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Origin broadband and phone review

Tuesday, November 17th 2015

You’re looking for a new provider, one that’s a little different from the norm. And so you’ve come across Origin broadband – a seemingly small-scale, independent broadband provider from South Yorkshire. But before you sign up to its broadband and phone service, you want to know more about Origin, and most importantly, you want to know if it’s any good.

To that end, we examine Origin’s standard broadband service – its speed, its call plans, and whether or not it’s worth your hard-earned cash – to arm you with the knowledge you need to decide if Origin’s standard broadband is the right choice for you.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
3.2

This is a standard broadband package with download speeds of up to 17Mb and truly unlimited usage. It comes on a 12-month contract. Customer support is 24/7 and installation is free. Extras are minimal and a call plan needs to be added manually.

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Speed & usage

Rating

3

Origin’s advertised broadband speeds are identical to those of most similar providers, with standard broadband clocking in at up to 17Mb. This is fast enough for most online activities, such as browsing websites, playing online games, and watching videos (though you may have difficulty attempting to stream ultra-high definition videos).

The 17Mb are shared across every online device in your household. So if two people are streaming (watching) films on their smartphones you may struggle to stream a film on a third device, like your laptop. Therefore this package is best suited for smaller households.

The advertised speed is ‘up to’ – it isn’t a guarantee of the speed you’ll actually attain. Your actual speed will be affected by several factors, including electrical interference, the time of day, other online traffic and how far away you live from the nearest roadside cabinet.

Origin broadband comes with unlimited usage. You won’t be charged for downloading too much data and the provider will never actively slow you down.

Advertised download speed Up to 17Mb
Average downloads (off-peak) Not available*
Average downloads (peak) Not available*
Advertised upload speed 1Mbps
Monthly usage limit No
Traffic management No
Static IP Optional
Minimum contract 12 months
Router ASUS N16
Public wi-fi No
Prices from £16.49
Info

Scroll horizontally for more information.

What you can do with it

Advertised

Actual

* Average speeds for Origin broadband are not available from Ofcom at this time.

Call plan

Rating

4

Despite the name, Origin broadband and phone doesn’t actually come with a phone plan; call plans have to be added separately. The Evening and Weekend call plan lets you make free calls to UK landlines between 7pm and 7am, every weeknight. Or, you can choose the Anytime call plan that lets you make calls to UK landlines any day of the week. Free calls are only free for 60 minutes at a time – to avoid being charged after 60 minutes, hang up and redial. Line rental is now included in all broadband pricing.

Extras

Rating

2

As a smaller independent broadband provider, Origin lacks many of the extra features that its larger rivals offer. However, there are two notable features that may be of value.

Origin Broadband’s customer service support is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. Its call centre operations are based in Yorkshire, and its operatives aren’t bound to a script. The customer support line is free to call, and there’s an online forum for help and advice if you’re unable (or too shy) to talk over the phone.

The second feature is a referral system. If you’re happy with your broadband service you can recommend Origin to a friend, and, if they subsequently join the provider, you get a £25 bill credit.

Origin broadband and phone is currently one of the cheapest broadband deals around. The package is subject to a 12-month contract.

You can reduce the cost even further by choosing to pay for a year's worth of fees upfront, which costs £172.49, bringing a saving of £43.39 over a year. This makes Origin broadband and phone particularly good value for money.

If you cancel Origin broadband at any time other than during the 14-day cooling-off period you have to pay termination fees. If you’ve paid for a line rental saver and you cancel early you won’t be refunded any of the upfront payment.

The router included with Origin broadband is the ASUS N16. It’s a basic wi-fi router with a single wireless channel operating on 2.4GHz. In practical terms, this means your wi-fi devices will be subject to greater interference than they would be on a dual-band router, although for the average user this is unlikely to be much of an issue.

There are four Ethernet ports on the reverse, which are useful for physically connecting online devices like your home computer, TV, or games console to the internet with a cable. The router also has a USB port. You can connect a printer, document scanner, or other device to this port to incorporate it into your home network if the device isn’t wireless-enabled. You can upgrade to a more advanced router from £84.99.

Installation is free for Origin phone and broadband unless you need a new landline fitted. If this is the case, you will need to pay £48 upfront.

ASUS N16 Router

Overall Rating

3.2

Origin presents a viable alternative to larger broadband providers like BT and Virgin Media, and this package, with unlimited usage and 24/7 customer support is bound to appeal to many. However, the lack of notable extras and the basic router may be a turn-off for some.

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