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John Lewis broadband review

By Emma Lunn
Monday, December 17th 2018
3.5/5

Highstreet stalwart John Lewis might be more famous for its stores, but it also provides broadband services. It’s not the cheapest around, but is it worth paying slightly more for a brand name you trust?

Overview

Average download speed 10Mbps, 36Mbps, 66Mbps
Average upload speed 1Mbps, 10Mbps, 20Mbps
Broadband ADSL & fibre
Home Phone Yes
Prices from £20 per month

Broadband speeds

John Lewis broadband offers simple no-nonsense packages. There are three packages: Unlimited broadband, Fibre broadband and Fibre Extra broadband. They offer average download speeds of 10Mbps, 36Mbps and 66Mbps.

All three broadband deals come with a phone line with evening and weekend calls to UK landlines. There’s also the option to include anytime or international calls, or calls to UK mobiles. There’s no option to do away with the phone line.

A router is included with each broadband deal and there are no activation charges or usage caps. All three deals come on 12-month contracts, with price increases after 12 months.

For many households, standard broadband will be enough. But you may benefit from a faster speed if you stream a lot of music or TV. Or if there's a fair number of you all getting online at the same time.

John Lewis’ broadband service is provided by Plusnet, which offers slightly cheaper deals for the same speeds. Unlike John Lewis, Plusnet also offers one-month and 18-month contracts.

Compare John Lewis broadband

Upload speeds

Upload speeds will matter to people who send emails with large files, upload photos or videos to the web, or who play games online. For people who spend most of their time reading emails or surfing the web, download speeds will be more important.

You will get upload speeds of up to 9.5Mbps on John Lewis’ 36Mbps Fibre deal and up to 19Mb on its Fibre Extra package. These upload speeds are very similar to those offered by Sky or BT, and generally faster than the upload speeds offered by Virgin Media.

Router and installation

Router

All John Lewis broadband packages come with a free router. The standard broadband package comes with a Netgear WNR1000. You can install it yourself and there are set-up instructions on the John Lewis website.

John Lewis broadband router

If you sign up to one of John Lewis’ fibre deals you get a better router – the ZyXEL VMG8924. This provides a better signal throughout your home. And it has four gigabit ethernet ports to enable high-speed connections to any wired devices. A firewall, enhanced wireless security, and parental controls are also included. Again, there’s a set-up guide on John Lewis’ website for these.

The website also has tips about how to get the best wi-fi speeds. The ZyXEL VMG8924 is not a bad router, but the tech-savvy will recognise it as not being up there with Sky’s Q Hub or the BT Smart Hub.

Installation

John Lewis’ broadband packages come free from installation or activation charges. But you will need a normal phone line for the set-up to be fee-free. If you don’t have a phone line, John Lewis can install one for you for a price.

If you’re switching, John Lewis will contact your current supplier and arrange everything for you. (Unless you are with Virgin Media, in which case you will have to make direct contact). You shouldn’t need to tell your existing provider to cancel your service. Most providers will automatically cancel your service once the move to your new provider is complete.

The switch should take between 10 and 12 working days.

Customer service

John Lewis prides itself on its reputation for first-class customer service. There’s plenty of online support for its broadband customers, including Service Status. This provides details of any maintenance work or issues that might affect your service. There’s also a broadband trouble-shooter that can diagnose and fix problems.

John Lewis broadband is provided by Plusnet, and offers UK-based 24/7 freefone UK-based customer support. But Ofcom's service quality report in April 2017 found that, at seven minutes 27 seconds, Plusnet has the longest average call waiting time out of the major broadband providers.

Deals and offers

John Lewis offers three simple broadband and phone packages with no set-up or activation fees. These include free Bullguard security and a John Lewis email address. Sometimes John Lewis throws in a gift card or free bit of tech to tempt new customers in. These are a few of its current deals.

Our final verdict

The good

  • Trusted household name
  • UK-based customer support
  • No hidden costs

The bad

  • Not the cheapest deals
  • Only has 12-month contracts
  • No TV bundles

John Lewis enjoys strong brand loyalty and has a dedicated customer base. But will that persuade customers to choose it over more established broadband providers?

Its three broadband deals are simple but not the cheapest around. Plus you’re restricted to a 12-month contract and a package including a phone line. John Lewis broadband is provided by Plusnet, which offers slightly cheaper deals and a choice of contract lengths.

Compare broadband deals

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