BT broadband review 2023
|Value for Money||3.2/5|
BT Broadband has a wide range of services. It offers everything from standard broadband (also called ADSL) all the way through to ultrafast, broadband. Plus, it offers a range of TV and broadband bundles too.
Its unlimited deals come without catches. You don’t have a traffic management or fair use policy to worry about. This means you can forget frustratingly slow speeds and use your unlimited deal to the max. There’s also tons of extra features you can add on, and you don’t need to have a phone line to take advantage of its services.
We’ll say it again, though, all this comes at a hefty price. It’s also worth noting that only a few households can access its fastest broadband speeds.
|We like||We don't like|
What does ADSL mean?
ADSL stands for ‘Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line’. It’s broadband technology that allows the transfer of data across regular telephone lines. You can make calls at the same time as being connected to the internet.
An ADSL line will, at minimum, allow for a broadband connection of up to 8Mb. These days, that’s pretty slow and won’t allow you to do much other than emailing or basic web searches.
ADSL2+ is now available at nearly all exchanges across the UK with slightly faster data transfer rates of around 10-11Mb.
BT Broadband: In Summary
|Download Speeds (Average)||10Mb / 36Mb / 50Mb / 67Mb / 150Mb / 500Mb / 910Mb|
|Upload Speeds (Average)||1Mb / 9.5Mb / 19.5Mb / 30Mb / 49Mb / 73Mb / 110Mb|
|Data Usage Limit||Truly unlimited|
|Type of Broadband||ADSL / Fibre / Full Fibre / G.fast|
|Home Phone Line?||Yes (required for ADSL)|
|Inclusive phone calls?||Call bundles available as an add-on|
|Bundled Wi-Fi Router?||BT Home Hub 4, BT Smart Hub or BT Smart Hub 2|
BT Broadband Speed
Speed Score: 3.4 out of 5
BT Broadband has a wide choice of speeds across its product range. Let‘s run through what the different packages offer.
ADSL is your standard broadband. The good news is it's available across the whole of the UK. The bad news? It wasn‘t originally built to handle data. So, if you’re using your internet to game, download files, or stream videos, you might find it a bit slow.
BT Fibre will give you very fast download speeds thanks to the fibre optic cables it uses. So you’ll be able to share the internet on multiple devices without buffering or interruptions to your speed.
Ultrafast FTTP is the fastest of them all. With a fibre cable that goes all the way into to your house (hence FTTP - Fibre To The Premises) your broadband package will be able to handle more than most.
Let's take a closer look at BT's common packages:
- Download speed: 10Mb
- Upload speed: 1Mb
This is a basic ADSL broadband service, suitable for small homes that don‘t use their internet regularly. We would refer to this as ‘light usage‘ households.
It’s only available if you don’t have fibre in your area. If you have fibre, you’ll be offered BT Fibre Essential at the same price.
BT Fibre Essential
- Download speed: 36Mb
- Upload speed: 9.5Mb
This entry-level BT fibre service will suit many homes. It’s perfectly capable of handling streaming, downloading, and gaming for an individual or a couple of people sharing.
BT Fibre 1
- Download speed: 50Mb
- Upload speed: 9.5Mb
This unusual package offers a 50Mb average speed, which isn’t available from most other Openreach network providers. If Fibre Essential isn’t quite fast enough, this package offers a nice little upgrade for a small extra fee.
BT Fibre 2
- Download speed: 67Mb
- Upload speed: 19.5Mb
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.
BT Full Fibre 100
- Download speed: 150Mb
- Upload speed: 30Mb
You can expect a huge increase in speed over Fibre 2 without the hefty price tag. The additional upload speed may be particularly welcome for anyone who regularly needs to send larger files.
This package is available in areas with G.fast.
BT Fibre 250
- Download speed: 250Mb
- Upload speed: 50Mb
This package is only available in areas with G.fast. Coverage for this service is relatively limited, so only a small number of premises will have this option.
BT Full Fibre 500
- Download speed: 500Mb
- Upload speed: 73Mb
The second-fastest home broadband service from BT uses a full-fibre connection to deliver extremely high download speeds, great for large homes where you may have many people all online at the same time.
BT Full Fibre 900
- Download speed: 910Mb
- Upload speed: 110Mb
The quickest BT broadband package offers a super speedy connection that’ll be more than enough for almost all homes. However, its upload speed is fairly limited compared to how well it handles downloads.
What is G.fast?
G.fast is type of broadband technology that can offer download speeds of up to 330Mb. It uses the same lines which currently supply Fibre To The Cabinet fibre optic broadband. Higher speeds are achieved by expanding the frequency range. Unfortunately, this only works over short distances. This means it's limited to customers who live no further than 500 metres from an exchange. The rollout of G.fast has been halted, for the most part, in favour of full fibre broadband.
BT speed summary
Ofcom average speed data: BT vs. TalkTalk, Vodafone, Plusnet, Sky, Virgin Media and EE
Ofcom's home broadband performance report, published in September 2023, shows BT's performance has slightly dropped over the course of 2023. However, if you take into considering in 2020, it was only achieving 72% and had the lowest average speed rating, things are still going well.
Our broadband survey results suggest BT customers are reasonably happy with their service. They gave BT an above-average score of 68.5%.
In many areas, BT uses the same Openreach telephone as other Internet Service Providers (ISPs, for short). So, the advertised speeds for several packages are broadly similar to other deals.
While sharing the infrastructure, it does some things a little differently to other providers.
For starters, it no longer gives new customers the option to sign up for an ADSL package if fibre optic is available. If you can get fibre, BT Fibre Essential is the cheapest deal available, whether you need the speed or not.
There’s also a BT-exclusive fibre optic package that offers a download speed of 50Mb. That’s a reasonable amount of extra broadband muscle for not much more cost than the entry-level 36Mb deal.
In some areas, you’ll also have the option of faster speeds using either G.fast or FTTP technology.
BT Full Fibre (FTTP) packages go up to an average download speed of 910Mb, which is extremely fast. However, unlike some full-fibre services, these are asymmetrical instead of symmetrical. This means the upload rate is much slower than the download speed.
That said, BT’s top upload speed of 110Mb is better than the comparatively measly 52Mb offered by Virgin Media’s fastest service, Gig1.
G.fast is available with a speed of either 100Mb or 250Mb. However, this service is only available to just under 3 million homes at present. Sounds like a lot, but really this is a small percentage of homes in the UK.
It should also be noted that all BT fibre packages are now 'broadband only' by default. Unless you tell them you need phone service, you won’t get a phone number or an active voice line.
BT Broadband Customer Service
Customer Service Score: 3.4 out of 5
BT is faring reasonably well in current ratings, although it's dropped 0.6 points in the past couple of years.
It had a decent showing in Ofcom’s customer service report, which compares major providers on key customer service metrics. Although customers were less satisfied with how complaints were handled, compared to the average.
It received the following scores in the most recent publication (18th May 2023):
- Overall satisfaction: 83% (average broadband score 82%)
- Satisfaction with speed of service: 80% (average broadband score 80%)
- Customers with a reason to complain: 19% (average broadband score 20%)
- Overall complaint handling satisfaction: 55% (average broadband score 51%)
- Complaints per 100,000 subscribers: 35
- Call waiting time: 2:45 (average waiting time 2:37)
Getting hold of someone at BT shouldn’t be too difficult. BT customer service is open 8am to 9pm weekdays, and 8am to 8pm on weekends and bank holidays.
Technical support is open 24/7, which is reassuring if broadband access is critical. It also has a web forum where you can get advice from both BT representatives and other BT users.
For more information and other ways to get in touch, visit our guide to BT customer service.
BT Broadband Value for Money
Value for Money Score: 3.2 out of 5
User reviews for BT broadband didn't fair so well in terms of value for money scores. In our survey, it came in at 64%.
This isn’t a big surprise to us over at Broadband Genie. Of the five biggest ISPs (Internet Service Providers), BT’s standard pricing makes it among the most expensive on the Openreach network.
Plus, the prices shown above just cover costs for the initial contract term. Once this contract runs out, things get even more costly.
However, BT’s mid-tier Fibre 1 service does provide a faster 50Mb download speed for not much more than its cheapest fibre package. With it, you do get some nice extras. .
As we mentioned in the previous section, all BT fibre optic packages now come without phone service by default. However, if you do need an active phone line, it’ll cost an additional £5 per month once the initial contract term has ended.
BT is a generous gift-giver. Its deals are rarely available without some kind of reward. Usually, this comes in the form of a pre-paid credit card with a value in the region of £50-£100.
So, while it does have higher prices than many other providers, these perks can bring the effective monthly cost down by quite a significant amount.
Check out these top BT freebie deals and grab a reward card:
Reliability Score: 4.4 out of 5
BT regularly shows live outage problems on Downdetector. However, this isn’t necessary a sign of poor service, especially when it has a much wider customer base than some ISPs.
Real customer feedback is a better indication of reliability. In our 2023 Broadband Awards, BT came out on top to be crowned ‘Most Reliable Provider’ with a satisfaction score of 71.1%.
It’s clearly confident of its success. It offers customers a ‘Stay Fast Guarantee’ to everyone who’s signed up, or renewed since March 2019. With this promise, you can run a speed test if you’re experiencing problems. BT will run checks and send out an engineer, if needed. If your speeds aren’t back to normal after 30 days, you’ll receive £20 compensation. You’ll also be able to choose to exit your contract without paying a charge for cancelling early. Not all providers have such a clear exit route.
BT Bundled Wi-Fi router
Router Score: 3.4 out of 5
BT provides one of three different routers, depending on the type of broadband package you select:
|Router||Included with package|
|BT Smart Hub||BT Fibre Essential, Fibre 1 and Fibre 2.|
|BT Smart Hub 2||Full Fibre packages or standard fibre plans with BT Complete Wi-Fi, Hybrid Connect or BT Halo.|
|Home Hub 4||ADSL BT Broadband packages|
Setting up your BT router shouldn't be difficult and, unless you need to have a line installed, you'll be able to do this yourself. However, if you do need technical support, you can take comfort that help is available 24/7. There are clear online instructions and informative videos to take you through all the installation steps.
For the duration of your contract, the router remains the property of BT. You'll need to return this in good condition or pay a replacement cost.
For more information on BT Hubs, including full specifications, you can read our full BT router round-up.
BT router review: In a nutshell
The BT Smart Hubs are a reliable choice for most home broadband users. The device you’ll receive will depend on whether you’re signed up to a superfast or full fibre broadband deal. If you want to upgrade to the BT Smart Hub 2 outright, there’s a £100 charge (plus £9.99 delivery), which, we think, isn’t worth the money. But roll this in with your package and you have a decent deal.
If you've been told your telephone service is being migrated to BT Digital Voice, you'll need a Smart Hub 2 for this to work. For this reason, we recommend sitting tight if you're keen on an upgrade.
Both the Smart Hub and Smart Hub 2 come with four ethernet ports and seven internal antennas, so flats and small houses shouldn’t need any Wi-Fi boosters. If you are having issues with your Wi-Fi signal, you can sign onto BT Complete Wi-Fi for £12 per month and claim up to three Wi-Fi ‘discs’. Of course, there are plenty of options available if you would rather not sign up to another subscription. We have more tips in our guide: ‘Intermittent or slow broadband? Troubleshooting connection problems’.
BT broadband extras
BT TV is available as an optional extra with all BT Broadband packages. While it doesn’t have quite as many channels as a Sky TV or Virgin Media TV package, it does offer many of the most popular channels via flexible channel bundles. These bundles can be changed each month without penalty.
BT TV and broadband bundles come with a TV box that combines Freeview broadcasts and internet TV. Everything is neatly integrated into one interface, so you can switch between live Freeview broadcasts and streaming services without leaving the programme guide.
BT boxes also include a hard drive for recording, and live pause and rewind features.
BT Complete Wi-Fi
Complete Wi-Fi guarantees wireless signal in every room, using a mesh Wi-Fi networking kit with three Wi-Fi boosters. It includes a £100 money-back guarantee if you can't get Wi-Fi throughout your home.
BT Hybrid Connect
Hybrid Connect is a 4G backup connection. If your broadband connection goes offline, Hybrid Connect automatically takes over until the fault is fixed.
Halo is a bundle of extra support, guarantees, and features for your home broadband. There are two options:
- Home Tech Experts. Free in-home technical support. Also includes annual visits to check your broadband is working.
- Keep Connected Promise. Free 4G Mini Hub to keep you connected in case of broadband faults, or during a house move. Free unlimited data boost for BT Mobile during broadband outages.
- Price promise. Never pay more than a new customer when renewing your contract.
- Double mobile data. Mobile data boost for all BT Mobile customers in your household.
All of the above, plus:
- Hybrid Connect.
- Complete Wi-Fi.
- Smart Hub 2 Wi-Fi router.
- Full Fibre promise. Free upgrade to Full Fibre 100 when it’s available in your area.
BT has a public Wi-Fi hotspot network with thousands of access points around the country. As a BT Broadband customer, you benefit from free access to this network. This is a nice bonus that can provide broadband access outside the home and save on mobile data.
BT Broadband: Expert Summary
BT Overall Score: 3.6 out of 5
BT offers broadband deals with excellent speeds, plus some tempting and useful extras. It’s also one of the few major providers that can offer broadband without a phone line, though if you do need a phone this will cost extra.
That said, BT isn't exactly cheap. Mid-contract price rises are likely (in 2023, BT raised its prices by 14.4%). There’s no option to save money with a basic ADSL package either. ADSL is now only available in areas without fibre access, and the price is the same as the entry-level fibre service.
Its download and upload speeds are slightly uneven, too, with much slower upload rates even on the very fastest FTTP deals.
The availability of its 100Mb+ services is also fairly limited at present and has some way to go to match Virgin Media, which brings gigabit broadband to around 53% of UK homes.
In our 2023 Broadband Awards, BT came out on top as the 'Most Reliable Provider'.
Switching broadband providers
You can easily check which BT packages are available in your area by entering your address into this checker. Don't forget to use our filters, so you can sort by price, speed or contract length. Our tables will also show you if there are any great reward offers available, too. You'll be able to see how much money these can save you in the long-run with our clear 'Effective Monthly Price' summary.
Broadband Genie deals checker
If you’re out of contract, switching between any provider is easy.
Check out our guide on ‘how to switch broadband and get an amazing deal’ for more hints and tricks, learn how to save money and upgrade your home's internet connection with little fuss.
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