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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 (177)

Hayward
1 day ago

It's been over a year now since I sacked this company for not providing a single days service in the two months I hung in with them and their false promises. I'm still getting emails telling me I owe them money, which increases every now and then with late payment charges. Which I'm not paying, no matter how much they try to intimidate me with debt collection threats.

The cons on this page say "poor customer service" which is absolutely true, but what about the poor quality of service and I mean in my experience NO SERVICE for two months. When I finally told them they were getting the sack, they had the nerve to tell me I was being impatient and that they were allowed up to 30 days to fix an issue. Because they'd looked into the issue the previous month, couldn't find a fix, sent out an engineer who said it was a line issue (great help) , apparently that resets the 30 day countdown. So in theory they could just keep saying they've checked the line, then wait 30 days, tell me something else, wait another 30 days and so on..

One more thing they do which is criminal in my opinion, is that they will take out whatever they want from your account, on the final month of closing with them they tried to take over £300 from my account, which I had stopped and refunded. Be careful .. Why should I pay for a service that I never had ?

Al
1 day ago

Avoid like the plague. Customer service is not a concept they understand. They do not do what they promise, the broadband service varies between slow and stop, they have changed my name on my bill and refuse to correct it, having promised to do so over a year ago and despite me activating their name change procedure. Yes, they expect you to correct their mistakes at your expense. They have also removed my number from the Openreach database, deny responsibility for it, but the result is no other provider will touch me because my number does not exist at my address.

paula
5 days ago

So I have had talktalk as a provider for my phone and internet since I lived in Gosport in September 2010, I then moved to Ely, Cambridgeshire in November 2011, and despite phoning and emailing them they were unable to transfer my phone and broadband until a month after I moved but that it turns out was the least of my problems, I added tv to my package when it became available and then in February 2014 I then moved to Benwick, Cambridgeshire and began trying to get my talktalk package transferred to the new house, now at first my new address wasn't available on their system, to the point they asked if it was even registered with Royal mail and said they would have to add it to their system and this would take 3-4 days, a week later I then phoned again to find out what was happening and turns out the request to have my address added had not even been filed so I was told it would take another 10 days - 2weeks, around 2 weeks later I phoned again- at this point I had already moved out of my old house, it was then they told me that they could only provide me with a phone line at my new address, so naturally I requested to cancel this also involved them asking me if I wanted to put my account on hold for 2 months while I thought about it- not much to think about really as I wanted phone, internet and tv, thinking the request for cancellation had gone through I continued to set up my new house with bt as they were able to proivide all services. A month went by and suddenly money for a talktalk bill was taken from my bank account, now I hadn't used any of their services for over a month and having asked for it to be cancelled I got back on the phone to them, where they passed me from person to person hung up on me and tried to refuse giving me my money back, until eventually telling me the only was I could get a refund would be in a months time or unless I filed an indemnity claim with my bank- now I did not see why I should have to wait a month for them to pay back money they had essentially stolen from me so I went ahead and file an indemnity claim at the bank, whilst on the phone talktalk assured me I would be charged no more money and all charges such as early cancellation charges would be voided as they could not provide me with the services I wanted and they had messed me around. Finally I was seeing the light at the end of this rather stressful period, until today (19/04/2014) over 2 months after my first contact with talktalk I receive and email telling me my april bill is ready to be viewed, and this is where I get the biggest shock the bill is a total of £332.15 - listing Contract Breakage Fee charges of £154.92 + YouView+ Box Deferred Fee of £200, so their promises of voiding all charges was clearly yet again another lie and not once did they ask for a return of the youview box, nevertheless they will not on any circumstances be receiving another penny from me as I have cancelled the direct debit, and I refuse to pay for their mistakes and lies.

Luke
6 days ago

AVOID TALK TALK. Paying a few pounds extra a month for sky or bt is definitely worth it

Jamstarz
8 days 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
14 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
15 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!!
17 days ago

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

Alex
25 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
27 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

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