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Zen broadband review 2017

Luke Thompson
Monday, January 9th 2017

Do Zen’s home broadband offerings transcend those of its competitors to achieve super-galactic oneness? Let’s meditate on that...

Zen is known as a top-tier business broadband provider with award-winning customer service. Now, at last, it’s offering a range of both standard and fibre broadband packages at prices set to compete with the likes of BT, Sky and Virgin. So how does Zen broadband measure up?

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Award-winning support
  • Short contracts on non-fibre
  • Free static IP

Cons

  • Broadband-only needs landline
  • No free router with standard
  • Activation fees may apply

What we like

Award-winning customer support

High quality customer support is easily Zen’s biggest selling point. The provider has won multiple awards for the quality of its customer service, and even the ‘unofficial’ reviews by customers are generally positive.

Technical support is included free with all Zen broadband packages. You can contact an advisor in several ways, such as online through the ‘Live Chat’ option on Zen’s website, by email, or over the phone.

30-day contracts are available on standard broadband

All Zen standard broadband packages, including Zen unlimited broadband, come on 30-day rolling contracts. You aren’t tied down, so whenever you wish to leave you won’t have to pay a cancellation fee.

Zen gets high marks for flexibility.

However, the 30-day contracts are only available with standard broadband – not with fibre. Zen fibre broadband packages are bound to 12-month contracts, and if you attempt to leave one of these packages early you will almost certainly have to pay termination charges much as you would with any other provider.

Free static IP address

Working in a similar way to your home address and postcode, an IP address fixes your computer’s location in the online space. If another computer wants to communicate with yours, it needs to know your IP address.

Generally, this address changes each time you go online, but with a static IP address it will stay the same, permanently.

Static IPs are useful if you want to host your own website from home, or run a server for file storage or an online videogame. Most home broadband providers don’t offer the option of a static IP address and those that do usually charge extra for the privilege; Zen broadband customers get a static IP address included as standard.

What we don’t like

Zen broadband-only still requires a landline

Zen offers the option of taking a broadband package without a landline. At first glance, this might look like a fairly good deal, as it means you won’t have to pay line rental on top of the standard cost for broadband, right?

Nope. You still need a landline to use Zen broadband, it just doesn't have to be from Zen itself. You’ll still be paying line rental.

It’s also worth noting that Zen broadband without line rental costs a little more, and if you still need to pay line rental on top of that – even if it's to someone else – it's going to work out more expensive.

No free router with standard broadband

The vast majority of broadband providers give you a broadband router for free when you join. After all, if you don’t have a broadband router, you won’t be able to get online.

Zen, however, doesn’t provide a free broadband router: at least not with its standard broadband packages. If you’re joining one of these plans you will have to purchase a router separately, either through Zen itself for £35.94, or through a third party.

All Zen fibre broadband packages do come with a broadband router, but it still isn’t free – you have to pay £6.95 for delivery.

Activation fees may apply

If you’re switching from another broadband provider to a Zen home standard broadband plan, then you won’t have to pay activation. But if Zen standard broadband is your first home internet connection or if you choose fibre, you will have to pay an activation fee.

New standard broadband connections cost £30 for activation. Fibre broadband connections cost for activation. These fees have to be paid upfront.

Conclusion

While ostensibly targeted at home users (families and couples) Zen home broadband still contains many features, such as static IP addresses, that will most appeal to those looking to work from home.

If you value customer service highly, and if you sleep more easily knowing that you can get friendly, expert help if your broadband connection starts to play up, then Zen home broadband may be right for you.

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