NOW Broadband vs TalkTalk Broadband

Last updated: 31 January 2024   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

TalkTalk is no longer a budget provider in the same way NOW is, so TalkTalk broadband is a superior option.

NOW Broadband specialise in offering cheap part-fibre broadband deals, with optional call plans and discounts on NOW TV Memberships.

TalkTalk have now moved towards offering faster broadband deals with the latest routers, so prices are higher, but TalkTalk also have discounts on NOW TV.

Those living in full fibre enabled areas will need to pick TalkTalk as NOW doesn't offer this, although NOW is the better option for the absolute lowest prices.

now vs talktalk

At a glance

NOW Broadband TalkTalk Broadband
Monthly price From £23 From £28
Setup cost £10 £4.95
Minimum term 12 months 24 months
Annual price rise Prices may rise CPI + 3.7% in April
Connection Copper, part-fibre Copper, part-fibre, full fibre
Download speeds 11Mb, 36Mb, 63Mb 11Mb, 38Mb, 67Mb, 77Mb, 152Mb, 525Mb, 944Mb
Upload speeds 1Mb, 10Mb, 19Mb 1Mb, 9Mb, 17Mb, 20Mb, 30Mb, 72Mb, 110Mb
Router NOW Hub Two WIFI Hub / Amazon eero
WiFi guarantee Not available Total Home WiFi
Parental controls NOW Broadband Buddy TalkTalk HomeSafe
Home phone Included Part-fibre deals only
Anytime calls £8/mth (inc. UK mobiles) £12/mth (inc. UK mobiles)
TV NOW TV (prices vary) £5/mth for TalkTalk TV

Best deals

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Super Fibre 63Mb average £21 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth until 4 July 2024 then £24/mth + NOW TV membership available reduced for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)
Fibre 65 67Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P

Price

Winner: NOW offer cheaper prices on broadband and phone than TalkTalk, although they only offer part-fibre connections.

NOW Broadband offer superfast part-fibre broadband with Super Fibre from just £23 per month, while TalkTalk's Fibre 35 and Fibre 65 plans cost from £28 to £29 per month for equivalent speeds.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Super Fibre 63Mb average £21 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth until 4 July 2024 then £24/mth + NOW TV membership available reduced for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)
Fibre 35 38Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
Fibre 65 67Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P

However, it's also possible to get a full fibre broadband deal from TalkTalk for just £28 per month, which offers faster download speeds and a more reliable connection for those who can get it.

Setup costs are slightly more expensive with NOW, although for those who want to add inclusive call plans, NOW is cheaper than TalkTalk.

For TV services, both providers offer exclusive discounts on NOW TV Memberships, and while these offers vary, at the time of writing, TalkTalk has the cheapest deal, with NOW Entertainment available for just £4.99 for 12 months, compared to £6.99 for 6 months with NOW directly.

Read more about NOW TV and TalkTalk TV in our dedicated guides.

Annual price rises

Both NOW and TalkTalk increase prices annually, however they each take a different approach to their terms of how they'll do that.

TalkTalk specify annual price rises of Consumer Price Index (CPI) + 3.7%, and because this is explicit customers can't cancel their contract early if prices do go up by this amount.

NOW, on the other hand, say prices may rise, but don't specify an exact amount, which means if they do increase prices, as they did in 2023, they'll give customers notice and the option to leave their contract early if they want to reject the increase.

Read more about annual price rises on broadband.


Broadband packages

Winner: TalkTalk offer more broadband options than NOW, including full fibre broadband deals.

TalkTalk is the better choice for broadband packages compared to NOW because they offer full fibre connections where available, and their router tech and add-ons are superior too.

However, when comparing NOW with TalkTalk on a like-for-like basis to those living in part-fibre areas, NOW are the cheaper provider so could still be a better bet for some households.

Here's how the superfast deals from NOW and TalkTalk look side-by-side:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fab Fibre 36Mb average £21 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth until 4 July 2024 then £24/mth + NOW TV membership available reduced for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)
Super Fibre 63Mb average £21 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth until 4 July 2024 then £24/mth + NOW TV membership available reduced for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)
Fibre 35 38Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
Fibre 65 67Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P

TalkTalk also have their Fibre 150 plan, which offers boosted download speeds for customers in part-fibre areas where their street cabinet has been upgraded to G.Fast technology.

While the main deals offered by TalkTalk and NOW have minimum term contracts of 24 and 12 months respectively, NOW also offer customers the choice to take a no contract option.

The no-contract broadband packages offered by NOW cost the same each month, but come with an extra £60 setup fee. This could offer useful flexibility for those on short tenancies, students, so it's also worth bearing in mind if contract length could be problematic.

Both NOW and TalkTalk also offer a copper ADSL product, but NOW's is by far the cheapest at just £20 per month, compared to £26.95 with TalkTalk.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Brilliant Broadband 11Mb average £20 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth until 4 July 2024 then £23/mth + NOW TV membership available reduced for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)
Fast Broadband 11Mb average £32 Free 18 months

Search by postcode on our broadband comparison tool and filter by TalkTalk and NOW to see the exact packages available in your area.

You can also find out more by reading our full reviews of TalkTalk broadband and NOW Broadband where we cover the providers in more detail.


TV & Broadband bundles

Winner: TalkTalk TV offers a more comprehensive service than NOW TV with additional support for other on-demand platforms including Netflix, Discovery+, Apple TV+, and Disney+.

Both NOW and TalkTalk offer exclusive discounts on NOW TV Memberships when customers bundle their broadband plans with their TV service.

TalkTalk arguably offer the better service here because alongside access to NOW TV, the TalkTalk TV Hub also supports a wide range of other on-demand apps, including Netflix, Disney+, Paramount+, Discovery+, and any others available through the Google Play Store.

Customers have to pay £5 per month to access TalkTalk TV, but for this they also get NOW Boost bundled for free, which usually costs £6 per month. NOW Boost provides content in full 1080p HD as well as ad-skipping.

At the time of writing, TalkTalk also have better deals on NOW TV Memberships, with NOW Entertainment available for just £4.99 for 12 months, compared to £6.99 for 6 months with NOW.

Here's how those deals compare:

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Super Fibre + Entertainment Membership 24 63Mb average £27.99
for 6 mths,
then £32.99
£10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth on NOW Broadband until 4 July 2024 then £24/mth + NOW Entertainment £6.99/mth for 6 months (Ends 04/07/2024)
TV Hub + Fibre 65 70 67Mb average £33 Free 18 months
offer Offer: NOW Entertainment just £4.99 for 12 months (was £9.99) + NOW Boost free + Free setup and P&P

Overall, while NOW have the added benefit of not requiring a minimum monthly subscription, TalkTalk offers a much more comprehensive service with more value for money deals.


Call plans

Winner: NOW offer cheaper call plans than TalkTalk, although both providers include a home phone line as standard with their part-fibre deals.

Both NOW and TalkTalk include a home phone line on their copper and superfast part-fibre broadband connections.

However, NOW Broadband offers cheaper call plans if customers want inclusive calls, with anytime calls costing just £8 extra per month, compared to £12 on offer with TalkTalk (rising to £16 per month).

Here are the prices of the call plan options from TalkTalk and NOW Broadband:

Call plan Inclusive calls Monthly price
NOW Evening & Weekends Calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles 7pm to 7am, and all weekend £4
NOW Anytime Calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles at any time £8
TalkTalk Evening & Weekend UK Calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles 7pm to 7am, and all weekend £8 (was £10)
TalkTalk Unlimited UK Calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles at any time £12 (was £16)

Both providers include UK mobiles in their call plans, and out of allowance calling charges are similar, with NOW charging 25p per minute plus a 25p connection charge, and TalkTalk charging 24p per minute.

Overall, NOW offer the cheaper call plan options, and coupled with cheaper broadband prices they could save customers noticeable sums compared to TalkTalk over the length of a contract.


Broadband speed

Winner: TalkTalk offer faster broadband speeds than NOW, with top download speeds up to 944Mbps compared to 63Mbps with NOW.

TalkTalk offer much faster broadband speeds than NOW Broadband thanks to their part-fibre G.Fast and full fibre packages.

However, even in superfast part-fibre areas, TalkTalk offer faster download speeds on average at peak times than NOW Broadband does on equivalent packages. This speed difference is likely down to how TalkTalk manages its network as well as the different equipment it's installed in exchanges to compared to how NOW Broadband operates.

Here are the average speeds of each provider at peak times:

Broadband package Download speed Upload speed
NOW Fab Fibre 36Mb 10Mb
TalkTalk Fibre 35 38Mb 9Mb
NOW Super Fibre 63Mb 19Mb
TalkTalk Fibre 65 67Mb 17Mb
TalkTalk Fibre 150 145Mb 19Mb
TalkTalk Full Fibre 65 77Mb 20Mb
TalkTalk Full Fibre 150 152Mb 30Mb
TalkTalk Full Fibre 500 525Mb 72Mb
TalkTalk Full Fibre 900 944Mb 110Mb

Advertised average speeds must be received by at least 50% of a provider's customers during the busiest times of 8pm to 10pm in the evening. So, these speeds are a reliable indicator of how fast a broadband connection is likely to be.

One point that's also worth making in terms of speed, which we look at in more detail below, is that speeds experienced can be affected by the wireless router too, and TalkTalk offer a more superior router with stronger wireless signal than NOW Broadband does.

Minimum download speeds

Both NOW Broadband and TalkTalk offer customers personalised speed estimates and a guaranteed minimum download speed when they sign up.

These personalised speeds give an even more accurate picture of what a customer can expect from their new service, and the minimum guaranteed speed also works like a service guarantee.

We tested the same location with NOW and TalkTalk and were given these speed estimates and guarantees:

Estimated download speed Minimum guaranteed download speed
NOW Super Fibre 62.7 - 74.1Mb 56.6Mb
TalkTalk Fibre 65 72.2 - 73.6Mbps 68Mbps

Minimum speed guarantees are part of Ofcom's code of practice on broadband speeds, which while it's voluntary, both NOW and TalkTalk have committed to provide it.

It means that if a customer's broadband speed drops below the minimum on 3 consecutive days, and the provider is unable to resolve the issue within 30 days of being notified, the customer is free to exit their contract without penalty.

Speeds with full fibre broadband connections as offered by TalkTalk are usually closer to the advertised averages due to the technology being more reliable and not affected by distance from the exchange.

So, where full fibre is available, customers should really consider the upgrade for a better broadband experience.

It's reassuring that both providers offer minimum guaranteed download speeds, although as we look at in the next section, TalkTalk is likely to offer a faster experience overall, due in part to faster average download speeds but also due to offering a better router.


Router

Winner: TalkTalk's WiFi Hub has a stronger wireless signal than NOW's Hub Two, and those on faster packages get a WiFi 6 enabled Amazon eero.

Customers taking one of TalkTalk's superfast broadband packages will be provided with the WiFi Hub.

This device offers 7 internal antennae, with dual-band wireless channels and supports up to the WiFi 5 protocol (802.11ac). It also supports WPA2 security and has four 1Gb Ethernet LAN ports for any wired connections.

In comparison, NOW's Hub Two has just 5 internal antennae and only 2 Ethernet LAN ports. This means the wireless signal strength will be more limited compared to the TalkTalk WiFi Hub, so is likely to only be suitable to smaller houses where less people are connecting at the same time.

Here are the specifications of the two routers side-by-side:

TalkTalk WiFi Hub NOW Hub Two
WiFi protocol 5 (802.11ac) 5 (802.11ac)
WiFi bands Dual-band Dual-band
Antennae 7 5
Security WPA2 WPA2
Ethernet LAN 4 x 1Gb 2 x 1Gb

For customers who take TalkTalk's full fibre broadband, they'll be provided with a more up to date Amazon eero device, which is WiFi 6 and mesh enabled, so the network can be easily extended with additional devices.

For those who do get an Amazon eero device, they can also subscribe to TalkTalk's Total WiFi add-on, which costs an extra £6 per month and includes one additional eero device. Although customers taking TalkTalk's fastest Full Fibre 900 plan get Total WiFi included for free.

Overall, TalkTalk offer a better router than NOW for their part-fibre customers, as well as for those taking a faster full fibre broadband deal.


Customer service

Winner: NOW Broadband receive fewer complaints in general, although a recent spike puts them more on a par with TalkTalk for service.

NOW Broadband have been listed in Ofcom's quarterly complaints figures since the start of 2022, when they received 8 complaints per 100,000 customers, which was less than the industry average.

Since then, they've remained below or on a par with the average, suggesting customers have few complaints about the provider and its services. However, complaints for NOW did spike in the most recent Q3 2023 complaints data.

In comparison, TalkTalk's complaint figures have been higher than NOW's, although they too remain at a fairly steady rate at least.

Both providers are quick to answer the phone, with TalkTalk answering in 1 minute 22 seconds on average, and NOW Broadband picking up the phone in just 51 seconds.

Overall, we'd say it's difficult to draw a solid conclusion as to who is better between TalkTalk and NOW for customer service, but NOW's parent company are customer service super heroes Sky, so we'd expect that to filter down somewhat.


Verdict: NOW Broadband or TalkTalk?

Overall winner: TalkTalk offer a better broadband service than NOW, with options to take full fibre when it becomes available, although NOW are ultimately the cheapest.

People may think about whether NOW Broadband or TalkTalk is the better option for a budget broadband provider, but TalkTalk has now moved away from its budget roots to offer a more premium service.

NOW on the other hand still offer some of the UK's cheapest broadband prices, as well as options for contract-free packages, cheaper call plans, and discounts on NOW TV Memberships.

We like NOW Broadband because:

  • They have some of the cheapest prices for superfast broadband
  • Call plans are also cheap and include both landline and mobile calls
  • Customers can get extra discounts on NOW TV Memberships if they bundle
  • Options for contract-free broadband packages

However, TalkTalk offer a better broadband service overall, because:

  • They offer full fibre broadband packages over both the Openreach and CityFibre FTTP networks
  • They also offer faster G.Fast connections in some part-fibre areas that haven't been reached by full fibre yet
  • The router is more powerful and up to date
  • TalkTalk TV is a more comprehensive service, with a range of other on-demand apps for watching content from Netflix, Disney+, Discovery+, Paramount+, and Apple TV+, as well as NOW TV
  • TalkTalk TV could also be better value for money as it includes NOW Boost worth £6/mth but costs just £5/mth to subscribe

It's always worth checking availability in an area and then comparing deals by price and special offer to find the best deal to switch to, however hopefully this guide has helped cover some of the main differences between the two providers.

Ultimately, while NOW offer the cheapest prices and could be the best option for those on a budget, TalkTalk offer a superior service overall, especially when customers use the Internet a lot or want to bundle a TV plan.

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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