TalkTalk offers some of the cheapest broadband packages in the UK, with monthly prices that are notably lower than other big providers. It’s the UK’s fourth largest broadband provider, with nearly three million customers.
But does TalkTalk offer a good service? Does it deliver the speeds it advertises? And how reliable is its connection? We put the provider to the test.
|Value for money||3.88|
|Total contract price||3.82|
Note: these are weighted average scores from a 1-5 rating
To view customer scores for all of the major UK providers, visit our Uswitch Broadband Customer Survey page.
Uswitch’s broadband customer satisfaction survey is a useful tool to get an idea of how well a broadband provider regarded for multiple things.
The 2023 survey shows TalkTalk has a decent reputation for internet speed and reliability, as well as being great value for money. TalkTalk’s score for its additional services, like TV and landline, were also good. The provider scored particularly well for installation and scored a little under for price rises and how clearly they were communicated.
I’ve been with TalkTalk for eight years and can say I agree with all of the ratings except one: customer service. We’ll go into detail on this later on in the review.
Very good and competitive broadband package prices
Great range of internet speeds to choose from
Decent bundle options for TV and home phone
Poor customer service
Faster broadband packages not available everywhere
TV bundle inferior to other big providers
TalkTalk feels like it’s been around forever, but it was originally formed in 2003 as a subsidiary of phone retailer, Carphone Warehouse. In 2010, it became a company in its own right.
It offers broadband and landline services, along with a TV package called TalkTalk Plus. Its mobile service, TalkTalk Mobile, has been discontinued.
While we will explore TalkTalk’s other broadband packages, our main focus has been its Unlimited Fibre 65 package.
I live in a two-bedroom flat, and there are two professionals in my household including myself. We both work from home and have an outrageous amount of tech and electronics: three desktop PCs, several video game consoles, four mobile phones, two laptops, an Amazon Echo Dot and a Raspberry Pi or three.
Of course, not all of these are used at once. But generally, at least three phones, one laptop and three desktops are on the go during the day.
We use the internet mainly for video calls, gaming and work. Some of my work involves reviewing games: our Fibre 65 deal keeps the latency low, and the connection consistent.
We've only very occasionally suffered outages longer than ten minutes. But the service is very consistent on the whole. On average, we get a download speed of 43.3Mbps, and an upload of 18.5Mbps.
These speeds are almost always enough for us to do our day jobs, play & download games, and send & receive files. They never vary more than a couple of Mbps from these figures in speed tests we’ve run.
We’re satisfied with the connection overall, but it must be said that 43.4Mbps is quite some distance from the 65Mbps our plan is named after. It must also be said that TalkTalk’s email confirmation promised us 51.9Mbps to 76.4Mbps, and a minimum guaranteed speed of 44Mbps. But by the time we signed our contract, those figures had been revised down to 40-44.5 Mbps.
Our 18-month plan includes TalkTalk TV and TalkTalk’s Fixed Price Plus add-on, which fixes (ironically for an extra fee) the monthly price of your broadband plan till the end of your contract. However, your line rental will still likely increase yearly with the rate of inflation. And Fixed Price Plus doesn’t apply to TalkTalk TV, which also goes up by £1 per month in November 2022.
We pay £23.95 per month for our plan (a loyalty deal given to us following the end of our last contract with TalkTalk). And despite the load we put the connection under, it leaves us with few issues to complain about.
We’re going to do a deep dive into TalkTalk’s service, which should give you a better understanding of whether or not it’s the right provider for you.
As with many of the broadband providers in the UK, the majority of TalkTalk’s packages rely on the Openreach network. But for its full fibre connections, it shares the full fibre networks of Openreach, CityFibre and Community Fibre.
Openreach’s superfast partial-fibre network reaches 97% of the UK, so it’s very likely you can access the wealth of broadband packages that use its network, like the Fibre 65 deal I use.
TalkTalk’s full fibre deals are far less widely available across the country, but its reach is growing. These connections offer ultrafast speeds up to 900Mbps speeds, but only if you live in the right area. Check out our broadband postcode checker to be sure.
TalkTalk also offers a lower-cost copper ADSL connection with 10Mbps average speeds, but considering how many devices are using the internet at once nowadays, this speed is now simply too slow and inconsistent for many households.
Plus, the price difference between this deal and TalkTalk’s Fibre 65 offer is usually only a couple of pounds a month at the most. So you get a lot more for your money by choosing a much faster speed.
TalkTalk has a good range of fast internet packages for potential customers to choose from, ranging from standard to near-gigabit speeds on its full fibre packages.
In my household, lots of devices are using the internet at the same time. My work sometimes involves heavy use of the internet, for running tests on tech, or playing games to review. Forever multitasking, we often play online games and stream shows in 4K at the same time, but we never experience any problems with speed.
The Fibre 65 deal we’re on is perfect for us and performs very well. We get roughly 44.3Mbps download speeds in internet speed tests, which is enough for what we need. And it’s also (according to Uswitch’s broadband speed test) good for our area. It’s nowhere near the fastest option available through TalkTalk, but it is the fastest that we can get at our property.
However, we do sometimes run into connection problems at odd times. They are not terrible, but can be frustrating: we’ll get into some of that in the ‘Reliability’ section.
TalkTalk has a good selection of broadband packages at various speeds to choose from:
TalkTalk Unlimited Fast Broadband: 11Mbps
TalkTalk Unlimited Fibre 35: 38Mbps
TalkTalk Unlimited Fibre 65: 67Mbps
TalkTalk Unlimited Full Fibre 150: 152Mbps
TalkTalk Unlimited Full Fibre 500: 525Mbps
TalkTalk Unlimited Full Fibre 900: 944Mbps
See some of our latest TalkTalk deals on Uswitch.
When it comes to reliability, TalkTalk performs quite well. Firstly, it uses the Openreach fibre broadband network, which is pretty reliable. It also helps that the area I live in is fairly rural because there are fewer households trying to use the same broadband lines at the same time.
As a result, the line rarely gets clogged and the connection is smooth and runs very well. That’s not to say we haven’t experienced outages, because we have. But not as often as we would if our connection was in a built-up area with much higher internet traffic.
The outages we occasionally get are usually during the day at around 2-3pm, but they happen very rarely. Normally, you would expect outages during peak times of internet use late in the evening, but that very rarely happens for us. Sometimes I’ve experienced outages around 5-6pm, but those are slightly rarer.
These outages never last longer than about 10 minutes. And it’s important to note that most of these outages happen in clusters, maybe days apart, but then nothing for months.
Find out what to do if your broadband cuts out with our broadband outage guide.
This is probably going to be the most critical section of the review. Over the years, the occasions I have spoken to TalkTalk’s customer service team have quite often been frustrating and tedious. So much so that I always exhaust every imaginable option available before making the call.
I have been a TalkTalk customer for over eight years, and during the first few years of being a customer, there were several issues with my connection. Because I had to make lots of calls, I often had to sit through the same generic troubleshooting steps every time, even when I knew what the issue was. So it always took a while before I was transferred to someone from the technical team, who only sometimes knew what to do.
And while I have much fewer connection issues now, the above is still often the case when I try to get in touch. The attitude of customer service assistants is usually pleasant, but the overall process I have to go through with TalkTalk’s customer service is agonising.
Do you find getting in touch with your provider difficult? Learn all the ways you can contact your broadband provider with our guide.
Ofcom releases a quarterly complaints rankings report. It’s a great way to gauge how good a provider’s customer service is. Check out which broadband provider is considered to have the most favourable customer service, according to Ofcom.
TalkTalk offers TV and landline services. It used to offer mobile services as well but discontinued that service in 2018.
Along with your broadband packages, you can get the 4K TalkTalk TV box, through which you can watch over 70 live channels and access streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and NOW. TalkTalk TV’s 4K box does seven-day catchup and can pause and rewind live TV.
You can even link your TalkTalk TV box to your Amazon products, meaning you can get Alexa to start your shows.
TalkTalk TV is available to all TalkTalk Fibre and Full Fibre customers with a £4 monthly access fee. But the TalkTalk TV 4K box is an add-on, costing £9.95 posting and packaging for new customers. Depending on what deal you get, you could have TalkTalk TV included for no extra cost.
This is a much lower price point than many other TV add-ons available, mainly because it doesn’t require much equipment to use (i.e. a satellite dish). And its options are more limited than the breadth of content you could get with Sky, BT or Virgin Media.
I have TalkTalk TV with my package, but haven’t really found a use for it thus far, since most of what we do is PC-based and we already have subscriptions with Prime Video and Netflix. If it offered more add-ons in addition to the access to streaming services like Entertainment options from Sky or Virgin Media, it might persuade us to use it more. But currently, we’re happy to just stick to our existing ways of watching TV.
TalkTalk offers a phone line with all of its broadband packages, but you can also get broadband-only deals if you’d prefer to just use your mobile. All landlines come with free evening and weekend calls, as well as free calls to TalkTalk landline customers.
There are optional “boosts” that can be added like international and anytime calls for an extra fee.
You can customise your broadband package with TV and phone to suit you. We don’t use our landline because we use our mobiles or video calling apps for all phone calls, but other customers may well be satisfied with the landline service they receive from the provider.
If you'd prefer to get broadband without a landline, find out how you can do so with our guide.
If you already have a telephone line at your address, it shouldn’t take long to get your superfast broadband connection set up. If you don’t, TalkTalk might charge you £60 to send an engineer to install the line. The engineer will then set up your new router and test everything.
We already had a line installed in our flat, so the process worked very smoothly for us. But TalkTalk TV had to be set up for us at a later date at a different appointment.
When we upgraded our package to fibre, we required a new type of router. TalkTalk was great — delivery of the router arrived precisely when it said it would, and it was very straightforward to set up and connect.
There was almost no change or disruption to our service. TalkTalk sent a welcome pack digitally, and within a few days the broadband connection was updated. We didn’t notice any dropouts at all.
TalkTalk has a range of routers on offer depending on the speed of the package you choose. We have the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub, which is for its Fibre 35 and Fibre 65 plans.
For faster connections like its Full Fibre 150, 500 and 900 packages, it uses more advanced Amazon Eero and Pro Eero routers. These have a longer Wi-Fi range and can handle much faster speeds over a wireless connection, so are perfect for TalkTalk's ultrafast offerings.
As for our TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub, it:
Is one of the most modern standard routers available.
Automatically connects our devices to the fastest frequency and Wi-Fi channel available.
Is dual-band, meaning it broadcasts at both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz ranges. This helps to ease internet traffic and provides a more seamless experience when we’re using multiple devices at once.
There are even better features with the even more advanced Wi-Fi Hub, since it requires a lot more bite in order to deal with faster internet connections.
TalkTalk’s broadband deals are usually noticeably cheaper than the same speed options from the other three big broadband providers. To be able to get fast fibre deals for sometimes as cheap as £20 – in my case, less than £25 a month for its Fibre 65 package – it’s impressive to see its price point at the same level as smaller providers that have a lot less to offer.
However, the quality of the services you get from TalkTalk do reflect the cheaper price it charges. Especially when you look at additional services like speed guarantees, Wi-Fi boosters and pay-TV options.
Of course, the price of your broadband is only one part of your decision when choosing a broadband provider. You may require Virgin Media’s ultrafast speeds or one of Sky’s comprehensive TV packages, which give you more choice than the viewing options you get with other providers like TalkTalk.
But those needs are pretty expensive, and only really worth it if you plan to use those services a lot. If you go with TalkTalk, you can rest assured that the deal you get will likely be a very competitive price from one of the biggest providers on the UK market.
TalkTalk doesn’t offer a discounted broadband package for people struggling to pay their bills. Instead, if you’re currently in receipt of financial support such as Universal Credit, TalkTalk has partnered with the DWP to offer six months of free broadband.
This voucher scheme gives jobseekers unlimited access to a TalkTalk broadband connection for half a year, and then lets you choose whether to roll onto a TalkTalk contract or cancel the service for free. It’s a different route to most other broadband providers who offer contracted broadband packages at a heavily reduced price, but it could still prove useful for many people.
Take a look at the full range of broadband social tariffs on offer from UK providers.
Due to the CPI 10.5% rate of inflation announced at the beginning of 2023, TalkTalk is set to increase its prices by 14.21% in April 2023. That’s quite a large hike, particularly when you consider the fact that TalkTalk adds an additional 3.7% to its inflation price hikes.
TalkTalk isn’t unique in this — other broadband and mobile providers have done the same, since the rate of inflation has been quite high. TalkTalk is very clear in its terms and conditions that line rental prices will rise in accordance with the CPI’s rate of inflation.
Broadband providers now have to be much clearer about any potential price increases to customers in a detailed one-pager before they sign up. So, rather than just including them in terms and conditions, which not everyone reads, the information should now be a lot more transparent when choosing a new deal.
Yes, TalkTalk broadband is a suitable option for your home broadband for casual, regular and heavy users. But this would usually depend on how many people are in your household. The more people using the internet in your home, the faster speed you will usually need.
Since we are a household of two heavy internet users, the advertised 65Mbps speed of our TalkTalk package might struggle to handle things if there were one or two more people living with us.
It’s perfect for you if you are looking for:
Very good value for money
Good download/upload speeds
A stable connection for gaming
Good value bundles to choose from, including a TV package
A package that can deal with many connections
TalkTalk’s basic broadband package is a good choice for casual users who only want to do simple things like browsing the internet and using social media. But if you want something with a bit more bite, for streaming and gaming as well as surfing the net, then TalkTalk has some great fibre options to choose from too.
It’s ideal for gamers or customers who require higher speeds for work, streaming, or gaming, provided you aren’t living with three or more people.
Not all of TalkTalk’s fastest broadband packages are available throughout the UK just yet, but its Unlimited Fibre connections are plenty fast for many, and they’re available at almost every home in the UK.
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