Dan Howdle | January 9th, 2024
NOW Broadband is owned by Sky, but it's a very different animal with a very different offering. Let's dive in.
Here’s what you can expect to enjoy from becoming a NOW Broadband customer:
|Standard ADSL and fibre
|£18 per month
|12 months, rolling 1-month
NOW TV is a household name, but the brand has now established itself as a major player in the UK broadband market. However, unlike many of its rivals it is yet to offer so-called 'Full Fibre' packages where speeds range up to 900Mbps. And that's okay – not only is full fibre only available to around one in four homes currently anyway, but NOW Broadband's real selling points are that it's cheap and that it won't carry out any credit checks when you sign up. Basically, NOW Broadband is sticking to its guns with traditional superfast fibre in order to continue to offer customers the cheapest deals.
Here’s everything you need to know about the provider – what’s on offer, whether it’s right for you, and what to expect in terms of equipment, installation, customer service and more.
NOW Broadband is a sensible choice for a good-value broadband deal on a 12-month contract.
You can also bundle your broadband with the NOW TV memberships that the provider is famous for, and the fact that the brand doesn’t do credit checks on new customers makes it a good choice for those with a less-than-perfect credit rating. Plusnet is the only other provider to eschew these checks.
All of NOW’s broadband packages come with unlimited usage, and there is also a flexible no-contract deal on offer that will suit some customers better, though there is an added activation charge if that's what you plump for.
All in all, NOW Broadband is a real contender for a solid broadband package, with deals that challenge fibre broadband offerings from big players like Sky and BT, albeit with fewer frills – some of the add-ons and extras such as an app, high security control, various other nice-to-haves aren't standard with NOW Broadband whereas you will usually see them included with more 'premium' deals from the biggest providers.
As with all broadband providers, there are some downsides to signing up. As mentioned, the service is considered to be no-frills, so don’t expect amazing incentives or free gifts either. The TV service will also never match up to what’s on offer from the likes of Sky, Virgin Media and BT, though it’s important to remember NOW’s offering is much, much cheaper broadly speaking.
NOW’s ADSL and fibre download speeds are comparable to what you’d get from the UK’s biggest broadband providers (the likes of Sky, BT and TalkTalk). However, those other brands do now offer full fibre packages that are much faster, albeit not widely available. NOW Broadband offers three different packages, and each can be chosen on either a 12-month or no-contract basis:
NOW Broadband has one standard ADSL broadband plan, known as Brilliant Broadband, which offers an average download speed of 11Mbps, available on a 12-month contract.
Brilliant Broadband is fast enough to handle everyday online tasks like shopping, internet banking, browsing social media and streaming with ease. It’s suitable for people who live alone, couples, or smaller households who don’t use the internet heavily. If you have a lot of people vying for a connection at the same time, or if you download games or stream 4K content, you’re likely to need a fibre connection.
NOW Broadband’s Fab Fibre Package offers average download speeds of 36Mbps, and is suitable for the needs of most average sized households as long as nobody is a regular online gamer or streams 4K content.
With this speed of broadband, you can download an album in about 11 seconds on average. This deal is on a 12-month contract as well.
NOW Broadband’s Super Fibre package is even faster, with a quick average download speed of 63Mbps. That’s fast enough to download an album in just six seconds on average.
The Super Fibre plan doesn’t cost much more than Fab Fibre, and has the same contract 12-month term as the other packages, so it’s worth an upgrade for busier households where members enjoy ongoing gaming or regularly stream 4K content.
If you need faster broadband than this, you’ll need what’s commonly known as a ‘full fibre’ connection, which can be many times faster because it doesn't use the old copper phone network that makes up the last part of the connection between your house and the green street cabinet. Full fibre is 100% fibre optic and is completely future-proof, but it's not yet available to most UK homes.
Until recently, Virgin Media was the only real solution for ultrafast broadband with speeds over 1000Mbps (1Gbps) on offer. And you'll have a much better chance of being able to get it as things stand, with Virgin Media available in around three out of five homes.
If you’re struggling to decide which package to go for, read our guide on choosing the right broadband speed for your needs.
Whereas download speeds refer to how quickly information can be copied from the internet to your device (such as a video game, album or movie), 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.
Brilliant Broadband has an average upload speed of 1Mbps, Fab Fibre comes with an upload speed of 10Mbps and Super Fibre has an upload speed of 19Mbps.
We interviewed 6,000 household broadband decision makers. This is how NOW Broadband customers rated their NOW Broadband service:
|Value for money
|Likeliness to recommend
NOW Broadband tends to attract new customers using incentives like discounts on monthly price or added extras like free anytime calls.
|NOW Brilliant Broadband
|£20 per month
|NOW Fab Fibre Broadband
|£23 per month
|NOW Super Fibre Broadband
|£23 per month
From time to time the brand also offers bundled deals combining broadband with a NOW TV membership. You should bear in mind that these can’t be combined with Sky TV provision, though NOW TV membership options do include some Sky TV channels, depending on which you choose to go for.
Like most of the UK’s major broadband providers, NOW Broadband offers broadband and phone bundles; broadband, TV and phone bundles; and broadband provision on its own. You can get these on a rolling month-to-month basis without a contract, along with standard 12-month contracts, both with no credit check.
If you are looking for a broadband and TV bundle however, it’s worth noting that NOW TV is not comparable to the TV packages of Virgin Media or Sky (though BT TV, now EE TV, does use NOW TV, so quite similar). It is purely a streaming service, but it does provide access to a fair few Freeview and Sky Entertainment channels, and you can add on Sky Sports and Sky Cinema.
All new customers will receive a NOW Hub Two router that can easily be setup with self-installation at home. If you get stuck, there’s a great router installation guide on the brand’s website.
You’ll get the best speed and stability if you connect your Hub Two to your master phone socket as this is where your broadband signal is strongest.
NOW’s Hub Two is a dual-band router with two gigabit ethernet ports so you can enjoy optimum speeds on two wired devices. It has five internal antennae – fewer than the routers on offer from the likes of Virgin Media and BT – meaning the signal around your home may not be as good as it could be.
To get up and running with NOW Broadband, you’ll only need to pay a delivery charge for your router. However if you sign up for a no-contract deal there will be a hefty upfront charge.
If you already have an active phone line and socket at your address, the NOW Broadband can usually switch your phone line remotely. If you don’t have a phone line at your property, or if you’re switching over from a cable service, your new provider will send an engineer to install a line.
Most of the time it’ll be up to you to self-install. You will be sent your router in the post a few days before your phone line is due to switch on. Once your phone line is activated, you can set up your router and enjoy your new broadband connection.
Don’t be surprised to see your broadband speeds going up and down during the first 10 days. This is because engineers will be testing and tweaking your line to give you the best speeds along with making the line as stable as possible.
To find out more about what to expect, read our guide on broadband installation.
For customers with broadband issues, NOW Broadband offers a range of step-by-step online guides to resolve common problems. If you need more help, you can contact their call centre for free on 0800 759 1213, or chat to NOW’s chatbot for standard issues or questions. Alternatively, you can contact the provider via social media, using Twitter or Facebook Messenger.
In addition, the provider also has an online community of customers who can answer queries and provide advice.
The brand also boasts hassle-free switching and doesn’t run credit checks on new customers, so if you decide to switch, you should be up and running pretty quickly.
We've given NOW Broadband four out of five stars and rated it very good for its simplicity.
NOW Broadband is a no-frills provider with affordable prices and no credit checks. Though you won’t benefit from free gifts or vouchers, NOW offers a reliable basic broadband service, with a few other options you can add-on. The brand has multiple options for advice and support when you encounter problems, and is one of few providers that still offers 12-month and one-month contracts.
All in all, NOW is a solid service provider and a serious contender for your next broadband deal, though its TV provision is more limited than Sky.