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John Lewis Broadband Explained

John Lewis is best known as the 'never knowingly undersold' department store, but since 2012 it has also been offering its own broadband services. It isn't one of the cheapest suppliers, but relies on its reputation for straightforward deals backed by excellent customer service.

John Lewis service

Unless you need a new phone line installed, there are no upfront charges with John Lewis broadband. You won't even be charged for the delivery of the router.

All John Lewis broadband packages come with free evening and weekend calls as standard and there are no usage limits.

The company regularly offers gift card deals as an incentive when you sign up to its broadband packages. These cards can be spent in John Lewis and Waitrose stores around the UK.

Although sold under the John Lewis name, the broadband service you get is actually provided by Plusnet, a BT subsidiary. Like John Lewis, Plusnet has a reputation for good customer service. However, the John Lewis broadband offering is quite different from Plusnet's. Being part of BT also means that the network coverage on offer extends to 95 percent of UK households.

John Lewis prides itself on offering straightforward deals so there are no hidden costs such as activation fees and delivery charges for routers. Pricing is also transparent, with the same charges wherever you are in the UK. This is something that by no means all service providers offer. In fact, Plusnet itself charges different rates depending on where you are.

Broadband offers

John Lewis broadband offers three different packages. There's a basic ADSL option offering 10Mbps average download speeds, free evening and weekend calls, a freephone customer support line and a free wireless N router. You need to sign up to a 12 month contract.

John Lewis broadband also offers two fibre deals. Standard fibre offers 36Mbps average download speeds, unlimited usage and all of the options above. Fibre Extra gives you all of the above with 66Mbps speeds for downloads and 18Mbps for uploads, which is great for cloud users. All have unlimited usage. Fibre packages come with an AC-rated router as standard. This should mean more reliable connections and better coverage throughout your home. You also have the option to use your own router if you prefer.

John Lewis packages come with online security included. Windows users can download the Bullguard internet security package which offers, antivirus, antispyware, spam filter, firewall and online backup. Mac users can get the Intengo security software at a 30 per cent discount.

Free evening and weekend calls are included in all packages. If you are a heavy phone user, there's the option of Anytime calls or Anytime and International which gives you 300 free minutes to 35 overseas destinations. You can also add a Mobile Bolt-on that gives you free calls to UK mobiles.

Choosing packages

Which package is best for you will come down to your household and how you use the internet. The 10Mbps ADSL offering will be fine for small or one-person households if you want to check emails, shop and bank online and so forth. It should also be adequate for streaming provided that you are only doing so on one device.

If you have two people streaming at the same time or you want to enjoy some online gaming then you'll need to look at the fibre packages. The standard deal should be fine for most households, but if you are a heavy cloud user - uploading files and photos to online storage - or if you want to stream 4K content, then you should consider the Fibre Extra deal.

Remember that all John Lewis broadband packages come with free evening and weekend calls. This applies to calls of up to one hour in duration, so if you like to chat for a long time you'll need to hang up after an hour and dial again to avoid being charged. If you don't use your landline phone very much then this may, of course, mean you're paying for something you don't need and you may be able to get a cheaper deal elsewhere by opting for a broadband-only service that doesn't come with a call package.

Remember that John Lewis has UK-based customer service, if this is important to you then it could be a deciding factor in opting for this supplier over some of the alternatives.

Things to beware of

There are a number of points to bear in mind when considering John Lewis as a broadband provider. Firstly, there are no standalone broadband packages, all come with a landline call plan.

Secondly, the minimum contract is 12 months; this may not suit you if you are looking for a more flexible arrangement. Thirdly, although support is UK-based it isn't 24 hour. Support phone lines are closed at night, so this may not suit you if you are relying on your broadband to run a small business, for example.

Finally, calls to mobile numbers are not included in any of the standard call plans. You can add mobile calls to your package but it will cost you an extra £5 per month on top of the cost of an anytime call plan.

How long does a switch to John Lewis broadband take?

As with other suppliers, once you're signed up to John Lewis' service, they will contact your existing supplier and handle everything for you. Usually, a switch should be completed in 10 to 12 days.

Can I keep my old phone number?

Usually yes, however, there are some instances when this is not possible. You should be informed if this is the case when you sign up.

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