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Shell Energy Broadband Review 2024

Our Shell Energy Broadband rating: 3.2/5

Shell Energy Broadband (previously known as First Utility) has some of the cheapest broadband deals around and often includes a free gift. But its ultrafast upload speeds aren't great, and beware of its fair use policy.

Shell Energy broadband review 2024

Speed Satisfaction 3.4/5
Customer Service  2.9/5
Value for Money  3.0/5
Reliability 3.3/5
Router 3.4/5
Overall score 3.2/5

Back in 2017 Shell Energy acquired a broadband provider called First Utility. In 2021, it also purchased the popular Post Office Broadband, whose customers were transferred over. You’ll be pleased to know, since those days, it’s kept its low introductory prices and frequent free gifts. Because of this, it remains an excellent value home broadband choice.

With Shell Energy, you can sign up to a wide range of broadband services and speeds, including ultrafast full fibre. On the downside, its ultrafast upload speeds aren’t as impressive as the download rates, and it does have a fair use policy tucked away in the terms and conditions.

Over the course of this page, we’re going to check out all Shell Broadband offers, and whether it’s a great option for new customers:

We like We don't like
  • Its cheap broadband deals come with frequent free gifts.
  • Extensive choice of broadband services, including very fast FTTP.
  • There is a vague fair usage policy.
  • Ultrafast and full-fibre upload speeds are much slower than download rates.

Shell Energy Broadband: In summary

Download Speeds (Average) 11Mb / 38Mb / 67Mb / 145Mb / 290Mb / 109Mb / 207Mb / 311Mb / 525Mb / 944Mb
Upload Speeds (Average) 1Mb / 9Mb / 19Mb / 25Mb / 45Mb / Full fibre (maximum upload speeds) 20Mb / 30Mb / 48Mb / 73Mb / 112Mb
Data Usage Limit Unlimited (with fair use policy)
Type of Broadband ADSL  / Fibre / Full Fibre / G.fast
Home Phone Line? Yes (required for some services)
Inclusive phone calls? Call bundles available as an add-on
Bundled Wi-Fi Router? Yes, although it remains the property of Shell Energy and must be returned within 30 days of your agreement ending.

Ready to buy now? Here are some of the latest Shell Energy deals.

Dynamic deal panel

Shell Energy Broadband Speed

Speed Score: 3.4 out of 5

Shell offers a wide choice of broadband speeds, but not every home will be able to choose from all the options below. This will depend on whether you have access to fibre, full fibre or a G.fast network. You can use our postcode checker to find out which Shell Energy Broadband deals are available in your area. 

Note that all figures are average speeds unless otherwise stated. Shell doesn’t provide average upload speeds for its Full Fibre plans. However, with this service, you're likely to get an upload rate that’s very close to the quoted maximum speed.

  • What's 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 (FTTC) 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.

Shell Energy Fast Broadband

  • Download speed: 11Mb
  • Upload speed: 1Mb

Shell Energy Superfast Fibre

  • Download speed: 38Mb
  • Upload speed: 9Mb

Shell Energy Superfast Fibre Plus

  • Download speed: 67Mb
  • Upload speed: 19Mb

Shell Energy Ultrafast Fibre

  • Download speed: 145Mb
  • Upload speed: 25Mb

Shell Energy Ultrafast Fibre Plus

  • Download speed: 290Mb
  • Upload speed: 45Mb

Shell Energy Full Fibre 100

  • Download speed: 109Mb
  • Upload speed (max): 20Mb

Shell Energy Full Fibre 200

  • Download speed: 207Mb
  • Upload speed (max): 30Mb

Shell Energy Full Fibre 300

  • Download speed: 311Mb
  • Upload speed (max): 48Mb

Shell Energy Full Fibre 500

  • Download speed: 525Mb
  • Upload speed (max): 73Mb

Shell Energy Full Fibre 900

  • Download speed: 944Mb
  • Upload speed (max): 112Mb

(For the fastest speed on the Full Fibre 900 package, users will need a high-spec PC that's connected by an ethernet cable)

Shell Energy Broadband speed summary

Unfortunately, the opportunities to get faster services are pretty limited at the moment. As with most providers on the Openreach network, only a selected number of customers will have access to full fibre (FTTP) deals. This is because the UK rollout is still ongoing. Currently, just over 40% of all properties can sign up to an Openreach full fibre package.

Just about everyone will be able to get the Shell Energy Fast and Superfast packages, though. These use a standard BT phone line. You’ll find that providers on the Openreach network offer very similar average download speeds. 

  • 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 Plusnet, Vodafone, Sky, TalkTalk and BT. The exception to this is Virgin Media, Gigaclear and Hyperoptic. Instead, these use their own networks.

  • What does FTTP mean?

    Full Fibre broadband is also known as ‘Fibre To The Premises’, ‘Fibre To The Home’. This is often shortened to FTTP or FTTH. They’re all the same thing!

    Instead of copper telephone wire making up the final part of the journey from that green cabinet on the street (FTTC), fibre optic cables are installed right up to your home.

    It’s amazing the difference in speed this small data journey can have. With full-fibre broadband, you can expect to receive speeds of 1Gb+.

    The downside is full-fibre is only available to a small percentage of homes in the UK, and it’s taking a good while to get everyone up to speed.

Shell Ultrafast and Full Fibre can deliver some very impressive download speeds, but it's disappointing that the upload rates don’t keep pace. It’s still plenty fast enough for most people, but some other full-fibre providers are offering symmetrical FTTP broadband deals. Here, the download and upload speeds are the same. 

Unfortunately, in our 2024 Broadband Awards, Shell Energy Broadband ranked in a poor 23rd place for speed satisfaction. This suggests that customers may not be receiving the speeds they signed up for.

Getting either Shell Ultrafast or Full Fibre will depend on the type of broadband available in your area. Use our deals checker to find out what’s on offer in your location: 

Broadband Genie deals checker

Shell Energy Broadband Customer Service

Customer Service Score: 2.9 out of 5

Shell Energy customers have given a low satisfaction rating of 58% when it comes to customer support, with only Airband and Onestream showing poorer customer care.

Shell Energy broadband operates a telephone support service that’s open Monday to Saturday between 8am and 8pm, and on Sundays between 9am and 6pm. Online chat is also available.

There's limited data for Shell published in Ofcom's 2023 customer service report. However, it ranked exceptionally poorly for the two categories it does feature in. Per 100,000 subscribers, 108 customers complained to Ofcom. The average call waiting time was very disappointing at 8 minutes 14 seconds (the average being 2 minutes 37 seconds).

It's also worth us mentioning that in November 2023, Shell Energy was fined £1,400,000 by Ofcom for not properly prompting their phone and broadband customers to review their contract near the end of their minimum contract. This meant over 70,000 customers were not issued with the end of contract notifications they were obliged to send between 10 and 40 days before the customer's minimum contract ended.

Shell Energy Broadband Value for Money

Value for Money Score: 3.0 out of 5

Shell Energy has a reputation for low-cost broadband service. Its ADSL deals are usually among the cheapest packages available, and its standard fibre service is pretty great value too.

The Ultrafast and Full Fibre packages are also fairly priced in comparison to similar offerings from other providers like Sky and TalkTalk. For all of its broadband packages, you’ll have to sign up to an 18-month contract. There are no pay as you go options. 

If you’re looking for fast uploads, Shell Energy doesn’t stand up as well against specialist full-fibre providers like Hyperoptic and Community Fibre. These offer similar download speeds, but also noticeably quicker upload rates.

Shell subscribers seem just about satisfied with what they’re getting for the money. In our survey, it scored a lower than average 61% satisfaction.

In 2023, customers were subject to mid-contract price rises, and this is something we could see more of in the future. However, it’s worth noting that these price hikes were applied by most UK providers - not just Shell. In comparison to many, Shell Energy’s increase was in fact, slightly lower than many at 13.5%. In April 2024, the annual price rise will be 6%. Again, this is lower than other providers.

For more information on this, browse through our guide – ‘Broadband price increases 2024: What to do about price hikes from BT, Virgin, TalkTalk and more’.

Shell Energy broadband rewards

It’s cheap to begin with, but Shell Energy broadband offers free gifts for new customers regularly. This is typically an Amazon voucher, something that almost everyone can make use of.

In the past, we’ve seen Shell broadband offers with rewards in excess of £100 – that's definitely something worth keeping an eye out for.

Given how often these deals are available, we’d recommend waiting until you see a voucher offer before buying a Shell broadband package. Timing a sign-up right will save you a decent amount of money.

Shell Energy home phone

A phone line is required for Shell Fast, Superfast, and Ultrafast packages. Line rental is included in the price.

There’s no obligation to bundle in inclusive calls if you don’t want to. But if you do, you can add one of the following call packages to an existing Shell service:

  • Evening & Weekend: Unlimited evening and weekend calls to UK landlines, UK mobiles and 0845/0870 numbers.
  • Anytime: Unlimited calls to UK landlines, UK mobiles and 0845/0870 numbers.
  • Anytime Plus: Unlimited calls to UK landlines, UK mobiles, 0845/0870 numbers and landlines in 54 international destinations.
  • International Call Package: Unlimited calls to landlines in 54 international destinations, discounted calls to mobiles (in those 54 destinations), plus 50% discount on calls to all other international destinations (landlines and mobiles).

Shell Energy Full Fibre packages don’t include phone service. This is because a fibre line is used instead of a phone line. 

For many people, this won’t matter at all. You most probably have a mobile phone that can be used instead, or you can add your own internet phone service if you need it.

However, there may be times when a phone line is essential. For example, you might have an alarm system that only works with a landline. Or maybe a vulnerable member of your household has an emergency system that requires one. In that case, you’ll either have to get a regular phone line installed alongside your Shell fibre connection, or choose a different service. 

Shell Energy Broadband Reliability

Speed Score: 3.3 out of 5

In our 2024 Broadband Awards, Shell user reviews gave it a satisfaction level of 66% for reliability (the average was 75%). This is fairly average. In Ofcom's latest report on complaints about broadband, landline, mobile and pay-TV services (published in April 2024), Shell Energy showed a higher average level of complaints compared to the industry average. Out of every 100,000 subscribers, there were 18 officially lodged (the industry average been 12 per 100,000)

Shell isn't signed up to Ofcom's Voluntary code of practice for automatic compensation for delayed repairs, nor the code of practice for better broadband speeds. 

With all this in mind, it doesn't square up as being the most reliable broadband provider.

Shell Energy Bundled Wi-Fi router

Router Score: 3.4 out of 5

All Shell broadband deals include a free Wi-Fi router and three different models are available, depending on the package you’ve choice.

If you have Shell Energy Fast Broadband, you’ll receive a single-band Zyxel AMG1302 router.

If you have Shell Energy Superfast Fibre Essentials, Ultrafast Fibre or Ultrafast Fibre Plus, you'll receive a dual-band Technicolor DGA0122 router.

Meanwhile, Shell Energy Superfast Fibre, Superfast Fibre Plus and Full Fibre customers receive a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 Hub.

It's important to note, you're obliged to return this router when your agreement comes to an end. There's a charge of around £39-£56 if these aren't handed back in good working order. 

Shell Energy Broadband Wi-Fi Router Specification - Shell Energy Wi-Fi 6 Hub

  • Wi-Fi: 802.11ax (2.4GHz 2x2) & (5GHz 4x4)
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi: No
  • Ethernet: 4x Gigabit LAN, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet WAN
  • Extras: Bandsteering, Automatic Channel Selection, WPS

Shell Energy Broadband Wi-Fi Router Specification - Technicolor DGA0122

  • Wi-Fi: 802.11n (2.4GHz) & 802.11ac (5 GHz)
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi: No
  • Ethernet: 4x Gigabit LAN, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet WAN
  • Extras: N/A

Shell Energy Broadband Wi-Fi Router Specification - Zyxel AMG1302

  • Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz)
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi: No
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi: No
  • Ethernet: 4 x 10/100 LAN
  • Extras: N/A

Router installation

Setting up your Shell Energy Broadband router shouldn't be difficult and, unless you need to have a line installed, you'll be able to do this yourself with step-by-step instructions being provided. Unfortunately, call waiting times for Shell's technical help can be lengthy, so it's worth taking a good look through the troubleshooting pages on its website.

Shell Energy Broadband: Expert Summary

Shell Energy Broadband Overall Score: 3.3 out of 5

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to budget broadband nowadays, but Shell Energy stands out by offering some great value packages. Especially if you take advantage of its frequent reward offers. 

But it’s a budget provider, and that's reflected in its packages. While cheap, Shell doesn’t provide the kind of extras you can find with others. There’s no getting away from the fact Shell Energy Broadband may not be the most savvy choice for those trying to make the best environmental decisions.

If this is a concern, you can find more information on the Shell website about how it’s addressing climate change.

The bundled Wi-Fi router on fibre packages is good, but ADSL customers will receive an older model that doesn't support the faster Wi-Fi standards that are now commonplace.

You should also note the vague fair usage policy tucked away in the terms and conditions. While Shell says all its broadband packages are unlimited, it also states that it may “change your service” if you “place excessive bandwidth demands on the broadband service for continued periods”.

There’s no explanation of what it considers excessive, and while it’s only likely to be an issue for a few, there are plenty of other packages which offer fully unlimited and unrestricted connectivity.

Octopus acquired Shell Energy Broadband in December 2023. Currently, Shell customers are in the process of being moved to Octopus over the next few months. At this stage, Shell Energy customers should see little change to their broadband product. However, we'll refresh this page once the dust settles.

If you're currently a Shell Energy customer but would rather switch to another supplier than stay with Octopus, you'll be allowed to switch at any time. For more help, you can visit Octopus Energy's customer information page.

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Meet the author:

Online Editor

Broadband Genie's Editor, Emma Davenport, has been contributing to the site since 2007. She has 20 years of experience writing articles, guides and tutorials on consumer technology for magazines and online.

Specialist subject: Broadband advice for vulnerable people

More about Shell Energy Broadband

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