We know that John Lewis’ homeware is always good quality - but what about its broadband? Is it also ‘never knowingly undersold’?
Here's what we think of John Lewis Broadband, from the packages on offer to its customer service, and how it compares to other providers.
John Lewis Broadband is priced somewhere around the middle of the market. Extremely similar services are available cheaper from providers like Plusnet, TalkTalk, and EE, while you can get something more premium from Sky, Virgin Media, or BT.
For what you get, it's not the best value, necessarily - but it prides itself on having no hidden costs, and to be fair that claim does seem to stand up. For a start, there aren't any setup fees.
And it's the same price wherever you live. Some broadband providers charge more for homes in rural areas - read more about that here - but that's not the case with John Lewis.
Compare broadband with us, though, and we'll show you the straightforward, accurate pricing from tons of providers anyway - so check your postcode here and decide for yourself.
John Lewis broadband review
Let's look at the most important thing of all: John Lewis' broadband service itself.
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From John Lewis, you can get ADSL broadband, with average download speeds of 10Mb; or fibre optic broadband, with average download speeds of 36Mb or 66Mb. Those are on par with what's available from most providers that use the Openreach network, including Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet, EE, and more.
Faster speeds are available elsewhere: Virgin Media has broadband in excess of 350Mb, and BT's basic fibre package has average speeds of 50Mb. The majority of other providers on the market, however, offer much the same as John Lewis.
Download limits and traffic management
You get totally unlimited downloads on all packages, so you can browse and download freely without worrying about hitting a usage cap. Phew.
However, the provider does manage web traffic, which means your connection may get artificially slowed down. It's a bit cagey on the details, but it says traffic management kicks in in 'exceptional circumstances' when the network is particularly busy. That could happen when a major news event has just occurred, or even when everyone's trying to stream Game of Thrones at once. Certain web activities are prioritised in such circumstances - most likely browsing, email, gaming, and suchlike.
That could be a tad annoying if you're trying to, say, download a big file in the evening, but it does mean you'll always have stable broadband for the basics.
All John Lewis Broadband packages come with a free router. With standard ADSL, that's a Netgear WNR1000. This one's super easy to use and set up, and for ADSL, it works just fine - though slightly outdated tech means you might struggle to get decent speeds over Wi-Fi.
The router that comes with fibre packages, the ZyXEL VMG8924, is a fair bit better. Dual-band, AC-standard wireless means fast and reliable Wi-Fi, and WPA2 security and a firewall keep things nice and safe.
It's still not quite as good as some of the routers offered by other providers, mind. The tech and features you get with the Sky Q Hub, BT Smart Hub, or Vodafone Home Router, for example, are just that bit more advanced. More tech-savvy folk may be better suited to one of those.
John Lewis home phone review
John Lewis broadband comes with a landline connection too, as per most providers.
You get inclusive evening and weekend calls as standard, which is good; and you can upgrade those to anytime calls, and add monthly minutes to mobiles or international numbers. There's a handful of calling features to add on too, like reminder call and call divert - so you have quite a lot of options.
It's a bit expensive to add just one calling feature, but adding multiple ones is better value - and the other upgrades and bolt-ons aren't priced too badly either. With this level of accessible choice, it's a pretty good home phone setup overall.
- Email address - Get a free @johnlewis.com email address with every package. Sure, you can get unlimited free email addresses from services like Gmail and Outlook, but it's a nice bonus.
- Customer service - Because John Lewis Broadband uses Plusnet's network, it also uses its well-renowned 24/7 customer support to help you out.
- Security - Basic BullGuard security is included free, which gives you a firewall, malware and virus protection, parental controls, and so on - though it can only be installed on a Windows PC.
So it's not got a lot going on in terms of extras - John Lewis makes a point of being straightforward, and cutting anything that you don't need. Luckily, it hasn't cut the quality of its customer support.
You can't really go wrong with John Lewis Broadband: you get a perfectly serviceable, good quality connection with no nasty surprises. It prizes itself on being straightforward and fair, and in that regard it delivers.
We can't help but notice, however, that there are other providers out there that can give you almost identical broadband at lower prices… And some of them come with better equipment, or have extras to offer like TV.
We'd recommend picking John Lewis Broadband if:
- You live out in the sticks, in an area where broadband providers hike up their prices - John Lewis doesn't do this;
- Or you value ease of use, good customer service, and reliability above all else.
Bargain hunters, on the other hand, might be better suited elsewhere - as will the most up-to-the-minute tech-hungry folks.
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*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.