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TalkTalk broadband and fibre review 2018

By Mike Whitehead
Monday, March 5th 2018

TalkTalk invariably offers some of the best-value broadband packages across the board. This makes it a tempting prospect for anyone not wanting to spend the earth on their home broadband set-up, despite the provider's unfortunate reputation for less-than-great security and customer service.

As value for money goes, TalkTalk can take some beating, with no set-up costs and contracts starting at 12-month terms. All TalkTalk broadband products come with uncapped usage, and importantly a fixed price for the length of your contract. Cost notwithstanding, and with recent upgrades to both its security offering and customer service, TalkTalk broadband looks like a great service for most household needs – here’s how it all stacks up.

Speed

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 batter choice.

TalkTalk's Faster Fibre deal offers download speeds averaging 35Mbps, much faster than a standard broadband connection and ideal for family households with several people online at once. You’ll notice less buffering whilst using streaming services such as Netflix, and can stream in high definition without any issue.

If you are a gaming, streaming, laptop-ing, phoning, ‘constantly on’ household (teenagers, anyone?) you may want to consider a boost to the top-level Faster Fibre package that averages 63Mbps download speed. This will give you an even more stable service and the ability to sate said teenage tantrums.

Every household's requirements are different, but it's also worth bearing in mind that your geographical location can affect your brodband speeds. To check what speeds you are currently receiving, run a wired 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 versus download

Download speed is the rate at which your device or computer receives information from the internet - how fast websites load, how smoothly streaming services play your favourite shows. However, when it comes to pressing ‘send’, you'll need a decent upload speed for despatching photos and videos, whether you are sending important emails or uploading holiday pics to social media sites.

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.

Security

TalkTalk claims an ‘award-winning’ security set-up for its customers, and is most proud of the HomeSafe™ software system, included with every broadband package. All devices on the home connection will benefit from protection against any content deemed unsuitable by you. You get control over what you, or your kids see online, with the added protection of virus alerts and suspicious site warnings.

talktalk security  midpage

TalkTalk also offers a SuperSafe Boost, to complement HomeSafe, which is designed to protect up to eight devices including computers, tablets and mobiles. SuperSafe Boost helps to keep you safe online both in and out of the home, and is a free download onto your main device for all broadband customers. However you can choose to pay a small monthly cost to cover another seven devices if you wish.

Installation & Equipment

Assuming your home has a suitable phone line already installed, TalkTalk broadband installation is as simple as receiving your new router and plugging it in.

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. You can connect your new TalkTalk router either wirelessly or via an Ethernet cable. There is a fully comprehensive, easy-to-follow set-up tutorial on the website, but if this still feels a bit beyond you, there is a chargeable service where an engineer can visit and do it for you.

Customer service

Historically, TalkTalk has taken much flak for its customer service. Long wait times and seemingly unqualified call centre advisors have been regular topics of complaints, along with billing issues. However, there has been a recent improvement in this and the website does provide a very comprehensive customer dashboard and a complaints report procedure – customers can contact TalkTalk by phone or via live web chat.

TalkTalk now has an average call waiting time of 0.47 seconds, 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 Ofcomin 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.

Reliability

Ofcom reports from 2016 show fairly average actual download and upload speeds compared to other providers, registering a typical download speed of just 10Mbps over a 24-hour period on the standard broadband package. The Faster Fibre service registered an average of 32.8Mbps and the Fibre Boost service just 56.7Mbps

In reality this performance marker is relatively indistinguishable between its competitors and would not make service disruption any more noticeable.

In the 2017 Ofcom service quality of telecoms providers report, on an overall satisfaction survey of broadband providers, TalkTalk came very marginally last at 83%, compared to other providers: BT (84%) Sky (88%) and Virgin Media at 91%.

This is the repeated order of overall satisfaction with broadband speed with TalkTalk as the last of four again on 71% against an average satisfaction rate of 83%. Satisfaction on overall reliability again lies at 83% matching that of BT.

Conclusion

With no upfront costs, fixed-price contract guarantees, very competitive price plans and free security offerings, a TalkTalk broadband package represents a good value option for home broadband. You have no restrictions on doanloading, coupled with inclusive line rental.

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.

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