NOW TV might have made its name selling TV passes, but it’s recently thrown down the gauntlet into the broadband market too under the rather obvious moniker: NOW Broadband. Its key selling point is 'no contract' deals – great for commitment-phobes or anyone looking for a short-term broadband fix.
If you’re not looking to get tied-in to a lengthy broadband contract, NOW Broadband could be a good option. It offers unlimited fibre broadband deals on 30-day terms, with speeds rivalling the big players such as TalkTalk and EE, and competitive prices.
NOW Broadband deals are available on 'saver' plans with a 12-month commitment, or on a 'no contract' basis. No contract deals cost more to set up – typically an extra £50 upfront to avoid being tied-in to a 12-month contract.
This could come in handy if you want to change the deal you’re on, switch to another provider, cancel your connection, or move house. It’s great for students too – no need to keep paying for broadband during university holidays. Only a handful of broadband providers offer no-contract packages and NOW Broadband is firmly among the market leaders in this sector of the market.
NOW Broadband has one standard broadband offering: Brilliant Broadband, which offers an average download speed of 11Mbps. This speed is sufficient for everyday tasks such as online shopping, internet banking, browsing and streaming. Downloading an album would take about 25 seconds at this speed.
If you’ve got the need for speed, have multiple users in your household, need to send larger files or spend a lot of time streaming live TV, you could be better off with a faster fibre connection. NOW Broadband offers two fibre deals: Fab Fibre with 36Mbps, and Super Fibre with 63Mbps.
With a 36Mbps connection you can download an album in about 11 seconds, or just 6 seconds with 63Mbps. Both are more than adequate for just about anything you can throw at them.
The speeds NOW Broadband advertises – 11Mbps, 36Mbps and 63Mbps – are largely in line with those advertised by all the main broadband providers. Currently only Virgin Media can offer much faster speeds as it operates its own network, although BT is hot on its heels and has plans to take on Virgin Media in the super-speed showdown.
But to be honest, the super speeds of 100Mbps, 200Mbps or even 350Mbps shouted about by Virgin Media aren’t really necessary for the typical household. Solo dwellers or couples could easily survive with an 11Mbps connection. However, also bear in mind that with a standard broadband connection, the speed you receive will be influenced by your distance from the telephone exchange. You can see the speed you’re likely to get from NOW Broadband by running a speed check for your area before you sign up.
NOW Broadband’s 36Mbps and 63Mbps connections are delivered by fibre optic cables. You might want to opt for one of these deals if you’ve got a busy household of gadget fans or you do a lot of streaming.
If you're struggling to decide which package to go for, read our guide on choosing broadband speed.
As a result of the recent ASA ruling that broadband providers must only advertise speeds available to a minimum of 50% of their customers, the speeds you see advertised are now much more likely to be the speeds you will get.
The speeds NOW Broadband advertises – 11Mbps, 36Mbps and 63Mbps – are pretty much the same download speeds you’ll see advertised by all the main broadband providers, although there are some noticeable differences.
Only Virgin Media can offer much faster speeds as it operates its own network. If you're struggling to decide which package to go for, read our guide on choosing broadband speed.
Broadband companies are quick to tell customers how fast their download speeds are – but finding out typical upload speeds can be much harder. Download speeds relate to receiving files and data, and the streaming process, while upload speeds give an idea of how quickly you’ll be able to send large files or upload files (photos, for example) to the internet.
NOW Broadband has some pretty competitive upload speeds. Its 11Mbps deal uploads at 1.3Mbps, the 36Mbps Fab Fibre deal at 10Mbps, and the 63Mbps Super Fibre package at 19Mbps. That’s faster than comparable deals from BT, while Virgin’s upload speed on its 50Mbps Fibre Broadband is just 3Mbps.
To get going with NOW Broadband, you’ll need to pay a set-up cost plus a postage charge (for the equipment). Set-up costs are higher on no-contract deals. If you already have an active phone line and socket at your address, NOW Broadband can usually switch your phone line remotely (you need a phone line for a broadband connection).
If you don’t have a phone line at your property, or if you're switching over from a cable service, NOW Broadband will send an engineer to install a line.
Otherwise it’s up to you to self-install. NOW Broadband will send you a Hub Two a few days before your phone line is activated. It'll be delivered by Royal Mail, and NOW Broadband will give you a link to track the delivery. Once your phone line is activated, you can set up your Hub Two.
Don’t be surprised if you see fluctuating broadband speeds during the first 10 days after installation. This is because engineers will be testing and reconfiguring your line to give you the best combination of speed and stability. To find out more about what to expect, read our guide on broadband installation.
All NOW Broadband customers get sent a Hub Two which you then install yourself. You’ll get the best speed and stability if you connect your Hub Two to your master phone socket as this is where your broadband signal is strongest.
The Hub Two is very similar to the Sky Q Hub: a dual-band 802.11ac router with two 1GB LAN ports. NOW Broadband will send you instructions about how to set up your Hub Two and there’s also a Hub Two set-up guide on the NOW Broadband website to help you out.
You can buy broadband-only deals with NOW Broadband or bundle your broadband with calls and/or TV.
Again, NOW TV’s big selling point is you don’t need to commit – it essentially offers a contract-free alternative to Sky TV. A NOW TV box gives you all the Freeview channels and you can then buy passes for things like Sky Cinema or Sky Sports. You normally get 14 days free and then pay monthly for a pass – you can cancel at any time.
NOW Broadband monitors its network constantly, and it’s been designed to make sure any problems are identified as soon as possible. This means it aims to prevent any faults which may affect the availability of your broadband and calls.
When you sign up with NOW Broadband you’ll receive an estimate of the speed you should get. If you’re on standard broadband (Brilliant Broadband), this will depend on the distance from your home to the nearest exchange, as well as temporary factors like severe weather that can degrade the quality of the line.
If you have fibre broadband (Fab or Super), your distance from the exchange is far less likely to be a problem. All NOW's broadband and fibre products (Brilliant Broadband, Fab Fibre and Super Fibre) are unlimited products and not subject to traffic management. This means NOW Broadband won't reduce your speed at any time, regardless of how much you upload or download.
For customers with issues with their broadband connection, NOW Broadband offers step-by-step online help. If this doesn’t resolve your issues, you have three options to contact NOW Broadband: on live chat, by sending an online message, or by phoning the call centre. NOW Broadband also has on online community of customers who can answer queries and provide advice.
NOW Broadband is a solid choice if you don’t want to commit to more than 30 days. You’ll pay higher set-up fees for a no-contract broadband deal but this gives you the flexibility to upgrade, switch or cancel as you please. This makes it an ideal solution for students, renters and anyone with an aversion to commitment.
And if you do commit, it will only be for 12 months, not the 18 months or more demanded by some providers. TV fans can also add on the TV passes which NOW TV is better known for – again, there’s no commitment required.
All NOW Broadband packages come with unlimited usage which, coupled with competitively-priced contract-free deals, put the new kid on the block in pole position to take on the big boys such as Sky and BT.
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