In this guide
- About BT broadband
- Our best deals in January 2021
- Why choose BT?
- What packages are available?
- What speeds are available?
- Installing BT broadband and what to expect
- What router will I get?
- What else is available?
- Is BT available near me?
- Contacting BT
About BT broadband
BT is the UK’s biggest and arguably best-known broadband provider. It’s also the world’s oldest communications company, with roots that go back to The Electric Telegraph Company, founded in 1846.
This page will tell you everything you need to know about BT broadband, TV and landline phone services - what’s on offer, whether the provider is right for you, and what to expect in terms of equipment, installation, customer service and more.
We’ll also show you the best deals currently on offer from the brand, if you’re looking to make a switch.
Our best deals in January 2021
We’ve rounded up the best deals available in the UK this month.
BT Fibre 2
£110 Reward Card£31.99 p/m£9.99 one-off cost See Deal
- 67Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
- PAYG calls
BT Fibre 1
£70 Reward Card£27.99 p/m£9.99 one-off cost See Deal
- 50Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
- PAYG calls
BT Fibre Essential
£26.99 p/m£19.99 one-off cost See Deal
- 36Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
- PAYG calls
Why choose BT?
There’s a long and varied list of reasons why it’s a safe bet when it comes to broadband provision.
The provider insists that its WiFi router, known as the Smart Hub, is the most powerful available to customers. While we can’t verify or disprove that claim, we can show you the results of a range of tests carried out against Virgin Media and Sky Broadband’s routers, published on BT’s website.
The brand offers all of its broadband packages with unlimited usage, so you won’t come up against any download limits, no matter how much time you spend online.
BT boasts millions of WiFi hotspots across the UK, and as a customer, you’ll have access to all of these. This means you’ll be able to get online free of charge wherever you are - at an airport, motorway service station, shopping centre or cafe.
With some deals you can get cashback in the form of BT reward cards. This is a prepaid Mastercard that can be used at a wide range of high-streets shops and online.
Finally, there are a range of additional benefits from guaranteed WiFi provision in every room of your home to free antivirus software included in many of their deals (keep reading for details).
As with all internet providers, there are some downsides to signing up for a deal with them. The most obvious of these is that the brand’s prices tend to be on the higher end of the spectrum - though the quality of service, great speeds and access to WiFi hotspots while out and about are incentive enough for some customers to invest a little more.
The ISP comes up short, from time to time, when it comes to feedback on customer service, and the brand doesn’t offer short-term contracts, favouring either longer length contracts of 18 or 24 months for most packages.
For the best idea of what BT has to offer, and what it’s really like being a BT broadband customer, read our expert review.
How much is BT?
BT’s monthly rates for broadband provision start from £24.99 a month for their standard / ADSL ‘Essential Broadband’ package.
How long are BT contracts?
BT broadband contracts vary in length. While some are as short as 18 months, most are for a period of 24 months, which can feel like a long time to commit to the same provider for some customers.
If you want to leave any broadband contract part way through, it’s likely that you’ll be charged a hefty early exit fee, so make sure you know how long you’re signing up for at the start, and choose a provider that offers rolling, month to month contracts or shorter term 12 month contracts if you know you’ll need to make a switch in the near future.
What packages does BT offer?
As with most other UK broadband providers, BT offers standalone broadband along with packages that combine landline phone, TV and mobile phone provision.
BT offers a standard package with an average speed of 10Mbps (which is in line with most other UK providers).
The brand also has three fibre deals, with individual broadband speeds averaging 36Mbps, 50Mbps and 67Mbps, all of which come with the brand’s much celebrated Smart Hub router (standard broadband is offered with the less advanced Home Hub 4).
All of their deals come with reward cards, BT Virus Protect and unlimited usage (no data caps).
As with any broadband only deal, you’ll need to have a landline phone connection, regardless of whether you use your handset to make calls. Any that you do make will be charged on a pay as you go basis, which can be expensive if you use your landline regularly.
Broadband and phone
The provider offers three landline phone packages, all of which come with the option of diverting nuisance calls with BT Call Protect.
Unlimited weekend calls: This package covers all calls to UK landline numbers at weekends, defined as the period between midnight on Friday and midnight on Sunday.
Unlimited evening and weekend calls: This package covers all calls to UK landline numbers at weekends (hours as above) and between 7pm and 7am every weekday.
Unlimited anytime calls: The priciest of BT’s landline deals, this package covers calls to UK landline numbers at any time, on any day. Calls to BT Mobile phones are also free at all times.
If you regularly use a landline to make international calls, you can add these to any package for an additional fee, along with other optional extras like caller display, call waiting and BT Answer 1571.
Broadband and TV
BT TV is only available to their broadband customers, and the brand has three options to choose from - all of which include BT Sport and the AMC channel.
The ‘Classic’ bundle gives you access to Freeview channels via a standard recordable YouView box, while the ‘Entertainment’ bundle adds an extra 21 premium channels. Finally, the ‘Max 4K’ bundle comes with 55 premium channels and a 4K-enabled YouView box.
Each of the TV bundles can be combined with an internet deal of your choice.
Find out what to watch on BT TV.
Broadband and mobile
You won’t be able to combine your broadband and mobile as a bundle, but there are incentives to have both from the provider. For example, their customers get a £5 a month discount on mobile plans.
Broadband, TV and phone
For total convenience, some customers go for combined broadband, TV and landline phone provision. The brand has some great deals available that combine the three services, though it’s not possible to include BT mobile phone provision to complete the full set.
What speeds does BT offer?
The provider offers one standard broadband deal and a choice of three fibre broadband deals, each with a different average download speed. All of them, at any speed, feature unlimited data allowances.
BT standard broadband
The most affordable package offers average download speeds of 10Mbps, similar to those provided by most other UK broadband companies. This should be fast enough for individuals, couples or smaller households who use the internet to browse social media, shop, stream music and watch catch-up TV - but it may struggle to meet the needs of larger households where everyone uses the internet at once or people stream HD content.
Their standard broadband deal comes with the BT Smart Hub router, 200GB of BT cloud storage and BT Virus Protection for up to two devices.
BT Fibre Essential
Its basic fibre package, Fibre Essential, has respectable average speeds of 36Mbps. If you want an upgrade on a standard deal, but don’t need superfast speeds, this is the right package for you. Like the standard deal, it also comes with the Smart Hub router, their stay-fast guarantee, and Virus Protection for up to two devices.
BT Fibre 1
For only a small price increase, the Fibre 1 deal offers a much better average speed than its basic Fibre Essential package, clocking in at an average of 50Mbps. It’s ideal for larger households of three or more people who watch HD TV, play games online and download large files like albums and movies - even if these things are happening simultaneously. It also comes with the brand’s famous Smart Hub router, 200GB of BT cloud storage and Virus Protection for up to two devices.
BT Fibre 2
If your large and busy household needs very fast download speeds and streams 4K TV regularly, the provider’s fastest service is well worth a look, with average speeds of 67Mbps. Fibre 2 isn’t cheap, but should future proof a home where kids are turning into teenagers, and everyone’s vying for the internet connection from a different room. The ISP sweetens the deal with some great extras including Virus Protection for up to 15 devices.
What speed do I need for streaming?
When it comes to streaming HD content, downloading large files or regular online gaming, a fibre broadband deal is usually required. There are three on offer, with respective download speeds of 36Mbps, 50Mbps and 67Mpbs. The two slower speeds should meet the needs of most medium to large households where multiple users need an internet connection at the same time. For even bigger, busier households with 4K ultra-high definition TV, BT’s fastest ‘Fibre 2’ broadband deal is the safest option.
What speed do I need for gaming?
For online gaming, it’s not necessary to have internet speeds as high as many people believe. In fact, Xbox Live claims that a speed of just 3Mbps (less than what’s typically provided by most standard / ADSL broadband deals) is sufficient.
We believe that an optimum online gaming experience can only be achieved with download speeds of at least 20Mbps, particularly if you want to download digital games reasonably quickly - some of which are over 100GB in size. This means you’ll need a fibre broadband connection, and any of the three fibre deals will suffice (average download speeds start at 36Mbps).
If you need more information about choosing the right broadband speed for your needs, use our broadband speed guide.
Installing BT broadband and what to expect
If a landline is already installed at your property, which is likely, your service could be up and running within a couple of days - 14 at most. It’s also likely that you won’t have to pay any connection or reconnection charges.
If your property doesn’t have a landline connection, it’s probably that an engineer will need to visit to install one. This means your internet service could take up to 21 days to get up and running.
The provider will confirm how long installation will take when you place an order, agree a date for your services to be installed and tell you whether or not an engineer needs to come to your home.
Installation costs for their fibre broadband are usually around £60, though the brand sometimes offers special deals that waive installation costs. There is usually also a one-off delivery charge of £9.99 for your router, which will be sent out via Royal Mail and should arrive between 7am and 6pm the day before your activation date.
It’s worth keeping in mind that BT isn’t known for the speed of its broadband installation, so if you’re looking for a super fast turnaround, another provider may be a better fit.
If you’d like more information on all aspects of broadband installation, our guide to installing broadband will tell you everything you need to know.
What router will I get?
When you sign up to a contract with the provider, you receive a router as part of the deal. The router you get depends on the deal you receive.
BT Home Hub: When you sign up to a standard or Fibre Essential package, you’ll receive the Home Hub. This router is a dual band 802.22ac router with 7 antennas. It also has a USB port and 4 gigabit LAN ports.
BT Smart Hub 2: If you sign up to either the Fibre 1 or Fibre 2 deal, you’ll be sent the Smart Hub 2. It’s a second generation of the orginal Smart Hub and features 7 antennas, which is give you a massive range of WiFi signal throughout your home.
How to set up your WiFi router
Setting up a WiFi network at home using a router isn’t difficult. In most cases, in fact, all you need to do is plug it in and you’re away!
Our guide to setting up a WiFi will take you through the process, step-by-step.
What else is available from BT?
Along with their broadband packages and combined broadband, landline phone and TV deals, the provider offers some powerful extras and incentives, including:
Stay fast guarantee: Enjoy a specified minimum download speed with your internet service, or claim back £20 (terms and conditions apply).
BT Virus Protect: The ISP’s own virus protection software, included free of charge for a specified number of devices on all broadband deals, standard or fibre.
BT Complete WiFi package: Guarantees connectivity in every room of your home, or your money back (terms and conditions apply).
BT email: All of their packages offer users free access to the BT Mail service, with a personal email address ending in @btinternet.com. Features include a browser-based mail service that can be accessed internationally, up to ten email addresses for family and friends and advanced email security, including antispam and antivirus features.
BT cloud storage: All of their deals come with free cloud storage, enabling users to back up their photos, videos and files safely on the cloud and access them from any location or device. Most packages offer 200GB. Additional space can be purchased from as little as £3 a month for an extra 50GB or only £9 a month for 500GB.
BT Home Tech Experts: BT Home Tech Experts provide certified tech support with anything from getting your broadband up and running to making the most of your. This is a subscription service that comes at a cost of either £8 per month to include any issues related to your PC / laptop or £10 a month to cover all gadgets including printers, scanners, cameras and smartphones.
WiFi hotspots across the UK: The provider boasts millions of WiFi hotspots across the UK, and as a customer, you’ll have access to all of these. No matter where you are, this means you’ll be able to get online instantly, free of charge.
Is BT available near me?
Our postcode checker will instantly tell you which service is available in your area. Happily, BT is on offer in most parts of the UK.
If you need some help with your service, there are several ways to go about this. You can ask the provider a question via their website, browse their online help section for similar issues or contact BT directly, via Live Chat.
BT Customer Service, with teams based in the UK and Ireland, can also be reached by phone on 0800 800150. You’ll be able to speak to someone between 8am and 9pm from Monday to Friday, 8am until 8pm on Saturday and between 9am and 6pm on Sundays.