Dan Howdle | May 4th, 2022
BT is arguably the best-known broadband provider in the UK. But does this mean it’s also the best?
We interviewed 6,000 household broadband decision makers in 2021. This is how BT broadband customers rated their BT broadband service:
|Value for money|
|Likeliness to recommend|
As a broadband provider, BT has some great selling points. There are also some drawbacks to signing up for a BT broadband deal, however, depending on your individual needs and circumstances.
BT offers both standard and fibre broadband packages with speeds that will meet the needs of the majority of households. The brand also boasts the highly regarded BT Smart Hub 2 router, which is included free with every Full Fibre Essential, Fibre 1 and Fibre 2 broadband package, and if they’re available in your area, BT's Full Fibre 100Mb, 500Mb and 900Mb packages.
BT offers some impressive technology to ensure your home Wi-Fi connection is reliable. The BT Complete Wi-Fi service ensures your Wi-Fi signal will reach every area of your home, and the BT Hybrid Connect add-on (previously known as BT Halo) provides you with an additional 4G Mini router, powered by EE, that will spring into action should your primary broadband ever go down. BT refers to its Hybrid Connect add-on as ‘unbreakable Wi-Fi’, ensuring you will never have to suffer complete loss of internet connection.
BT is also known for being generous with cashback offers in the form of the BT Virtual Reward Cards and extras that include XboX Game Passes, various security software packages, cloud storage, and free access to BT WiFi hotspots when you’re out and about.
Though BT is a big player in the UK broadband market, it lacks the flexibility of some of the smaller providers. There are no month-to-month contracts, for example, and beware, the brand is known for hiking up its monthly price as soon as a contract ends.
BT broadband is usually at the more expensive end of the scale, though there are often sales or incentives on offer to sweeten the deal. This is made somewhat worse by the fact that if you want BT's real showstoppers – Complete Wi-Fi and BT Hybrid Connect – you'll have to pay an additional monthly fee for the privilege. Things can get very expensive indeed compared to fees charged by other broadband service providers.
Unlike Virgin Media, whose top speeds are available to around 60% of UK homes, BT's Full Fibre packages (offering speeds of up to 36Mbps, 50 Mbps, 74Mbps, 150Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps) are currently only available to 21% of homes, meaning it's quite unlikely you can get them. If you're after truly ultrafast broadband, chances are you won't get that (yet) from BT, though the company has a nationwide full fibre coverage target set for 2030.
24 month contracts are relatively unusual in the broadband market, but BT insists on these across the board. Being tied in for two years will be a bit of an ask for many, and we would encourage anyone thinking of getting broadband with BT to think long and hard about that commitment before doing so, as you won't be able to leave your contract without a cancellation charge once your cooling-off period is over.
Here’s a quick look at what you can expect with a BT broadband deal, depending upon which package you choose. Keep in mind not all extras are available with every deal.
|Broadband||ADSL, fibre and full fibre|
|Home phone||Yes, Optional with Full Fibre deals|
|Freebies to look for||Virtual reward cards, cashback offers|
|Packages available||Broadband only, Broadband & landline, Broadband & TV|
|Router||BT Home Hub, BT Smart Hub2|
|Contract length||24 months|
|Prices from||£24.99 per month|
In general the more people in your home, the more time they spend using the internet, and the more bandwidth needed for doing the activities they enjoy online (such as gaming, streaming TV and films) the faster the broadband speed you’re going to need.
BT offers a range of broadband speeds to suit the differing needs of households:
BT’s standard broadband package offers average speeds of around 10Mbps – ideal for smaller households of up to three people who don’t use the internet for anything more intensive than online shopping and scrolling through social media feeds.
Fibre broadband is typically faster and more reliable than standard broadband, making it ideal for larger households that spend a lot of time online, enjoying activities like gaming and streaming TV and films. BT currently offers three different fibre packages:
Our comprehensive guide to BT fibre broadband will tell you everything you need to know about these three deals, and the differences between them, helping you choose one that’s right for you.
Although not yet widely available across the country, BT also offers its Full Fibre services, with speeds of 36Mbps, 50Mbps, 74Mbps, 150Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps on offer. The rollout of these high-speed connections is ongoing, but they are currently available in and around major cities across the UK including Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool Leeds and London. These locations equate to only around 21% of UK households.
With a Full Fibre connection, the fibre cables connect directly into your home without the need for a phone line, providing exceptionally high speeds – perfect if you have a large household with several people online all the time.
To find out if you can get BT Full Fibre at your address, visit BT’s broadband availability page and type in your postcode checker to see if it is available in your area.
Upload speeds dictate how fast you can copy or send things from your device to the internet, cloud storage, or other devices. Most of us receive more data than we send, making upload speed much less important than download speed.
Standard BT Broadband has an average upload speed of around 1Mbps.
BT broadband customers with Full Fibre Essential and Full Fibre 1 get upload speeds of up to 10Mbps, and Full Fibre 2 users benefit from upload speeds of around 20Mbps. BT Full Fibre customers on 150Mbps will receive an upload speed of 30Mbps, those on 500Mbps will get an upload speed of 73Mbps and those on 900Mbps will receive an upload speed of 110Mbps.
BT offers both landline and TV packages with its broadband and they’re certainly worth a look.
Broadband and landline – BT no longer includes free landline calls with any of its broadband packages. All the packages are now pay-as-you-go as standard, where you simply pay for any calls you make, but you can choose to pay extra and upgrade to anytime calls or international calls if you still need to use your home phone.
Broadband and TV – If you want to take advantage of BT’s TV offering, you can choose from a handful of entry-level packages including Entertainment (which includes Netflix, and a NOW Entertainment Membership) or BT Sport. BT’s higher-end packages are Big Sport (which includes a NOW Sports membership and Eurosport channels), Big Entertainment (essentially more Sky channels including Sky Cinema), and the VIP package which includes absolutely everything. All of BT’s TV deals include access to AMC and Freeview channels. Although you may not get as many channels as you would on Sky or Virgin Media, you can still get an affordable TV bundle with plenty of channels and optional upgrades. For a more in-depth review on BT’s TV offering, have a read of the review.
BT claims that their Smart Hub router, available with the brand’s Essential Fibre, Fibre 1 and Fibre 2 packages, boasts the best Wi-Fi signal in the UK. Whether or not this is true, the Smart Hub is a superior router, with seven aerials that send Wi-Fi signals to more rooms in your house, with fewer gaps in provision.
BT’s Smart Hub includes the UK’s latest Wi-Fi technology, allowing multiple devices to connect at the same time without disruptions to average download speeds. Built-in filters also block signals from neighbouring routers, making for a more reliable connection than ever before.
The newer Smart Hub2 is currently available to new customers who sign up for BT Hybrid Connect, and available to Halo 3+ customers who don’t already have one. Alternatively, you can choose to buy it outright for £200.
Standard BT broadband comes with BT Home Hub, a basic model that’s perfectly adequate for most smaller households.
For full details, including a BT Smart Hub 2 review, read our guide on BT Smart Hub routers. If you want to change details such as passwords and configuring other Wi-Fi settings you can learn more in our guide to router settings.
On average, installation of BT standard or fibre broadband takes two weeks. If you sign up for a BT Broadband plus Phone package, you’ll need to have a BT landline installed if you don’t already have one; the same is true if you’re switching over from a cable service. To find out more about what to expect, read our guide on broadband installation.
BT generally charges a one-off set up fee for all broadband packages. If you’re not happy with this, consider comparing broadband providers with no upfront costs.
We recently interviewed 6,000 UK broadband customers to hear their thoughts on their own broadband providers. BT managed a noteworthy second place, making it the second best regarded broadband provider according to its customers. It scored particularly highly on the quality of its routers, the switching and installation process, and the reliability of the connection.
For BT broadband help, call Customer Services, call 0800 800 150 or text HELP to 61998. Lines are open on Monday to Friday, 8am – 9pm and on Saturday and Sunday, 8am – 8pm. Having your account number to hand will help you deal with your issue more speedily.
It’s no wonder that BT is a household name for phone and broadband – it has a range of options available and speeds that will impress, along with a growing reputation for reliability when it comes to home Wi-Fi. Its Full Fibre 1 deal, with an average speed of 50Mbps, offers really good value if you want relatively fast broadband at a reasonable price.
Adding TV and phone service bundles is easy and you can find some highly competitive offers for these services. That said, BT is still one of the more expensive providers on the market, more so if you add extras like BT Hybrid Connect and BT Complete Wi-Fi, however, its regular offers make it a solid contender for anyone seeking a new home broadband deal. So keep an eye out for a sale if you're considering switching.
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