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TalkTalk Fast Broadband review

Wednesday, November 4th 2015

Just broadband with no inclusive call plan is the selling point of this TalkTalk broadband deal, which enables TalkTalk to offer truly unlimited usage for a bargain price. Line rental is now included in the price and TalkTalk guarantees no mid-contract price rises.

This broadband deal will certainly appeal if cost is your key concern, so we dig into the detail and share our expert opinion in this TalkTalk review to help you decide if it’s the right budget broadband for you.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
2.6

If you’re after a cheap, truly unlimited broadband deal, TalkTalk’s Fast Broadband deal could be right up your street. It’s pretty fast for a non-fibre service and comes with useful parental controls. However, you have to pay extra for a decent amount of calls and for security software, and there’s much room for improvement in TalkTalk’s customer service department.

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Speed & usage

Rating

3

Fast Broadband is a standard, non-fibre broadband service delivered via copper telephone lines. TalkTalk advertises an optimum download speed of 17Mbps for this service but, as is the case with many broadband services, the speed is quite different in reality.

In Ofcom’s speed report, TalkTalk Fast Broadband was found to have an average download speed of between 7.5Mbps and 9.6Mbps. That’s far below the advertised speed and slower than the standard broadband services from rivals BT, EE, Plusnet and Sky, but still pretty fast for non-fibre broadband. The same can’t be said for the upload speed unfortunately, which is advertised at just 1Mbps. This snail-pace will make uploading photographs to Facebook and sending large files a chore, and it’s likely to put online gamers off completely.

However, the usage allowance of Fast Broadband is fairly impressive as it is completely and utterly unlimited. That means no fair usage cap buried in the small print, and no traffic management to throttle your speed for excessive downloading at peak times. Yet while consumers on this TalkTalk deal won’t find their download or upload speeds actively cut, some degree of slowdown is inevitable at peak times when all broadband networks experience congestion.

Advertised download speed Up to 17Mbps
Average downloads (off-peak) 7.5Mbps – 9.3Mbps
Average downloads (peak) 7.4Mbps – 9.2Mbps
Advertised upload speed 1Mbps
Monthly usage limit No
Traffic management No
Static IP No
Minimum contract 24 months
Router Huawei HG523a wireless N150
Public wi-fi No
Prices from £18.95 including line rental 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

1

There’s not a huge amount much to say here as TalkTalk Fast Broadband doesn’t include a call plan. It does, however, include the line rental charge.

The absence of a call plan means you’ll be charged for each call you make at 11.5p per minute to UK landlines and 12p per minute to UK mobiles, plus a 15p connection fee per call. Call rates to 0871 and 070 numbers can be considerably higher, while those to fellow TalkTalk customers are free, up to a maximum of 180 minutes per month.

To save you racking up a huge bill, a monthly call limit of £20 is imposed – if you exceed this, all outgoing calls will be barred (excluding emergency calls).

As a result, if you expect to use your home phone fairly often, it’s worth adding the Anytime Calls Boost for just £7.50 per month.

Extras

Rating

3

Although Fast Broadband is a no-frills package and short on extra features like public wi-fi and inclusive security software, there are a couple of valuable perks. First is TalkTalk’s HomeSafe parental control software, which allows you to block websites you deem unsuitable for your kids on various devices.

It also features a nifty function called Homework Time that lets you set a time during the day to block your children from accessing social networking and game websites, either seven days a week or Monday to Friday. This doesn’t protect from security threats or malware, but the super Safe Boost can be added for an extra £2 per month to deal with that.

If you’re looking for a new mobile or tablet plan to accompany your new broadband service, TalkTalk offers a solid range of good-value pay monthly and SIM-only deals that are exclusive to TalkTalk broadband customers.

TalkTalk Fast Broadband is the cheapest truly unlimited broadband deal on the market, made cheaper still by frequently discounted offers. You certainly can’t sniff at the price and it will really appeal to those of us on a budget who use the internet a lot but aren’t overly fussed about fibre speeds and extra features. It remains so cheap by not including a call plan, which is fine if you rely solely on your mobile but not so good if you plan to make more than a few quick home phone calls. Having said that, even if you add the Anytime Calls Boost, a truly unlimited broadband and anytime call package for this price is still pretty good value.

Of course value isn’t all about price and we need to look at customer service too for a full picture of the service. And customer service isn’t TalkTalk’s strongest attribute. It scored 53% in Ofcom’s customer satisfaction survey, below the industry average (67%) and behind rivals Sky and Virgin Media. In particular, TalkTalk advisors were significantly below average for logging of query details to avoid consumers repeating themselves. TalkTalk also scored above the industry average for complaints in Ofcom’s latest industry report.

  • Broadband
    Max download speed17Mb
    Max upload speed1Mb
    Monthly usageUnlimited
    Digital TV
    Not included
    Home Phone
    Daytime calls11.50ppm
    Evening calls11.50ppm
    Weekend calls11.50ppm
    Pricing & Contract
    Set-up cost£0
    Contract length12 months
    First year cost £239.40

    £19.95
    per month
    includes line rental

    0800 083 4313 0800 083 4313
  • Broadband
    Max download speed38Mb
    Max upload speed10Mb
    Monthly usageUnlimited
    Digital TV
    Not included
    Home Phone
    Daytime calls11.50ppm
    Evening calls11.50ppm
    Weekend calls11.50ppm
    Pricing & Contract
    Set-up cost£0
    Contract length18 months
    First year cost £330

    £27.50
    per month
    includes line rental

    0800 083 4313 0800 083 4313
  • Broadband
    Max download speed17Mb
    Max upload speed1Mb
    Monthly usageUnlimited
    Digital TV
    TV channels103
    SD channels89
    HD channels14
    Home Phone
    Daytime calls11.50ppm
    Evening calls11.50ppm
    Weekend calls11.50ppm
    Pricing & Contract
    Set-up cost£25
    Contract length12 months
    First year cost £264.40

    £19.95
    per month
    includes line rental

    0800 083 4313 0800 083 4313

New customers are provided with a free Super Router. Details on the make and model are scarce on the TalkTalk website, but TalkTalk customer services told us Fast Broadband comes with a Huawei HG523a wireless N150 router, which has a power-saving mode, automatic wireless selection channel and two Ethernet ports. The router is also compatible with YouView should you decide to take TalkTalk TV with your package.

Installation is free, unless your property needs a new telephone line to be installed or reactivated, in which case you will have to pay a £65 charge for a BT engineer to carry out the necessary work. Your router will arrive through the post and you can simply follow the instructions to get yourself set up. If you’re a bit of a technophobe, you can arrange and pay for a TalkTalk Bright Spark engineer to visit and sort it out for you.

TalkTalk Router

Overall Rating

2.6

You get what you pay for with TalkTalk packages, but it’s well worth a look if you’re after a bargain unlimited broadband deal. You’ll have to pay extra for any calls you make, and you'll also have to fund your own security software, but there are some nice inclusive features with HomeSafe parental controls and exclusive mobile and tablet deals. It’s a cheap and cheerful deal and the download speed isn’t bad, but the lack of call plan and disappointing customer service reputation bring the total score down.

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