John Lewis Broadband: is it any good?

neil hawkins
By Neil Hawkins

john lewis store front

JOHN LEWIS offer a broadband and home phone service by working in partnership with and reselling Plusnet broadband.

But is John Lewis better than Plusnet?

Rating
Price:

Speed:

Reliability:

Customer service:

Overall
3.5 out of 5

John Lewis broadband is available as a choice of three packages: Unlimited 17Mb; Unlimited 38Mb fibre; and Unlimited 76Mb fibre extra.

All packages come with inclusive evening and weekend calls, free setup and a 12-month minimum contract term.

That already beats Plusnet who don't include any free calls as standard and who currently charge a setup fee for their fibre packages. And unlike John Lewis, Plusnet's advertised prices aren't available in all locations.

John Lewis broadband deals

John Lewis offer three broadband deals, including two fibre options.

All packages offer unlimited usage, have free setup including a wireless router, and are available with a 12-month minimum term contract.

Package Broadband Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
john lewis Unlimited + Evening & Weekend calls Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
12 months Free £20
for 12 mths,
then £26.50
john lewis Fibre + Evening & Weekend calls Up to 38Mb
Unlimited
12 months Free £27.50
for 12 mths,
then £38
john lewis Fibre Extra + Evening & Weekend calls Up to 76Mb
Unlimited
12 months Free £32.50
for 12 mths,
then £43

Broadband pricing

John Lewis broadband isn't the cheapest, but they do offer a simple pricing structure with no hidden costs.

Unlike Plusnet, who use geographical pricing in order to advertise the cheapest prices offered to customers living in more competitive areas, the prices listed above for John Lewis broadband are available wherever a customer lives.

John Lewis' fibre broadband deals come with a 12-month minimum term, while that's not wholly unusual, many providers do offer 18-month terms on fibre.

At first glances, a shorter minimum term seems like a good thing - but be aware, with so many providers, including John Lewis, offering introductory discounts for the length of the initial term - the higher price will come into affect six months sooner for John Lewis fibre customers.

That's fine if customers are likely or happy to switch after a year - but anyone who becomes a longer-term customer will end up paying more much sooner.

It may be possible to negotiate a new deal with John Lewis after 12-months, but that's in no way guaranteed and unlikely to beat a new customer deal in any case.

Home phone pricing

A particular benefit of John Lewis broadband is the inclusion of free evening and weekend calls with all their deals.

This is quite unlike most other providers now who have removed free calls as standard, with the exception of a handful of providers who include free calls at the weekend only such as BT.

John Lewis' evening and weekend runs from 7pm to 7am and all weekend. Free calls include UK landlines, 0845 and 0870 numbers.

Call plans available include:

Out of allowance call charges include:

A basic voicemail service is included for free with an extra service allowing checks from any phone available for £3 per month. Anonymous call blocking costs £4.

All other paid for call features such as international call barring and call divert cost £3 per month. Features can also be bundled for £6 per month.

Broadband speeds

John Lewis offer a choice of three broadband speeds: up to 17Mb, up to 38Mb and up to 76Mb, which is the same as most other providers.

According to Ofcom, Plusnet - John Lewis' parent network - performs well on those headline speeds, coming second fastest with average speeds of 9.6Mb to 11.4Mb over 24 hours, beaten only by Sky.

Ofcom average speeds, published April 2017
Advertised speed Over 24hrs Peak time
(8-10pm weekdays)
Sky up to 17Mb 10.1Mb to 11.5Mb 9.9Mb to 11.4Mb
Plusnet up to 17Mb 9.6Mb to 11.4Mb 9.5Mb to 11.3Mb
EE up to 17Mb 9.4Mb to 11.7Mb 9.2Mb to 11.4Mb
BT up to 17Mb 9.1Mb to 10.8Mb 9.0Mb to 10.6Mb
TalkTalk up to 17Mb 8.6Mb to 10Mb 8.6Mb to 9.9Mb

Customer service

Unlike some broadband providers who resell a network, but use separate customer support and billing, such as the Post Office, John Lewis uses Plusnet for both their network and their customer support services.

In reality, this makes John Lewis broadband very much a rebranded Plusnet service, with little differences away from pricing structures.

Plusnet's customer service is UK based, with the provider using call centres in Yorkshire.

While they generally fare well in customer service reports and polls, their popularity has caused issues including long call wait times.

Ofcom's latest report into quality of service by telecoms providers, found Plusnet customers waited longer than with any other provider for their call to be answered, with an average wait time of 7 minutes and 27 seconds, resulting in 21% of customers hanging up before getting through.

John Lewis or Plusnet?

Whether you buy broadband from John Lewis or Plusnet directly will likely come down to brand loyalty and the prices available in your area, due to Plusnet's higher pricing structure for those living in more rural areas.

Package Broadband Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
plusnet Unlimited + Line Only Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
12 months Free £18.99
for 12 mths,
then £27.98
john lewis Unlimited + Evening & Weekend calls Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
12 months Free £20
for 12 mths,
then £26.50
plusnet Unlimited Fibre + Line Only Up to 38Mb
Unlimited
12 months Free £22.99
for 18 mths,
then £32.98
john lewis Fibre + Evening & Weekend calls Up to 38Mb
Unlimited
12 months Free £27.50
for 12 mths,
then £38
plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra + Line Only Up to 76Mb
Unlimited
12 months £25 £29.99
for 18 mths,
then £37.98
john lewis Fibre Extra + Evening & Weekend calls Up to 76Mb
Unlimited
12 months Free £32.50
for 12 mths,
then £43

In sum, for customers living within Plusnet's lower pricing areas, we're not sure why anyone wouldn't simply go direct as they're really only paying more for the same service with John Lewis.

To check what prices will apply do a postcode check on our John Lewis and Plusnet pages here.

For a quick overview however, we've rounded up the differences between the two providers below:

John Lewis Plusnet
Price From £20.00/mth From £19.99/mth
Basic broadband Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
Fibre broadband Up to 38Mb and 76Mb
Unlimited
Up to 38Mb and 76Mb
Unlimited
Inclusive calls Evening & Weekend calls
Anytime UK calls £5/mth £8/mth
Includes UK mobiles
Youview TV
Minimum term 12-months 12-months
30-day option

Verdict: is John Lewis broadband any good?

John Lewis broadband offers a simple pricing structure and provides broadband over the Plusnet network, which Ofcom has found performs well on real world speeds experienced by their customers.

For customers who use their home phone they also offer good value for money by including free calls to UK landlines in the evenings and at weekends as standard.

That said, for many people Plusnet will offer the same service for less, and for customers who can afford to spend more, we'd suggest looking at providers with better customer satisfaction ratings such as Sky or even Virgin Media.

Comments

1
6 October 2017
Ben Wilton

Terrible arrogant customer service team.
30 min waiting time for calls.
2Mb download speeds.
£170 cancellation charges.
Completely unacceptable company.
Avoid at all costs.

2
12 September 2017
seank

Truly dreadful. They were supposed to take my line and switch broadband and phone service within 2 hours, they said.
I was actually without broadband for 36 hours, until I phoned them up and the chap activated it immediately. Then I spent hours arguing with their call centre women, who lied about their complaints procedure, saying I had to write in by snail mail. Absolute shysters and I recommend you to look elsewhere.

3
10 August 2017
tom michael

The absolute worst experience I have ever had with an ISP or indeed any provider of what is now a vital service. After being with BT for three years in my current property and having zero outages with BT, I decided to move to John Lewis for one reason - they were cheaper by far than BT.

But I was wrong the actual cost of phone calls is sky high and the broadband service is beyond abysmal, I cannot even begin to tell you how bad this service is. Constant outages with the router losing internet and for up to hours at a time.

The technical support is beyond incompetent, it took three weeks to get them to test on the test socket in my home. It was always my fault and they claimed it was an issue at my property, yet while with BT in the same connection zero issues. So I went through their supposed technical support and they sent a new router, same issues, went into test socket, same issues.

So they said they would send an engineer at a cost of £50. I refused to pay that amount and they said verbally I would not have to if the issue was with them. But not being a fool I asked for the specific terms and conditions that state, if a fault is found at your property OR NOT that you must pay the £50.

One of the people on the phone let slip that they were doing lots of upgrade and updates and then back tracked when I queried further.

Basically if you want high phone bills, rubbish technical support and extremely unreliable broadband then by all means join John Lewis. I am actually taking them to court for breach of contract and am moving back to BT. I would rather pay more and have stable internet then lies and incompetence from John Lewis Broadband.

I swear to you, think very hard before you move to this provider.

4
2 May 2017
Phil

I would urge everyone to think again and go elsewhere.
The service is very poor. My speed dropped dramatically from 76mb and when I eventually found the issue - someone at John Lewis' end had changed my username to someone elses on my account - I could actually see a womans name in my account details... This mess up was hushed up and no one has called me back about compensation or an apology or explanation or implications of data protection. I call and they literally refuse to do anything or hand me over to a manager - like speaking to the Gestapo.

They are now quite expensive too.

Go elsewhere.

5
24 March 2017
Brigid Way

Unbelievably bad! I was promised phone line and broadband by 28th February, nothing happened. When I queried what was going on, I was told they could not trace a phone line for me. I checked with BT who confirmed transfer to John Lewis had taken place on 28th Feb. But no broadband connection - John Lewis promised broadband ready by 10th, then 24th, March. Phoned again today as nothing has happened, I was told 30th March but just received an email say 7th April. Totally incompetent and no explanation as to what is going on.

6
3 February 2017
Redmires

My experience of John Lewis was very different from some of those set out below. I bought a flat with a dead, anonymous phone line. I rang JL from my mobile phone on my commute out of central London. By the time I got off the bus, 45 minutes later, I had a working phone line and number, and the broadband was connected well ahead of the expected time.

7
23 February 2016
James

We'll have been with John Lewis for three weeks tomorrow, and still have no broadband. Avoid like the plague - they are utterly rubbish.

8
18 January 2016
Jess

Do NOT switch to John Lewis for your broadband. Customer service worse than Sky. My elderly parents decided to switch to John Lewis, ironically, because of their customer service. That was meant to happen on December 15th...it never took place. Roll on a month they have lost the phone number they have had for nearly 50 years and now have no phone line at all. They have been battling this ever since and not even the so called 'senior' customer service manager seems to be able to sort it out.

9
6 August 2015
Fedup

John Lewis customer service is just as bad as any other broadband provider. If you want to talk to customer services you wait ages on hold listening to the most appalling racket, and get treated badly by incompetent operatives. The only difference between John Lewis and Plusnet is that the person in the Plusnet call centre knows you are a John Lewis customer. Why pay less when you can pay more for the same rubbish service?

10
7 July 2015
Sinjut Williamson

I would agree with the user below who posted 8 months ago. I am living in a village 6 miles from a main town and I can't get the cheap rates advertised by going direct. It's actually cheaper to use John Lewis (free delivery of router and no excess fee for being rural). On this basis, it is cheaper and although I am using Plusnet indirectly, I have more faith in the John Lewis brand if the brown hits the fan. Unlike BT, Plusnet offer a fixed IP which BT don't offer and considering every IP issued by BT is blacklisted, this is definitely the way to go. I have 12 months with John Lewis (big saving compared to Zen Internet) and then I am moving to Gigaclear for pure fibre, installing later this year. Thumbs up for John Lewis who offer fair and transparent pricing.

11
5 November 2014
Matt

The prices shown for Plusnet are not available if you live outside of the "low cost" areas. If your exchange has not been unbundled from BT then John Lewis are probably the cheapest ISP you can get. They are certainly the cheapest I can get, my choices being limited to BT, Plusnet and John Lewis. No one else! No fibre, no cable, no 4G.
Please don't assume everyone lives in a metropolitan area.

12
18 January 2014
Redwardo

Poor service, waited nearly a month to get connected. It seems that they just don't know what they are doing half the time, and on one occasion I got some guy with attitude. This is NOT representative of John Lewis. I will be switching at the first opportunity.


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