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BT Broadband review 2015

Hannah Ricci
Wednesday, June 24th 2015

BT is the oldest and most popular broadband provider in the UK. It has a wide range of broadband services, and you can add BT Sport along with several other extras.

However, it doesn’t offer the fastest broadband, and its fibre service, BT Infinity, isn’t available everywhere. There are also activation fees.

Is BT any good?

BT Broadband Jaskiran Jutla
  • Packages
    4/5
  • Speed and usage
    4/5
  • Extras
    5/5
  • Value for money
    3/5
  • Equipment and installation
    3/5
  • Overall
    3.8/5

BT has the widest broadband coverage in the UK. It has a lot to offer, including truly unlimited usage plans and extras. Plus, with over five million wi-fi hotspots around the country, you can browse the web while you’re away from home.

But it’s not all good news. You’ll have to pay an activation fee with BT Infinity (the fibre broadband service), and BT’s customer service has slipped in recent years. Here’s the full lowdown…

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Widest coverage in UK
  • Some plans are truly unlimited
  • Save money with line rental saver
  • Add TV and phone to any broadband package
  • Plenty of extras including BT Sport

Cons

  • Below average customer service
  • Activation fee with fibre
  • It comes with line rental
  • BT Infinity isn’t available everywhere
  • Charges apply if you go over your capped usage

What we like

Widest coverage in UK

BT standard broadband is available to over 99% of UK homes and businesses. Its fibre optic broadband service, BT Infinity, is available to 68% of the population. If you’re in an area that can’t get BT broadband you may want to consider other providers, such as Virgin Media.

Some plans are truly unlimited

Truly unlimited usage lets you download as much as you like without any restrictions. Unlike a plan with a usage limit, you won’t be charged extra for exceeding an allowance. Furthermore, BT has no traffic management. This means your broadband speed won’t slow down during busy hours.

Save money with BT’s line rental saver

You have to pay line rental. This costs £16.99 per month. You can save by paying for 12 months in advance with the line rental saver. This costs £183.48, and has to be paid upfront. You can add it when you join or upgrade.

Add TV and phone to any broadband package

Bundling several services can be cheaper than purchasing them from different providers. BT has numerous TV packages and several call plans. You can add them to both standard broadband and BT Infinity. If you don’t add them when you join, you can upgrade later.

Plenty of extras including BT Sport

If you take BT TV with BT broadband you get four BT Sport channels for free. These are BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, ESPN, and BT Sport Europe. If you take BT broadband but don’t take BT TV, you will have to pay £5 per month to get the four BT Sport channels.

BT operates five million wi-fi hotspots in the UK and a further three million in international locations. You can use BT’s wi-fi as much as like, for free, without using your internet allowance. You can also get a BT Mobile SIM. These BT SIM-only plans last for 12 months and come with a set amount of minutes, texts and data.

What we don’t like

Below-average customer service

The quality of BT’s customer service has declined in recent years. In Ofcom’s latest customer satisfaction survey it scored below average for landline and broadband.

Activation fee with fibre

This only applies to BT’s fibre package – BT Infinity 1. The activation fee includes the charge for an engineer to visit the street cabinet (the green box) and in some cases carry out work in your home.

It comes with line rental

Line rental costs £16.99 per month. However, you can save money by paying for 12 months upfront with the line rental saver. You can add this scheme when you upgrade or join BT.

BT Infinity isn’t available everywhere

BT’s fast fibre optic service, BT Infinity, is limited to certain areas, covering two thirds of the UK population. If you’re unable to receive BT broadband, take a look at other providers, such as Virgin Media.

Charges apply if you go over your capped usage

Capped packages come with a usage limit. This can restrict how much you can do online. If you exceed your allowance you’ll be charged for every 5GB you use. If you regularly download content, you may want to upgrade to a package with unlimited usage.

How fast is BT Broadband?

BT offers speeds of up to 76Mbps. That’s fast enough to stream a dozen high definition (HD) films at once. Upload speeds are also high, allowing you to conduct video calls and stream live video from your home computer without interruption.

Advertised speeds are just an estimate speed you can get. However, Ofcom’s reports give you an actual speed you can expect. So how fast is BT really? Let us explore….

Speeds of up to 76Mbps

Download speeds17Mbps - 76Mbps
Upload speeds1Mbps - 19Mbps
Download allowance10GB, 20GB, 40GB, Unlimited
Fair usage policyNo
Traffic managementNo
Optional line rental£16.99 per month
Contract lengths12 months and 18 months
Prices from£4.75 per month
Download speeds
17Mbps - 76Mbps
Upload speeds
1Mbps - 19Mbps
Download allowance
10GB, 20GB, 40GB, Unlimited
Fair usage policy
No
Traffic management
No
Optional line rental
£16.99 per month
Contract lengths
12 months and 18 months
Prices from
£4.75 per month

Download speed

Download speeds determine how long it takes for content to transfer to your computer from the internet. The faster the download speed, the less time it will take to download photos, music and films. Download speeds are measured in megabits per second (Mbps). BT’s premium broadband package offers a download speed of up to 76Mbps. However, according to Ofcom’s latest average speed report, you can expect to get between 59.9Mbps and 63.1Mbps.

Upload speed

Upload speeds determine how long it takes to transfer content from your computer to the internet. Whether you’re uploading a picture to Facebook, a video to YouTube or posting a tweet, speed will affect how long it will take. BT’s top upload speed is 19Mbps. According to Ofcom’s report, in reality you can expect to get an upload speed around 16Mbps.

Can I get BT broadband?

BT broadband has the widest coverage in the UK. However, there are some areas that can’t get it. BT standard broadband covers 99% of the population, while BT Infinity (fibre broadband) covers 68%. Our availability checker will tell you if you can get it.

Availability checker

Check availability

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BT standard broadband

BT standard broadband has the highest coverage than any other provider. It covers over 99% of the population and it’s cheaper than BT’s fibre service, BT Infinity.

You can add TV and phone to your broadband package. But what’s the best deal? Here’s all you need to know…

Without TV

PackageDownload speedUpload SpeedUsageContract lengthLine rentalMonthly cost 
BT Broadband Up to 17MbpsUp to 1Mbps10GB12 months£16.99 per monthFrom £4.50 per month

No inclusive calls

Although these packages come with no free calls, you can add Unlimited Anytime Calls. It’s worth noting that free calls are restricted to 60 minutes. This applies to 01, 02, 03, 0845 and 0870 numbers. To avoid any incurring charges, just hang up and redial.

Packages come with a truly unlimited option

Some packages come with truly unlimited usage. This means you can download as much as you like without any limitations without worrying about any charges. Moreover, BT broadband has no traffic management. This means your online activity won’t be slowed down during peak times (4pm to midnight).

With TV

PackageDownload speedUpload SpeedUsageContract lengthLine rentalMonthly cost 
Starter and Broadband Up to 17MbpsUp to 1Mbps10GB12 months£16.99 per monthFrom £4.50 per month
Starter and Unlimited broadbandUp to 17MbpsUp to 1MbpsTruly unlimited12 months£16.99 per monthFrom £7.50 per month

Starter is only available with standard broadband

The Starter TV package comes with 70 Freeview channels and 10 HD channels. You get a free YouView box, which lets you pause and rewind live TV. You can add extra channels including Kids and Music as well as access to Netflix. However you won’t be able to add Sky Sports and Sky Movies to this package. For both this and the premium packages, you need to purchase BT Infinity – BT’s fibre service.

You can watch BT Sport on TV

With all BT broadband packages you can add BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport Europe and ESPN, for £5 per month. You can also get the BT Sport app, which lets you watch sporting events online.

Bundles require an activation fee

All BT TV bundles require an activation fee. However, if you move house you won’t need to pay again.

BT Infinity broadband

There are two types of BT Infinity: 36Mbps and 76Mbps. Fibre broadband is ideal for large households that are constantly online. With BT Infinity you can share your connection with dozens of computers and devices without any disruptions.

BT Infinity isn’t available everywhere. Only two thirds of the population can get it. It’s also more expensive than standard broadband. Here’s what’s available…

BT Infinity 1

PackageDownload speedUpload SpeedUsageContract lengthLine rentalMonthly cost 
BT Infinity 1 with no calls Up to 38MbpsUp to 9.5Mbps20GB12 months£16.99 per monthFrom £7.50 per month
Unlimited BT Infinity 1 with weekend callsUp to 38MbpsUp to 9.5MbpsTruly unlimited12 months£16.99 per monthFrom £12.50 per month

Bundle your services

Like standard broadband, you can combine BT Infinity with TV and phone. You’ll get free weekend calls as standard. You can upgrade your call plan to evening and weekend or anytime calls. With TV, there’s a choice of three packages: Entertainment, Entertainment Plus and Entertainment Max (the latter being for existing customers only).

Set-up fees apply

BT Infinity 1 requires an activation fee. This covers the cost of an engineer to come and carry out work in your area and home. BT Infinity 2 doesn’t require an activation fee unless you bundle it with TV.

Some plans come with a usage cap

BT Infinity 1 plans either have a usage limit, or are truly unlimited. The 20GB capped plan will restrict what you can do online. The truly unlimited plan will not. If you go over your usage limit you’ll be charged for every 5GB you use.

BT Infinity 2

PackageDownload speedUpload SpeedUsageContract lengthLine rentalMonthly cost 
Unlimited BT Infinity 2 with weekend callsUp to 76MbpsUp to 19MbpsUnlimited12 months£16.99 per monthFrom £26 per month

Allows several people to be online at once

With BT Infinity, you can share your connection across dozens of computers, smartphones, laptops and tablets. Unlike standard broadband, you shouldn’t experience any disruptions while you’re online.

You can add TV

Entertainment Starter, Entertainment Plus, and – for existing customers only – Entertainment Max, are the only packages available with BT Infinity. Entertainment Starter has over 90 channels, Entertainment Plus has over 95 channels and Entertainment Max has more than 100 channels. You can add Sky Sports or Sky Movies to Entertainment Plus and Max, however you can’t get Sky Movies with Entertainment Starter. BT Sport is available free to all broadband customers. So you can watch BT Sport on your TV with this package.

Get 50GB Cloud storage

BT Cloud is an online facility where you can store files, photos and videos, for free. With BT Infinity, you get 50GB of cloud storage. With standard broadband, you get 5GB.

BT Infinity 3 and 4

Packages aren't available yet

BT is planning to offer speeds of up to 200Mbps with BT Infinity 3 and up to 300Mbps with BT Infinity 4. However, these speeds are not yet available, and probably won’t be for a while.

All BT Infinity broadband packages

Don't forget, Cable.co.uk now produces in-depth BT broadband reviews, so don't forget to check them out if you need more information.

Unlimited BT Infinity 2

3.8

Unlimited BT Infinity 2
BT Unlimited broadband

3.4

BT Unlimited broadband
Unlimited BT Infinity 1

3.4

Unlimited BT Infinity 1

BT Home Hub router

To get online you need a broadband router. There are two BT routers available: BT Home Hub 4 for standard broadband, and BT Home Hub 5 for BT Infinity. Both come with four ports for wired connections, and wi-fi for your smartphones and tablets.

It’s free, but you have to pay for delivery. If you upgrade to BT Infinity from standard broadband, you might have to pay to get the Home Hub 5. Here’s what you need to know…

Is it any good?

Standard broadband comes with the Home Hub 4

The Home Hub 4 is BT’s entry-level router. In addition to four ports for wired connections (yellow ports on the back), it also comes with dual band wi-fi. This reduces wireless interference, giving you a reliable signal that is password-protected. Parental controls are included.

BT Infinity comes with the Home Hub 5

It’s similar to the Home Hub 4, but is better suited for fibre (BT Infinity). It can handle speeds of up to 1,000Mbps, thanks to the four fibre ports (GigE). It comes with a USB port too. Set up is easy and it comes with in-built protection.

They’re free with BT broadband

While it’s free, there is a delivery charge. If you’re an existing BT customer intending to upgrade from standard broadband to BT Infinity, you’ll have to pay for the Home Hub 5. Routers are only free to new customers.

BT Hub 4 Specifications:

  • 802.11n dual band 5GHz & 2.4GHz wireless
  • 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 3x 10/100 Ethernet
  • WPA / WPA2 & WPS security
  • USB 2.0 port

BT Hub 5 Specifications:

  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless
  • Integrated VDSL modem
  • 4x Gigabit Ethernet
  • WPS and WPA/WPA2 security
  • USB 2.0 port

BT student broadband

The student broadband package is tailored for second- and third-year university students no longer living in halls. It comes with plenty of extras and a nine-month contract. This means you won’t have to pay for broadband when you go home for the summer holidays.

Packages aren’t available all year round

Student broadband packages are usually available from June to October. Contracts last nine months and start at the beginning of the academic year. Although the contract is shorter than the standard 12-month period, the monthly price is often higher, meaning you will pay the same overall as if you were on a 12-month contract.

BT business broadband

BT offers a variety of broadband packages for your business. Both standard broadband and fibre options are available. Packages come with extra features, including static IP addresses and technical support.

However, there’s a traffic management policy. This means your broadband speed will slow down during busy hours. Here are the deals…

BT business standard broadband packages

PackageDownload speedUpload SpeedUsageLine rentalMonthly cost
BT Broadband Up to 17MbpsUp to 1Mbps10GB£19 per monthFrom £10 per month
BT Broadband UnlimitedUp to 17MbpsUp to 1MbpsUnlimited£19 per monthFrom £17 per month
BT Broadband PremiumUp to 17MbpsUp to 1MbpsUnlimited£19 per monthFrom £25 per month

Packages are available on 12-month and 24-month contracts

A 24-month contract is a long time to be tied to a company, but it’s cheaper overall than the 12-month one. It’s worth noting that if you want to cancel your contract before it ends you’ll have to pay cancellation fees.

Advanced technical support

BT offers several technical support packages, including BT Prompt Care. This comes with 24/7 customer service, a four-hour response time and aims to get faults repaired by the next working day.

You can add a call plan

All business broadband packages come with a phone line. Most of the 24-month plans come with 500 UK minutes. You can upgrade to a Business Complete call package. This includes 5,000 UK and international landline minutes and 500 mobile minutes. You have to pay line rental.

Static IP addresses are available

Static IP addresses are useful for running a website and communicating with colleagues. You’ll be able to access your computer away from your desk, making it easier to work from home. You can add a static IP address for £5.50 per month or purchase up to 13 for a higher price.

BT business Infinity broadband packages

PackageDownload speedUpload SpeedUsageLine rentalMonthly cost
BT Infinity Up to 38MbpsUp to 9.5Mbps50GB£19 per monthFrom £25 per month
BT Infinity unlimitedUp to 38MbpsUp to 9.5MbpsTruly unlimited£19 per monthFrom £32 per month
BT Infinity PremiumUp to 76MbpsUp to 19MbpsTruly unlimited£19 per monthFrom £40 per month

Fibre is better for small to medium-sized businesses

With BT Infinity, you can connect dozens of computers to the internet, without a drop in performance. Fibre broadband packages come with a download speed of up to 76Mbps. They also come with an upload speed of up to 19Mbps.

Contracts of different lengths are available

BT Infinity packages come on 12-month and 24-month contracts. A 24-month plan is the cheapest option. Remember, if you decide to leave before the end of the contract, you’ll be charged.

You get BT Prompt Care with premium packages

Prompt Care is a technical service. It comes free with the premium packages, and promises to solve any issues or faults with your service by the end of the next working day. If BT is unable to fix the fault then you can claim £25.

Installation costs apply

Installation will cost either £110 or £125, depending on which contract you choose. This covers the cost of installing fibre broadband on your premises.

Need advice or want to order by phone?
Call one of our experts on 0800 840 53950203 305 5292

We're here to help Monday to Sunday 8am-9pm

How to save money with BT

BT offers packages for standard and fibre broadband (BT Infinity). These come with extras, including BT Sport and free public wi-fi. The packages can be quite pricey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save along the way.

You can save by downgrading your package or haggling to get a better deal. Here are our tips…

Pay your line rental in advance

All BT broadband packages come with line rental, which is an added cost to your monthly bill. BT’s line rental costs £16.99 per month. However, you’ll be able to save by paying for 12 months in advance with the line rental saver. This is available to new and existing customers and involves a one-off fee of £183.48. That’s equivalent to £15.29 a month.

Downgrade your broadband

BT offers three download speeds: 17Mbps, 38Mbps and 76Mbps. If you live in a large household that’s constantly online, 38Mbps is more than enough. However, 17Mbps is often sufficient. You’ll be able to carry out the same online activities and connect several computers without difficulty.

Tell BT you’re leaving

If you’re an existing BT customer and you’re coming to the end of your contract, you won’t be tied to the company. This is the best time to save money and tell BT that you would like to leave. Make sure you do your research beforehand and see what other competitors have to offer. BT may be able to match the price, throw in some freebies or give you a better deal.

Frequently asked questions

How do I switch to BT?

Check availability

Before purchasing, use our availability checker to see what’s available in your area. Insert your postcode and click the blue button. You’ll then be redirected to a list of BT deals that are available to you.

Go to our compare pages to see BT deals

Our compare page will list which BT deals are available to you. See what is on offer, and click on the deal for more details. To order, click on the See Deal button. You’ll then be redirected to BT’s website to finalise your purchase. If you prefer to talk to an advisor call the number underneath the See Deal button.

Tell your current provider you are leaving

Your provider will try to tempt you to stay, but be firm and tell them you’ve found a better deal. If you decide to leave before the contract ends, you’ll be charged. You may need to request a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) from your provider. This is a unique code that will allow you to transfer your broadband service. Once requested, you should get your code emailed to you within five working days. You’ll need to provide BT with your MAC code as soon as you get it.

Can I get BT broadband without phone line?

No. All BT broadband packages require a phone line and line rental. You can save on your line rental if you pay for 12 months in advance with the line rental saver.

Can I bundle BT’s services?

You can bundle broadband with TV and phone

There are three TV packages to choose from: Starter, Essentials and Entertainment. Starter and Essentials are the basic packages and come with 70+ channels. Entertainment offers 90+ channels, but requires BT Infinity 2. Weekend calls come as standard. However, you can upgrade to weekend and evening or anytime calls.

Is BT broadband unlimited?

Some packages come with truly unlimited usage

These are often more expensive than packages with usage caps. Truly unlimited usage means you can download as much as you like without having to worry about extra charges or traffic management.

There’s no traffic management

Having no traffic management means your broadband speed won’t slow down during busy times. You’ll be able to browse the web, stream videos and play games without any disruptions. However, if there are a lot of users online all at once, this may slow down your broadband connection.

 200920132014
BT61%63%60%
Sector average60%66%69%

How good is BT’s customer service?

What is BT’s customer service number?

If you have any problems with your home broadband you can contact BT free on 0800 800150 from a landline or 0300 123 4567 from a mobile. Business broadband customers can contact technical support on 0845 600 7020.

Can I get BT Sport with broadband?

Yes. Even if you don’t purchase a BT TV package you’ll be able to watch BT Sport online. You can also download the BT Sport app on your smartphone or laptop. This means you can watch BT Sport no matter where you are as long as you have an internet connection.

Are you getting the best broadband deal?

Find out if you can get cheaper and faster broadband where you live simply by entering your postcode below.

Check availability

Your information is safe with us. We won't share your postcode with anyone. See our privacy policy.

Need advice or want to order by phone?
Call one of our experts on 0800 840 53950203 305 5292

We're here to help Monday to Sunday 8am-9pm

Popular broadband deals

  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed17Mb
    Max Upload Speed1.3Mb
    Monthly UsageUnlimited
    Digital TV
    TV Channels-
    SD Channels-
    HD Channels-
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls7.95ppm
    Evening Calls7.95ppm
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    (£7.50 after 12 mths)
    £3.75
    Upfront Cost£6.95
    Contract Length12 months
    Line Rental p/m£16.40
    Average Monthly£20.73
    First Year Cost£248.75
    Lifetime Cost£248.75
    See deal →
    or call 0800 840 5394
  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed17Mb
    Max Upload Speed1Mb
    Monthly UsageUnlimited
    Digital TV
    TV Channels-
    SD Channels-
    HD Channels-
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls0.00ppm
    Evening Calls0.00ppm
    Weekend Calls0.00ppm
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    (£8 after 24 mths)
    Free
    Upfront CostFree
    Contract Length18 months
    Line Rental p/m£20
    Average Monthly£20
    First Year Cost£240
    Lifetime Cost£360
    See deal →
    or call 0800 380 0064

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