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Is SSE broadband any good?

By Richard Murphy
Tuesday, February 27th 2018

That’s right, the energy company with the lonely orangutan on the advert is selling broadband.

SSE has catapulted itself into the telecommunications market with a range of standard and fibre optic broadband packages. Can a company whose main priority is gas and electricity offer something illuminating for customers, or will we all be left in the dark?

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Offers some cheap bundles
  • Low cost line rental
  • Internet security & UK call centre

Cons

  • Can’t bundle with energy
  • Unusual contracts
  • Fair usage and traffic management

What we like

Some of the cheapest broadband packages in the UK

SSE offers both standard and fibre broadband packages which are available with phone. Packages come on an 18-month contract.

SSE's prices are very competitive and tend to offer free broadband for a limited time and that's including free line rental too. So if you are looking to save, SSE broadband may be a good place to start.

Low cost line rental

SSE’s approach to line rental differs slightly to its competitors. The amount you pay is relevant to the type of call plan your package comes with.

SSE broadband Packages with a Talk Weekend call plan have a £13.49 charge, which is among the cheapest line rental charges in the UK. Happy days.

However, line rental shoots up to £16 if you choose an SSE broadband and phone package with the Talk Anytime call plan.

How much of a ‘pro’ this is depends on whether you want an anytime call plan or not. That said, if you’re usually irked by the cost of line rental, only being charged £13.49 is a welcome change.

Internet Security Suite and UK-based call centre

SSE broadband comes with an 18-month subscription to Internet Security Suite as standard. You can continue your subscription after the 18 months is up, but it’ll cost you £2 a month.

Internet Security Suite includes antivirus, firewall protection and parental controls so you can protect sensitive eyes from the less wholesome catacombs of the internet.

SSE broadband also has a UK-based call centre which aims to get you back up and running if things go a bit pear-shaped, and will compensate you if you’re not happy with the service you receive.

What we don’t like

Can’t bundle broadband and energy

Unfortunately, there are no discounts or benefits to bundling your broadband and energy products if you receive both services from SSE.

This flies in the face of the current trend of broadband suppliers adding useful services, like TV packages and mobile SIMs, in with broadband bundles. This usually results in both savings and convenience for the customer and gets two thumbs up from us.

SSE introducing a broadband, phone and energy bundle would be a unique enterprise in the UK market but, unfortunately, it’s not available.

Long contracts and termination charges

All SSE broadband contracts last 18 months. This isn’t unheard of in the broadband industry, but we’ve seen a steady increase in 12 month contracts for broadband and phone packages. We’ve even seen 30-day rolling contracts from Plusnet and Direct Save Telecom.

While these shorter contracts are usually more expensive, the ability to cancel more readily is an attractive prospect.

On the subject of cancelling, SSE has secreted some miserly charges if you did want to leave during your contract. You’ll be charged a £40 cancellation fee, a charge for each month you’ve got left on your contract, a termination fee if you’re not moving your services and a charge for any unreturned equipment.

These might not be such an issue if SSE broadband contracts were a little more flexible but, well, they’re not.

Fair usage and traffic management

All SSE broadband packages come with unlimited usage, but that doesn’t mean you can run riot on the internet and not expect consequences.

SSE broadband employs a traffic management and a fair usage policy to ensure a smooth service for all, or artificially slow your connection, depending on how you view it.

Traffic management is used to control congestion at peak times (usually evenings and weekends). During these times broadband speeds will dip to allow everyone in the area a fair connection.

SSE will also punish those that use the connection for more ‘bandwidth-heavy’ activities like peer-to-peer file sharing. It’s not going to affect everyone, but we’d prefer the freedom to do what we want on the net without too much interference from the provider.

Conclusion

We’re not enamoured by the 18-month contracts and not being able to bundle your broadband and energy services together feels like a missed opportunity. We’d also like to see a few more perks thrown in to sweeten the deal.

However, SSE broadband is a solid internet service option with an appealing price tag (for the time being). Most households will be able to find a package that fits in with their broadband and phone requirements, but be sure to compare other providers before making your choice.

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