BT broadband, phone, and TV review

It’s the UK’s biggest broadband provider, but does that mean it’s worth getting? We’ve taken BT apart piece by piece and had a look at what it’s made of.

Here's what BT has to offer, what you can expect from your service, and how it compares to other providers on the market.

See also:

Cost

BT isn't the cheapest broadband provider - you'll get lower prices from guys like Plusnet and TalkTalk - but it's not the most expensive either. And although you'll definitely pay more for BT than you would for the afore-mentioned providers, you do get a bit more for your dosh.

Line rental on its own, on the other hand, is possibly the most expensive in the UK. Again, you do get more features - including inclusive calls, and suchlike if you need them - but you'll almost certainly find lower price tags elsewhere.

Look out for limited-time deals, though. When BT has a special offer on, it's almost always a doozy. Take a look at some of the current deals:

Best buy deals
  • Superfast Fibre + Weekend Calls
    £80 BT Prepaid Mastercard® + Fitbit Charge 3 (offer ends 01/11/18)
    • Online Exclusive
    • Average speed* 50Mbps
    • £19.99 up-front costs
    • Weekend calls inc.
    • Offer ends
    • £31.99 per month
    18 month contract
  • Superfast Fibre 2 + Weekend Calls
    £90 BT Prepaid Mastercard® + Fitbit Charge 3 (offer ends 01/11/18)
    • Online Exclusive
    • Average speed* 67Mbps
    • £14.99 up-front costs
    • Weekend calls inc.
    • Offer ends
    • £41.99 per month
    18 month contract
  • Starter + Broadband + Weekend Calls
    £30 BT Prepaid Mastercard® (offer ends 01/11/18)
    • Online Exclusive
    • Average speed* 10Mbps
    • £69.99 up-front costs
    • Weekend calls inc.
    • Offer ends
    • £30.99 per month
    18 month contract
  • Entertainment + Superfast Fibre + Weekend Calls
    £80 BT Prepaid Mastercard® + Fitbit Charge 3 (offer ends 01/11/18)
    • Online Exclusive
    • Average speed* 50Mbps
    • £29.99 up-front costs
    • Weekend calls inc.
    • Offer ends
    • £46.99 per month
    18 month contract
  • Broadband + weekend calls
    £30 BT Prepaid Mastercard® (offer ends 01/11/18)
    • Online Exclusive
    • Average speed* 10Mbps
    • £19.99 up-front costs
    • Weekend calls inc.
    • Offer ends
    • £24.99 per month
    18 month contract

*Average speeds are based on the download speeds of at least 50% of customers at peak time (8pm to 10pm). Speed can be affected by a range of technical and environmental factors. The speed you receive where you live may be lower than that listed above. You can check the estimated speed to your property prior to purchasing.

Broadband

There are four widely available kinds of BT broadband: Unlimited Broadband (ADSL) with average speeds of 10Mb, BT Superfast Fibre Essential with average speeds of 36Mb, Superfast Fibre with average speeds of 50Mb, and Superfast Fibre 2 with average speeds of 67Mb.

Speed

The download speeds on offer are pretty much the same as what you'll get with most Openreach providers, like TalkTalk or EE, with one key difference: the basic fibre package has an average speed of 50Mb, while for most providers it's in the 30-35Mb range. Monthly costs aren't too much higher than those lower speed packages either, which is nice. See what we mean about getting a bit more with BT?

In some areas, you can even get ultrafast broadband, with download speeds around 300Mb - that's up there in Virgin Media territory.

As for the speeds your line will actually get on BT, it really depends where you are. Most users report that fibre speeds are pretty consistent in most areas, but ADSL (up to 17Mb) speeds can vary a lot. If you're out in the countryside, for instance, you'll almost certainly struggle to get 17Mb.

Download limits, fair usage, and traffic management

When BT says unlimited, it means truly unlimited. There's no cap whatsoever, no fair usage clauses (besides the usual "don't use broadband for crime" stuff), and no traffic management either - so your speed won't be artificially slowed down.

Router

With BT Superfast Fibre, you get a BT Smart Hub (as you do with BT Business broadband packages) - genuinely one of the best routers you can get with a broadband package right now. It's got the latest tech, like 'next generation' AC wireless, and smart Wi-Fi that can cut through interference. See our Smart Hub review here.

With ADSL broadband, you get a BT Home Hub 4. This one's fine. It's not nearly as impressive as the Smart Hub, but it'll do just fine for ADSL, and it's better than some that come with cheaper providers. Read more about the Home Hub 4.

Smart Hub

Home phone

BT is still the king of landlines.

Standard, basic line rental comes with inclusive weekend calls to UK landlines, which is pretty decent. You can upgrade that to include weekend calls or anytime calls, and you can add on international calling minutes for phoning people abroad. That's as well as more general calling features like caller display and three-way calls.

It's one of the most comprehensive phone package out there, with more features than any other provider and excellent service. BT Call Protect is included free as well, which helps clamp down on nuisance calls.

One major caveat though: none of those home phone packages include calls to mobiles. If that's something you know you need in a landline, you may prefer a provider with more options there - like Plusnet or Virgin Media.

TV

BT YouView

BT keeps it simple when it comes to telly. When you get broadband, you can add on:

  • Starter - basic Freeview (up to 80 channels), plus some extras
  • Entertainment - up to 80 Freeview channels, 15 in HD and 20 premium channels plus a box that can record T
  • Essential - catch up T, plus rent and buy films ton BT TV Store
  • Classic - Seven days of catch up, up to 80 channels and 15 in HD
  • Max - 140 channels, inclusive BT Sport, and a 4K-ready box

It's not the biggest pay-TV out there. You can't get as many channels as you can from most providers, particularly Sky or Virgin Media, but since it's very low-priced in comparison, it's a good way to get just a bit of extra TV.

BT TV is also the cheapest way to get BT Sport - that's a big bonus. With Max, it's free, including the BT Sport Ultra HD channel.

Extras

Here's the other stuff BT has to offer.

  • BT Mobile - BT's mobile plans aren't half bad, with a good range of contract phones and SIM-only deals, plus a £5 per month discount for broadband customers.
  • Wi-Fi hotspots - Being a customer also means you use BT's 5 million public Wi-Fi hotspots around the country.
    Security - All its broadband comes with BT Virus Protect and BT Parental Controls.
  • Cloud storage - You can get up to 50GB worth of online storage for £3 per month, and 500GB for £9 a month for backing up your files.
  • BT Sport, Sky Sports Main Event and Extra, Sky Cinema - All are available to add on to BT TV for a monthly fee.

That's a lot of extras, and better yet, a lot of extras you can actually use.

Our verdict

In a nutshell, BT offers quality broadband. There's a good spread of options, service is decent, and the included routers have top-notch tech. Though it costs a bit more than some of its rivals, it gives you value for your money.

BT TV won't satisfy big telly fiends - but if all you want is a few extra channels or BT Sport, BT gives you a low cost way of getting them.

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