BT Infinity broadband review

bt infinity

TO infinity broadband and... well, that's it.

Our Rating

Value for money:

Customer service:

5 out of 5

From the latest offers to the last word on speeds, this review covers everything there is to know about BT's superfast service.

The six things we need to know

To keep things simple we've boiled Infinity down to six things customers should really know to get the measure of the service.

To get a quick overview skip ahead to our conclusion.

1. Special offers

BT are known for offering Sainsbury's gift cards of various values to new customers signing up to take Infinity online. Click here to visit BT's site for the latest deals.

They also tend to offer better deals for Infinity than they do for their standard broadband packages. These deals change frequently, however, so it's worth keeping an eye out and timing any possible moves to grab a good one.

What's on offer? When you join online for:
bt Black Friday Offer: Unlimited BT Infinity 1 just £10 for 12 months, then £30/mth, + £100 Prepaid MasterCard.
Hurry! Offer ends in 2 days!
30 November 2015
Unlimited BT Infinity 1 + Weekend Calls
bt Black Friday Offer: Unlimited Broadband just £5 for 12 months, then £18/mth, + £50 Prepaid MasterCard.
Hurry! Offer ends in 2 days!
30 November 2015
BT Unlimited Broadband + Weekend Calls
bt £100 Prepaid MasterCard
Hurry! Offer ends in 2 days!
30 November 2015
BT Infinity Broadband
bt £50 Prepaid MasterCard
Hurry! Offer ends in 2 days!
30 November 2015
BT Broadband
bt Free phone line installation or reconnection worth £130With any BT Broadband package

We endeavour to keep this article up to date, but offers are subject to change at short notice. Please check with the BT site for the most up to date information.

2. What's available where

By the summer of 2015, more than five years after Infinity's launch, the fibre service had been made available to more than 80% of the UK, with the promise that 90% of premises will have access by 2016, and 95% coverage will be reached by 2017.

Even so, some households will only get a limited range of deals, so it's worth checking with a postcode search:

Enter your phone number and / or postcode above to check availability in your area.

As we said, BT Infinity is still rolling out, so if it isn't yet available in a particular are, there's a fair chance it will be within the next year or so.

For those in Infinity-ready areas, the deals break down like this:

Package Speeds Limit Line rental Price
bt BT Infinity 1 Up to 38Mb 40GB £17.99 £10
for 12 mths,
then £21
bt BT Unlimited Infinity 1 Up to 38Mb Unlimited £17.99 £10
for 12 mths,
then £23
bt Unlimited BT Infinity 2 Up to 76Mb Unlimited £17.99 £30

For more information on the various package options, including those that come with BT's pay TV service, see our main BT review here.

Download limits

With BT Infinity there are just two options in terms of data usage: 40GB and unlimited.

The recent return to a 40GB cap is most welcome; it's a reasonable amount, and a definite improvement on the 20GB limit BT brought in back in December 2013.

Superfast broadband is best used for downloading files and streaming content; 40GB a month enough for watching about 12 hours of standard quality video online a month.

Anyone who goes over the limit will be charged for the extra data in units of 1GB, at a cost of £1.50 per unit.

This is an improvement on the old system, where BT would charge people £5.60 for every 5GB unit they went over their limit by: someone who went over by just under 1GB would still have been charged £5.60, for example.

But it's still worth having a good idea of how much data we're likely to use - we've a guide here.

Anyone who thinks they'll go over the 40GB limit more than once every now and again may find it cheaper to go with the unlimited package.

Keen users of streaming services like Netflix (reviewed here), Amazon Video, or Now TV (review here) should probably err on the side of caution and go for an unlimited deal.

At least it's no longer the case that users with a capped deal are subject to traffic management.

BT relaxed their traffic management policies for their unlimited customers in February 2013, but it's only been in the past few months that they've extended this to their capped broadband deals as well.

BT say they're "very proud" that everyone who takes their broadband can now download what they what, from wherever they want - and they won't be slowed down for doing so.

It's a bold claim from such a large provider, and one we're keeping an eye on.

See our guide to fair use here for more on BT's fair use policy and traffic management.

3. You need a phone line

Another point worth noting from the table above is that BT Infinity subscribers need to have a working BT phone line with a BT calls package.

Unlike with Virgin Media, it's not possible to get BT's fibre without a home phone line.

That means it's vital to factor in at least the cost shown in the table above for line rental when considering BT Infinity.

Some BT Infinity packages come without any inclusive calls, but there's almost always the option to get weekend calls at the very least.

People going for the budget option used to be able to add evening and weekend calls for an extra few pounds per month, but now anytime calls at £7.95 a month are the minimum add-on for the no calls package.

4. The BT Home Hub 5 is a cut above

bt home hub 5

It's also worth noting all the Infinity deals now come with the BT Home Hub 5.

Like its predecessor described in the video below, the router has been designed to cut out signal interference that can slow down wireless connections in the home by switching to the least used wireless band automatically.

Both the 4 and 5 will switch devices to a fast 5GHz 802.11n band when necessary, as well as using the slower 2.4GHz 802.11a/b/g protocols.

This simultaneous dual band means the router is able to provide two separate network connections - one for devices such as iPhones, which use the 802.11a/b/g protocol, and one for devices able to connect using 802.11n, such as an Xbox or the home computer.

In brief, this means devices that can connect at the fastest speeds aren't affected by older devices, mobile phones or other equipment around the home like remote controlled toys or microwaves.

But BT also say the Home Hub 5 offers faster wireless connectivity whichever band it uses, giving older, slower, devices, or those out of range of the 5GHz band, a bit of a boost.

bt home hub 5

In addition, the Home Hub 5 is a VDSL modem as well as a wireless router, which means new BT Infinity customers won't have an extra box cluttering up the house.

The hub also boasts a faster processor and a slightly improved power saving mode than its predecessors.

The power saving feature helps to reduce power consumption when the connection isn't being used, without disconnecting the broadband - something which can cause havoc with smart equipment in the exchange, reducing speeds on what it detects to be an "unstable" line.

All in all, the BT Home Hub 5 offers far more than most other ISPs' routers.

5. It really is superfast

BT and Virgin Media are the only major UK infrastructure providers to offer FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) broadband throughout the country.

Both are using more or less the same technology: fibre to a cabinet, one of those green boxes on the street, and then copper cable from the cabinet to the home.

However, a slight difference in delivery - explained further here - means that BT advertise speeds of "up to" 38Mb or 76Mb - slower than Virgin's up to 50Mb, 100Mb or 200Mb broadband deals, as they're now advertised.

And that speed difference is real.

The most recent Ofcom research into speeds, released in February 2015, found the following averages:

Advertised speed Ofcom average speed
(over 24 hours)
virgin media Up to 152Mb 129.5Mb - 135.8Mb
virgin media Up to 100Mb 94.3Mb - 99.5Mb
bt Up to 76Mb 59.9Mb - 63.1Mb
virgin media Up to 50Mb 52.5Mb - 53.3Mb
bt Up to 38Mb 32.1Mb - 34.4Mb

Aside from the obvious speed differences between BT and Virgin Media, however, these figures demonstrate that fibre broadband connections are far less likely to see speeds drop over long distances or suffer problems with interference.

With the exception of Virgin's 152Mb broadband (as was their top speed then), both providers come much closer to delivering on the speeds they advertise - the infamous "up to" - than they do on ADSL lines.

Virgin have the edge, but both really do deliver on their speed promises.

That said, BT Infinity beats Virgin on speeds when it comes to uploads.

With their up to 76Mb deal, BT promise up to 19Mb upload speeds while Virgin Media deliver upload speeds of less than 10% of download speeds (their 152Mb and 200Mb deals have top upload speeds of just 12Mb).

Virgin's uploads have actually got a bit slower too. In the same set of Ofcom tests we mention above, these were the upload speeds on offer, and the averages achieved over a 24 hour period:

Advertised Speed Ofcom Average Speed
bt up to 76Mb
(19Mb upload)
virgin media up to 152Mb
(15Mb upload)
bt up to 38Mb
(9.5Mb upload)
virgin media up to 100Mb
(6Mb upload)
virgin media up to 50Mb
(3Mb upload)

SOURCE: Ofcom, February 2015.

A very small number of households may also have one of BT's two ultrafast packages, offering up to 160Mb or 300Mb.

Based on BT's fibre to the home (FTTH, also known as FTTP - to the premises), technology, the cost of installation and taking the service has meant that after a short period on sale in a very limited number of locations, it's unavailable for the foreseeable future.

For a fuller comparison of broadband speeds see our fastest broadband guide here.

6. BT can sometimes be the cheapest provider

The BT Openreach fibre service is available from other providers, which means customers can get almost the same thing for a different price, elsewhere.

Every now and again it turns out that BT are offering some of the best value deals - especially when we take their introductory offers and vouchers into account - sometimes beating some of the "budget" providers.

Here's a quick breakdown of the main contenders reselling BT Infinity:

Packages offering BT fibre "up to 38Mb" speeds:

Package Speeds Limit Line rental Price Total monthly
BT Infinity 1 + Line rental Up to 38Mb 40GB £17.99 £10
for 12 mths,
then £21
for 12 mths,
then £38.99
BT Unlimited Infinity 1 + Weekend calls Up to 38Mb Unlimited £17.99 £10
for 12 mths,
then £23
for 12 mths,
then £40.99
plusnet Unlimited Fibre + Line Only Up to 38Mb Unlimited £16.99 £5
for 6 mths,
then £14.99
for 6 mths,
then £31.98
Sky Fibre Unlimited + Talk Up to 38Mb Unlimited £17.40 £10
for 12 mths,
then £20
for 12 mths,
then £37.40
talktalk SimplyBroadband + Fibre Medium Up to 38Mb Unlimited £17.70 £5
for 18 mths,
then £17.50
for 18 mths,
then £35.20

Packages offering BT fibre "up to 76Mb" speeds:

Package Speeds Limit Line rental Price Total monthly
bt Unlimited Infinity 2 + Evening & Weekend calls Up to 76Mb Unlimited £17.99 £30 £47.99
plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra + Line Only Up to 76Mb Unlimited £16.99 £10
for 6 mths,
then £19.99
for 6 mths,
then £36.98
talktalk SimplyBroadband + Fibre Large Up to 76Mb Unlimited £17.70 £10
for 18 mths,
then £22.50
for 18 mths,
then £40.20

The wholesale product behind these packages is the same, and even the underlying physical engineering support is carried out by BT Openreach.

But the different ISPs reselling BT fibre each have their own customer service, technical support (before calling in Openreach, that is), traffic management and usage policies, and different add-on features and benefits.

In other words, it's not quite as simple as comparing by price alone, as the ISPs listed above don't necessarily offer an identical service.

For that reason, we've written a separate guide to the differences between the providers reselling BT fibre here.

So: is BT Infinity any good?

BT infinity broadband is superfast - and it really is superfast - from the big daddy of broadband.

That means 24/7 telephone support, and optional extras like TV and online storage.

The prices are competitive too.

Both deals compare fairly well with Virgin Media and with ISPs who offer a resold Infinity service. And while other providers, including Plusnet - full review here - offer similar deals for less than BT, they tend to come without quite so many frills.

All in all, race to Infinity sounds about right.


11 November 2015

BT have still not been able to provide me with any broadband service, since I started paying for it at the beginning of August 2015. Despite numerous conversations with customer services in India, and an engineer visit, I am still waiting for a part at the exchange to be replaced.

29 September 2015

I struggled with a slow ADSL line for 2 years with talktalk, They sent numerous engineers out and finally fixed my line a few months ago. Now I connect at 20Mb/s however it's too late for them as BT are coming to install FTTP in a weeks time. ADSL is a nightmare.

20 March 2015

One thing that they got wrong in the review was the statement that both BT and Virgin Media do FTTC which is not true. VM use DOCSIS 3.0 on a coax cable network. Very similar though.

23 February 2015

I'm a BT customer. Infinity is available in my area and my local box is enabled, but BT have told me as I'm more than 1.1 miles from it Infinity can't cope with the distance and it won't improve my 3Mb speed I get on standard broadband. An independent comparison website has said distance has no impact and BT have more than likely sold all the capacity and are fobbing me off. Who is right?

29 September 2015

If you're only getting 3Mb's then you have a really bad line. You could try asking if FTTP is available to you. Failing that you could try to convince openreach to install a new copper line but it's a daunting task and you will spend weeks on the phone. It took me 2 years to get my line replaced but when they did my speeds went from 3Mbps to 20Mbps and that's an ADSL connection.

19 July 2014
wayne shearer

I've been with Virgin, TalkTalk, Sky and now joining BT. When I previously had Virgin fibre it worked flawlessly for the whole 18 months, but when I moved from Devon back to Durham Virgin was not available.

So in our new home we went with TalkTalk but moved to Sky shortly afterwards. (TalkTalk customer support is a joke by the way).

After having enough of living in a small village in the middle of nowhere we moved yet again but unfortunately Sky could not offer us fibre as there was no space on the exchange left. A problem that took Sky 3 weeks to inform us of.

So here I sit waiting for 6 more days to pass for my Infinity 2 with Home Hub 5. Fingers crossed this is the one :)

5 June 2014

Worth noting it is Home Hub 5 now.

4 June 2014

If you have BT already do they need to put in a separate (new) line or do they just change some wires at the cabinet?

20 March 2015

No, they will not install a new line as all the new line installations are done at the cabinet. You will need a separate VDSL modem though.

24 May 2014
myself v2

Very well detailed guide. Will be switching from Virgin Media to BT very soon since the upload thresholds are just appalling. I can barely stream to TV for more than an hour before being throttled to less than 50% speeds. Just an awful business model for a supposed "access" provider. If there is stress on your lines, use our money for upgrading the infrastructure. This isn't rocket science for goodness sake.

8 May 2014
Dianne Campbell

I am thinking of changing to BT from Sky (had equipment now for 6 years) and they of course only want to look after 'New' customers! Just wondering on the TV/phone/broadband deal if I can record programs from the TV whilst watching a different channel.

9 May 2014
Choose team

See our BT TV guide for more on this

17 April 2014
Mackie B

I've been a BT customer for a few years and wanted a new deal but like somebody else noted, existing customers actually pay more, don't get the vouchers nor some of the options. This can equate to several hundreds of pounds. So much for loyalty. BT you need to keep customers as well as get new ones. I'm off elsewhere, to get the same internet AND save money.

7 February 2014

Ditched Virgin Media after months of problems. Ripping me off charging for (up to 120Mb) when in reality all they could deliver was my original 60Mb. Rude retentions department personnel when they finally get the message that a 6 year customer has finally had enough with their lousy service.

Waiting for infinity 2. In the mean time on BT broadband getting 10Mb unlimited I'm getting rock solid connection (absolutely unheard of with Virgin). I'm streaming Netflix to a smart TV, browsing on 2 tablets in the house AND a couple of smart phones.

Connects without any delay. And that's at 10Mb. I'm quite taken to the size and design of the Hub 4 it's so cute lol.

I'm glad I've changed to BT. Why sugar coat and go with a company that piggy backs onto BT in the first place. I'm glad I chose them.....
OK 1 niggle. The Indian call centres can be frustrating.

6 February 2014

The comparison with Virgin is meaningless as they drop your connection to 1.5Mb if you stream a movie for more than an hour. All they are providing is a 1.5Mb connection with the ability to burst occasionally to the upper limit. I know from experience with a 30Mb Virgin connection and a 16Mb BT ADSL2 connection that the BT was more useable more of the time.

18 November 2014

True. And they keep saying long landline problems (50m to exchange). I left Virgin alone.

31 January 2014
Dillon Crowe

BT won't offer me the Sainsbury's voucher because for some unknown reason my address doesn't show up on the online postcode search. Their response is "tough luck, you can order over the phone but you won't receive the voucher" Really frustrating.

24 January 2014

Just got infinity2 today, disappointed I loose signal after 9 yards. Beware.

20 January 2014

How many items can you have connected to BT Infinity?

3 January 2014

My dad had nothing but problems when he switched to Infinity, constantly cutting off. BT charge you top dollar for it... TalkTalk charge way less for the same thing, even beating BT on the line rental alone! If you go with BT then expect to get ripped off!

29 September 2015

It's not the same thing, BT's network infrastructure is superior to talktalk, lower pings, faster web browsing etc. You really do get what you pay for here and it's worth paying a bit extra for BT.

27 July 2014

Jon ... Find out which equipment TalkTalk are using... then come back here. Lol.

16 April 2014
Naomi Huntley

BT are fine, I have had no problems with them and I'm on Infinity, maybe it's the way you set it up.

20 August 2013
Dave Prothero

Is it possible to run 2 TV's with the BT hub as you can with Sky?

13 October 2013

Yes, apparently you can use it on up to 4 TV's, but you need an adapter, as you will have to connect it to the same hub and watch the same channel on both/all the TV's (unlike Sky & Virgin, where you can watch different channels on different TV's) apparently that option should be on it's way in the New Year (2014).

10 April 2013
Pablo Canales

I am a BT client, broadband 40Mb, my real download speed and upload speed are, 6.9Mb and 1.1Mb, respectively. After reading this article, I decided to move towards an fibre optic plan since internet speed could be more stable. Nice to have a £40 voucher in Sainsburys for doing so. However it was more important the fact that I can shift from an optic fibre plan to my former plan if I move my flat to another without fibre optic.

25 March 2013
J Mckay

The £100 gift card is not available to existing BT customers. Not fair!

25 March 2013

Just cancelled my contract with Virgin shocking bad customer service, 60Mb broadband and I was lucky to get 30Mb with Virgin and the final straw was when I phoned up and complained about the service to be then informed of a problem with my connection that would restrict me to 16Mb to nothing until August for 5 months, all this after being with them for over 10 years.

17 November 2015

Hi, Karl. Hope you're still happy with the change from Virgin to BT. We are still with Virgin after many years and are seriously thinking of giving up Virgin as again yesterday they were having broadband issues in my area, which also happened a month previous, I'm not entirely convinced that BT are the solution as some reviews aren't very complementary. What do you think after your change to BT?

10 January 2013

Great review, lots of info. We have just ordered BT Infinity 2 and hope to see a big improvement over the very slow adsl line at the moment 2.65Mbps.

18 October 2013

How long is it between line takeover and the broadband engineer visit?

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