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Is BT broadband any good?

Thursday, March 6th 2014

BT is the UK’s most popular broadband provider with a 30% market share, but does it deserve this lofty status or are customers just following the herd?

BT offers the widest broadband coverage and some of the fastest download speeds in the country, but it doesn’t come cheap and customer service has slipped in recent years. Read our independent review about broadband from BT to help you decide if it’s the right provider for you.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Widest coverage of all UK providers
  • Fast and getting faster
  • Free public Wi-Fi and BT Sport

Cons

  • Below-average customer service
  • 18-month contracts
  • Not the cheapest broadband around

What we like

Widest coverage of all UK providers

BT ADSL broadband is available to over 99% of homes and businesses in the UK, while the BT Infinity fibre service is available to around 62% of the population and expanding steadily. These stats make BT the most widely available broadband provider in the country. However, those in areas not yet served by BT Infinity may be able to get fibre broadband from Virgin Media instead, as it operates a cable network separate from the Openreach network used by BT and most other mainstream providers.

Fast and getting faster

BT offers two widely available fibre services, Infinity 1 (up to 38Mbps) and Infinity 2 (up to 76Mbps). BT Speeds delivered close to these rates, averaging 32.6Mbps and 62.1Mbps respectively in Ofcom’s latest round of speed tests.

BT is planning to ramp up the speed of its fibre service with the development of Infinity 3 (up to 200Mbps) and Infinity 4 (up to 300Mbps). However, it’s very early days and we’re yet to find a postcode that can access these top speeds, which means Virgin Media currently trumps BT in offering the fastest widely available broadband in the country.

Free public Wi-Fi and BT Sport

Internet access with BT doesn’t end when you leave home. All broadband packages include free and unlimited access to the BT Wi-Fi network, which comprises five million hotspots in public places across the UK, and a further three million in international locations. Free BT Sport is another perk for broadband customers. You’ll get unlimited access to the BT Sport app and online player, plus the TV channels (BT Sport 1, 2 and ESPN) if you have broadband and take BT TV too.

What we don’t like

Below-average customer service

BT is a trusted household name in the UK and many people like being with a brand they know, but this doesn’t always pay off. In fact, customer service has slipped in recent years and BT has recorded more complaints than rivals Sky, Virgin Media and Plusnet. In Ofcom’s latest customer satisfaction survey, it scored below average for landline phone, broadband and pay TV services.

18-month contracts

The majority of BT broadband packages require you to sign up to an 18-month contract, which may feel too restrictive for those on a 12-month tenancy agreement or anyone that just doesn’t like to commit long term. This compares to Virgin Media and Sky, which both offer 12-month contracts. BT has started to cater to students, with nine-month contracts that are available from September for the start of the academic year.

Not the cheapest broadband around

Prices start from £2.50 per month (plus £15.99 line rental) for BT broadband with weekend calls, which isn’t too heavy on the pocket but are available from the likes of Direct Save Telecom, TalkTalk and Fuel Broadband. After six months you will see an increase in prices that start from £8 (plus £15.99 line rental), but this deal has a 10GB usage cap while similar deals from the competition offer unlimited downloads.

Package comparison

  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed38Mb
    Max Upload Speed9.5Mb
    Monthly Usage20GB
    Digital TV
    TV Channels-
    SD Channels-
    HD Channels-
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls9ppm
    Evening CallsInclusive
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    -
    £10.75
    Upfront Cost£36.95
    Contract Length12 months
    Line Rental p/m£16.99
    Average Monthly£30.82
    First Year Cost£369.83
    Lifetime Cost£369.83
    See deal →

Postcode checker

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Conclusion

BT is a solid, reliable household name that’s been around for over 100 years with excellent broadband coverage across the country. Added extras such as BT Sport, fast speeds and unlimited public Wi-Fi make BT an attractive option for consumers. Less tempting aspects are the 18-month contracts, higher price and slipping customer service standards, which should encourage caution before you buy.

And don't forget, Cable.co.uk now produces in-depth broadband reviews of every major UK broadband package, so check them out if you need more information.

Visit BT →

BT broadband reviews

Cable.co.uk now produces in-depth broadband reviews of every major UK broadband package, follow the links below to check out what we thought of BT's range.

Unlimited Broadband

3.4

Unlimited Broadband
Broadband

3

Broadband

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