An energy company may not be the first place you’d go to for broadband, but as one of the big six energy companies in the UK, SSE is a solid business. With regular discounts for existing energy customers and no long-term contracts, is SSE broadband any good?
We take a look at what SSE Broadband has to offer over the many other broadband providers in the UK. With both fibre and standard broadband packages available, here's what we think.
SSE offers three broadband speeds – an average of 11Mbps with its standard broadband, and two fibre speeds averaging 35Mbps and 63Mbps. All three packages are unlimited, so you won’t have to be concerned with hitting a limit and being charged. These speeds are typical of what's offered by most broadband providers.
An average standard broadband speed of 11Mbps is ideal for most small households that aren’t constantly online. However, if you have anyone at home who regularly streams from services such as Netflix, or is an impatient gamer, keen to get the latest game downloaded as fast as possible, you will need to get a fibre connection.
Even with an entry-level fibre speed averaging 35Mbps, everything happens more quickly. You won't have to see the spinning wheel of doom as your connection struggles to stream the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Just press and play. Equally, a fibre connection will comfortably support a home with several devices being used at once, whether that's a mobile, a laptop, a games console or any other internet-connected household appliance such as a smart meter.
Upload speeds determine how quickly you can send emails and upload files to the internet. SSE offers standard average speeds of 1Mbps with its basic broadband, and 9Mbps and 19Mbps respectively with its two fibre packages. This reflects what most other providers offer and these speeds are easily fast enough for sending photos by email or uploading images to social media.
SSE offers only a monthly rolling contract – there is no minimum term, which is refreshing in a market that usually delights in tying its customers down for as long as possible. There is also the guarantee of no price rises for the first three years – but only for existing SSE Energy customers. If you want to leave before 12 months have passed, you will have to either return the router or be charged for it. There are, however, no early termination fees, common to other providers.
When you sign up to SSE you can benefit from SSE rewards. This customer loyalty scheme offers 48-hour early booking for events at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, the SSE Arena in Wembley and the SSE Arena Belfast.
If you are an existing SSE energy customer, you are automatically entitled to a monthly £5 discount on your bill, which makes the already good-value prices even better value.
On the downside, if you are not an SSE energy customer, not only will you not get the £5 discount, but you will have to pay a £9 monthly surcharge after 12 months, making SSE not such good value as it may first appear.
Finally, SSE offers its customers anti-virus security software and parental controls for £2 per month. It may not be free, but it's worth having and will protect your connection from malware, viruses and phishing as well as anything you wouldn't want your kids to see.
When you sign up to SSE, you will be sent a TG589 V2 Wi-Fi Technicolor router, which offers dual-band technology, so you will always get good connectivity throughout your home. It also has four ethernet ports that can support up to 1000Mbps.
There is a one-off connection fee of £30, which is waived if you are already an SSE energy customer, and your service should be up and running within 18 days.
If an engineer needs access to your home, SSE will let you know as you will need to arrange for an adult to be in at the time. If not, the switch will made made remotely. If you need a new phone line for any reason, you will be charged £60 – which is the standard cost imposed by Openreach and passed on by all providers.
SSE offers a customer service helpline from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm Saturday and Sunday. Alternatively you can send an email.
As a relatively new arrival on the broadband scene, SSE does not have a big enough subscription base to be included in Ofcom’s annual customer satisfaction survey as yet. However, in the latest customer satisfaction survey by Which?, SSE came third, behind Zen Internet and Utility Warehouse, but ahead of Virgin Media, Sky and BT.
If you’re looking for a straightforward, affordable broadband provider and you aren’t bothered about all the extras on offer from the likes of BT and Sky, then SSE could be a good option – especially if you’re already an energy customer and can enjoy the regular £5 off. Plus, if you decide it’s not for you, you can leave at any time without penalty as there is no minimum contract.
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