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TalkTalk review: Full-fibre speeds, but service is poor

Barry Collins
1 Mar 2023
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT, per month

TalkTalk’s full-fibre performance is impressive, but poor customer service and rising prices dent its appeal

Solid Wi-Fi 6 routers on fastest connections
A bigger full-fibre footprint than most
Highly commended for reliability
Customer service remains wayward
Not as competitive on price as it once was
High levels of customer complaints

TalkTalk has carved out a reputation for offering broadband at rock-bottom prices. However, if you compare the deals in the table below to rivals such as the award-winning Plusnet, you’ll find it’s not as cheap as its reputation might have you believe.

So, if TalkTalk’s not undercutting rivals, what does it offer to entice customers? On the plus side, it offers fibre speeds of up to 944Mbits/sec in some areas, and its fastest fibre packages come with the highly regarded Amazon eero routers. Contract lengths are kept down to 18 months and there’s no upfront charges on any of its tariffs, which is unusual.

There’s little to worry about when it comes to reliability, either, with TalkTalk picking up a highly commended award for the steadiness of its service. In our annual customer survey – hosted in partnership with YouGov – 78% of the TalkTalk customers said they were satisfied with the reliability of the service.

However, when it comes to customer service, the cracks start to emerge. Only 17% of customers described themselves as very satisfied with customer service, and only just over half (52%) were impressed with the service from the contact centre. Complaints to Ofcom about TalkTalk are relatively high, too.

Still, if you’re prepared to take a chance on customer service, here’s what TalkTalk has to offer.

Browse TalkTalk Broadband packages now

TalkTalk review: Fast Broadband

TalkTalk does still offer ADSL lines in selected regions. The company wouldn’t even give us an average speed for these, stating it depends on the customer’s specific line. The price is quite steep compared to the ADSL tariff from rival Now Broadband.

TalkTalk Broadband review: Fibre 35 and Fibre 65

In the ever-confusing world of broadband tariff names, Fibre 35 and Fibre 65 are the tariffs on offer for customers who can’t get full fibre, and instead rely on fibre-to-the-cabinet.

At the time of writing, both are priced at £24 a month, which makes absolutely no sense. We can only think the slower package exists for customers who are a long distance from their local fibre cabinet and simply can’t get the faster speed, although they might well feel slightly cheated that they’re paying the same as those on lines that are (theoretically at least) twice as fast.

Customers on these packages get the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub, not the Amazon eero routers. The smart-looking Wi-Fi Hub is based on the older Wi-Fi 5 standard, but that should be OK for the relatively modest connection speeds we’re talking about here. Four gigabit Ethernet ports on the rear are handy for wiring up set-top boxes and the like. Nevertheless, we’d prefer the eero gear…

READ NEXT: Expert Reviews Broadband Awards 2023

TalkTalk Broadband review: Full Fibre 65, 150, 500 and Fibre 900

TalkTalk’s range of full-fibre tariffs warrant closer inspection. At the bottom end, you might wonder what the difference between Fibre 65 and Full Fibre 65 is, but if you look closely, the Full Fibre 65 tariff offers a higher average speed of 77Mbits/sec. (It’s a bit of a mystery why it’s even called 65.)

It’s also worth noting that customers on the Full Fibre 65 tariff are supplied with the TalkTalk Wi-Fi Hub, whereas those on 150, 500 and 900 get eero router equipment. Not only is the eero Pro 6 a Wi-Fi 6 router, which should theoretically offer better speeds than the Wi-Fi 5 Hub, it’s also a mesh system, so easily extendable if you can get good Wi-Fi reception in a back bedroom or home office, for example.

That being the case, we’d be tempted to ignore the Full Fibre 65 and pick from one of the faster options, not least because Full Fibre 150 is only £4 more expensive per month for twice the download speed.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best wireless-extenders

TalkTalk Broadband Products and Prices

Fast BroadbandFibre 35Fibre 65Full Fibre 65Full Fibre 150Full Fibre 500Full Fibre 900
Price per month (inc line rental)£21.95£24£24£26£29.95£39£49
Upfront cost*£9.95FreeFreeFreeFreeFreeFree
Stated download speedNot stated38Mbits/sec67Mbits/sec77Mbits/sec152Mbits/sec525Mbits/sec944Mbits/sec
Usage allowanceUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Contract length18 months18 months18 months18 months18 months18 months18 months

*Some TalkTalk tariffs may incur an upfront cost, depending on current promotions

TalkTalk Broadband review: Coverage

Like BT, EE and Plusnet, TalkTalk is largely reliant on the Openreach network. That means 96% population coverage for fibre-to-the-cabinet (or TalkTalk’s Fibre tariffs).

TalkTalk also uses Openreach for full fibre, but it has wholesale deals with CityFibre and Community Fibre too, meaning you might find the top-speed TalkTalk products in places that rival broadband providers don’t reach. That said, you’ll still likely have to be in a city or major town if you’re hoping for a full-fibre connection.

TalkTalk Broadband review: Performance and Customer Satisfaction

Performance largely isn’t an issue for TalkTalk. A notable 78% of TalkTalk customers said they were satisfied with the service’s reliability in our survey, and 70% said they were satisfied with the speed. Ofcom’s figures would largely back that up: TalkTalk’s fibre-to-the-cabinet lines marginally outperform those of rivals, and its full-fibre lines generally average above their stated speed, with the exception of the Full Fibre 500 lines.

It's customer service where TalkTalk lets itself down. A worrying 14% of TalkTalk customers said they were not satisfied with the customer service, the second worst score of the eight providers on test here. Similarly, 28% of customers were left unhappy after getting in touch with the contact centre. Ofcom’s findings are similar, with TalkTalk attracting 18 complaints per 100,000 customers, well above the industry average of 11.

That suspect customer service harms TalkTalk’s reputation: only 12% of customers said they were very likely to recommend the company, the worst score of any provider here.

Browse TalkTalk Broadband packages now

TalkTalk Broadband review: Verdict

When TalkTalk was the cheapest provider on the block, many customers may have been prepared to put up with its sub-par customer service. Now its prices are similar, or in some cases more expensive, than those of its rivals, customers might justifiably wonder why the company hasn’t got its act together.

The addition of eero router hardware on its fastest full-fibre lines is a welcome step in the right direction, but TalkTalk needs to improve its all-round service if it wants to be in contention for more awards.


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4,664 adults, of which 344 are TalkTalk users. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17 and 19 January 2023 and the survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

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