Now broadband vs TalkTalk broadband: which is better?

Last updated: 4 May 2021   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Now and TalkTalk are both budget broadband and TV providers with an emphasis on no-frills services.

Now include anytime calls with their broadband deals, plus they also offer no-contract broadband for higher upfront costs.

However, TalkTalk are beginning to roll out ultrafast broadband services, they offer discounts on the same TV content Now delivers, and their hardware is better too.

It's a close contest, but Now take the crown thanks to their inclusive calls and rolling deals that are unmatched by TalkTalk.

tv with remote control

In this guide:

At a glance

Now TalkTalk
Price From £18/mth From £22.00/mth
Basic broadband 11Mb average
11Mb average
Fibre broadband Up to 63Mb average
Up to 500Mb average
Inclusive calls Anytime
Includes UK mobiles
Anytime UK calls Included £12/mth
Includes UK mobiles
TV Extra cost
30-day deals
Extra cost
18-month deals
Minimum term 12-months 18-months

Special offers

Special offers are one of the main things to watch out for when comparing Now and TalkTalk, so here are their current limited-time deals:

Offer Terms

£75 Reward Card with TalkTalk Full Fibre 900 broadband

£45 per month for 18 months. 18 month minimum term. £4.95 setup fee. Annual price rise of CPI+3.7%.

£50 Reward Card with TalkTalk Full Fibre 150 broadband

£28 per month for 18 months. 18 month minimum term. £4.95 setup fee. Annual price rise of CPI+3.7%.

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 £24/mth for 12 months, then £38.50/mth. 12 month minimum term. £10 set up fee.

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 £24/mth for 12 months, then £38.50/mth. 12 month minimum term. £5 set up fee.

Broadband deals

Winner: Now offer inclusive calls with their broadband, plus they have no-contract deals.

Now and TalkTalk are both budget broadband providers, so their superfast deals are often finely matched on price.

Here are their current broadband deals:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fibre 35 38Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free Setup (worth £15)
Fab Fibre 36Mb average £24 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Now TV membership at reduced price for 12 months. Price may change again during the minimum term.
Super Fibre 63Mb average £24 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Now TV membership at reduced price for 12 months. Price may change again during the minimum term.
Fibre 65 67Mb average £29.95 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free Setup (worth £15)
Fibre 150 145Mb average £35 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free Setup (worth £15)

We've included TalkTalk's Fibre 150 in this table as an illustration of their ultrafast service, although it's currently only available in a few locations across the UK. Now don't offer ultrafast services, and there are no signs of them moving into that market.

Something else to note here is the fact that Now include anytime calls as standard with their broadband packages. That's a rarity in contemporary broadband deals, and it may be an instant winner for some customers who still use their landlines.

The minimum term contracts are different lengths too, with TalkTalk locking customers in for 18 months while Now broadband contracts are typically 12 months.

Both ISPs still offer basic copper broadband to customers, although TalkTalk have deliberately altered their pricing model to make it pricier than upgrading to fibre:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Brilliant Broadband 11Mb average £20 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Now TV membership at reduced price for 12 months. Price may change again during the minimum term.
Fast Broadband 11Mb average £26.95 £15 18 months

In practice, most customers are opting for fibre these days (where it's available), but it's notable that Now include anytime calls even at copper broadband level.

No-contract broadband

Now also trump TalkTalk in another way by offering no-contract fibre broadband.

These 30-day deals have the same monthly price as the 12-month deals discussed above, but customers will need to pay a £60 upfront activation fee.

For short-term lets or students, for example, that flexibility may be worth the higher upfront costs, and it's something TalkTalk can't match.


Winner: Now offer inclusive anytime calls as well as cheap broadband.

Now and TalkTalk are no-frills broadband providers, with their prices some of the cheapest options for broadband in the UK.

They're usually finely matched, yet Now's inclusive anytime calls tip the scales in their favour.

We've got more detail on the cheapest broadband deals or search for deals in your area right now.


Winner: TalkTalk's advertised fibre speeds are faster.

These are the average speeds advertised by the two ISPs in their broadband deals:

Now TalkTalk
11Mb 11Mb
36Mb 38Mb
63Mb 67Mb

According to UK advertising rules, broadband providers must advertise speeds that are available to at least 50% of their customers at peak times (that is, between 8pm and 10pm).

From this, we can see that TalkTalk's superfast deals are advertised as being slightly faster, but there's not much in it.

We've got independent testing results from Ofcom panellists to show how TalkTalk perform in the real world. This is how their 38Mb package matches up against the speeds of their major rivals:

ofcom average broadband speeds fibre

As we can see, it doesn't hit the advertised 38Mb, but budget rival Plusnet struggles to hit that too.

It's a similar story if we look at TalkTalk's results with their 67Mb package:

ofcom average broadband speeds faster fibre

So, TalkTalk aren't hitting their promised speeds, but that isn't unique to them.

Unfortunately, we don't have independent testing data to show how Now are doing, although they use parent company Sky's infrastructure, so that can be taken as an indication of their performance.


Winner: TalkTalk offer a more modern router than Now.

The router Now give to their broadband customers is a repackaged version of the Sky Q Hub, an adequate router but an ageing one in comparison to the new routers that have been rolled out by ISPs in recent years.

TalkTalk provide their TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub Black to superfast customers while ultrafast broadband packages come with the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub.

If we put the Now Hub 2 and the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub Black side by side, we can see some key differences:

Now Hub 2 Talk Talk Wi-Fi Hub Black
Smart channel selection Smart channel selection
Dual band Dual band
2 x Ethernet ports 4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
5 antennae 7 antennae

Something else to note about the Now Hub 2 is that customers are compelled to use it by the ISP's terms and conditions - it isn't simply a case of switching the router out for a better one as that's against the terms of use.

For most customers, the Now Hub 2 will be a perfect serviceable piece of kit, but it misses some of the more modern touches the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub Black has.

Call plans

Winner: Now include anytime calls with their broadband deals.

Inclusive calls are a rarity among broadband providers, so Now's offer of inclusive anytime calls on all their 12-month broadband deals sets them apart from most rivals - including TalkTalk.

There aren't any inclusive calls in TalkTalk's broadband deals, so customers will need to add a call plan from the following:

  • Unlimited UK for £12 per month (inclusive anytime calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles)
  • International Max for £10 per month (1,000 minutes to landlines and mobiles in over 50 destinations plus discounted calls to other countries)

There isn't much choice here, and taking anytime calls can add a hefty sum to the bill in comparison to Now's inclusive deal.

Even if customers move onto another contract with Now after their 12-month minimum term, Now only charge £8 for their anytime call plan, so that's still cheaper than TalkTalk (and many other providers).


Winner: TalkTalk offer discounts to the same content Now offers but with Freeview too.

Now and TalkTalk offer the same content to customers through access to Now TV memberships, but TalkTalk customers can get some discounts on content.

As we explain in our guide to Now TV memberships, there are five different types of Now membership on offer:

Package TV Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
Entertainment Membership 24 £9.99 Free 6 months
offer Offer: Save 40% on Entertainment & Cinema Membership just £12 a month for 6 months with a 1 month free trial of Boost
Cinema Membership 11 £9.99 Free 1 month
offer Offer: Save 40% on Cinema & Entertainment Membership just £12 a month for 6 months with a 1 month free trial of Boost
Sports Membership 11 £34.99 Free 1 month
offer Offer: 7-day free trial of Boost
Hayu Membership 1 £4.99 Free 1 month
offer Offer: 7-day free trial

All these are taken on 30-day deals and customers can take multiple memberships at once. There's also a Now Boost add-on to add HD content to some memberships.

One thing to note about Now TV memberships is that customers don't have to take Now broadband to sign up for the deals.

Similarly, although there used to be benefits to taking both services together, those have largely disappeared now. We may still see free TV membership months as incentives to signing up to Now broadband, but these are rare.

TalkTalk TV changed their TV service back in November 2020, moving to a system where discounted Now TV memberships are available alongside integrated (paid) subscriptions to streaming services and catch-up apps.

The service itself costs £4 per month and then Now TV memberships can be purchased on top of that for the following monthly prices:

Now TV membership TalkTalk TV price
Entertainment Membership £5.99
Cinema Membership £6.99
Sports Membership £20
Kids Membership £3.98
Now Boost £1.98

These discounts only last for 12 months. After that, customers will pay full price for the memberships as detailed in the Now table above.

However, these discounts could make TalkTalk TV a more attractive option than paying full price direct to Now.

As well as the discounts on Now memberships, TalkTalk TV also comes with a set-top box offering Freeview and other TV integrations.

We've got more detail about TalkTalk TV in this dedicated guide to the service.

TV prices

Winner: TalkTalk are cheaper when discounts are taken into account.

Although TalkTalk TV doesn't have much originality these days, it still performs remarkably well in comparison to Now TV thanks to offering the same content with discounts.

While customers should be aware the discounts offered by TalkTalk TV wear off after 12 months, there's still chance to make some decent savings before that happens.

Plus, customers will receive a set-top box with Freeview access as part of the deal, something many households will find useful.


Winner: TalkTalk offer a basic set-top box with their TV service.

One of the benefits of Now TV memberships is they are flexible, rolling deals with no contract. As such, Now don't provide a set-top box with their memberships, and they're phasing out the TV box customers used to be able to buy in favour of a Smart Stick instead.

Even that may be unnecessary for many customers who can download the Now TV app onto their tablets, consoles, smart TVs, or existing set-top boxes.

However, customers who just want a simple set-top box to be supplied by Now (or available for additional purchase) are out of luck.

Conversely, TalkTalk TV do offer a basic set-top box to customers in the form of a non-recordable YouView box. This box doesn't have any storage capacity, but customers can use it to pause and rewind live TV for up to 30 minutes.

It's not a patch on BT's YouView+ box, but it's a basic option that allows customers to access Freeview services and their subscription content in one place.

We've got a comparison of TalkTalk and BT's YouView services to show the differences.

Customer service

Winner: Draw - TalkTalk have a poor record but Now's Trustpilot reviews are worse.

We don't have much information about Now's customer service since they aren't yet considered large enough to be included in regulator Ofcom's reports.

One thing we do know is that they have a poor reputation on customer review site Trustpilot with a TrustScore of 1.5 out of 5 from almost 10,000 reviews. This rates them as Bad, although it's worth noting many of the reviews on there relate to issues with Now TV memberships rather than their broadband service.

However, TalkTalk don't really have a better reputation on Trustpilot - they are rated Poor with a score of 2.5 from almost 58,000 reviews.

We've got more detail about TalkTalk's customer service thanks to Ofcom's reports. Unfortunately, it isn't positive reading for potential customers thanks to their high complaint levels and generally poor customer satisfaction.

For example, in the most recent quarterly complaint figures, TalkTalk had 19 complaints per 100,000 customers when the industry average is 16 (this was a reduction of their Q2 2020 peak of 22 when the average was 10. However, their TV complaint figures are now roughly in line with the industry average.

If we look at figures from Ofcom's 2020 Comparing Service Quality report, we find they are:

  • 78% of customers are satisfied with the overall service
  • 75% are satisfied with the service's reliability while 76% are satisfied with the speed
  • 44% are satisfied with the complaints handling while only 28% of complaints were completely resolved on first contact

It's worth remembering this report uses data from 2019, but their recent high complaint figures don't necessarily suggest they have massively improved.

Read more about customer service in UK broadband.

Our verdict: which is better?

Overall winner: Now edge this one thanks to their inclusive anytime calls.

Where to next?

This is a tricky one because both Now and TalkTalk have pros and cons in their columns.

We like Now thanks to their:

  • Cheap broadband deals
  • 30-day rolling broadband deals
  • Inclusive anytime deals
  • Flexible TV memberships

However, TalkTalk have the following going for them:

  • Cheap fibre broadband
  • Rolling out ultrafast services
  • Better router
  • TV service may work out cheaper

As both providers have a lacklustre customer service record, we can't use that to separate them either.

In the end, it may depend on the special offers each provider is running when a customer's searching for a new broadband deal and whether inclusive calls is a deal-breaker or not.


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