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TalkTalk broadband review

By Mike Whitehead
Wednesday, January 16th 2019
3.5/5

TalkTalk offers some of the best-value broadband packages in the UK. This makes it a tempting prospect for anyone not wanting to spend the earth on their home broadband. But cheap doesn't always mean good value, so we ask: Is TalkTalk broadband actually any good?

Overview

Average download speed 10Mbps, 38Mbps, 50Mbps, 67Mbps
Average upload speed 2Mbps, 9.5Mbps, 19.5Mbps
Broadband ADSL & fibre
Home Phone Yes
Prices from £19.95 per month

Broadand speeds

TalkTalk offers the choice of three download speeds. TalkTalk Fast Broadband gives you an average of 11Mbps download speed, which practically speaking, is perfectly sufficient for one to two people online at the same time – streaming, multiple devices, emails, shopping etc, but may not be enough for a family with older kids, who spend their lives online, for whom a faster fibre option may be a better choice.

TalkTalk's Faster Fibre deal offers download speeds averaging 38Mbps, much faster than a standard broadband connection and ideal for family households with several people online at once. You’ll notice fewer glitches using streaming services such as Netflix, and can stream in high definition (HD) without any issues.

If you live in a gaming, streaming, laptopping, phoning, ‘constantly on’ household (teenagers, anyone?) you may want to consider a boost to the top-level Faster Fibre package that averages 67Mbps download speed. This will give you an even more stable service in a busy household.

Every household's requirements are different, but it's also worth bearing in mind that your location can affect your brodband speed. To check what speeds you are currently receiving, run a wired speed test by plugging your laptop or tablet into your router. To see what TalkTalk availability is like in your area, you can use our checker.

Upload speeds

Download speed is the rate at which your device or computer receives information from the internet - how fast websites load, and how smoothly streaming services play your favourite shows. However, when it comes to pressing ‘send’, you'll need a decent upload speed, especially when emailing photos and videos or using two-way video calling such as Facetime or Skype.

Fast Fibre from TalkTalk promises an estimated 9.5Mbps upload speed, compared to Faster Fibre, which gives you an estimated 19Mbps upload speed. All packages include unlimited downloads, so no need to worry about usage caps.

Compare TalkTalk broadband deals

Deals and offers

TalkTalk tends to offer a combination of low sale prices and cashback or vouchers during special offer periods. Below is a sample of what TalkTalk is currently offering new customers. To see its complete range of deals, visit our TalkTalk package comparison page.

Router and installation

Router

While TalkTalk's Super Router is up to the task in most respects, it is reportedly lacking somewhat when it comes to range. It's a rather bland piece of plastic, which is a good thing in most cases as you're hardly likely to display it proudly on the mantlepiece.

If you're in a large home with lots of rooms, TalkTalk might not be the provider for you, purely on the basis of this router alone. There are better routers with more range available from other providers, especially Virgin Media, BT, Sky and Vodafone. Check what's available where you live if range matters to you.

Installation

TalkTalk broadband installation takes around two weeks from the time you sign up. If you're a broadband only customer, you will receive your TalkTalk Super Router to your home address via Royal Mail. It will arrive 3-5 days before your services go live. You can track your router delivery within your account page on the TalkTalk website or or on the Royal Mail website with your parcel tracking number. You’ll get a tracking number once your router has been dispatched.

It’s recommended to wait until your service activation date before setting up your router, as you’ll obviously have no service provision before then.

If you don’t have an appropriate landline, this will be done by your engineer upon your appointment date. You can make your appointment with TalkTalk when placing your order.

Customer service

TalkTalk has taken much flak for its customer service. Long wait times and badly informed call centre advisors have been regular topics of complaints, as well as billing issues. However, there has been recent improvement, and the website does provide a very good customer dashboard to help with most issues.

TalkTalk now has an average call waiting time of 0.47 minutes, an industry best, compared to the other end of the scale which sees Plusnet customers waiting a lengthy 7.27 minutes to be answered.

There is no discrimination between new and existing customers for current broadband deals either, which is a refreshing contrast from other industry providers.

In the most recent service quality of telecoms providers report by Ofcom in 2017, Virgin Media and TalkTalk had the highest proportion of broadband customers with a reason to complain in 2016 (both 16%)

51% of customers recorded overall satisfaction with complaint handling from TalkTalk according to the same report, in comparison to the top provider Sky who only hit 61% themselves.

Our final verdict

The good

  • Fast enough for most households
  • Great value for money
  • No mid-contract price-hike guarantee

The bad

  • Not the best router out there
  • Customer service has been lacking
  • No inclusive calls with basic packages

With no upfront costs, fixed-price contract guarantees, very competitive price plans and free security bundles, a TalkTalk broadband package represents a good value option for home broadband. There are no restrictions on downloading, and line rental is included as standard.

With many competitors known for regularly upping prices mid contract, knowing that your monthly fees are fixed for the length of your contract gives peace of mind. You don’t get any kind of inclusive call options with a TalkTalk broadband deal, but can bolt them on for a small added cost. If you need to speak to TalkTalk customer services, it’s reassuring to know that the call wait time is the industry best, and you should be answered in less than a minute.

Competitive speeds, uncapped usage, no set-up fees and transparent pricing make TalkTalk an attractive option for the cost-conscious user looking for a good home broadband deal. Just think twice if you have a big house.

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