Is TalkTalk broadband any good?
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.
- Good value
- Free HomeSafe™ software
- Business options
- No inclusive calls with basic broadband
- Poor customer service
- Long contracts
Use our handy package comparison tool to compare the latest TalkTalk broadband prices and features.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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