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BT Broadband review

Thursday, November 5th 2015

BT’s entry-level broadband options have top advertised download speeds of up to 17Mbps. BT Broadband and BT Unlimited Broadband form the basic packages on offer from the provider, and target both light users and those on a budget.

Finding a good budget broadband package can be a difficult task. You have to balance price against performance, which isn’t always easy. To make things simpler, here’s all you need to know about BT Broadband in one handy, impartial review.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
3

BT’s standard broadband packages, BT Broadband and BT Broadband Plus, are the cheapest options from the big-name provider and come with several extras. However, the services are subject to restrictive data caps, and while they’re both fairly inexpensive, there are cheaper options out there if you’re on a strict monthly budget.

Compare BT broadband deals See top rated broadband

Speed & usage

Rating

2

As far as download speeds go, BT Broadband and BT Broadband Plus are fairly average. Ofcom’s latest report on actual broadband speeds found that BT customers received between 8.9Mbps and 11.1Mbps. This is faster than comparable deals from Sky and TalkTalk. BT broadband packages come with a usage cap of 12GB. While it might be sufficient for light, infrequent users, 12GB is far too restrictive for moderate or even daily internet browsing, and for many may result in fines for excess usage. To put the usage limit in real terms, a 12GB allowance permits a download of two HD movies per month, or about 20 TV programmes through a streaming service like the BBC iPlayer. If you want an unlimited broadband connection – one without usage limits – you’ll have to upgrade to BT unlimited broadband.

Advertised download speed Up to 17Mbps
Average downloads (off-peak) 8.9Mbps - 11.1Mbps
Average downloads (peak) 8.8Mbps - 11Mbps
Advertised upload speed Up to 1Mbps
Monthly usage limit 12GB
Traffic management No
Static IP No
Minimum contract 12 months
Router BT Home Hub 4
Public wi-fi Yes
Prices from £23.99 per month
Info

Scroll horizontally for more information.

What you can do with it

Advertised

Actual

The ‘Actual’ speeds are those reported by Ofcom.

Call plan

Rating

3

Line rental is a requirement on both BT broadband and phone packages, but is now included in the advertised monthly price. These standard broadband packages come with weekend calls included. If you use the phone frequently it is probably worth adding an extra call plan on top. You can choose from unlimited evenings and weekends or unlimited anytime calls. Both plans have a maximum call duration and you’ll have to hang up and redial after 60 minutes to avoid incurring extra call charges.

Extras

Rating

5

BT really shines when it comes to broadband extras. BT SmartTalk, BT Parental Controls, and Cloud storage space come with both BT Broadband and BT Unlimited Broadband. In addition to these, all customers get free BT Virus Protect (previously called BT NetProtect Plus), which defends your home computer against viruses, spyware and malware. Customers on both packages are also able to access any BT wi-fi hotspot in the UK without paying extra.

All BT Broadband customers get access to the BT Sport app free of charge. To take advantage of this, you can download the app onto your computer (PC or Mac), and stream live football and sport matches straight through your broadband connection. Even better, watching sport this way doesn’t affect your monthly usage limit. BT Sport Lite is included for free, or you can access the full BT Sport Pack for an extra £0 per month.

Finally, BT customers get exclusive discounts on BT Mobile plans. There are three 4G SIM-only plans to choose from, with bundles of calls, texts and data from £5 per month.

As a budget broadband option, these BT broadband packages fall short. There are many cheaper options available from other providers, often with unlimited data caps. Here, the 12GB usage cap makes both packages effectively worthless for high intensity internet users. The 12GB option should only be considered for very light, infrequent users. As you can see from the table below, you can upgrade from the basic BT broadband packages to the BT unlimited broadband packages without a huge extra cost. On these packages you can download without restriction, as there isn’t a usage cap. It’s worth bearing in mind that if you do join BT Broadband and you pass your usage cap, you’ll be charged £1.80 for every 1GB of data you go over.

While the basic BT home broadband packages can’t really stand alone – especially against other providers with cheaper, unlimited options – the included extras go some way in improving the overall value for money of both packages. Sport fans will appreciate access to BT Sport, and the free public wi-fi across the UK is another good bonus. However, despite these, you can still find cheaper broadband deals elsewhere.

  • Broadband
    Max download speed52Mb
    Max upload speed9.5Mb
    Monthly usageUnlimited
    Home Phone
    Daytime calls10.24ppm
    Evening calls10.24ppm
    Weekend callsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Set-up cost£29.99
    Contract length18 months
    First year cost £413.87

    £31.99
    per month
    includes line rental

  • Broadband
    Max download speed17Mb
    Max upload speed1Mb
    Monthly usageUnlimited
    Home Phone
    Daytime calls10.24ppm
    Evening calls10.24ppm
    Weekend callsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Set-up cost£9.99
    Contract length18 months
    First year cost £525.87

    £42.99
    per month
    includes line rental

The BT Home Hub 4 router is included for free with both BT broadband offers. The Hub is a small, black and silver router designed to fit through your home letterbox, so you don’t need to be at home when it’s delivered. It has three yellow 10/100Mbps LAN ports on the reverse, with a single GigE port for fibre connections. The Home Hub 4 admits the connection of up to 64 wireless devices over its dual band concurrent wireless system. The Hub’s settings can be easily accessed via your home computer’s web browser with the IP address 192.168.1.254.

Installation is free on both packages when you buy online. You have to pay a delivery charge of £9.99 for the Home Hub 4, however.

BT Router

Overall Rating

3

These packages may be the cheapest BT broadband deals, but they’re far from the cheapest on the market. The extras, such as free access to wi-fi hotspots and the inclusion of the BT Sports app are a great bonus, and may attract many light users primarily after the sport service. However, as a budget option, you may be better off looking elsewhere, and moderate to heavy users should definitely consider upgrading to the BT Unlimited Broadband service. To see the BT broadband packages, click the button below.

Compare BT Standard broadband

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