BT installation: Here's what you need to know

Dan Howdle | August 21st, 2023

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If you're about to join BT and have questions about the installation process, finding clear information on BT's website can be difficult. Which is why we've put together this guide to help see you through.

One of the key sticking points when it comes to switching broadband provider is how much of a hassle the process is likely to be. And we have to be honest, that can vary from no hassle at all to, actually, a moderate amount of hassle – a set of steps that amounts to more than just clicking buy on your new broadband deal and letting it all happen. We'll cover that in this guide, specifically in terms of what the process and the sticking points are, and whether you're likely to hit any snags.

The process of switching to BT is going to differ depending on a number of different factors. Are you taking out a TV deal with your BT Broadband? Are you switching from Virgin Media to BT? If so, there are special considerations. Do you have a working phoneline running into your home? All these things will play a part in the installation process and how fast, easy, or less so it ultimately is.

BT broadband installation

The easiest situation you can find yourself in when it comes to switching to BT Broadband is if you're already on another Openreach provider. Openreach is the physical network (the wires under the street, the boxes on the street and everything else) on which BT and most other broadband providers operate. Sky is on Openreach, as is TalkTalk, Plusnet, and just about everyone else, with the exception being Virgin Media.

If you're already with an Openreach provider (not Virgin), switching to BT is a doddle, and the installation process fast and painless. If you are with Virgin Media and you're switching over to BT, the installation may be more hassle. You'll have to be certain you have an Openreach line coming into your home, and even if you do, you will need it activated (as it's likely to be inactive). You will also have to tell Virgin Media you're leaving, and there's a very good chance you won't be able to get equivalent speeds to the ones you're already getting.

How long does it take to install BT Broadband?

No matter your current provider or situation, it usually takes around two weeks for you to be up and running after you sign up. This can be shorter at less busy times of year – summer is usually quieter – but can also be longer if, for example, you need a new phone line installed.


Once you sign up, BT will post out your router for you to plug in and install on your activation day – provided you don't need a new line installed (most people don't). The process is simple, with easy to follow directions. It's pretty close to plug it in and go, so if you're a technophobe, don't stress about it.

All BT Broadband deals come with the BT Smart Hub 2 router – a very capable device indeed. Here are the specifications:

BT Smart Hub 2 specifications

  • Next generation Wi-Fi – The Smart Hub uses the latest wireless standard (802.11ac) to deliver the fastest Wi-Fi speeds possible
  • Smart channel selection – The Smart Hub automatically connects your devices to the fastest Wi-Fi channel and frequency available
  • Smart scan – The router continually checks your network connection as well as its own performance and automatically reboots if there’s a problem
  • Dual band – Like many modern routers, the Smart Hub uses both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
  • Four gigabit Ethernet ports – The Smart Hub has four gigabit Ethernet ports, so you can use a wired connection for up to four devices
  • Seven antennae – The Hub has seven aerials, which is more than previous BT routers
  • LEDs can be switched off – The little things matter, and not all of us want a display of blue lights constantly flashing in the corner of the room
  • DECT phone compatible – The Smart Hub 2 supports Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT), a new digital standard for landline phones
  • Complete Wi-Fi – BT Complete Wi-Fi uses one or more discs to give you better Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home

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BT broadband and TV installation

Thankfully, BT has in the last 12 months or so simplified its TV and router offerings so they're universal. That means no matter what you pick you'll get the Smart Hub 2 router and the new(ish) BT TV Box Pro, both of which will be posted out to you should you choose a broadband and TV bundle, and both of which are plug and play (plug 'em in and you're off).

The BT TV Box Pro

We hesitate to call the TV Box Pro a set-top box. That name has become increasingly inappropriate over the years thanks to, first, wafer-thin TVs you can't put anything on top of, and second, the devices coming more often in the form of sticks, or 'pucks'. We'd call the TV Box Pro more of a 'superpuck' – it's not as big as those old YouView things, but it's still pretty large compared to, say, the Sky Stream Puck.

BT TV Box Pro specifications

The BT TV Box Pro is a very capable device. Here are the specifications/capabilities:

Name BT TV Box Pro
Manufacturer BT
Storage Capacity 1TB
Size (Dimensions) 335 x 127 x 32 MM
Release Date 2021
First Reviewed Date 24/09/2021
Model Number BT TV Box Pro
Resolution 3840 x 2160
Tuners 4
Ports 1 x HDMI, 1 x S/PDIF
Connectivity Ethernet, Wi-Fi
Colours Black
Audio Formats Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos
Remote Control Yes
Apps BT, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, Milkshake, BritBox

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BT TV installation

Once you have your BT TV Box Pro in-hand, installation is dead simple. BT will send you instructions to guide you through the process, but if you're worried it might be beyond you, here's an outline of what you'll need to do:

  • Step 1: Connect the BT TV Box Pro to your BT router – Once your router is set up and working, you'll need to connect your TV Box to it either with a LAN cable or via wifi. If using wifi, make sure it is within 5 metres of your router
  • Step 2: Connect the box to your screen – USe the supplied HDMI cable to connect the TV Box Pro to your TV, monitor or AV Amplifier
  • Step 3: Connect the power – Plug the supplied power cord into the back of the TV Box Pro and the other end into the mains power socket
  • Step 4: Connect an aerial if you need to – You can connect a traditional TV aerial to the TV Box Pro, but bear in mind you will still be able to watch most live channels if you don't via 'internet mode', though there are some exceptions
  • Step 5: Set up your remote: – Pop the suppled batteries into the remote. It will automatically connect with the TV Box Pro provided it is on and running, which is why this step is last
  • Step 6: Follow instructions on screen – Further instructions will be given on screen from this point on

No visit from a BT engineer will ever be required to install BT TV – this is something you need to do yourself, but which is, thankfully, very easy.

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See also

Frequently asked questions

How do I schedule the installation of BT broadband and BT TV services?

Booking the installation of BT broadband and BT TV is a straightforward process kicked off simply by signing up. You often won't need an engineer for the switch and instead will be given a switch date and sent your router and/or TV Box Pro in the post.

What steps are involved in setting up BT broadband and BT TV?

After scheduling an installation appointment, a BT technician will visit your premises to set up the necessary equipment, establish connections, and perform tests to ensure proper functionality, but only if you don't already have an Openreach line running into your home.

Can I self-install BT broadband and BT TV?

Yes, BT offers self-installation options for both broadband and BT TV services. The self-installation process involves receiving a package with the necessary equipment and instructions. Self-installation is the norm rather than the exception, since most people already have an Openreach line running into their home.

How long does it take for BT broadband and BT TV to become active after installation?

After installation there is no wait. Plug it all in and you're done. Time between signing up and starting your services, however, are usually around two weeks.

Is there a way to track the status of my BT broadband and BT TV installation?

Yes, BT provides a convenient way to track the status of your broadband and BT TV installation. You can log in to your BT account on the official website and navigate to the installation status section. Here, you will find real-time updates on the progress of your installation, including appointment details and any relevant notifications.