NOW Broadband review 2023
|Value for Money||3.3/5|
If you're looking to keep your monthly spend low, NOW is a great value provider. It offers cheap ADSL and fibre, as well as 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.
|We like||We don't like|
NOW Broadband: In summary
|Download Speeds (Average)||11Mb / 36Mb / 63Mb|
|Upload Speeds (Average)||1Mb / 9.5Mb / 19Mb|
|Data Usage Limit||Truly unlimited|
|Type of Broadband||ADSL and Fibre|
|Home Phone Line?||Yes (required)|
|Inclusive phone calls?||Call bundles available as an add-on|
|Bundled Wi-Fi Router?||NOW Hub 2|
You can find our current favourite NOW broadband deals below:
NOW Broadband Speed
Speed Score: 3.3 out of 5
NOW offers three different speeds across its range. Each is available in a variety of packages, and that includes no-contract broadband and TV bundles.
NOW Brilliant Broadband
- Download speed: 11Mb
- Upload speed: 1Mb
The cheapest NOW package is suitable for up to two people if it’s not used often. But this speed is kind of slow by modern standards.
Given that the fibre packages only cost a little more but are much faster, we don’t 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’s quick enough for several people sharing or an individual who needs more bandwidth than NOW Brilliant Broadband can deliver.
It’s a fibre 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 serious upgrade on Fab Fibre, but it doesn’t mean you have to pay a lot more for it. In fact, it’s sometimes available at the same price!
This is the best option for larger homes where several of you want to use the internet at once. It’s also the one to go for if you regularly need to quickly download large files.
NOW Broadband speed summary
A score of 3.3/5 seems low, but in our 2023 Broadband Awards, this was the actual average score for this category.
NOW Broadband is an Openreach network provider. That means there’s a similar choice of broadband services and speeds as most other providers, all delivered over a regular telephone line.
Some Openreach providers do quote a slightly faster average speed than NOW, but it’s not by much. With them sharing the same core infrastructure, you're not usually going to get a drastically different experience from NOW to any other Openreach provider.
What is Openreach?
Openreach is the company that maintains the former British Telecom Network used for the majority of broadband and phone services. If a repair or installation is required, it’s Openreach who will send an engineer, not your provider.
More than 650 service providers using the Openreach network. That’s the majority of the UK’s broadband providers. This includes Sky, TalkTalk and BT. The exception to this is Virgin Media - it uses its own, separate cable network.
NOW Broadband Customer Service
Customer Service Score: 3.4 out of 5
In our home broadband survey, NOW ranked slightly higher than the average 3.35 score for customer support. We'd have no concerns about recommending NOW based on this.
NOW is one of the providers studied in the Ofcom customer service report. Although it didn't collect full results for this provider. One category which it did made a note for NOW on was "customers with a reason to complain". For this, only 10% of NOW users reported they'd had to raise an issue (the average for all ISPs was 20%). It also had an exceptionally quick call waiting time of just 51 seconds (the average for all ISPs was 2 mins 37 seconds).
If you need to contact NOW Broadband, it operates a customer support line between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week. So, it’s not 24/7, but it does cover peak times.
NOW Broadband Value for Money
Value for Money Score: 3.3 out of 5
In Broadband Genie's 2023 Broadband Awards, NOW scored slightly above average.
NOW Broadband is competitively priced. Its entry-level Brilliant Broadband package starts at under £20. On top of that, the much quicker fibre services are typically just a little more.
However, NOW does charge a set-up fee. So, unfortunately, unless you get it on a special offer with free setup, you’ll have to pay something for installation.
The cheapest NOW packages come on a 12-month contract. NOW Broadband is also one of the few providers to offer “no-contract” or 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. It means you’ll avoid an early termination fee, but it isn’t worth it otherwise.
All NOW Broadband deals include phone line rental in the price. As it's a BT Openreach network provider, you will need an active line.
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 in your bank account, which will be debited and then credited back when signing up.
See also: "Broadband deals with no credit check".
NOW doesn’t usually offer free gifts. Instead, it tends to provide a discounted monthly price or a free setup offer.
NOW Broadband Reliability
Reliability Score: 3.5 out of 5
In our 2023 Broadband Awards, NOW user reviews ranked this provider at 69.3% satisfaction for reliability. This placed it in sixth position and ahead of big competitor names such as TalkTalk, Vodafone and EE.
Ofcom didn't provide full figures for NOW broadband in its latest customer service report. However, for the categories it was included in, it came out on top. As well as a very small percentage of complaints, it was by far the speediest provider to pick up the phone.
NOW Bundled Wi-Fi router
Router Score: 3.5 out of 5
All NOW deals include a free NOW Hub 2 Wi-Fi router. The sleek NOW Hub 2 Wi-Fi router is the same hardware as the Sky Q Hub, just rebranded for NOW Broadband.
For more information on this device, read our NOW Broadband router round-up.
Setting up your NOW Hub 2 router shouldn't be difficult and, unless you need to have a line installed, you'll be able to do this yourself without fuss. You'll find easy, practical instructions for setting up your Wi-Fi on the NOW website.
You can find more information on the best places to get help for NOW issues on its dedicated customer service page.
NOW broadband extras
NOW TV offers 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. You can then cancel these 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 Sky Sci-Fi.
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) smart TVs, games consoles, mobile devices, and Windows and Apple Mac computers.
What it doesn’t offer is the same variety 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. You just don’t have to worry about lengthy contracts or bolting a dish to your house.
A word of caution! The cheapest NOW TV passes don’t 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: Expert Summary
NOW Broadband Overall Score: 3.3 out of 5
If you’re looking to cut costs or simply want a no-nonsense broadband service without tons of extras, NOW Broadband is a great choice.
Its basic ADSL service is super affordable, but the fibre services make the most sense. After all, it’s 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.
Outside of special offers, the chances are you'll have to pay a setup fee when you sign up to NOW Broadband. With the longer-term deals, the cost isn't bad, but no-contract broadband requires a big up-front payment. NOW isn’t alone here, though, as all no-contract deals include a large setup fee.
The free router may also be limiting for some homes, as it only has two network ports.
For telly addicts, 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 disappointing. Plus, don’t forget that you’ll have to pay more to enable HD and remove ads.
Switching broadband providers
Interesting in signing up to NOW Broadband? You can easily check which packages are available in your area by popping your address or postcode 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.
NOW Broadband Deals Checker
If you’re out of contract, switching between providers is a simple process. If you're staying with a provider n the Openreach network, you shouldn’t even need to speak to your current provider - your new one should do all the admin for you. 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.
More broadband reviews
We review every provider we list on Broadband Genie. Check out the following reviews for our thoughts on other ISPs:
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