SSE broadband features and review
SSE is best known as one of the “big six” energy providers, but as well as electricity and gas it can also pipe fast broadband into your home.
SSE offers good value unlimited broadband and phone packages on flexible short-term contracts, and SSE energy customers benefit from additional discounts and freebies.
What does SSE broadband offer?
Like most home broadband providers SSE uses the Openreach (aka BT) telephone network to deliver services. This means that the majority of homes across the country have the option of two different types of broadband, and all you need is a phone line.
This service is best suited to individuals, or homes where usage is light (mainly web browsing, email and social media). It is the cheapest option, but if you want to download lots of files, stream HD video or if the broadband is shared between lots of people it would be better to pay a little more for a faster fibre optic connection.
SSE ADSL broadband has an average download speed of 11Mb. Upload speed is not defined, but can be expected to provide a maximum of 512Kb or 1Mb.
- Fibre optic
Fibre broadband is much faster than ADSL - SSE offers two different tiers with an average download speed of either 35Mb or 63Mb.
Fibre optic will let you download files very quickly and can easily handle high definition video streams. It’s recommended if the connection is shared because everyone can comfortably use the broadband at the same time. It is a little more expensive, though the entry level 35Mb service is just a few pounds more than ADSL.
A phone line is included with all SSE broadband packages, and the prices you see above include the cost of both broadband and phone line rental. SSE does not offer broadband only so you must purchase the phone and broadband as a bundle.
If you use the the landline for voice calls there are optional inclusive call packages available for an additional monthly fee, including free international calling.
SSE broadband coverage and speed
SSE broadband availability
Because SSE uses the Openreach telephone network most homes across the country can get their broadband services. You must have - or be able to install - a telephone line, and be within range of a telephone exchange which supports it, but this will not be a problem for the majority of premises.
You can enter a postcode in the comparison table above to check if your exchange can get SSE. When signing up checks will be carried out to confirm availability at your property, and you will be given an accurate speed estimate.
SSE broadband speed
SSE broadband can offer the following speeds:
- SSE Unlimited Broadband: 11Mb average download
- SSE Unlimited Fibre: 35Mb average download
- SSE Unlimited Fibre Plus: 63Mb average download
SSE broadband usage limits and traffic management
SSE broadband is completely unlimited, you can download and upload as much as you like without worrying about extra charges or restrictions.
SSE does use traffic management. Their policy states this is used to prioritise time-sensitive activities such as VOIP, online gaming and VPNs, and restrict the speed of peer-to-peer file sharing or other traffic which can negatively impact its network.
SSE broadband review - the Broadband Genie verdict
- Unlimited usage on all packages
- Rolling monthly contract
- Three year fixed price and freebies for SSE energy customers
We don’t like…
- Traffic management policy
- Sharp price rise after 12 months for non-SSE customers
SSE broadband is a particularly enticing proposition if you’re an SSE electricity or gas customer as the broadband price will be fixed for three years. There are also rewards in the form of pre-sale tickets for Wembley and other arenas, plus exclusive competitions.
If you don’t use SSE for energy it’s still good value (especially the entry level fibre optic deal) but only for the first year as the price increases after 12 months - make a note of the contract end date and be prepared to switch if you can't negotiate a better deal.
SSE’s offering of rolling monthly (aka no contract) broadband deals is fairly unusual. Monthly contracts are perfect if you’re not certain of your long-term living arrangements (so ideal for student broadband), or you would just prefer not to be locked into a lengthy agreement.
The traffic management policy could be controversial. It will help to give a consistent performance, but could also mean slower speeds for activities like peer-to-peer file sharing. This won’t be an issue for everyone, but if it is you’ll find there's no shortage of providers which offer completely unrestricted connections without any traffic management.
It's worth noting that in August 2018 the free Wi-Fi router bundled with SSE broadband received a Which? Best Buy award for its signal, security and speed. The free routers bundled with broadband aren't often given much attention, so it's reassuring to know that you're getting decent hardware when you sign up for an SSE deal.