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Is TalkTalk broadband any good?

Wednesday, February 12th 2014

TalkTalk offers cheap, unlimited broadband with good security. There are no frills and the customer service is sometimes poor, but improving slowly.

A pocket-friendly alternative to the likes of BT and Sky, TalkTalk offers fibre optic connections with truly unlimited downloads up to 76Mbps. You’ll also get free security software and the option to add in home phone and TV to make a complete package. However, TalkTalk’s dismal customer service record is a major issue, even though it claims to be making every effort to redeem itself.

Pros and cons

No provider is perfect and each has good and bad points to consider before committing to a contract. Here’s what we like about TalkTalk and where there’s some room for improvement.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Free HomeSafe™ software
  • Business options

Cons

  • No inclusive calls with basic broadband
  • Poor customer service
  • Long contracts

Package comparison

Use our handy package comparison tool to compare the latest TalkTalk broadband prices and features.

  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed16Mb
    Max Upload Speed1Mb
    Monthly UsageUnlimited
    Fair UsageNo
    Traffic ShapingNo
    IP AddressingDynamic
    Digital TV
    TV Channels-
    SD Channels-
    HD Channels-
    3D Channels-
    Radio Channels-
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls-
    Evening Calls-
    Weekend Calls-
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    -
    £3.50
    Upfront CostFree
    Contract Length12 months
    Line Rental p/m£15.95
    Average Monthly£19.45
    First Year Cost£233.40
    Lifetime Cost£233.40
    See deal →
    or call 0800 840 5395
  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed16Mb
    Max Upload Speed1.3Mb
    Monthly Usage10GB
    Fair UsageNo
    Traffic ShapingYes
    IP AddressingDynamic
    Digital TV
    TV Channels-
    SD Channels-
    HD Channels-
    3D Channels-
    Radio Channels-
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls8.4ppm
    Evening Calls8.4ppm
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    (£5.99 after 12 mths)
    £1.99
    Upfront Cost£5.99
    Contract Length18 months
    Line Rental p/m£14.50
    Average Monthly£18.16
    First Year Cost£203.87
    Lifetime Cost£326.81
    See deal →
    or call 0800 840 5395
  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed15Mb
    Max Upload Speed1Mb
    Monthly UsageUnlimited
    Fair UsageYes
    Traffic ShapingNo
    IP AddressingDynamic
    Digital TV
    TV Channels-
    SD Channels-
    HD Channels-
    3D Channels-
    Radio Channels-
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls7.4ppm
    Evening CallsInclusive
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    (£4 after 6 mths)
    £2
    Upfront Cost£7.95
    Contract Length18 months
    Line Rental p/m£14.50
    Average Monthly£18.28
    First Year Cost£217.95
    Lifetime Cost£328.95
    See deal →
    or call 0800 840 5395

The good

Cheap

If you’re looking for a budget broadband deal without the restrictions of a download cap, TalkTalk is certainly worth a look. Its entry-level package - SimplyBroadband – costs just £3.50 per month (plus £15.95 line rental) for truly unlimited downloads, with up to 16Mb download speed and up to 1Mb upload speed.

Prices are pretty good if you’re looking for a faster service, costing an extra £10 per for Fibre Medium (up to 38Mb) and £15 for Fibre Large (up to 76Mb). Line rental remains a frustrating expense if you don’t plan to use your home phone, but you can slash the total cost by paying 12 months upfront in a £141 lump sum, which brings the monthly cost down to £11.75.

Security

TalkTalk is very proud of its HomeSafe™ system, which all customers get for free as part of their broadband package. It is build into the network itself, which means any device using the home connection via Ethernet or Wi-Fi will be protected from content you have personally deemed unsafe or unsuitable. It is handy for parents as it can give specific control during you control the after school homework routine.

For enhanced security, Super Safe Boost can be added for an extra £2 per month for protection against security threats and viruses, including detection of new threats and removal of existing ones.

The bad

Customer service

Customer service has long been TalkTalk’s Achilles’ heel, highlighted by a hefty fine and a rather embarrassing telling off from Ofcom in 2011 after incorrectly billing over 60,000 customers.

Despite complaints about TalkTalk falling to their lowest level since Ofcom first began publishing complaints data, they remain at double the industry average. Customers experienced issues with how their complaints were handled and problems with changing provider. But TalkTalk is by no means alone: BT and EE also generated complaints in excess of the industry average for broadband service in 2013.

Lengthy contract

If TalkTalk’s reputation makes you a little uneasy, the 18-month contract on all broadband contracts might feel too restrictive. If anything goes wrong and you want to jump ship, you’ll face an early exit fee of £9.50 for every month left on your contract for SimplyBroadband, plus £10 per month for Fibre Medium and £15 for Fibre Large.

Early repayment charges are nothing new, but rival Virgin has recently joined Sky in offering broadband on 12-month contracts in a consumer-friendly move that allows customer to get out more quickly if service isn’t up to scratch.

The verdict

You get what you pay for with TalkTalk broadband. The attraction of cheap unlimited broadband with good security software and useful business options is countered with the lack of inclusive calls, questionable service and a fairly long contract.

We’re also struck by the lack of speed data from TalkTalk; Ofcom doesn’t include it in its annual broadband speed tests along side BT, Sky, Plusnet and Virgin, so we don’t know how it measures up. But it really comes down to your location anyway and you can check coverage and estimated speeds in your area using the coverage checker below.

Postcode checker

Like many UK providers, TalkTalk uses the BT Openreach network, which brings ADSL broadband coverage to around 99% of the UK. Pop your postcode into the checker below to see if TalkTalk broadband is an option in your area.

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Comments (173)

Jamstarz
1 day ago

Do not do it!!!! Lucikily I escaped before I went live with them (long story) Basically told be to wait 10-15 days while issues would sort themselves!!! (ie my contract would come totally through from BT).....the problem was at the exchange nothing to do wit 10-15 settling in period.....also would not believe me that you have 28 days once you go live that you have the right to cancel (ofcom rule)......

John
8 days ago

Oh, I forgot to mention. Check your bills each month, we found £6 bolt ons added on for free land line calls. We don't have a landline so certainly didn't ask for them

carla
8 days ago

talk talk 1 mounth on and just problems...i have the phone,tv,broadband(the normal one) and i agree with alex comments on top.

They told me i should get 5mb to 7mb with my adress and post code, i just get 1mb to 3mb. Its so misleading PLUS their solution is i PAY FOR THE FIBRE one.. The the speed of even 3mb(my maximun speed check) im not able to watch the paid channels like sky one ect i get. the minimum speed for see paid chanels and bbc player ect must be 4-5mb at least. im paying for tv channels that im able to watch and broadband band that my im able even to watch a youtube video propely or open argos website without waiting to site to respond.

they are a bunch of liers and money rip off

THE WORST!!
11 days ago

This has been one of the worst experiences of my life. COMEPLETE S***. DONT DO IT!!!!

Alex
19 days ago

Would you settle for a Bic Mac covered in dog feces served at McDonald's? No? Then why settle for internet and a phone line covered with technical issues, littered with customer services agents in India who have no clue, lightly garnished with hidden charges and mysterious monthly payment inflation? Talktalk is the lowest of the low, the bottom of the barrel, the solution only to the very, very desperate. I can't stress enough how far down TT is on the internet and phone provider company ladder.

Where to start? You're promised speeds of up to 19mbp and end up with 1.2mbp. When you dispute this over the phone with Raj, he talks to you about upgrading to a more expensive package rather than trying to find a solution to your current problem. After spending 23 days of your life convincing Raj you don't want a package upgrade, he finally agrees to send out an engineer "free of charge if the fault is found to be outside of the property" which, basically means, if the telephone pole has toppled over. So the engineer comes out and, lo and behold, identifies a problem with the plastic cover on the master socket. Quick change over to a new one and INTERNET SPEEDS SHOOT UP TO 2.5MBP!!!!! THAT MEANS THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED!!!....according to them, anyway. Cue a £50 charge for the engineer to change a bit of plastic I could have changed myself for free and, BINGO, you have the TalkTalk business model.

The above experience is one of their good ones. Usually, when calling to log a complaint, you're passed around various departments like a bucket of popcorn at the cinema. You speak to everyone, from a sales adviser to a sales rep, to the manager, the CEO, the plumber, the parking attendant, until you're put on hold for 2 years and, finally, hung up on. They try to convince you that everything is fine by robotically reading from a script, even as your router smoking and sparking. Their preferred method of dealing with complaints is not to find a solution, but to see if they can somehow swindle more money out of the poor customer by selling you TalkTalk mobile, TalkTalk TV, TalkTalk car, TalkTalk toilet etc.. The language barrier is a joke and I don't even need to go in to too much depth on that, anyone with TalkTalk who has called up for help will know what I mean. Any money you are lucky to get back either from blatant overpayments or charges for imaginary engineer visits that never happened will be in the form of a cheque rather than a direct debit refund. But be warned, to achieve that state of customer service nirvana, quit your job and dump/divorce any life partner you may have because you will have to dedicate 1/3 of your life simply sitting on the phone, talking endlessly to a dozen people, trying to get your money back

It's not worth the hassle. Don't be tempted with their advertised cheap deals and great services. Both are bogus claims. The cheap deals last for 3 months, then you're whacked with the full shebang when you're tied in to a lengthy contract. The great service? LOOOOL. The only way the service could be any worse is if you literally put a bunch of chimpanzees, stolen from London zoo, in charge. And I guarantee you, over time, the chimps would learn to adapt and actually become helpful, certainly more helpful than the Neanderthals currently working there.

The old adage is "you get what you pay for in life". With TalkTalk, the adage is "you get less than what you pay for...sometimes. Sometimes, you pay more for what you get than you should" Avoid this company like the plague. Avoid it the way a vampire avoids sunlight. Go with anyone else. Sky, BT, Plusnet, EE, use a dongle. Hell, steal Wi-Fi from your neighbour if you can, cos I promise you, it will be better than anything Talk Talk has to offer

John
20 days ago

AVOID OR SWITCH. 1 mbps in central manchester, 1/2 mile from the phone exchange. They tell me I'm a long way from the exchange and only resolution is to switch to fibre at 5 times the cost. I'll switch to EE and take advantage of £136 cashback offer. Thanks for nothing Talk Talk

John
20 days ago

AVOID OR SWITCH. 1 mbps in central manchester, 1/2 mile from the phone exchange. They tell me I'm a long way from the exchange and only resolution is to switch to fibre at 5 times the cost. I'll switch to EE and take advantage of £136 cashback offer. Thanks for nothing Talk Talk

Michele
22 days ago

These comments have convinced me after many many years to make the swap to BT, had no problems with TT until the past 5 months, our Internet is dropping regularly to 0.06mbs!! Do they care? Do they hell!

David Moore
22 days ago

Ofcom: Telecoms and Pay TV Complaints Q4 (October to December) 2013

Fixed line telephony: The providers covered here are BT Retail, Sky, TalkTalk Group and Virgin Media. TalkTalk Group generated the highest relative volume of complaints and these related to service faults and complaints handling. BT also generated complaints above industry average whilst Virgin Media received fewer complaints than the other fixed line providers that we report on.

Fixed broadband: The providers covered here are BT Retail, Sky, TalkTalk Group, Virgin Media and EE.(-5-) BT generated the highest relative volume of complaints and these related to service faults and complaints handling. EE and TalkTalk Group also received above industry average complaint levels whilst Sky and Virgin Media generated complaint volumes below the industry average. Virgin Media received the lowest relative complaint volumes compared to the other fixed broadband providers that we report on.

David Moore
23 days ago

It's a pity that the moment someone posts a comment that isn't furiously attacking TalkTalk someone else posts the suggestion that they are "paid by TalkTalk to say such things" (from Major Disappointed responding to a post from Nils). I started this thread on 13/2/14 as I was wondering whether to upgrade to TT FTTC. Later on I posted an accurate comment on my experience, and was accused by Snookie of being employed by TT.

Get real. There's been 160+ comments in this thread, most of which have detailed bad experiences. TT have somewhere in the region of 4 million customers, so that’s about 0.004% complaining here. OK, that’s where statistics are misleading because the rest of them probably aren’t ecstatically happy with TT, just as (if you read their comments) customers of BT, Virgin et al aren't either. When I contemplated changing to BT in February I was put off by the very large number of complaints I read about their service.

The fact that some people haven't had a bad experience with TT doesn't mean they have lied and it is offensive and stupid to suggest they have.

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