Free Broadband From TalkTalk: Where’s the Catch

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TalkTalk, the home phone branch of the Carphone Warehouse, recently announced its new ‘free broadband’ package, claiming that it would cut bills by 60%.

TalkTalk, the home phone branch of the Carphone Warehouse, recently announced its new ‘free broadband’ package, claiming that it would cut bills by 60%.

The free broadband package will be launched in July 2006, and offers subscribers an unlimited home phone package that includes local, national and international calls. TalkTalk are now taking advanced orders now for this deal.

How much will it cost?

To receive free broadband, customers must sign up for TalkTalk’s line rental, at £11 per month. That’s the same amount you’d be paying to BT though, so don’t panic.

You also need to pay for the phone package on top of your line rental, which is an extra £9.99 per month. That said, call charges on top of this should be limited as all your local and national calls are included in the £9.99 charge. International calls are also included if you’re calling one of the 28 countries on TalkTalk’s list – these include the whole of the EU, Australia and the US.

So, in total, most customers will pay £20.99 per month for their phone line, all their calls, and broadband. There is also a one off £29.99 set up fee.

How fast is the TalkTalk broadband service?

TalkTalk is currently boasting of speeds of up to 8Mb. To give you an idea of how fast that is, most home broadband packages in the UK are around the 0.5 to 2Mbps mark. (Carry out a free broadband speed test at to find out what you currently are getting.)

The problem with offering such a fast service is that the current phone exchanges can’t cope with it, so most homes will start off with speeds of up to 2Mb. As TalkTalk tours the country upgrading the exchanges, connection speeds will become faster, but this is likely to take a while.

TalkTalk aims to cover enough exchanges by May 2007 to enable 70% of the UK’s houses to receive 8Mb broadband.

Are there any drawbacks to the service?

The 40 GB download limit may not seem like an immediate issue, but with the pending launch of various Broadband TV services and the increasing popularity of services like iTunes, we at Broadbandchoices would urge caution before signing an 18 month contract.

Is it worth signing up for TalkTalk’s free broadband?

There has been a lot of excitement about this announcement on the national news. Most households will spend around £11 per month on line rental, plus the cost of their calls, plus at least £13 per month on broadband, so this new package obviously undercuts everything that’s currently available.

The main drawback is the long 18 month contract and relatively low starting speed (until the exchanges are upgraded). If the promised 8Mb speed is important to you, you should consider there may be a delay getting the higher speeds while work is carried out on the exchanges.

Other Broadband providers are offering a lot of free extras like wireless routers, anti-virus software, firewalls and free VOIP calls so it’s still worth shopping around for your best broadband deal.


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James Bergin
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