi-Fi coverage is - or isn't.

And once you've identified the problem, let's take a look at how to fix it. We'll also provide some links to products on Amazon that you may find useful, though you can find many of these products in your local computer shop and many larger superstores as well.

BT Complete Wi-Fi guarantee

Broadband providers are starting to recognise the importance of full Wi-Fi coverage, and are offering performance guarantees so long as you're happy to pay a little extra.

BT are leading the way. Their Complete Wi-Fi service guarantees full internet throughout your house - with a speed of at least 10Mb - and uses special hardware to do it. As well as equipping you with BT's latest Smart Hub 2 router, they'll also give you a single Wi-Fi Disc.

And what is that? A Wi-Fi Disc is a small Wi-Fi extender that you can place upstairs (or wherever else your connection struggles to reach) that helps to push the signal into the furthest corners of every room. While this may sound complicated, it isn't. You can set one up in less than ten minutes, and the process is mostly automatic. In fact, by using the My BT app on your phone, it'll even recommend the ideal place to put the Disc for the best possible signal.

One Disc should be good enough for most homes, but if it doesn't get the job done you can claim another two Discs for free to eliminate any remaining dead spots. And if there's still parts of your house that aren't covered after that, BT will give you a £20 refund, too.

If you're tired of having to deal with spotty Wi-Fi coverage at home, BT's Complete Wi-Fi makes for a pretty compelling offer. You can add it for around £10 a month, or often pick up deals with it bundled as standard. If you're not with BT and don't plan to switch to them, BT Discs will work with any UK broadband provider, and can be purchased on Amazon.

Check out the latest BT Broadband deals.

Sky Wi-Fi Guarantee

Sky Broadband are also getting in on the act, with a Wi-Fi Guarantee that forms part of their Broadband Boost upgrade.

They promise you a Wi-Fi speed of at least 3Mb in every room. They'll help you get to this by giving you one Broadband Booster device which is similar, but not quite as cutting edge as BT's Discs. Or, if you prefer, they'll send out an engineer to fix any problems. If it still doesn't work they'll refund you everything you've paid for the Broadband Boost service and let you keep the other benefits for free for the rest of your contract.

What are the other benefits? As well as the Wi-Fi Guarantee, Sky Broadband Boost gives you free engineer visits (including evenings and weekends), daily line checks to sniff out problems with your connection, access to the Sky Broadband Buddy app with its parental controls, and 2GB of extra data when your broadband drops for more than 30 minutes - but only if you're a Sky Mobile user.

You can add Sky Broadband Boost to your plan for £5 a month. The 3Mb speed guarantee is quite low - fast enough to stream Netflix in standard definition or to play online games, but a very long way short of the speeds you'll be accustomed to in other rooms. You might be better off looking at some of the other ways to extend your signal first.

How to extend your Wi-Fi signal

If you aren't with BT or Sky, or aren't in a position to switch providers right now, what other options do you have to get full Wi-Fi coverage in every room?

  • 4G or 5G Mobile broadband: 4G, or even the fledgling 5G, broadband is now a viable alternative to a fibre plan. As far as Wi-Fi coverage is concerned it comes with one big benefit: you can be a whole lot more flexible about where you position your router. Because it doesn't need to be connected to a phone line you can place it wherever you like - even upstairs if that gives you the best coverage. You can use Wi-Fi extenders to further beef up the signal, too. Want to know more? Check the latest 4G Mobile Broadband deals.
  • Wi-Fi extenders: There are different types of device that can extend your Wi-Fi coverage. A basic Wi-Fi repeater (such as the TP-Link RE300 or the Netgear EX2700) that makes your signal travel further will do the job, but a better option is a full Wi-Fi mesh network. Something like the Google Wi-Fi Whole Home System works on similar lines to BT's Wi-Fi Discs, and gives you full coverage wherever you need it. They are a little pricier, but these plug-and-play hubs require zero technical know-how to set up and use.
  • Powerline adapters: A more techie solution, but potentially just as effective, are powerline adapters. These devices come in basic packs of two - you plug one in to a power outlet near your router and the other wherever you need it, and the internet signal travels between them via your existing electrical cabling. You have the choice of using the adapter as a Wi-Fi point at the other end to cover all devices in the room, or use ethernet cables to connect devices with where you might want a more stable connection, such as TVs and games consoles. If you find need more rooms covered then you can buy larger packs, or even easily add more at a later date. A well-rated product is the TP-Link TL-WPA4220T starter kit, though there are plenty of others to choose from.
  • Get a better router: All broadband providers will give you a router to use when you sign up. If you've had Wi-Fi problems in the past, make sure you know what router you're going to get when switch suppliers: some are very definitely better than others! We've got all the details in our Broadband Providers guides. If you're looking to buy a router with a bit more oomph, you could consider the ASUS AC66U or the TP-Link AC1750.
  • Check the position of your router: Your other option is just to make sure you're got your router set up in the best possible way. Wi-Fi signals can be blocked by large physical objects, like walls, doors, floors, bookcases and so on. They're also susceptible to interference from microwaves, cordless phones and other devices that emit radio waves. If possible, try and move your router to a different position where there are as few obstacles as possible. With the Christmas season coming up, it's also worth mentioning that decorations such as tinsel have been known to cause problems, so bear that in mind if you want to make your router look festive!

For more, take a look at our guides to Broadband speeds and on how to speed up slow Wi-Fi.

Comments

BT Broadband Buyers Guide - Is BT right for you?

Can I get BT Broadband?

BT's standard broadband services are available at all UK telephone exchanges (excluding those in Hull) so can be accessed in all but the remotest of rural areas.

BT's fibre-optic service, BT Superfast Fibre, is available to more than 85% of UK homes - more than 25 million premises - with BT continuing the roll out to more and more areas every month. BT Superfast Fibre is based on fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology meaning that both your telephone exchange and your street cabinet need to have been upgraded to support fibre before you can sign up to the service. Urban and central areas tend to be activated first. You can check to see if BT Superfast Fibre is available in your area with our postcode checker.

Does BT Broadband have a technical advantage or faster installation time?

BT Broadband is provided by BT Retail, which is a separate company from those that administer telephone exchanges, street cabinets and phonelines. As a result, there is no technical advantage over any other provider reselling BT Wholesale Connect; they have to wait in the same queues for Openreach installation or home visit engineers and use the same systems of contact as any other reseller.

BT Broadband are just one of many consumer broadband service providers using BT Wholesale Connect technology. In many areas competiting broadband providers have installed their own equipment in telephone exchanges and may even be able to beat BT's standard broadband speeds.

As British Telecom, BT provided the nationalised telecoms service for the whole of the UK, controlling all telephone exchanges (except those in Hull). Since then British Telecom were split into three companies; BT Wholesale, who sell telecommunications services to phone and broadband suppliers, Openreach, who maintain the technical aspects of the BT infrastructure including phone lines, exchanges and street cabinets; and BT Retail, who sell BT phone and broadband products to consumers. This separation was enforced by the Competition Commission to ensure that BT did not have a monopoly or unfair advantage over other telecommunications companies.

What broadband options are available?

BT provide a wide range of packages catering to different speeds, download restrictions, and associated extras including TV options.

BT also allow you to build your own package on their site by choosing from a range of core broadband offer:

  • BT standard broadband - averages 10Mb download and 1Mb upload speed (limited to 8Mb maximum down speed and 0.75Mb upload in some rural areas), on a 24 month contract with unlimited downloads
  • BT Superfast Fibre 1 - averages 50Mb download speed and 9.Mb upload speed, on a 24 month contract with unlimited downloads
  • BT Superfast Fibre 2 - averages 67Mb download speed and 18Mb upload speed, on a 24 month contract with unlimited downloads
  • BT Superfast Fibre Plus - the same as Fibre 2 but with 'Plus' benefits. These include double data allowance on BT Mobile plans and a Keep Connected Promise, where BT will send you a 4G hub to use temporarily if your connection goes down

Whether you can enjoy BT's fastest speeds depends on factors like whether your exchange and street cabinet have been upgraded to the latest technology, and how much copper telephone cable there is between your home and the exchange (or the street cabinet for BT Superfast Fibre).

For the standard broadband and Superfast Fibre 1 packages you can choose whether to have unlimited usage, allowing you to use as much Internet as you like each month, or whether you will pay less and have a download limit. There are a range of limits available with smaller limits usually costing less, although special offers and promotions may apply to make unlimited options more affordable. Superfast Fibre 2 is unlimited.

There are no inclusive calls with any packages, however you are given the option to upgrade to 500 Minutes or Unlimited Minutes. Unlimited Minutes is essentially an Anytime call package, and 500 Minutes replaces the old Evenings and Weekends package, which allows you to use what amounts to just over 8 hours of calls to any UK landline or mobile at any time of day.

While you must take BT line rental with any broadband deal, you can save around £20 a year if you pay it all up front through the Line Rental Saver option.

What TV options are available?

You can also combine your broadband and phone service with a TV service by adding BT TV - BT's digital television service - to your package.

BT TV can only be taken with a BT broadband subscription as it uses your connection to stream content which is not available on Freeview. Speeds of 5Mb or more are required to view high definition content, 2Mb or more for standard definition. If your connection falls short of this minimum you won't be able to sign up.

  • Starter Bundle - a basic package offering the Freeview channels and BT Sport in standard definition. You can upgrade with several bolt-ons including Sky Sports Main Event HD. Comes with standard YouView box with no recording.
  • Classic Bundle - the same as above but with a YouView+ box, and AMC as an extra channel. You can add Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Cinema as bolt-ons.
  • Entertainment Bundle - a YouView+ box with 20 extra premium channels including Discovery Channel, Gold, History and more. You can add Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Cinema as bolt-ons.
  • Max HD Bundle - 62 premium entertainment channels including 21 HD channels and BT Sport in UHD. You can add Sky Sports and Sky Cinema as bolt-ons.

BT customers will be able to sign up to the full Sky Sports package plus all Now TV channels including Sky Atlantic in 2019.

All BT TV packages come with up to 80 Freeview TV and radio channels, plus access to 7 day catch up TV and on-demand shows. The YouView powered set top box also gives you high definition versions of the 4 main terrestrial TV channels via Freeview HD and allows you to pause and rewind live TV or record your favourite shows for later. You can also access a large library of on demand TV shows, music videos and more, or pay per view blockbuster films.

BT TV's streamed channels and on-demand films and TV shows do not count towards your broadband usage allowance. Viewing rival services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or NOW TV will count towards any usage limit you might have on your BT Broadband service, so bear this in mind when deciding between limited or unlimited packages.

Which package should I choose?

It is worth working out what your download needs are in advance as there is no need for you for to pay more than you have to, such as paying for extra bandwidth that you won't need.

At average speeds of 50Mb, the BT Superfast Fibre 1 package offers the fastest potential speeds for basic fibre broadband in the UK (at launch time, at least — it's likely that other providers will upgrade their basic services in due course). This is fast enough for virtually all online activities, including watching BT Sport in Ultra HD, and may now be enough for those customers who would have previously been considering the faster Superfast Fibre 2 connection.

BT Superfast Fibre packages will help prevent slowdown in households with many heavy Internet users, such as student households or those with large families. However, if you're close enough to the telephone exchange, BT Broadband's average speeds of 10Mb may still be fast enough, allowing you to stream live television or chat over Skype without encountering problems. You might benefit from faster internet speeds if you do a lot of online gaming, regularly download a lot of large files or stream large amounts TV and films, especially in larger households where more than one person might be doing these things at any one time.

When considering your usage limit, it is worth asking yourself what you use the Internet for, and how often you use it. Those who use the Internet regularly for downloading files, gaming or watching a lot of streaming video (outside of the unmetered BT TV service) will hit a usage limit faster than those who only use the Internet for email, websites and social media, or go online less often. If you can find out your current monthly usage, it will provide a useful estimate for what limit you might need. There is no need to pay for capacity you will not use, but it can also provide peace-of-mind not to worry about if a YouTube video might take you over your limit.

Points to consider before you choose

  • How many people will be using your broadband connection?
  • Are you a heavy downloader, or do you regularly play online games?
  • Will you only watch streamed TV and films on unmetered BT TV or will you also use rival services like Netflix or NOW TV?
  • How heavy is your Internet usage and how often do you use it?
  • Would the expense of the faster speed or larger download capacity be worth it for you?

Compare all BT Broadband packages

I already have Superfast Fibre 1, do I automatically get the new, faster speed?

Existing Superfast Fibre 1 customers will not be upgraded automatically to the faster speeds, and will continue on their current 40Mb maximum speed service.

You can upgrade by taking out a new contract, but unless you're already getting speeds of 40Mb, or thereabouts, it may not be worth it. For many users the internet speeds they get are limited by physical factors such as their distance from the street cabinet, rather than the speed limits of their chosen broadband service. Thus, upgrading to a faster service will not automatically mean faster internet.

What do I get when I sign-up?

It's always good to know upfront what you'll get when signing up with an ISP so you know what you can enjoy for free, or to budget for any extras you may want.

  • BT Home Hub router - Standard BT Broadband customers will receive a free BT Home Hub 4 802.11n wireless router for their connections, while Superfast Fibre customers get the enhanced Smart Hub which is supercharged for fibre. It supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi and uses smart techology to get faster Wi-Fi connections to more rooms in your home that any other major broadband providers' hubs. These routers use dual-band technology to reduce wireless interference and come with an easy online set-up.
  • BT Cloud storage - BT Broadband comes with access to BT Cloud, which allows you to store your files online. This enables you to have a back-up of important documents on your devices so that you do not lose them if something happens to that device. You can also access BT Cloud from anywhere if you have an account, which makes it easy to transfer and share files. The unlimited packages come with either 200GB or a massive 1TB, depending on which you choose. 
  • Internet security - All of BT's unlimited broadband packages come bundled with BT Virus Protect with McAfee, which you can use on two devices on the Broadband and Fibre 1 deals, and up to 15 devices with Superfast Fibre 2 and Plus. You also get BT Parental Controls to monitor and manage children's internet usage.

What are the benefits of BT Broadband?

The benefits offered by an ISP may be what seals the deal in your decision to buy a package from them.

  • Very fast basic fibre - BT's cheapest Superfast Fibre 1 fibre cabinets offer average download speeds of 50Mb while most competitors offer basic fibre that maxes out at 40Mb. If you're close enough to your street cabinet to get the boost then the extra 10Mb to 15Mb could make a significant difference.
  • Public Wi-fi access points - All BT Broadband customers benefit from free unlimited broadband access even when not at home through free access to BT Wi-fi, the world’s largest wi-fi network with over 5 million wi-fi hotspots across the UK. This lets you access the internet without the restrictions of mobile broadband from coffee shops, airports, high streets, stations, and many more places - including international hotspots.
  • Complete Wi-fi Guarantee - add W-Fi discs for £10 a month to increase coverage around your house. If you can't get a strong signal with just the one disc, BT will send you up to two more discs to ensure a strong signal in every room. If that still doesn't cover it, BT will give you a one-off £20 off your next BT bill.
  • Stay Fast Guarantee - if you don't get the speeds BT promise you and BY can't fix it within the first 30 days, then you can claim a £20 BT Gift Card (which is a pre-paid Mastercard). What's more, you can make up to four claims a year.
  • Free technical support - BT Broadband provide many support options for when things go wrong. Customers can call their helpline for free from their landlines at any time of day, and access hundreds of free online guides complete with videos. BT Broadband also maintain a social media presence through forums, Twitter and YouTube, helping you solve any problems that may occur.
  • Available in rural areas - BT offer the same prices at all telephone exchanges, making BT a good choice for those living in rural and remote areas where choices may be limited. In areas where Virgin cable TV isn't available, BT TV may be a good alternative to Sky.
  • Super Hub for BT Superfast Fibre - Supercharged for fibre with the latest 802.11ac advanced wireless networking technology, BT claims their smart techology makes the Smart Hub better than any major broadband provider's latest hub at getting faster connections into more rooms of your home.
  • BT Sport Pack - If you're a sports fan and intend to sign up for BT Sport in order to see UEFA Championship, Premiere League Football, FA Cup, Rugby etc matches, it can be very attractive to switch to BT TV and get these channels for free, or to switch to BT Broadband and get them through the app or your existing Sky TV package for only £6 per month.
  • No satellite dish needed for TV - If you don't want or aren't able to install a satellite dish for your home, BT TV is available using your standard Freeview aerial and BT broadband connection.

What are the drawbacks of BT Broadband?

Let's face it, not everything can be perfect, and even the best deals may have a downside.

  • Costs - BT Broadband is rarely the cheapest option for all the services they provide, however this is made up for by BT providing a wider range of included extras than many other providers.
  • Must take BT phone and line rental - BT Broadband is only offered bundled with BT phone services, you can't take your line rental or call plan from someone else, or sign up with broadband from BT without having a phoneline. BT line rental tends to be priced higher than many other providers.
  • No short contracts - BT’s contracts are for 24 months, which requires a greater degree of commitment and less flexibility than other providers that offer shorter contracts. Those looking for one month contracts may be better off looking elsewhere. However, as BT Broadband is available at all BT telephone exchanges, you're unlikely to find yourself moving home to an area with no BT Broadband service at all, which can happen with some providers.
  • Smart Hub only standard on Superfast Fibre - If you want the lastest and greatest router technology, capable of getting faster connections into the 'dead spots' in your home, you only get the BT Smart Hub inclusive with BT Superfast Fibre. If you're a standard broadband customer then you get the previous generation BT Home Hub 4 or you need to pay an extra £50 to get the Smart Hub.
  • Complaint levels - The communications regulator Ofcom keeps track of the customer complaint levels of for broadband and TV services. The Ofcom complaint figures for 2019 show that while BT are below the average level of complaints among the major broadband provders, they do have the second highest level of complaints for pay TV, than double the industry average.

 

Broadband.co.uk