BT is one of the biggest providers of broadband and has more customers than any other UK provider. It offers a wide-range of broadband packages, as well as TV and phone services. In this independent review, we look at whether this is enough to make BT a value-for-money option compared to its competitors including Sky, Virgin Media and some other less well-known challengers.
We recommend that you read the review in full however you can jump to specific sections of the review using the following links:
- BT broadband key features
- BT broadband packages
- How much does BT broadband cost?
- BT broadband extras
- Does BT offer a social broadband tariff?
- Does BT have a good router?
- Do I need a phone line with BT broadband?
- BT broadband customer reviews
- BT broadband pros and cons
- How does BT broadband compare with other providers?
- How to compare BT broadband
- Is BT broadband any good?
BT broadband key features
BT is one of the biggest broadband providers in the UK and offers a whole host of different packages aimed at a variety of households. Here are some of the key features BT broadband offers across its wide range of packages.
|Product name||Speed||Minimum contract length||TV package available||Phone line required||Setup cost||Standard price|
|BT Broadband||10Mbps||24 months||Yes||Yes||£0*||£28.99|
|Fibre Essential||36Mbps||24 months||Yes||Yes||£0*||£28.99|
|Fibre 1||50Mbps||24 months||Yes||Yes||£0*||£29.99|
|Fibre 2||67Mbps||24 months||Yes||No||£0||£33.99|
|Fibre 100||150Mbps||24 months||Yes||No||£0||£35.99|
|Fibre 500||500Mbps||24 months||Yes||No||£0||£45.99|
|Fibre 900||900Mbps||24 months||Yes||No||£0||£55.99|
*You may be charged an installation fee of £49.99 if you require a new phone line.
BT broadband packages
BT currently has seven main types of broadband package. Here we break down each one to help you identify what would be the best option for your household. If you are unsure what kind of broadband you need, read our article on 'Which broadband is best?'.
Download speed: 10Mbps
This is BT’s most basic broadband service and is only available in households that do not have any kind of fibre connection. There will be a fibre option available at the same price if your area is served by fibre.
This type of broadband is unlikely to hit speeds above 10Mbps, so would only be suitable for households with low usage. You can find out more about what speed your household needs by reading our article 'What broadband speed do I need?'.
BT Fibre Essential
Download speed: 36Mbps
BT’s lowest speed fibre offering will likely be enough for many small households, especially if you do not stream on multiple devices or need to download a lot of large files.
You will still need a phone line for this service, as it is not a full fibre connection. However, BT no longer offers a phone service as standard, so you will need to pay extra to get a landline number and actually use the phone. We explain when you need a phone line for broadband in our article 'Do you need a landline for broadband?'.
BT Fibre 1
Download speed: 50Mbps
Ofcom calculated that the UK average broadband speed in 2021 was 50.2mbps, so this package should offer enough speed to meet most online needs.
Fibre 1 is also very closely priced to BT Fibre Essential and standard BT Broadband. At the time of writing it is £1 per month more expensive, which may be money worth paying if you are in need of extra speed.
BT Fibre 2
Download speed: 67Mbps
This is the quickest standard fibre service offered by BT. Its speed is suitable for larger homes and can support multiple devices streaming or downloading at the same time.
Large households with multiple users would benefit from this package. It is BT’s fastest standard fibre offering and is a step up in price from Fibre 1, so make sure you need this level of internet speed before you start paying for it.
BT Full Fibre 100
Download speed: 145Mbps
Full fibre broadband offers significantly faster speeds than standard fibre broadband. Households needing to upload and download large files, or stream from multiple devices in 4k will need this kind of service.
Full fibre coverage is not anywhere near as extensive as standard fibre, so you may find that it is not available in your area. The network is growing though, so it may not be too long before you can access faster speeds.
BT Full Fibre 500
Download speed: 500Mbps
This package will suit a large household regularly making video calls, sending large files or streaming on multiple devices. It does not require a phone line, but is at the higher end of the price scale for UK home broadband.
BT Full Fibre 900
Download speed: 900Mbps
This is the fastest service offered by BT. 900Mbps is going to be more than enough for most UK households, so this package is aimed at those with very high usage.
Generally, the fastest speeds come at the highest price, so it should be no surprise that this is BT’s most expensive broadband package too.
How much does BT broadband cost?
BT offers a number of Broadband packages and the price you pay will depend on the type of package you choose. BT broadband and BT Fibre Essential are the cheapest standard tariffs, currently priced at £28.99 per month. BT Fibre 900 is the most expensive broadband tariff and is currently priced at £55.99 per month. BT is unlikely to ever come up in an online broadband comparison as the cheapest option for the speed you are looking for. Currently, many of its products are beaten for price by competitors, though BT does not charge a standard set-up fee. Additional fees can make a huge difference to the value of your broadband package, so make sure to think about the total cost of the deal when you compare options.
|Product name||Speed||Minimum contract length||Setup cost||Standard price|
|BT Broadband||10Mbps||24 months||£0||£28.99|
|Fibre Essential||36Mbps||24 months||£0||£28.99|
|Fibre 1||50Mbps||24 months||£0||£29.99|
|Fibre 2||67Mbps||24 months||£0||£33.99|
|Fibre 100||150Mbps||24 months||£0||£35.99|
|Fibre 500||500Mbps||24 months||£0||£45.99|
|Fibre 900||900Mbps||24 months||£0||£55.99|
Will BT broadband prices increase in 2023?
BT will increase prices for broadband customers in 2023. Broadband contracts with BT now include a standard clause warning that the cost of a package will go up in line with the CPI (Consumer Price Index) rate of inflation, plus 3.9%.
This means that customers can expect a rise of 14.4%, as the current CPI rate is 10.5%. A £30 bill would go up to £34.32 and a £50 bill would change to £57.20. Such an increase would be much higher than what UK broadband customers have been used to, but as BT includes the rise in its contracts you would not be able to leave for free.
BT broadband extras
The right extras can make a huge difference to the value of your broadband package. For example, paying for all of your entertainment services separately can work out a lot more expensive than opting for a package deal.
This is where BT is able to separate itself from cheaper competitors. If BT Sport is a must-have in your household, or you need a landline, BT could be the right choice. For example, customers who already have BT broadband would pay £16 a month for BT Sport, but Sky customers who want to add BT Sport will need to pay £29.99 a month. That difference in price can make BT broadband much better value against its competitors.
BT allows you to package your mobile with your TV and broadband. If you are looking for a new mobile phone contract, this could help make your broadband package better value.
BT broadband packages also allow free access to its entire wi-fi network, made up of five million public hotspots across the UK.
BT has the widest coverage of any UK broadband provider. This means that for some households, it might be the best value option, if only because cheaper competitors are not available.
You should get coverage in every room of your home, otherwise you can get £100 off your bill.
Does BT offer a social broadband tariff?
Yes, BT offers a social broadband tariff that is an affordable tariff aimed at customers that receive certain qualifying benefits. You will need to be in receipt of one of the following:
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Jobseeker's allowance
The social broadband tariff provides fibre broadband with speeds up to 67Mbps on a 12 month contract. It costs £15 per month plus £9.99 set up fee, with no exit fees.
Does BT have a good router?
The BT Smart Hub has been rated as the best router provided as standard by any broadband company. It scored an impressive 88% from Which? thanks to its speed, coverage and ability to connect with multiple devices at once without dropping speed.
A poor router can severely limit your household’s broadband speed and stop you getting the service you are paying for. Bad routers can have poor range, intermittent connectivity and may struggle to handle multiple devices at once. A top router like BT’s will help connect your devices to the internet as efficiently as possible, so it is an important part of a good broadband package.
Do I need a phone line with BT broadband?
Some BT broadband packages do require a phone line, though they do not come with a landline service as standard. You can find out more about how landlines fit into the UK broadband network and whether you need a landline for broadband in our article 'Do you need a landline for broadband?'.
BT broadband customer reviews
BT scores a relatively low score of 1.6 out of 5.0 on Trustpilot, though this is not very far from its closest competitors. Sky scores 1.5 out of 5.0 and Virgin Media scores 2.0 out of 5.0, which suggests most broadband reviews on the site have a negative skew.
There are also positive reviews for good customer service and fast speeds, however, the negative reviews cover poor customer service, long waits for engineer visits and unexpected charges.
Ofcom provides a more positive overview of BT and its broadband services. According to a recent report, 88% of BT customers found its customer service satisfactory. This was higher than most providers and suggests a strong portion of customers consider BT a decent provider.
BT broadband pros and cons
BT broadband pros
- Free access to wi-fi hotspots
- A range of speeds available, including some of the fastest on the market
- Widely available across the UK
- Top router provided as standard
- Discounted BT Sport for broadband customers
BT broadband cons
- Often the most expensive option
- Top package not quite as fast as Virgin Media or Vodafone
How does BT broadband compare with other providers?
|BT package||BT price||Competitor package offering same speed||Competitor price|
|BT Broadband||£28.99||Shell Energy Fast Broadband||£31.03|
|Fibre Essential||£28.99||TalkTalk Fibre 35||£29.95|
|Fibre 1||£29.99||Virgin Media M50||£38.00|
|Fibre 2||£33.99||NOW Broadband Super Fibre||£35.00|
|Fibre 100||£35.99||Plusnet Full Fibre 145||£58.19|
|Fibre 500||£45.99||Vodafone Broadband Ultrafast 500||£35.00|
|Fibre 900||£55.99||Sky Broadband Gigafast||£60.00|
BT struggles to always match its rival providers for price, but does offer some extra benefits that make it competitive. BT broadband customers receive a very good discount on BT Sport and all customers get one of the best routers on the market.
However, these extras will only make up for the price gap for a few households. If you are not a sport-lover or looking to package all of your services together, BT is unlikely to be a better option than Sky, Virgin Media or a cheaper competitor.
Find out who we think the best UK home broadband providers are here.
Keep in mind that the prices you can see in the table above are standard prices charged by BT and its competitors. Standard prices usually only come into effect at the end of a fixed-term deal. Most providers initially offer a discounted rate, so you will likely only pay standard prices after the end of your contract. To find out what BT special offers are currently available and how they stack up against what competitors are offering, you will need to compare broadband deals.
How to compare BT broadband
One of the best ways to compare broadband packages is via a comparison site such as Uswitch*. A comparison site allows you to compare the best broadband packages from a number of providers at once. We have partnered with Uswitch* in order to help source the best broadband deals for our readers, simply click on the link and enter your postcode to get started. Broadband packages can be tailored based on preference, with options to filter by price, speed, reliability, Wi-Fi coverage and customer service. According to the latest data, customers that chose a broadband package via Uswitch saved an average of £162 per year.
Is BT broadband any good?
BT broadband offers a wide range of broadband packages to suit a large variety of households. Customers can bundle their TV package to save on sport and access wi-fi hotspots across the country.
However, the two key components of a good broadband deal are speed and price. BT is competitive when it comes to speed, but often trails on price. As BT is more expensive than its competitors – unless BT Sport is a priority – you can likely find a better value deal elsewhere.
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