Now Broadband offers the best-value broadband packages on the market, but not the fastest speeds
- Strong value for money scores
- Simple range of flexible tariffs
- Highly reliable
- No full-fibre lines limit speed to 63Mbits/sec
- Fibre tariffs identically priced despite speed differences
Now Broadband could best be described as the bargain end of the Sky family. It’s our Best Value award winner, with 38% of the customers we surveyed (in partnership with YouGov) claiming to be very satisfied with the value for money they were getting.
A quick look at the company’s tariffs are enough to confirm why customers are so happy with the prices, with none of them costing more than £22/mth. The cheapest package we could find on Virgin Media, by comparison, was £10/mth more expensive.
However, there’s a reason why Now Broadband is relatively cheap: it doesn’t yet offer full-fibre broadband. That means the top download speed you’ll get from the company is only 63Mbits/sec. Don’t get us wrong, that’s plenty fast enough for many people, but you’ll have to look elsewhere if you want broadband speeds in the hundreds of megabits per second.
Most Now Broadband customers seem relatively happy with their lot. Despite the modest speeds on offer, more than 60% of the customers we surveyed said they were satisfied with the speeds they were getting. Reliability was the second best of the eight major providers we surveyed, falling just behind Plusnet. And although satisfaction with customer service wasn’t sky high, it wasn’t as bad as some of the other providers.
The all-round respectable performance at a bargain price is why Now Broadband earns a highly commended gong in the Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards 2023.
Now Broadband review: Brilliant Broadband
Far be it from us to suggest the Now Broadband marketing team are over-egging the product names, but “Brilliant Broadband” isn’t all that brilliant by today’s standards. In fact, it’s based on the ageing ADSL technology that several providers no longer offer.
You’ll find the “average” download speed is pegged at just 11Mbits/sec, although your actual speed could easily dip down into single figures if you’re a fair distance from your local telephone exchange. Hence, we would only recommend opting for this package if you have no other choice, because your house hasn’t been connected to a fibre network yet.
One thing that is brilliant about this offering is the flexibility on contracts. You can choose to take a 12-month deal with only a £5 upfront cost, or pay a £60 upfront fee and operate on a month-to-month contract. That could be a great option if you’re only living somewhere temporarily, such as student accommodation.
The supplied Now Broadband Hub is based on the older Wi-Fi 5 technology, although that’s plenty fast enough at these connection speeds. A stingy smattering of two gigabit Ethernet ports is not great for those who like to wire up, although you could always plug in a cheap Ethernet switch.
Now Broadband review: Fab Fibre and Super Fibre
The Fab Fibre and Super Fibre packages are fibre-to-the-cabinet tariffs.
The pricing here is hard to fathom at face value: both are identically priced at £22/mth, despite Super Fibre being almost twice as fast. Perhaps Fab Fibre exists only for those who are further from their local fibre cabinet and can’t get the faster speeds, but you would surely be a little miffed to be paying as much as Super Fibre customers, even if Now Broadband’s prices are as keen as they come.
As with the Brilliant Broadband deal, you can choose to take a month-by-month contract for a higher upfront cost, and you get the same, slightly outdated Broadband Hub.
|Brilliant Broadband||Fab Fibre||Super Fibre|
|Price per month (inc line rental)||£18||£22||£22|
|Contract length||12 months||12 months||>12 months|
Now Broadband review: Coverage
Like parent company Sky Broadband, Now Broadband is based on the Openreach network. That means coverage is near universal, with 96% of the population within reach of fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and almost all of the remainder catered for at ADSL speeds (Now’s Brilliant Broadband offering).
As explained above, Now Broadband is yet to offer full-fibre connections, meaning you’ll have to look elsewhere for the fastest speeds available in the UK.
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Now Broadband review: Performance and customer satisfaction
Even though Now Broadband doesn’t offer full-fibre connections, most customers seem happy with the speeds they’re getting. A healthy 62% of the customers we surveyed said they were satisfied with the speeds they received, perhaps because Now Broadband has tempered expectations by stating modest average speeds.
Customer service scores are probably the weakest part of the Now Broadband offering. Of the Now Broadband customers we surveyed, 53% said they were satisfied with overall customer service. However, when customers had reason to get in touch with the contact centre, 72% left satisfied, which is a score beaten only by Plusnet.
Now Broadband doesn’t do badly in the Ofcom complaints charts, either. An average of seven complaints per 100,000 customers is significantly below the industry average, even if a little way behind table-topping stablemate Sky Broadband.
All of this makes Now Broadband a likeable proposition. Two-thirds of customers said they would recommend the provider in our survey.
Now Broadband review: Verdict
Now Broadband is a no-frills operation. It doesn’t offer the fastest speeds and its range of tariffs are as basic as they come. However, it offers a service that’s cheaper than almost all of its rivals and – judging by the feedback we received from Now customers – it does it well. That’s why it’s a highly commended broadband provider in this year’s awards.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov plc. Total sample size was 4,664 adults, of which 67 are Now Broadband 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+).