A wide range of fibre tariffs delivered at decent speeds, but customer service is a sore point
- Strong satisfaction with broadband speeds
- A broad range of tariffs, especially on full fibre
- Customer service is no more than average
- Questionable value for money
- Confusingly priced tariffs
BT is probably the first name you think of when it comes to broadband, but should it be the first name on your list if you’re looking for a new provider? Judging by this year’s survey results, maybe not.
BT does pick up a Highly Commended award for the speed of its broadband service. With full-fibre speeds of up to 900Mbits/sec now available to millions of homes across the country, BT is beginning to give speed category winner Virgin Media a run for its money.
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BT also delivered a reasonable performance when it comes to the reliability of its network. BT had a higher proportion of customers that were very satisfied with reliability than any other provider, although its overall satisfaction score was more mid-table.
However, it’s customer service and value for money where BT Broadband struggles to lift itself beyond the mediocre. That’s disappointing, as last year’s awards survey showed an upward trend in BT’s customer satisfaction.
Still, BT has plenty of packages on offer at a variety of price points. Let’s explore what’s on offer.
BT Broadband review: Fibre Essential, Fibre 1 and Fibre 2
With the vast majority of the country now within reach of fibre (either to the cabinet or full fibre), BT has stopped selling ADSL services to all but the unfortunate few who haven’t been connected. The BT Broadband Unlimited package is designed for those stuck on ADSL.
The majority of BT’s potential customer base, however, can pick between the three fibre-to-the-cabinet packages: Fibre Essential, Fibre 1 and Fibre 2.
The pricing here is pretty straightforward, if not super-competitive. The equivalent package to Fibre 2 in Plusnet’s range is £2 cheaper per month and comes at half the upfront cost. That’s even more frustrating when Plusnet is owned by BT.
BT supplies a Smart Hub 2 router for fibre customers, which doesn’t have Wi-Fi 6 and is beginning to show its age. For an extra fee (£12 per month is typical), you can opt for BT’s Complete Wi-Fi package, which guarantees you’ll get a decent Wi-Fi connection in every room of your home, with BT sending out Wi-Fi Discs to boost the signal in blackspots. You may find it’s cheaper to simply upgrade your router, although broadband providers are increasingly sniffy about supporting customers on their own equipment.
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BT Broadband review: Full Fibre 1, 2, 100, 500 & 900
If you’re fortunate enough to be in an area covered by Openreach’s full-fibre network, BT has no fewer than six tariffs on offer.
These tariffs are confusingly priced, although note that prices frequently change and are often distorted by short-term offers. For example, at the time of writing, Full Fibre 2 was cheaper (when you include monthly price and upfront cost) than Full Fibre 1, despite being faster. Likewise, Fibre 500 was cheaper than 100, where the speed differential is even greater. The catch will likely be the price when the initial contract comes to an end, but luckily BT’s contracts are for two years, so you’re locked in on a cheap price for a decent length of time.
BT does offer the fastest 900Mbits/sec connections, which are not always available from other Openreach-based providers.
BT Broadband Packages and Prices
|BT Broadband Unlimited||Fibre Essential||Fibre 1||Fibre 2|
|Price per month (inc line rental)||£28||£29||£30||£34|
|Contract length||24 months||24 months||24 months||24 months|
|Full Fibre Essential||Full Fibre 1||Full Fibre 2||Full Fibre 100||Full Fibre 500||Full Fibre 900|
|Price per month (inc line rental)||£30||£30||£34||£31||£46||£56|
|Contract length||24 months||24 months||24 months||24 months||24 months||24 months|
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BT Broadband review: Coverage
It should shock nobody who knows anything about the broadband industry that BT Broadband relies on the Openreach network. Openreach is the networking arm of BT Broadband’s parent company.
The fibre-to-the-cabinet service is available to 96% of the population, although speeds can vary depending on how far you’re located from the nearest cabinet. Openreach has introduced various technologies to boost speeds for those at a greater distance.
Full fibre is much less common, only available to around 8m homes at the time of writing. Those will largely be in major cities and bigger towns. You can check when your area is due to get it on the Openreach website.
BT Broadband review: Performance and customer satisfaction
Speed has become BT’s trump card. In our customer survey – conducted in partnership with YouGov – a healthy 28% of BT customers were very satisfied with their broadband speed, with a further 40% declaring themselves fairly satisfied. Those full-fibre lines seem to be boosting BT’s scores.
Alas, customer service scores are heading the other way. Only 57% of BT’s customers were happy with the service and just over a fifth (22%) of the customers who had interacted with BT support were dissatisfied with the experience.
Value for money remains a sore point, too. Only 13% of customers were very satisfied on that front, a score that leaves BT trailing almost every other provider here. Only Virgin Media had a worse value score (10%), although Sky fared no better.
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BT Broadband review: Verdict
You can’t fault the breadth of tariffs available from BT Broadband, and it seems customers are largely impressed with the speeds they’re receiving.
If BT could improve the customer service on offer, and bring its prices down to that of the award-winning Plusnet, it would be in with a decent chance of topping our table. As it stands, BT struggles to separate itself from the pack.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4,664 adults, of which 1,073 are BT users. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17 and 19 January 2023 and the survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).