NOW Broadband is marketed as a low cost, flexible alternative to the UK’s biggest internet providers – Sky, Virgin Media and BT. It is owned by Sky, but usually offers cheaper deals than its parent company, as well as a streaming service that includes Sky’s channels without the need for satellite dishes or set top boxes. So if the price is less, does that mean the quality is worse? In this independent review we explore whether NOW holds its own against the big three, or if it is worth paying the extra money to go for a more established brand.
We recommend that you read the review in full however you can jump to specific sections of the review using the following links:
- NOW Broadband key features
- NOW Broadband packages
- How much does NOW Broadband cost?
- NOW Broadband extras
- Does NOW offer social broadband?
- Does NOW Broadband have a good router?
- Do I need a phone line with NOW Broadband?
- NOW Broadband customer reviews
- NOW Broadband pros and cons
- How does NOW Broadband compare with other providers?
- How to compare NOW Broadband
- Is NOW Broadband any good?
NOW Broadband key features
NOW Broadband is branded as a service that simplifies getting your home connected to the internet. This is immediately apparent from its stripped-down offering compared to bigger-name competitors – including its parent company, Sky. Customers with access to fibre connection can choose from two packages, though some customers will not be able to access the faster-advertised speed of Super Fibre.
NOW Broadband also offers a standard broadband connection for those homes still waiting for the fibre rollout to reach their area. NOW’s top advertised speed of 63Mbps is considerably slower than the fastest packages offered by many other competitors. However, it is important to remember that you may not be able to reach the advertised speed of a product just because you pay for that deal. The top speed your home can reach will depend on where you live and what broadband infrastructure you have in your area.
You can find out more about the different types of broadband by reading our article, ‘Which broadband is best?’.
|Product name||Average download Speed||Minimum contract length||TV package available||Phone line required||Setup cost||Monthly cost|
*No contract option available with £60 activation fee and £10 delivery fee.
NOW Broadband packages
NOW Brilliant Broadband
Download speed: 11Mbps
This is a standard broadband connection that will likely only support browsing the internet, checking emails and streaming from one device at a time. Standard connections rely on the old copper wiring that make up the UK’s phoneline network. It is the least efficient way to connect your home to the internet and will only be available in homes that do not have a fibre connection.
NOW Fab Fibre
Download speed: 36Mbps
Download speeds of around 36Mbps will be enough for a lot of small households that do not frequently download large files or stream from multiple devices. If your router is far away from the data cabinet in the street that connects your home to the fibre network, you may find this is the fastest package you can access.
Some limited-time NOW Broadband deals discount Super Fibre to the same price as Fab Fibre for the first 12 months, so compare special offers to make sure you are getting the fastest speeds for your money.
NOW Super Fibre
Download speed: 63Mbps
A download speed of 63Mbps is above the average speed for UK households, calculated by Ofcom for 2021. This means that Super Fibre customers able to reach the average speed will be getting faster internet than most UK homes. 63Mbps will be enough to stream from multiple devices and browse the internet at the same time, though you may find your connection slowing down if you try to download large files or connect several smart home devices.
NOW Broadband will still offer you this deal even if your home is not able to reach speeds above those available with Fab Fibre, so keep an eye on your estimated speeds when you compare deals to make sure you are not paying for a download speed you cannot reach.
How much does NOW Broadband cost?
NOW Broadband is branded as a 'value' supplier to complement its parent company’s more premium product. Therefore, it should be no surprise that NOW’s standard pricing is relatively cheap. You will find that, as with all broadband providers there are limited-time deals available. Fab Fibre and Super Fibre are often discounted by as much as £10 per month. On top of that, it charges £5 for delivery – but nothing for standard installation – and you may be able to access special deals for TV passes. NOW also offers a no-contract option, though this comes with a hefty £60 activation fee on top of the £5 delivery charge.
|Product name||Average download Speed||Minimum contract length||Setup cost||Monthly cost|
*No contract option available with £60 activation fee and £10 delivery fee.
NOW Broadband extras
NOW is probably best known for its flexible TV services. This consists of streaming packages offering Sky TV channels on a daily or monthly subscription basis. Customers can buy sport, entertainment or movie ‘passes’ that can work out much cheaper than paying for the same services through Sky, BT or Virgin Media. NOW TV does not require a satellite dish or set top box, instead you stream channels through its app, which is available on smart sticks and smart TVs. As there is no box, you cannot record live TV as you can with Sky Q. With no satellite dish, you will need a fast enough broadband connection to stream shows over the internet.
NOW does not always have a bundle option available, but there may be TV pass discounts offered to broadband customers. For example, some Fab Fibre customers can get a NOW Sports Pass (essentially, all Sky Sports channels) for £20 a month for 12 months (usually £34.99 a month). This means you can often subscribe to all the Sky channels, plus broadband, for less than going direct.
NOW also offers call packages that can be added to 12-month broadband deals. The pay-as-you-call add-on does not cost extra, but you pay a charge for any calls you make. You can pay £4 a month extra for free weekend and evening calls, or anytime calls for £8 a month.
Compared to rivals such as Virgin Media, NOW Broadband is relatively cheap to cancel. This means you sign up to a 12-month deal in the knowledge that you will not need to pay for the remaining months on your contract if you have to cancel your broadband for any reason. You will have to pay some kind of fee if you cancel during your contract, but it will be less than what is charged by many competitors.
Does NOW offer social broadband?
NOW offers its £20 a month NOW Broadband Basics package to customers in receipt of Universal Credit or Pension Credit. The deal consists of NOW Fab Fibre membership and a pay-as-you-go calls package on a no contract basis, which means you can cancel at any point. There is no activation or delivery fee.
Does NOW have a good router?
NOW customers will be sent a NOW Hub 2 router, which is essentially a rebranded Sky Q Hub router. This is a significant downgrade on the router offered to new Sky customers, according to the Which? rating system. The NOW Hub 2 scored 72% (in its old Sky Q branding), far below Sky’s new router (82%) and the one offered by BT (88%).
The NOW Hub 2 should be able to cover most basic needs of a small household, according to Which?, but it might struggle for connectivity over longer distances.
Do I need a phone line with NOW Broadband?
NOW Broadband does require a phone line connection, so you will need to have one installed to use its services. If you can’t get a phone line installed for any reason, you will have to consider a different provider and a different type of broadband. We answer any phone line questions you might have in our ‘Do you need a landline for broadband?’ article.
NOW Broadband customer reviews
NOW’s Trustpilot page, listed under its former name Now TV, has a customer score of 1.3 out of 5.0. This is slightly below Sky (1.5), BT (1.6), Virgin Media (2.0) and other competitors, though some of the reviews only mention TV services and not broadband.
The positive Trustpilot reviews commend NOW’s easy installation process and consistent speeds. The negative reviews focus on poor customer service and long wait times for services to be activated.
NOW fared a little better in a recent Which? customer satisfaction survey. It finished in joint-third place out of 14 providers, well ahead of parent company Sky in 11th place. It scored an impressive four out of five stars for value for money, but only two stars for ease of contacting customer services and technical support.
NOW Broadband pros and cons
NOW Broadband pros
- Good value superfast deals
- Discounts for broadband customers on top TV streaming, including sport
- Flexible TV add-ons
- No-contract deals available
- Relatively cheap to cancel
- TV package does not require a set top box
- 12-month contracts as standard (shorter than most rivals)
NOW Broadband cons
- Small range of speeds available
- No ultrafast option
- Poor router compared to rivals
- You will need to buy a streaming stick, box or smart TV to watch streaming services
How does NOW Broadband compare with other providers?
|NOW Broadband product name||NOW broadband price||Competitor package offering same speed||Competitor price|
|Brilliant Broadband||£20.00||Shell Energy Fast Broadband||£17.99|
|Fab Fibre||£22.00||BT Fibre Essential||£27.99|
|Super Fibre||£22.00||Sky Superfast||£26.00|
NOW Broadband is a discount broadband provider, so it is not surprising that its main fibre deals are less expensive than BT and Sky. The difference can be even more stark as NOW prices are often heavily discounted.
If you are looking for a Sky TV package with your internet deal, subscribing to NOW Broadband can get you access to some great discounts on the same shows and sports broadcast by Sky. NOW Broadband with a Sports Pass added on will likely be cheaper than subscribing to Sky Sports directly or through BT. However, you will have to use the NOW app, which does not offer the same services as hardware like Sky Q or Sky Glass.
Read our article on ‘Who is the best broadband provider?’ to see who we rate for TV deals, speed, reliability and more.
How to compare NOW Broadband
A good way to compare broadband packages is via a comparison site such as Uswitch*. A comparison site allows you to compare the best deals from multiple broadband providers at once. We have partnered with Uswitch* so that our readers can source the best broadband deals, simply click on the link and enter your postcode to get started. Results can be tailored based on personal preference, allowing you to filter results based on factors such as 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 NOW Broadband any good?
NOW Broadband only offers a few speed options, but that might be all your household needs. If you are happy with download speeds of 63Mbps or less, there are unlikely to be many cheaper options than NOW. If you are a sports fan who doesn’t want to pay for premium TV services from Sky, Virgin or BT, NOW offers great value options to its broadband customers.
If you value ultrafast speeds, a quality set top box or a highly-rated router, you will likely need to look at other providers.
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