NOW broadband review
NOW is a great value budget broadband provider, with cheap ADSL and fibre, and low-cost internet and TV bundles. But you’ll have to pay setup fees, and ad-free TV costs extra. Its Wi-Fi router could be better, too.
- Flexible TV bundles.
- Very cheap broadband.
- No credit check.
- Optional no-contract deals.
We don’t like
- Most packages have a setup fee.
- Must pay extra to remove TV adverts and stream in HD.
- The free router only has two network ports.
NOW broadband: in summary
- Download speeds (average): 11Mb (ADSL) / 36Mb / 63Mb
- Upload speeds (average): 1Mb (ADSL) / 9.5Mb / 19Mb
- Data usage limit: Truly unlimited
- Type of broadband: ADSL & fibre optic (FTTC)
- Home phone line: Yes (required)
- Inclusive phone calls: Yes (optional extra)
- Wi-Fi Router: NOW Hub 2
You can find our current favourite NOW broadband deals below:
NOW broadband speeds
NOW offers three different speeds across its range. Each is available in a variety of packages, including no-contract broadband and TV bundles.
NOW Brilliant Broadband
- Download speed: 11Mb
- Upload speed: 1Mb
The cheapest NOW package can be suitable for up to two people if it’s not used often, but this speed is now quite slow in comparison to other broadband.
Given that the fibre optic packages only cost a little more but are much faster, we do not recommend this service unless you only need occasional internet access.
NOW Fab Fibre
- Download speed: 36Mb
- Upload speed: 9.5Mb
This is our recommended minimum for most homes. It will be quick enough for several people sharing, or an individual who needs more bandwidth than NOW Brilliant Broadband can deliver.
It is a fibre optic service using the BT telephone line, so you must have fibre in your area to get it.
NOW Super Fibre
- Download speed: 63Mb
- Upload speed: 19Mb
The fastest broadband offered by NOW is a significant upgrade on Fab Fibre, but it doesn’t mean you have to pay a lot more for it. In fact, it is sometimes available at the same price.
This is the best option for larger homes with multiple devices sharing the connection, or for anyone who wants to quickly download large files.
NOW Broadband speed summary
NOW user Speed Satisfaction score: 3.49 / 5
This score is taken from the feedback of NOW customers, who are asked to rate the performance of their NOW broadband service on a scale of one (very dissatisfied) to five (very satisfied). The score is an average of all results, updated on a monthly basis.
A score of 3.49 is a fair amount below the average of 3.77, not to a worrying extent but to a level that suggests customers do not always get the speed they expect.
NOW Broadband is an Openreach network provider, which means there’s a similar choice of broadband services and speeds as most other Internet Service Providers (ISPs), all delivered over a regular telephone line.
NOW offers cheap standard ADSL with an average speed of 11Mb, and two tiers of fibre optic internet with speeds of 36Mb or 63Mb.
Some Openreach providers do quote a slightly faster average speed, but it’s only a small amount. As they’re sharing the same core infrastructure you're not usually going to get a drastically different experience from NOW compared to similar services from any other Openreach network ISP.
NOW broadband value for money
NOW value for money user score: 3.95 / 5
The NOW user value for money score is the average rating from customers, who are asked to rank NOW for value between one (very poor value) to five (very good value). This is significantly above the overall average of 3.47, reinforcing NOW's position as a low-cost, value provider.
NOW Broadband is competitively priced. Its entry-level Brilliant Broadband package starts at under £20, while the much quicker fibre optic services are typically just a few quid more.
However, it has a setup fee on all packages as standard, so unless you get it on a special offer with free setup, you will have to pay something for installation.
The cheapest NOW packages come on a 12-month contract. But NOW is also one of the few providers to offer “no-contract” (rolling monthly) packages. These generally have the same monthly price as their longer-term equivalents, but a much higher setup fee.
No-contract broadband can be very useful if you have to cancel before the 12-month term is up, as you’ll avoid an early termination fee, but are not worth it otherwise.
All NOW Broadband deals include phone line rental in the price. As a BT Openreach network provider, an active line is a requirement.
Also noteworthy is the fact that NOW Broadband offers broadband without a credit check, so if you’ve been rejected by another provider you can turn to NOW. The only financial commitment it requires is a 10p balance on your bank account, which will be debited and then credited back when signing up.
NOW does not offer free gifts as often as some other providers, but it’s not completely unknown. When they are available, they will often be a Broadband Genie exclusive offer that you won’t get with any other comparison site, or from NOW directly.
More commonly, NOW deals tend to provide a discounted monthly price or a free setup offer.
NOW customer service
NOW customer service user score: 3.76 / 5
NOW users were asked to rate their provider for customer service, on a scale of one (terrible) to five (excellent). The user score is the overall average for each provider.
In our home broadband survey, respondents have ranked NOW slightly higher than the average 3.69 score for customer support. It’s not the highest rating of the providers reviewed in our survey, but above average is definitely a good sign. We'd have no concerns about recommending NOW based on this.
If you need to contact them, NOW operates a customer support line between 8am and 11pm seven days a week. So it’s not 24/7, but it does cover peak times.
NOW Wi-Fi router
All NOW deals include a free NOW Hub 2 Wi-Fi router.
NOW Hub 2 specifications
- Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) & 802.11ac (5Ghz)
- Dual-band Wi-Fi: Yes
- Tri-band Wi-Fi: No
- Ethernet: 2x gigabit LAN
The sleek NOW Hub 2 Wi-Fi router is the same hardware as the Sky Q Hub, just rebadged for NOW Broadband.
The Hub 2 is a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi router. Without getting too bogged down in the technical details, that means it’ll work with just about any Wi-Fi device you’re likely to own.
You can get faster speeds on newer Wi-Fi devices that support 802.11ac (aka Wi-Fi 5), and it will also broadcast a 2.4Ghz 802.11b/g/n signal for older devices.
There are gigabit wired network connections on the rear, but only two of them; most routers have at least four. It means you’ll need to invest in a network switch to have more than a couple of wired devices connected at once.
NOW broadband extras
NOW TV is an unusual alternative to other TV providers, offering a flexible approach to premium TV.
Instead of signing up for a contract that includes hundreds of channels — many of which you may never watch — you buy a monthly pass for specific types of channels, which can be cancelled at any time.
NOW TV offers Entertainment, Sky Sports, Kids and Sky Cinema passes, with channels such as Sky Atlantic, Cartoon Network, Sky Sports Main Event, and SYFY.
With your pass in hand, you can view NOW TV via any compatible device. That includes streaming boxes and sticks (Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, etc), smart TVs, games consoles, mobile devices, and Windows and Apple Mac computers.
What it doesn’t offer is the same breadth of channels as Sky TV or Virgin Media TV. Still, if you’re mainly interested in checking out the latest movies and watching headline shows like Game of Thrones, NOW TV is a straightforward way to do that without worrying about lengthy contracts or bolting a dish to your house.
A word of caution, however: the cheapest NOW TV passes do not support HD video streams and include adverts. If you want the best quality picture and uninterrupted viewing, you’ll have to pay more.
NOW Broadband: our verdict
Broadband Genie rating: 3.5 / 5
If you’re looking to cut costs or simply want a no-nonsense broadband service without tons of extras, NOW is compelling.
Its basic ADSL service is very affordable, though the fibre optic services make the most sense, offering a rapid fibre broadband connection at a lower cost than much of the competition.
You even have the choice of no-contract deals. And no credit check means it’s suitable for anyone worried about being turned away by other providers due to a poor credit score.
NOW Broadband and TV deals are also good value, combining fast unlimited broadband and very flexible and affordable TV bundles. Its TV offering is especially attractive if you’re interested in premium Sky TV channels without the commitment (or satellite dish) of a full-blown Sky TV package.
There are a few negatives, however.
Outside of special offers, setup fees are payable on all NOW packages. With the longer-term deals, the cost is minimal, but no-contract broadband requires a substantial up-front payment (though NOW is not alone here, as all no-contract deals include a large setup fee).
The free router may also be subpar for some homes, as it only has two network ports.
And NOW TV doesn’t provide the same dizzying choice of channels as Sky or Virgin Media TV, so those with interests outside mainstream entertainment and sports content might find it lacking. Plus, don’t forget that you’ll have to pay more to enable HD and remove ads.
All broadband provider reviews
In addition to NOW Broadband, we also have reviews for all providers in the UK. Check out the following pages for more information:
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