NOW Broadband Review

Last updated: 17 January 2024   By Samantha Smith

NOW Broadband offer three basic broadband deals, with exclusive discounts on NOW TV Memberships.

NOW offer simple broadband with some of the cheapest prices around, coupled with additional money-off on NOW TV.

Price:

Gold star Gold star Gold star Gold star Gold star

Speed:

Gold star Gold star Gold star

Reliability:

Gold star Gold star Gold star

Customer Service:

Gold star Gold star Gold star Gold star

NOW offers basic and superfast part-fibre broadband, with average download speeds available up to just 63Mbps on their fastest plan.

While the deals seem to have been left behind in the push for full fibre, NOW are offering some of the cheapest prices in the UK, with connections available from just £20 per month.

Aside from cheap broadband, NOW's second biggest selling point is the exclusive discounts available for bundling the deals with NOW TV Memberships.

now broadband
Now Broadband

At a glance

Price From £20
Setup cost £10
Minimum term 12 months / 30 days
Out of contract price From £28.50
Annual price increase Prices may rise
Broadband connection Copper / part-fibre
Download speeds 11Mb, 36Mb, 63Mb
Upload speeds 1Mb, 10Mb, 19Mb
Router NOW Hub Two
WiFi guarantee Not available
Parental controls NOW Broadband Buddy
Home phone Included
Anytime calls £8/mth (inc. UK mobiles)
TV Optional: NOW TV

Latest offers

Offer Terms

NOW Entertainment just £6.99/mth for 6 months with NOW Broadband.

NOW Entertainment membership costs £9.99/mth after 6 months (cancel anytime). NOW Broadband £21/mth until 4 July 2024, then £24/mth for the remainder of the 12 month minimum term. £41.50/mth after 12 months. £10 set up fee. Prices may change during contract.


NOW Sports just £29.99/mth for 12 months with NOW broadband.

NOW Sports membership costs £34.99/mth after 12 months (cancel anytime). NOW Broadband £21/mth until 4 July 2024, then £24/mth for the remainder of the 12 month minimum term. £41.50/mth after 12 months. £10 set up fee. Prices may change during contract.


NOW Broadband customer reviews

Our independent survey of broadband customers found NOW Broadband was rated 4 out of 5 overall, with a good ratings for Speed, Reliability, Satisfaction, Value for Money, and likelihood for customers to recommend the provider to a friend.

NOW Broadband was also rated above average (3 out of 5) for Customer Service.

Very few of our survey respondents voted NOW Broadband Poor or Bad in any category, with the majority of NOW Broadband's customers rating them Good.

Here are the results of our survey of NOW Broadband's performance:

1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5
Value for money 6% 4% 26% 41% 23%
Speed 9% 11% 26% 40% 13%
Reliability 8% 8% 23% 39% 22%
Satisfaction 7% 6% 23% 40% 23%
Customer Service 7% 6% 32% 30% 26%
Likelihood to Recommend 10% 7% 26% 31% 26%

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Our review of NOW Broadband

Pros Cons
Very low-cost broadband deals Not available in some Openreach full fibre enabled areas
Discounts for bundling NOW TV Memberships No full fibre packages
Home phone line included with optional inclusive call plans Router is only adequate for small homes
Monthly-rolling contract options available

Verdict: Is NOW Broadband any good?

NOW Broadband is one of the cheapest providers in the UK, with their Super Fibre plan offering average download speeds of 63Mbps for only £23 per month.

Customers can also save money on NOW TV Memberships if they're willing to sign up to the services at the same time.

NOW Broadband is best for smaller households where only one or two people are going online at the same time. It's ideal for streaming, as well as online browsing, social media, and even working from home.

NOW Super Fibre offers the best value for money, while the pricing structure makes the Fab Fibre plan somewhat superfluous. The Brilliant Broadband plan is also unlikely to suit many households, with most better off choosing the faster part-fibre plan where it's available.

Overall, NOW Broadband is a great budget option, but larger households may want to look at parent-company Sky, or TalkTalk for those who also want to bundle NOW TV deals.


NOW Broadband packages

Summary: NOW Broadband offer three simple broadband packages, with the best value for money found on the Super Fibre plan.

NOW Broadband offer two superfast part-fibre packages, and a basic copper plan.

Customers can choose between 11Mbps, 36Mbps or 63Mbps average download speeds, however the monthly price is very similar between these deals:

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)
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)

NOW Fab Fibre and Super Fibre both cost the same each month, despite offering different broadband speeds, so it's worthwhile for customers to simply sign up to the Super Fibre plan.

It's worth noting that out of contract prices for Super Fibre are £3 more per month than with Fab Fibre, but customers will be sent end of contract notifications and they'll be able to recontract or switch away at this point.

While Brilliant Broadband is slightly cheaper still, at just £20 per month, the download speed of 11Mbps average is only marginally above the absolute minimum recommended by Ofcom. As a copper-only plan it's also more likely to be affected by distance from the exchange and wiring quality.

The minimum term contract on NOW Broadband lasts for 12 months, although customers can choose to pay an additional £60 setup fee to access a contract-free plan that be cancelled at any time.

NOW reserve the right to increase prices, with contracts stating "prices may rise", however they don't specify by how much. This means when they do increase prices they usually give customers notice as well as the opportunity to cancel their contract.

In 2023, NOW increased the price of their broadband plans by £3.50 per month for existing customers, and gave notice that they could exit their contract penalty-free.

No contract broadband

Here are the latest prices for NOW Broadband without a contract:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Brilliant Broadband (No contract) 11Mb average £20 £70 1 month
Fab Fibre (No contract) 36Mb average £21 £70 1 month
Super Fibre (No contract) 63Mb average £21 £70 1 month

As one of just a few options for broadband without a contract, NOW's pricing structure may work well for some, as the monthly rolling price is the same as for standard contracts.

In comparison for example, a monthly rolling contract with Direct Save Telecom would cost £33.90 upfront, and then an additional £10 each month.

Call plans

NOW used to offer free anytime calls for the first year with their broadband packages, but this was withdrawn in May 2022. It's a shame to see this offer removed as it provided unique value in a market where few providers still offer inclusive calls.

However, that doesn't mean Now broadband customers can't still add a phone plan, they can choose from Evening & Weekend calls, Anytime calls, or stick with the pay as you go option.

These are the current prices for their call plans:

Call plan Includes Additional cost
Pay as you use N/a £0
Evenings & Weekends Calls to UK landlines and mobiles made 7pm-7am Mon-Fri, and all Sat and Sun £4
Anytime Calls made to UK landlines and mobiles at anytime £8

There is an access charge for 0845 and 0870 numbers of 15p per minute, and calls made outside the inclusive periods are charged at:

  • 25p connection charge
  • 25p per minute to UK landlines
  • 25p per minute to UK mobiles

These costs have been streamlined with the separate daytime and evening/weekend rates scrapped in favour of a basic tariff that's slightly more expensive.

Everyone gets 141 (number withhold) and 1471 (last incoming call) free of charge, while features such as last caller barring and voicemail cost from £1 a month. Caller display is now included for all customers at no extra cost.

NOW Broadband Basics

NOW Broadband offer a social broadband tariff called Basics, which is available to both new and existing customers.

Launched in April 2022, Broadband Basics offers a similar connection to Fab Fibre, with average download speeds of 36Mbps at peak times, along with a home phone line and pay as you go calls.

It's available to low income households in receipt of one of the following benefits; Universal Credit, Pensions Credit, Income Support, Income-based Employment Support Allowance, or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance.

The benefits of a social tariff include exemption from annual price rises, as well as the ability to exit the plan penalty free at any time.


NOW TV & Broadband

Summary: NOW Broadband customers get exclusive discounts when they bundle a NOW TV Membership.

NOW Broadband can be taken alongside various NOW TV Membership plans and these bundles often come with exclusive discounts.

At the time of writing, customers can get NOW Entertainment for £6.99 per month for 6 months, or NOW Sports is available for just £29.99 per month for 12 months.

Here are the latest deals:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Super Fibre + Entertainment Membership 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)
Super Fibre + Cinema Membership 63Mb average £30.99 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth on NOW Broadband until 4 July 2024 then £24/mth + NOW Cinema £9.99/mth (Ends 04/07/2024)
Super Fibre + Sports Membership 63Mb average £50.99 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth on NOW Broadband until 4 July 2024 then £24/mth + NOW Sports £29.99/mth for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)

NOW TV is an excellent low-cost way to access premium content on Sky, with membership plans included both live channels and on-demand content.

NOW TV Memberships generally come with 30-day rolling terms and can be cancelled at any time, however, some of the discounted offers have longer minimum terms. For example, right now, the NOW Entertainment offer above has a 6-month minimum term.

The main difference between NOW and Sky is that the NOW membership plans only include a small number of channels, for example, NOW Sports includes just Sky Sports. However, for the channels that are included, customers can view the same live and on-demand content.

Overall, for customers who want to save money, combining NOW Broadband with NOW TV offers a great way to access really low-cost broadband with a home entertainment plan.


How does NOW Broadband compare?

Summary: NOW Broadband offer cheaper broadband prices than rivals, even compared to slower plans.

NOW Broadband offer some of the cheapest broadband deals in the UK, with prices lower than rivals Plusnet, Vodafone, TalkTalk, and Sky.

The cheapest broadband deals in the UK include:

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 1 35Mb average £26 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Fibre 66Mb average £25.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Save over £4/mth + No setup fee + Exclusive offers and discounts for Plusnet customers (Ends 29/05/2024)
Superfast Broadband 61Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

NOW Broadband's Super Fibre plan offers 63Mbps average download speeds but costs the same low £23 per month as the entry-level Fab Fibre deal.

But even up against slower packages from other providers, NOW Broadband still comes in cheaper, beating Vodafone's Fibre 1 plan at £24 per month, and Plusnet's Fibre deal at £24.99 per month.

Virgin Media's cheapest broadband-only plan is also more expensive, with M125 Fibre Broadband currently costing £26.50 per month.

While NOW Broadband is cheaper, it's also worth comparing other aspects of the service on offer. For example, NOW Broadband offer a fairly basic router that will be suitable for smaller homes, but larger homes may find the wireless signal doesn't reach all rooms.

NOW Broadband contracts are also only 12 months, while that may suit some people who want the extra flexibility, the introductory prices only last for the minimum term, and customers will need to recontract or switch to keep prices low. In this sense, it's possible a slightly more expensive plan taken on a longer contract could save more money overall.

Sky becomes a good alternative option here, as they own NOW Broadband, but offer a Superfast deal for just a few pounds more per month. Customers still get a home phone line as well as a more up to date router that would better handle larger homes.

When comparing NOW Broadband against other cheap providers it is worth seeing if those deals include a home phone line, if that's important, as many now don't - including deals from Plusnet and TalkTalk for example.

Compare broadband deals side-by-side.


How fast is NOW Broadband?

Summary: NOW Broadband only offer superfast broadband speeds, with no option to connect with full fibre.

NOW Broadband offers customers a choice of three broadband speeds, however even the fastest package is only superfast, with speeds available up to 63Mbps on average.

Average download speed Average upload speed
Brilliant Broadband 11Mb 1Mb
Fab Fibre 36Mb 10Mb
Super Fibre 63Mb 19Mb

Because NOW Broadband still only offer copper (ADSL) and part-fibre (FTTC) packages, there are now areas where they're no longer available to sign up to.

Some areas, where Openreach has a large presence of full fibre (FTTP) coverage can no longer access these slower and older technologies, and in these areas NOW Broadband are relaying customers to parent-company Sky, who do offer full fibre packages.

It's unclear at this stage whether NOW Broadband will make the move to offer full fibre deals, but if they don't, their availability will become increasingly limited.

Minimum download speeds

NOW Broadband offer customers estimated speeds, as well as a minimum guaranteed download speed when they sign up.

Minimum guaranteed download speeds are effectively service guarantees, which promise a minimum speed or a customer is entitled to leave their contract penalty free.

NOW Broadband say if customers aren't getting their minimum guaranteed download speed and they don't resolve the issue within 30 days, customers can cancel their broadband contract without paying any early termination charges.

This is in line with Ofcom's code of conduct on broadband speeds, which NOW Broadband have voluntary agreed to.

When we checked a postcode, we were given the following estimated speeds and minimum speed guarantee (however, note that these speeds can and will vary between areas):

Minimum guaranteed download speed Estimated download speed Estimated upload speed
Brilliant Broadband 3.3Mb 4.5 - 9.7Mb 0.7 - 0.9Mb
Fab Fibre 36.1Mb 36.1 - 37Mb 8.5 - 9.5Mb
Super Fibre 56.6Mb 62.7 - 74.1Mb 18 - 19Mb

It's worth noting that where full fibre broadband is available, customers should consider the upgrade because as well as offering faster speeds, full fibre is more reliable and much less affected by distance as well as network congestion.

Plusnet as well as Sky offer competitive pricing on their full fibre plans, and TalkTalk broadband also offer customers discounts when bundling TalkTalk TV with NOW Memberships.


Router

Summary: NOW Broadband offer customers the NOW Hub Two, which is adequate for smaller households.

NOW Broadband packages come with the NOW Hub Two, it's a rebranded version of Sky's previous Sky Q Hub, which has now been replaced with the Sky Broadband Hub.

The router offers dual-band wireless and supports up to WiFi 5, or 802.11ac.

now broadband router

The main drawback of this router is it only has 5 internal antennae, compared to 7 in the Sky Broadband Hub or BT Smart Hub 2. This is notable in terms of wireless signal range and penetration across rooms or floors, with the signal weaker when compared to Sky's newer router.

The NOW Hub Two will be suitable for small homes, and where only one or two people are sharing the connection, but larger homes may notice the signal doesn't reach that far.

The main features of the NOW Hub Two router are:

  • Two ethernet LAN ports for wired connections
  • Five internal antennae
  • Dual-band wireless (2.4GHz and 5GHz channels)
  • WiFi 5 support (802.11ac)
  • Smart channel selection

Those considering using their own router with NOW Broadband may want to think twice as the NOW Broadband terms and conditions warn customers to use the included router or risk being billed for any costs incurred if replacement kit or engineer visits are required.

While this only becomes an issue if the broadband connection develops a fault, it's worth being aware of.

Overall, the router is a little outdated, especially considering other budget providers such as Shell Energy Broadband have now upgraded to WiFi 6, and Plusnet use the same router version as parent-company BT.

However, for those looking for a simple broadband connection, it's still a perfectly serviceable device that can easily handle the speeds on offer here.

Now Broadband Buddy

Another repackaged element from Now's parent company is Broadband Buddy, an app which allows parents to block inappropriate content from their children's devices without needing to set blanket filters on the router.

It's a nice extra for customers that also protects against phishing websites, although it shouldn't be used as a replacement for other forms of security.

Read this guide for more information about keeping your home router safe.


Customer service

Summary: Since appearing in Ofcom reports at the start of 2022, NOW Broadband have fewer than average complaints.

NOW Broadband first appeared in Ofcom's quarterly complaints records at the start of 2022, when they received just 8 complaints per 100,000 customers.

Since then, NOW Broadband has consistently had less than average levels of complaints, with just 13 in the latest Q2 2023 report:

In Ofcom's latest Comparing Customer Service report, published May 2023, NOW Broadband had the fewest number of customers with a reason complain, at just 10% compared to the industry average of 20%.

In addition, the provider also managed to answer the phone the quickest, with customers waiting just 51 seconds on average, compared to 2 minutes 37 seconds across the market as a whole.

In our own independent survey of NOW Broadband customers, we found the majority of customers rated the provider 3 out of 5 for customer service. Only 7% rated NOW 1 out of 5, and 26% rated them 5 out of 5. So, we expect their performance is somewhat average to good.

Like parent company Sky, NOW Broadband also use UK-based call centres, although it's possible these could be outsourced abroad as there are reports Sky are moving call centre jobs overseas.

Read more about the best broadband customer service.


Summary: Is NOW Broadband worth it?

NOW Broadband offer some of the cheapest prices in the UK, with additional discounts available to those wanting to bundle NOW TV.

However, the low-cost nature of NOW Broadband has meant their product line-up hasn't kept pace with the full fibre rollout, and as a result availability for the provider is now declining due to copper (ADSL) and fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) connections removed from sale in some areas with good full fibre coverage.

In these cases, both Plusnet and Sky offer competitively priced full fibre broadband deals, and TalkTalk also offer a TV service with discounts on NOW Memberships.

For customers who can still get NOW Broadband, they offer an excellent value for money option with the ability to add inclusive call plans as well as choose monthly rolling contracts.

Ultimately, NOW Broadband is a great budget choice, but it's certainly looking due an update if it's going to remain available.

Comments

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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