Having taken a bronze award at the 2021 Customer Experience Award’s ‘Customer Experience in Crisis’ category, you may be wondering whether you ought to switch your broadband supplier to TalkTalk. Well on paper there are many reasons to consider them and we’ll discuss these in more detail below.
With its headquarters based in Salford in Greater Manchester in England, TalkTalk was founded in 2003 as a subsidiary of Carphone Warehouse then became a standalone company in March 2010. Today, the company provides broadband, television and mobile services to over four million customers. They are Britain’s largest broadband network operator with 96% of the British population able to access their services, whether they are domestic customers or businesses.
TalkTalk operate in conjunction with various partner organisations in order to be Britain’s largest supplier of broadband to small businesses and consumers and with a comprehensive suite of Ethernet and Wide Area Network (WAN) products available, they pride themselves on being able to support businesses from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to the public sector.
TalkTalk Business is one of only four Mitel Platinum Partners in the UK. This is the highest level of accreditation that Mitel offers and it recognises businesses which represent the highest standards for Mitel’s solutions.
Irrespective of which fibre broadband package you choose, you will benefit from totally unlimited data, meaning that you will be able to use your broadband as much as you like with no usage caps, additional fees or traffic management which can cause frustrating buffering issues when streaming your favourite film or TV show. This is very attractive as there is nothing worse than receiving an unexpected bill due to unintentionally exceeding a data cap on a broadband package.
TalkTalk are big believers in the importance of delivering good customer service so they make sure that all of their deals are available to both new customers and existing ones, meaning that existing customers are never disadvantaged when their contract comes to an end and needs renewing. Their telephone lines are staffed Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 17:00 and they also have an online service centre which provides access to customer service agents 24/7.
TalkTalk are so confident that you will be happy with their internet and customer service that they offer a 30 day connection guarantee which states that should you be unhappy in any way with the connection during your first 30 days, you can break the contract and switch to a different supplier or tariff without incurring any penalties.
For families with children at home, TalkTalk broadband is an attractive proposition as the company’s routers have a built-in web filter which is designed to block inappropriate content as well as sites that could harbour malware. The web filter has two settings – the most basic of which is Virus Alerts which will notify you of potentially harmful websites, then there is KidSafe which is designed to keep children and teenagers safe online by preventing accidental or intentional access to inappropriate or unsafe websites. Their web filter will also allow parents to set a “homework time” which allows social networking sites and gaming sites to be blocked at specific times of the day.
TalkTalk is well known for offering some very attractive deals such as free money vouchers when you take out a new broadband package but their bundles are where they really excel.
Their broadband and phone packages include free landline calls to other TalkTalk customers as standard whilst their broadband and TV packages come with a NOW TV pass which allows you to enjoy the latest television, films and sport, and with the ability to pause and rewind live TV and a 7 day catch up, you’ll never be left out of the office gossip about that latest hit show.
It is worth noting, however, that if you wish to use your landline to talk to non-TalkTalk customers or to make international phone calls, you will need to select an appropriate bolt-on which will increase the monthly fee, or select a pay-as-you-go option noting that this could work out to be quite expensive if you use your landline more than you intended to.
If the benefits of TalkTalk have you excited, then you’re probably interested to know whether you will need a second mortgage to take out one of their packages.
You’ll be delighted to hear that this will not be necessary, as TalkTalk’s range of broadband deals is very competitively priced with their most basic Fibre 35 broadband package costing £23.50 a month for a 24 per month contract. This package will allow you totally unlimited data on up to 5 devices with an average download speed of 38 Mbps which will be more than sufficient for the majority of internet users.
If, however, you are part of a busy home with multiple internet users including one or more permanently home-based workers, the thought of a 38 Mbps download speed probably doesn’t excite you but don’t despair – TalkTalk have a package specifically for you! The Fibre 150 Ultrafast for Super Busy Homes package is very well named. It has a 145 Mbps average download speed and can be used to connect more than 10 devices to the internet at any given time. This comprehensive package is available for £29.95 a month on a 24 month contract but with a one-off £9.95 postage and packaging fee. This package also includes installation by a TalkTalk expert, free TalkTalk to TalkTalk calls and their award winning Wi-Fi Hub.
Although TalkTalk does not offer social tariffs for those on low incomes, they are the  only broadband supplier in the UK to instead work with the Department for Work and Pensions and JobCentre Plus to deliver a 38 Mbps broadband service free of charge to eligible job seekers who are claiming Universal Credit and don’t have an existing internet connection for a six month period. This is a hugely attractive offering as it has no tie-ins or restrictions, allowing customers to end the service at any point up to the end of the six months with no penalties or break clauses, rather than mandating that they take out a different broadband package with TalkTalk.
Unfortunately, although TalkTalk states that customer service is hugely important to them, they have  ranked second from bottom in Ofcom’s league table of complaints from consumers in Q4 2021. The majority of customer complaints related to issues with faults, service and provisioning issues, handling of customer complaints and billing.
Therefore it is worth bearing in mind that although their broadband deals are very attractive and their 30 day connection guarantee is reassuring, problems that arise downstream may not be handled as efficiently as you may expect.
Another potential drawback is that although you will benefit from free landline calls to other TalkTalk customers, you will have to pay for calls to landlines and mobiles belonging to people that are not TalkTalk customers, so if you are a regular landline user then you may be faced with higher bills than you are expecting or additional monthly contract costs to purchase an appropriate bolt-on.
Although neither of these issues is unsurmountable, they are worth bearing in mind when deciding whether or not to proceed with taking out a contract for broadband with TalkTalk and if customer service is the deciding factor for you then you may be wise to select a provider who ranks more highly in this respect.
Although the customer service may not be as favourable as you would like, if you are an avid gamer, full time home-worker and regularly enjoy streaming feature length films then TalkTalk’s Future Fibre packages are bound to be of interest. Offering full fibre to your home with no copper wiring involved and inclusive of specialist mesh routers, you will be able to access speeds of up to 900Mbps which is previously unheard of and the prices we’re hearing about are likely to be competitive, although they may be higher than the average individual or family will be comfortable paying if the service will not be exploited to its full potential. The Future Fibre packages are also only available at present in certain postcode areas and you can check whether you live in an eligible area on the TalkTalk website, using their postcode checker tool.
Whilst TalkTalk’s free 6 months of broadband for eligible job seekers is a very generous and incredibly attractive deal, if you are in debt and cannot afford to maintain a much needed internet line at the end of the 6 months period, or if you are not eligible for the scheme, there are organisations that you can turn to for financial support.
The  Money Advice Service is a free, impartial service set up by the government to provide you with support in managing your finances. They offer help and support with budgeting, making the most of your Universal Credit payments, debt advice and more.
They also have a range of tools and calculators designed to help you to understand and manage your finances.
If you are in debt and struggling to afford the broadband that you require but do not qualify for social tariffs and are ineligible for TalkTalk’s free 6 months broadband deal then the  Citizen’s Advice Bureau or a dedicated debt charity such as  StepChange is a sensible place to turn for tailored help and advice.
TalkTalk are a major player in the broadband industry and are at the cutting edge of home broadband technology which makes them an exciting prospect for those wishing to fully exploit the capabilities of their offerings.
They also offer a very competitively priced range of standalone broadband and broadband bundle deals, making them an attractive proposition for individuals and families intending on using their broadband for everyday activities such as browsing social media, checking emails and watching on-demand television services. With no usage caps or fees and high levels of customisable security as standard, TalkTalk broadband is about as low risk as they come.
They are the only broadband provider in the country to offer job seekers free broadband to support them in securing paid work.
On balance, there is much more to like than to dislike about TalkTalk, therefore our only caution is, before you sign up, to ensure that you are comfortable with the knowledge that your customer service experience should you encounter issues may not be as favourable as you would like it to be. With that said, the future plans for fibre provision and competitive package prices make them a worthy contender.
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