Dan Howdle | January 5th, 2024
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. 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. However, depending on your individual needs and circumstances there are also some drawbacks to signing up for a BT broadband deal.
Here's a run-down of the things we like most about BT Broadband:
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 router, which is included free with their packages, and, if they’re available in your area, BT's Full Fibre 100Mb, 500Mb and 900Mb packages. In fact, although BT's small print doesn't seem to have been updated at the time of writing, we're fairly sure you'll now get the newer BT Smart Hub 2 with the faster fibre packages.
BT offers some impressive add-on services to ensure your service is reliable. The Complete Wi-Fi add-on provides up to three 'Wi-Fi Discs' that work with the BT Smart Hub and a supplementary app to ensure your Wi-Fi signal reaches every corner of your home. Plus it's backed by a £100 money-back guarantee. And BT's Hybrid Connect add-on (you may be familiar with it's previous incarnation 'BT Halo') provides you with what is basically a 4G Mini router (powered by EE, who BT own) that'll spring into action should your primary broadband go down. Perhaps tempting fate somewhat, BT refers to Hybrid Connect as ‘unbreakable Wi-Fi’, in theory ensuring you'll never have to suffer complete loss of internet connection. Interestingly, it also acts as a way for BT to identify issues with their network in real-time, so it's nice to know you're contributing to the wider good.
One thing they don't charge extra for is the 'Stay Fast' speed guarantee. You'll find many providers offer a variation on this theme, but in the case of BT, it provides for £100 cashback if you're not getting the minimum speeds BT promise when you started your contract.
As you'll find should you decide to order, BT also makes it extremely easy to bundle in various TV services via EE TV (BT owns EE, and this was formerly called BT TV). While by no means as comprehensive as Sky, there's a nice selection of TV packages ranging from the basic Entertainment add-on to Sport (lots of football), Big Sport (like Sport, only more of it), Big Entertainment (which adds Sky Cinema and NOW Cinema) and VIP which, as the name suggests, includes everything EE TV can offer.
BT is well known for being generous with cashback offers, usually in the form of BT Virtual Reward Cards and extras that can include things like XboX Game Passes, temporary speed upgrades, various security software packages, cloud storage, and free access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots when you’re out and about. It's also worth keeping an eye out for when they decide to waive their set-up and delivery fees, which they often do.
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And here are the things we're less than keen on:
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. Although they're by no means unique in that regard. 24 months is an awfully long time to commit to a broadband contract, with most of BT's competitors offering contracts of 18 months or less.
Generally speaking, BT broadband is usually at the more expensive end of the spectrum, though there are often price reductions, virtual reward cards or other incentives on offer which can help ease that. The basic packages are often much more expensive than competitors, and then BT will want you to pay more for some of its better features. Really, with such long contracts, BT Broadband should be cheaper, or at least on a par with the competition.
Unlike Virgin Media, whose top speeds are available to more than half of UK homes via their own bespoke network (which has been over a decade in the making), BT's Full Fibre packages (offering speeds of 150Mbps, 500Mbps and even 900Mbps) are currently only available to about a quarter of homes. This is because they use Openreach's FTTP network (that's 'Fibre To The Premises', meaning no ancient copper telephone lines are involved). Openreach are rapidly expanding the network, and hope to reach over 80% of UK properties by the end of 2026. And since technically Openreach is part of the BT group, it's safe to say that where their network is available, you'll also find BT. But for now, BT Full Fibre availability is still quite limited.
24-month contracts are sadly becoming more common in the broadband market, and 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 considering BT broadband 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.
|ADSL, fibre and full fibre
|Freebies to look for
|Virtual reward cards, free set-up and delivery
|Broadband only, Broadband & landline, Broadband & TV
|BT Smart Hub, BT Smart Hub2
|£29.99 per month
In general, the more people in your home, the more bandwidth you'll need so they can continue doing the activities they enjoy (such as gaming, streaming TV and movies or even attending video calls). You can read more about what broadband speed you’re going to need in our separate guide.
|£29.99 per month
|BT Fibre 1
|£32.99 per month
|£27.99 per month
|BT Fibre 2
|£35.99 per month
|BT Full Fibre 100
|£29.99 per month
|BT Full Fibre 500
|£34.99 per month
|BT Full Fibre 900
|£57.99 per month
BT offers a range of broadband speeds to suit the differing needs of households:
BT’s standard ADSL broadband package (i.e. not fibre) offers average speeds of around 10Mbps – just about adequate for very small households, or people who don’t use the internet for anything more intensive than online shopping and scrolling through social media. But probably not too hot if you need to work from home using Zoom calls (where you'll be relying on a dismal upload speed, usually 1Mbps) or want to do a lot of (or any) live gaming. Whilst technically it's still available, you can only get it if you can't get anything else where you live, and we do not recommend it.
Fibre broadband (that's FTTC broadband, or Fibre To The Cabinet, meaning copper telephone lines are still involved) 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, implementing Openreach's FTTP network, with speeds far in excess of previous fibre broadband technology. 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 now equate to around a quarter of UK households, and as mentioned above, that number is expected to reach 80% by December 2026.
With a Full Fibre connection, the fibre cables connect directly into your home without the need for a phone line, providing exceptionally high speeds – there's no copper cable to get in the way. So, perfect if you have a large household with several people online all the time. In fact, in many cases BT is now delivering it's Fibre broadband using Full Fibre technology, so even the 'slower' speed packages should be becoming more reliable.
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 send, rather than just receive data. It's true that most of us receive more data than we send, making upload speed, in theory, much less important than download speed. And the providers certainly don't shout about the numbers so much. But if you do much gaming, or work from home and have to attend meetings via video, you'll know just how essential fast upload speeds can be.
Standard BT Broadband has an average upload speed of around 1Mbps. So, very slow. BT broadband customers with Fibre Essential and Fibre 1 get upload speeds of up to 9.5Mbps, and 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. So you can see from those figures how much quicker Full Fibre can really be.
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. In fact, unlike most providers, it also no longer includes pay-as-you-go as standard (where you simply pay for any calls you make). This will probably become more common as the county gradually transitions to the newer FTTP technology, but for now, BT is unusual in this regard. However, you can of course choose to pay extra and upgrade to include a phone line, add anytime calls or even 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, first note that this is now branded as EE TV, but that the same rules apply: You can only get it with a BT Broadband deal. You can choose from a handful of entry-level EE TV packages including Entertainment (which includes Netflix, and a NOW Entertainment Membership) or the recently rebranded TNT Sports. EE TV’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 NOW Cinema), and the VIP package which includes absolutely everything.
All of BT’s TV deals (EE TV) 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.
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 (according to BT). Whether or not that's a fact, the Smart Hub is undeniably 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 great 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 BT's most advanced router. It's an award winning bit of kit, and includes clever features like Smart Channel Selection and Smart Scan, both of which can really help with the reliability of your Wi-Fi connections, especially if there are a lot of devices in your home. It's currently provided to new customers who sign up for BT Hybrid Connect, and it's also 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 on those lower speeds.
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. Or alternatively, play the waiting game and they'll probably offer a fee-free package that fits your needs in the near future.
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. Alternatively, they offer assistance via message, text, a variety of online tools or even by posing a question to their online community.
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 an excellent reputation for reliability when it comes to home broadband and Wi-Fi. Its Fibre 2 deal, with an average speed of 67Mbps, can offer fairly good value if you want relatively fast broadband at a reasonable price. But, if you're lucky enough to be in an area where it's available (and you sign up when they're offering a generous reward), then any of their Full Fibre packages would make a smarter choice. And, due to various regional discounts, you may even find you get an especially low price just by accident of where you live.
Adding TV and phone service bundles is very simple and you can find some highly competitive offers. That said, BT is still one of the more expensive providers on the market (much more so if you add extras like BT Hybrid Connect and BT Complete Wi-Fi). Still, its regular offers make it a solid contender for anyone seeking a new home broadband deal. So keep an eye out for a those price reductions and virtual reward cards if you're considering switching.