BT vs TalkTalk broadband - which is best?

Woman thinking


Dear Dominic, I'm looking for a new broadband provider and both BT and TalkTalk have been recommended to me - which one should I choose?

Daryl, via email

Our expert Dominic says...

Hi Daryl,  BT ( ) and  TalkTalk broadband  ( ) are two of the UK's biggest broadband providers and both make a great choice if you're looking to switch broadband provider.

Both providers offer a triple-play package - meaning you can get your broadband, phone and TV all from the same provider. This is often a great way to save on costs...assuming you want all three services in the first place.

Featured deals

Unlimited Broadband + weekend calls BT Broadband + weekend calls
Monthly cost £5.00 (for 12 months, then £18.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £36.95 Monthly cost £4.50 (for 12 months, then £13.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £30.95
Up To 17 Mb Up To 17 Mb
Weekend calls inc. Weekend calls inc.
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm


Are BT and TalkTalk broadband available where I live?

BT and TalkTalk both have large broadband networks, with BT broadband being available to around 99% of the population compared to 90% coverage from TalkTalk's own network.

However both providers currently use the BT Infinity network to deliver their fibre connections. The BT Infinity roll-out is gathering pace with around 95% of the population due to have fibre coverage by 2017.

Assuming you have the choice of BT or TalkTalk broadband in your area - you can check this by entering your postcode in our postcode checker - what does each provider have to offer?

Download limits

BT offers three different home broadband packages, with its basic Broadband package offering a 10GB monthly download allowance, More Broadband allowing a generous 40GB, and finally, its package.

TalkTalk on the other hand only offers SimplyBroadband with unlimited broadband, there are no packages available with limited data allowances.

Every web page that you visit, email you send or picture that you receive counts towards your download allowance - as well any activities like music and movie downloads, online gaming or watching TV online.

The amount that you download as a household will be higher if you have a family at home, and even if you only use a small amount of data at the moment, you should bear in mind that using online catch-up services like the BBC iPlayer, Channel 4's 4oD and the ITV Player could soon change this - something you should take into account when you choose your new package.


There's no denying that TalkTalk offers cheaper broadband bundles. In fact, it's one of the cheapest providers on the market. But it's only able to offer such competitive prices to customers living in its  (LLU) areas.


TalkTalk's LLU network currently covers over 90% of the UK, and has plans to unbundle more exchanges over the next two years increasing its own network coverage.

But this does mean that if you don't live in an LLU area, you won't be able to get TalkTalk's .

BT doesn't operate in this way and delivers broadband wherever possible - even to properties far from the local exchange or to rural areas with few people - covering 99% of the UK population.

Broadband speeds

Both broadband providers use upgraded ADSL2+ networks to deliver their standard broadband connections.

In the latest Ofcom broadband average download speed tests, BT broadband outperformed TalkTalk broadband across the board. 

However, as with all copper wire broadband lines, a number of factors, including distance from the exchange, will affect the connection speed you will get. You should always ask your new provider for a line speed estimate before signing up.


BT's fibre network roll out now means that many of us can get an up to 38Mb or up to 76Mb package. 

TalkTalk also offers a fibre option, the Fibre Optic Boost, which costs £10 per month on top of customer's regular package costs.

However, just because you can get fibre coverage in your area, consider whether you NEED a before you pay the extra.

How do our customers rate BT and TalkTalk?

See what our customers had to say about BT and TalkTalk in our Customer Satisfaction Awards.

Home phone calls and bundles

Both BT and TalkTalk offer their own home phone call packages that can be bundled with your broadband, saving you even more money on your bills.

TalkTalk's SimplyBroadband packages come with free calls between TalkTalk customers, but do not have any other inclusive calls. So customers only pay for what they use. However you can add an Anytime Calls Boost for an additional monthly fee. 


BT broadband packages come with some calls included. Your options are: inclusive Weekend calls, Evening and Weekend, or Anytime Calls.

You can also add Unlimited Anytime Calls to any package. BT also offers TV via its BT TV service, though you will have to either pay for your Vision+ box or sign up to one of the provider's monthly subscriptions.


Featured deals

Monthly cost Free (for 18 months, then £7.50 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £6.75
Up To 17 Mb
Pay as you go
Call TalkTalk on 0800 049 7843
Mon to Thurs 8am-10pmFri to Sun 8am-9pm


Added extras

Both BT and TalkTalk offer a range of added extras to make your broadband even better.

TalkTalk's selection of Boosts, which cost from £2 to £5 a month, offer a choice of services to tailor your broadband to your needs. Boosts include:

  • Mega Download Boost - double your Essentials download allowance to 80GB
  • Super Safe Boost - get internet security for three computers (free for Plus customers)
  • 500 Global Minutes Boost - get 500 minutes of free calls to landlines and mobiles in 100 international destinations

BT's added extras come for free and vary from one package to the next. All packages come with unlimited free wi-fi minutes, allowing you to connect your netbook or smartphone to any of BT's thousands of Openzone of Fon wireless hotspots.

It also offers basic internet security for Broadband customers or advanced McAfee security for More Broadband and Unlimited Broadband customers. Finally, all BT Broadband customers also get 5GB of free online storage with BT's Digital Vault.

Line rental

If you want to switch to TalkTalk you will have to also switch your line rental however, TalkTalk line rental is marginally cheaper than line rental charges from BT.

If you do want to save on line rental, there are a number of other providers offering cheaper deals.

Compare broadband providers

The best way to make sure that you get a good deal on your internet is to  compare broadband providers. Our postcode checker will tell you exactly what's available in your area, ordered either by first year costs or a feature of your choice. You can also click on the package name to find out more details, such as fair usage policies, call charges and line rental.

Topics: Deals BT Talk Talk

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