Claire Nottage | October 26th, 2023
Community Fibre is a London-based broadband provider that offers high-speed, full fibre connections of up to 3000Mbps to 32 London boroughs. It uses its own pure fibre network and does not run on the Openreach network used by the majority of UK broadband providers. It is therefore classed as an 'altnet' or alternative network.
Community Fibre offers an extremely reliable ultrafast, fibre broadband service, but it does have a few downsides as well.
Community Fibre offers three core speeds of 150Mbps (150Mbps actual), 1Gbps (920Mbps actual) and 3Gbps (3000Gbps actual), all of which are symmetric, which means that your upload speed will be the same as your download speed. Unlike most other broadband connections, Community Fibre only supplies Fibre-to-the-Property broadband, which means that the fibre cables go straight into your home and into your router – there are no copper wires to slow down your speed.
Some of the free routers supplied by broadband providers aren’t exactly top-notch, but those provided by Community Fibre are some of the best when it comes to free routers. For packages offering speeds of 1Gbps and under, customers will receive the Linksys Velop WiFi 6 router.
Community Fibre offers its WiFi In Every Room service that uses mesh technology to guarantee wifi coverage in up to five bedrooms and 12 rooms in total. Along with your main router, you will be supplied with additional mesh routers that create consistent wifi coverage throughout your home. It also guarantees an absolute minimum speed of 10Mbps in every room and if this doesn’t happen you can claim three month’s free broadband in compensation.
Although Community Fibre provides extremely fast, reliable, full fibre broadband, it is only London residents that can benefit from it. It acquired Box Broadband however, which has extended its reach into Surrey and West Sussex, but anyone living further afield will have to look at other options for full fibre broadband.
Community Fibre offers customers the option to bolt on a TV package but it is somewhat limited. The package includes a huge range of free-to-air channels, and provides access to free apps, such as iPlayer and ITV Hub. However, although you can choose to sign up to Amazon Prime and watch it through your TV box, as yet, it does not support NOW TV, Netflix, Disney+ or Netflix.
Customers can choose between a 12 or 24-month contract, with the 12-month contract costing around £2 more a month than the 24-month contract. The 3Gbps package is only available on the 24-month contract. Unlike Virgin Media and NOW Broadband however, it does not offer customers a no-contract (one-month) broadband option, which can be useful if you like the flexibility to cancel at short notice.
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Here’s a quick look at what you can expect with a Community Fibre deal – the details will vary depending on which speed you choose.
|Yes - optional
|Freebies to look for
|Broadband only, Broadband & landline, Broadband & TV
|Linksys Velop WiFi 6 mesh router
|12 or 24 months
|£20 per month
Community Fibre offers a range of download speeds to suit every household, so whether you live alone or share with a lot of housemates, or whether you just like to browse websites or do a lot of streaming in UHD, Community Fibre will have a speed that is right for you. It has recently ditched its 20Mbps offering, so now there are only three. We like that. It's simple and we like simple.
A 150Mbps fibre connection is also offered by Virgin Media and BT, but neither of these two providers also offer 50Mbps upload speed as well. A 50Mbps download speed is ideal for most average households and will enable you to stream TV in HD and support a generous handful of devices.
After 150Mbps, the next step up is a giant one to 1000Mbps – branded as 1Gps – which is a speed that will support pretty much any household. It will keep at least 100 devices connected easily and multiple UHD streaming will be a breeze. And as with all Community Fibre deals, the upload speed is the same as the download speed, so gamers and anyone that regularly uses Skype, Zoom or Facetime will also be delighted with the ultrafast 1000Mbps upload speed.
Community Fibre’s 3000Mbps speed is only available in certain locations. To find out if your street is connected, you can use the availability checker on the providers’ website or get in touch via phone, email or live chat. We don't know why anyone would need internet this fast (the fastest commercially available in the country, no less), but then no one really *needs* to drive a McLaren, do they?
Most providers loudly advertise their download speeds but tend to keep quiet about the corresponding upload speeds since they are usually a lot slower. This is not the case with Community Fibre, whose upload speeds are all the same as the download speeds. In other words, if you sign up to the 1Gbps service for example, you will receive a download speed of 1Gbps and an upload speed of 1Gbps (advertised average is actually 920Mbps, but you get the point).
For the sake of comparison, Virgin Media’s Gig1 package comes with an upload speed of just 104Mbps, which is plenty for most homes, but if you regularly upload anything to the internet, whether that’s videos on YouTube, photos on Instagram or just large files for work, you will appreciate the much faster upload speed on offer from Community Fibre.
Community Fibre’s fibre broadband packages are by default broadband-only as pure fibre packages do not use a telephone line. However, you can choose to have a phone if you want one. You will be provided with a phone adapter which converts your internet signal into a phone signal and vice versa by using Voice Over Internet Protocol technology (as is used by Skype, Zoom and Facetime). You can keep your existing phone number and continue to use your handset too.
Since all calls are made via your internet connection, there is no limit on the calls you can make or any extra charges. There is simply a fixed monthly fee of £10 to pay for the cost of the adapter.
If you are looking for a triple bundle of broadband, phone and TV, you may be pleased to know that this is an option with Community Fibre. The provider has paired up with TV provider Netgem to offer a wealth of entertainment with over 200 free-to-air channels and 35+ apps to choose from, including free apps BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, UKTV Play and YouTube.
Customers wanting more can choose to pay for Amazon Prime Video, BritBox or Hayu, amongst others. BT Sport Ultimate is also available as a paid add-on, but for now there is no access via the NetBox to Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney or NOW TV, which could be a problem for many.
Community Fibre is unique in that it provides customers with superior routers to those supplied by the majority of mainstream broadband providers. Customers will be provided with a Linksys Velop WiFi 6 router, a tri-band router with mesh technology that will provide a reliable wifi connection around your home. Whereas a typical dual-band router uses two frequencies to provide wifi coverage, a tri-band router has three frequencies to optimise coverage and speed around your home.
WiFi In Every Room is Community Fibre’s mesh system whereby you will be provided with additional routers to ensure complete coverage of your home, up to a maximum of five bedrooms or 12 rooms in total. Exterior coverage in gardens or garages is not guaranteed but a minimum download speed of 10Mbps is guaranteed inside your home, although it is likely to be a lot faster.
Here are the detailed specifications of the router supplied by Community Fibre with its packages:
|Number of Ethernet Ports
|3 Gigabit LAN + 1 Gigabit WAN
|up to 2700 square feet
|Flash: 512MB; RAM: 512MB
|4.5" x 4.5" x 9.6"
|Storage File System Support
|FAT, FAT32, NTFS, HFS+
|3x Gigabit LAN + 1x Gigabit WAN, 1x USB 3.0 Port
|WPA2, WPA2 / WPA3 Mixed Mode, WPA3
|AX4200 MU-MIMO Tri-Band Gigabit, 600+1200+2400 Mbps
|Required for set-up: (1) Internet connection with Modem. (2) Mobile device with Android 6.0.1 or iOS 11.4 and higher, Bluetooth preferred. Simple and secured App based set-up
|1.4GHz Quad-Core Processor, 4x4 MU-MIMO, Advanced Security, Easy Setup with the Linksys App, Gigabit Ethernet Ports, Next-Gen OFDMA Technology, Tri-Band Dynamic Backhaul, USB 3.0 Port
|12V / 3A
|up to 128-bit
|2.4GHz, 5GHz, 5GH+0000
|802.11a, 802.11ac (WiFi 5), 802.11ax (WiFi 6), 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n (WiFi 4)
Community Fibre does not charge for installation, and advises it should take no more than two hours. The engineer will advise the best position for your main router and will drill a small hole in the outer wall of your property to bring the cable into your home – it is likely to be near a door, window or balcony. The fibre socket, modem and router will be wall-mounted, and if you have chosen to add the WiFi In Every Room service, the engineer will place additional routers in optimal positions around your home.
Once connected, the engineer will test the speeds, both through a fixed connection to your router and over wifi and you will then be given your username and password.
Community Fibre is not included in Ofcom’s annual report into customer service standards, but according to reviews on Trustpilot, the provider scores an impressive 95% excellent rating, suggesting a high level of customer satisfaction.
Community Fibre offers a responsive Live Chat service or you can get in touch via social media, including Twitter and Facebook. You can also phone Customer Services seven days a week, 365 days a year. Lines are open on Monday to Friday, 8am – 10pm and on Saturday and Sunday, 9am – 7pm. As well as English, customer assistance is available ina number of other languages subject to request, including Arabic, Bengali, Urdu, Greek, Russian, Spanish and Cantonese.
For anyone living in London or the surrounding areas where it is available, we would say getting Community Fibre is a no-brainer. Its pure fibre network provides ultrafast, reliable download speeds – and symmetric upload speeds too, all for laughably cheap pricing considering the equipment, speed and service you're getting. The superior router will not only guarantee you receive optimal speeds but the mesh system means you will also avoid having to deal with any black spots in your home if they occur.
On the downside, although Community Fibre does offer a TV service, the fact that you cannot watch Netflix, Disney+, NOW TV or Apple TV+ on the Netgem box is going to be a real problem for many potential customers. If you are just looking for ultrafast, reliable broadband however, we’d say Community Fibre is a very good option.
That you can get 3Gbps for under £50 a month from Community Fibre is atonishing, both for the fact of the absurd speed itself, and that you'll still pay less than you would for competing 1Gbps packages from other providers (who will also supply you a worse router). No one needs 3Gbps, but then no one needs a Bugatti either.