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BT Broadband review: Better value and performance available elsewhere

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £32
(Starting from) Note: The monthly price shown will increase on 31 March 2024 by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus 3.9%

A reliable provider, but middling performance coupled with high prices isn’t a winning combo


  • Scores highly for reliability
  • Relatively strong on speed


  • Expensive, even compared to its own siblings
  • Customer service scores are weak
  • Doubts over the brand’s long-term future

The quick verdict: Not recommended

BT Broadband

“BT Broadband earned average ratings in our annual broadband survey, with decent scores for reliability and no glaring weak spots. It simply doesn’t do enough to stand out in a crowd of better-performing rivals within the BT family – such as customer service champion Plusnet, which offers similar packages at better prices.”

BT is arguably the best-known broadband provider in the country. Put it this way – if you were asked to name a broadband provider on a popular quiz show, BT wouldn’t be a Pointless answer.

However, that may not be the case for too much longer, because if you visit the BT Broadband website, you’ll notice you’re being not-so-gently nudged to sign up with EE instead. EE is the mobile network that merged with BT several years ago and the two have very similar fixed-line broadband offerings, so it seems BT wants new customers to embrace the EE brand, not BT Broadband.

We asked BT what was going on, and it told us: “As EE evolves, BT will offer a more focused portfolio including standalone broadband and landline services, along with supporting vulnerable customers across a range of programmes and market-leading social tariffs.”

Make of that what you will, but it seems BT will continue to offer broadband in some form, so we’ve included it here. It’s simply a struggle to find any real reason to recommend BT ahead of many of the other providers on test here, which is why it fails to make our roundup of the best broadband providers.

BT doesn’t score badly; it’s just above average in the overall rankings. But there’s no category where it stands out from the crowd. In our customer survey, carried out in partnership with YouGov, reliability proved its strongest hand: almost eight out of ten BT customers were happy with the reliability of their service, a score that only Hyperoptic and Zen Internet bettered.

So, if you want to stick with a tried-and-trusted brand that’s been in the business as long as anyone else, let’s explore what BT offers.

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BT Broadband review: Fibre Essential, Fibre 1 and Fibre 2

BT has three different tariffs for those relying on the slower fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) network.

The entry-level Fibre Essentials offers download speeds of 35Mbits/sec, and for £1 more a month, Fibre 1 offers 49Mbits/sec. We find it difficult to understand the need for both these tariffs – there will be a vanishingly small number of occasions when the slight speed increase of Fibre 1 makes a noticeable difference to customers.

All three of these tariffs are at the premium end of the price spectrum. BT’s own stablemate, Plusnet, offers the equivalent of its Fibre 2 tariff for £10/mth less, so it’s hard to fathom any reason you’d choose to give the parent brand your custom – since both will be running on exactly the same infrastructure, and Plusnet has much better ratings for customer service.

The supplied BT Smart Hub 2 is now an ageing Wi-Fi 5 unit, though that shouldn’t be a major problem on these slower speeds. BT offers whole-home Wi-Fi coverage supplied through additional “Disc” extenders for £10/mth, as well as a 4G backup service for an extra £7/mth. Neither of these strikes us as particularly good value.

READ NEXT: Best broadband

BT Broadband review: Full Fibre 100, 500 & 900

The Full Fibre tariffs on offer are commendably simple, with clear demarcation between the download speeds on offer. The top-end Full Fibre 900 certainly isn’t cheap at £50/mth. Again, Plusnet undercuts its parent company by £5/mth here, while rivals such as Hyperoptic offer gigabit (1,000Mbits/sec) connections for £40/mth. Hyperoptic’s lines are symmetrical, too, meaning you get a gigabit up and down, whereas BT’s upload speed is limited to 110Mbits/sec on the uplink.

The ageing BT Smart Hub 2 becomes more of a problem at these ultrafast speeds. We would definitely want to be getting at least Wi-Fi 6 equipment to take full advantage of those top speeds.

Fibre EssentialFibre 1Fibre 2Full Fibre 100Full Fibre 500Full Fibre 900
Price per month (inc line rental)£32£33£36£36£45£50
Upfront costNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Stated speed35Mbits/sec49Mbits/sec65Mbits/sec150Mbits/sec500Mbits/sec900Mbits/sec
Contract length24 months24 months24 months24 months24 months24 months

Note: The monthly price shown will increase on 31 March 2024 by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus 3.9%

READ NEXT: EE Broadband review

BT Broadband review: Coverage

While it’s no longer called BT Openreach anymore, just Openreach, the network provider is still part of the BT Group. Naturally enough, BT Broadband relies on Openreach to provide its broadband connections.

That basically means around 12.5m homes are currently within reach of the full-fibre network, with the vast majority of the rest having to settle for the slower connections offered by fibre-to-the cabinet connections.

If you’re not in a full-fibre region, it’s worth checking rivals such as Zen Internet and Vodafone, which have deals with both CityFibre and Openreach to provide those faster speeds to more customers.

READ NEXT: Plusnet review

BT Broadband review: Performance and customer satisfaction

BT’s performance scores are far from terrible. Three quarters of BT customers are satisfied with the speed of their connection, with just over 1/10 left unhappy, nudging BT towards the top end of the speed table.

Reliability is strong, too, with 79% of BT customers declaring themselves satisfied with the stability of their connection.

Customer service is where things start to drop off for BT. Just over half of the customers we surveyed were satisfied with BT’s overall customer service, leaving the company languishing near the foot of the table, albeit with much better scores than TalkTalk and Virgin Media. When BT customers had reason to call the Contact Centre, 64% were left satisfied, but a sizeable 21% were not.

BT’s relatively high prices do it no favours when customers come to weigh up the value for money they’re receiving, either. Only 44% were satisfied with the value on offer, with 28% unhappy.

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BT Broadband review: Verdict

It’s hard to find a good reason to recommend BT. It’s clearly shifting emphasis to the EE brand, its performance scores are middling and its prices are significantly higher than the better-performing providers in the BT family. It’s a reliable, known entity, but is that enough? We don’t think so.


Unless otherwise stated, all of the figures are drawn from a survey commissioned by Expert Reviews, with respondents and data supplied by YouGov PLC. The total sample size was 6,316 adults and the survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Great British adults (aged over 18).

We asked people how likely they would be to recommend their broadband provider to others and to rate its customer service, reliability, value, and speed. Only the 11 ISPs with over 50 respondents are included in our results above.

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