BT Infinity review: is it any good?
BT INFINITY is BT's unlimited superfast fibre broadband service, with a choice of speeds of up to 52Mb and up to 76Mb.
From the latest offers to the last word on speeds, this review covers everything there is to know about the BT Infinity broadband service.
We've answered all the important questions that prospective BT Infinity customers should ask.
BT often have introductory offer and gift cards to incentivise new customer signups, and they tend to offer better rewards for those signing up to BT Infinity than their standard broadband packages.
Recently they have tended to offer prepaid MasterCards called 'BT Reward cards', although offers change frequently so it can be worthwhile to keep an eye out.
Here are the latest BT Infinity offers:
Grab these deals while you can using the "get this deal" buttons above, or find out more about rewards and deals.
Is BT Infinity available in my area?
BT Infinity launched in 2010 and now reaches over 90% of the UK, and they plan to grow that reach to 95% by the end of 2017.
As well as increasing coverage they are also improving performance. Recently the Infinity 1 package was upgraded, now offering speeds up to 52Mb rather than 38Mb as it had been previously.
Find out more about BT Infinity speed upgrade.
Find out if BT Infinity is offered in your area by entering your postcode below.
Enter your postcode above to check availability in your area.
How much does BT Infinity cost?
Those in covered areas can get the following up to 52Mb and 76Mb packages:
For more information on the various package options, including bundling calls and TV deals, and the extras available, see our main BT review here.
Is it cheaper to get fibre elsewhere?
The BT Openreach fibre service, that Infinity is provided on, is also available from other providers, which means customers can get almost the same thing for a different price, elsewhere.
But whilst BT has introduced the 52Mb upgrade on it's cheapest Infinity packages, all other providers reselling BT fibre are still only offering 38Mb as their entry-level fibre deal, which makes a fair comparison that little bit more complicated.
The up to 76Mb fibre deal is the same across all providers selling it however.
Here's a quick breakdown of the main contenders selling BT Infinity in its various forms:
Packages offering BT fibre "up to 38Mb" speeds:
Packages offering BT fibre "up to 52Mb" speeds:
|Package||Broadband||Contract term||Upfront price||Monthly price|
|Unlimited Infinity 1 + Weekend calls||Up to 52Mb
for 18 mths,
Packages offering BT fibre "up to 76Mb" speeds:
The wholesale product behind these packages is the same, and even the underlying physical engineering support is carried out by BT Openreach.
Because of this, every provider who resells BT fibre now has the option to resell the 52Mb service as well; although as mentioned, at the time of writing none of the other providers are doing so.
Give it some time and we may see it becoming available on a wider basis, which will allow for simpler comparison.
In the meantime, the other difference between the providers reselling BT fibre, whatever the speed, is that each have their own customer service, technical support (before calling in Openreach, that is), traffic management and usage policies, and different add-on features and benefits.
In other words, it was never quite as simple as comparing by price alone, as the providers listed above don't necessarily offer an identical service.
For that reason, we've written a separate guide to the differences between the providers reselling BT fibre here.
How fast is BT Infinity?
BT and Virgin Media are the only major UK infrastructure providers to offer FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) broadband throughout the country.
Both are using more or less the same technology: fibre to a cabinet, one of those green boxes on the street, and then copper - or coaxial in Virgin's case - cable from the cabinet to the home.
However, a slight difference in delivery - explained further here - means that BT advertised speeds of "up to" 52Mb or 76Mb - slower than Virgin's up to 100Mb, 200Mb or 300Mb broadband deals.
The difference in delivery also results in a difference in the actual performance speeds of both providers. And the speed difference has been very real - even when we bring Infinity 2 into the equation.
The most recent Ofcom research into speeds, released in March 2017, found the following averages:
|Advertised speed||Ofcom average speed
(over 24 hours)
|Up to 200Mb||169.0Mb - 177.2Mb|
|Up to 100Mb||87.7Mb - 95.2Mb|
|Up to 76Mb||57.9Mb - 60.7Mb|
|Up to 52Mb||47.7Mb - 48.6Mb|
SOURCE: Ofcom, March 2017.
Aside from the obvious speed differences between BT and Virgin Media, these figures demonstrate that fibre broadband connections are far less likely to see speeds drop over long distances or suffer problems with interference.
All in all both providers come much closer to delivering on the speeds they advertise.
Virgin may have the edge - for now - but both really do deliver.
That said, BT Infinity beats Virgin on speeds when it comes to uploads.
With their up to 76Mb deal, BT promise up to 19Mb upload speeds while Virgin Media deliver upload speeds of less than 10% of download speeds (their 100Mb and 200Mb deals have top upload speeds of just 12Mb).
Previous Ofcom tests published in March 2016 have also revealed the upload speeds on offer, and the averages achieved over a 24-hour period:
|Advertised Speed||Ofcom Average Speed|
|up to 76Mb
|up to 152Mb / 200Mb
|up to 38Mb
|up to 100Mb
|up to 50Mb
SOURCE: Ofcom, March 2016.
Please note Virgin's 152Mb service was upped to a 200Mb service during the period when the data for this study was collected.
A very small number of households may also have one of BT's two ultrafast packages, offering up to 160Mb or 300Mb.
Based on BT's fibre to the home technology (FTTH, also known as FTTP - to the premises), the cost of installation and taking the service meant that after a short period on sale in a very limited number of locations, it's not been available to order since.
Instead we're more likely to see BT pushing Fibre "To A Bit Further Than The Cabinet" in the form of 330Mb capable G.fast broadband technology. BT have just started to switch-on the pilot locations for this service, which currently covers 138,000 premises, and expect it to available nationwide by 2025.
For a fuller comparison of broadband speeds see our fastest broadband guide here.
All of BT's broadband deals now boast unlimited data usage, a much welcomed changed from their previous rather stingy usage limits.
Yet not everyone needs such generous data allowances. Whilst unlimited data packages are now pretty widespread, they are more expensive than capped plans. Meaning lighter internet users might be able to get away with a cheaper, albeit limited broadband deal.
For those who want to get a good idea of how much data they're likely to use - we've put together a guide here.
BT relaxed their traffic management policies for unlimited customers a long time ago and say they're "very proud" that everyone who takes their broadband can now download what they what, from wherever they want - and they won't be slowed down for doing so.
It's a bold claim from such a large provider, and one we've kept an eye on. For more on this visit our guide to fair use here.
BT Smart Hub
All Infinity broadband deals now come with the BT Smart Hub, replacing the Home Hub 5.
Like the much earlier Home Hub 4, the router has been designed to cut out signal interference that can slow down wireless connections in the home.
The Smart Hub supports "next generation AC" standards on 5GHz, and the fastest available wireless protocols on the slower 2.4GHz band.
The simultaneous dual band signal means the router is able to provide two separate network connections - one for newer, faster, devices, and one for older equipment, or devices out of range of the 5GHz signal.
In brief, this means devices that can connect at the fastest speeds aren't affected by older devices, mobile phones or other equipment around the home like remote controlled toys or microwaves.
The hub also boasts seven internal antennae - two more then the Home Hub 5, for more, stronger, connections - four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a faster processor.
Each new Hub has slightly improved on the power saving ability of the last, helping to reduce consumption when the network isn't being used, without disconnecting the broadband - something which can cause havoc with smart equipment in the exchange, reducing speeds on what it detects to be an "unstable" line.
The Hub is also able to monitor the home internet connection; rebooting when it detects a problem to establish a fresh connection for your added convenience when surfing the web.
All in all, the BT Smart Hub offers far more than most other routers.
Do I need a BT phone line?
Another point worth noting is that, like the majority of broadband providers, BT Infinity subscribers need to have a working BT phone line and pay BT for their line rental.
We've included the cost of line rental with BT Infinity in the tables above - on its own it's £18.99 a month, which has become a fairly average figure compared to other providers. It's possible to bring that down by about 10% by paying for a year's line rental upfront, at a one-off cost of £208.80.
BT's line rental prices have remained unchanged since BT implemented their latest round of price rises, and as with their 2016 hikes, they're keen to point out that customers will benefit from extra services and better standards.
As a result of 2016's increases, BT are now rather unusual in including weekend calls with every broadband and phone package they sell; previously they'd often sold their capped data deals without any kind of inclusive call.
But while those getting Unlimited Infinity have the choice between adding evening calls to that allowance for £3.80 a month, or getting anytime calls for £8.99, those getting the up to 17Mb Unlimited Broadband package can only upgrade to the anytime bundle.
All customers, however, can throw in a Friends and Family International calls package for £1.65 a month as well as an International Freedom calls package for £7.80 a month, to ensure cheaper rates when calling abroad.
Is it worth adding BT TV?
BT TV is only available to those with BT Broadband.
While everyone with BT TV can get BT Sport, lots of the other extras are reserved for those who have BT Infinity.
That includes the bulk of the premium channels like Sky Cinema and Sky Sports, plus the HD packs.
What's more many of the extra channel options come with rolling contracts so it's possible to get a feel for paid for content without having to commit for a whole year.
There's more on BT TV in our full review here.
Verdict: Is Infinity any good?
BT Infinity broadband is superfast. But what's more it's a superfast service from one of the biggest broadband providers around, who have a reputation for high quality customer care and great add-on services.
That means 24/7 telephone support, and optional extras like Youview TV, online cloud storage, and free public wi-fi.
The deals compare fairly well with Virgin Media, and while other providers, including Plusnet and TalkTalk offer seemingly similar deals at lower prices than BT, they tend to come without quite so many perks.
And as we wrap up our BT Infinity review... Race to Infinity sounds about right.