Broadband

Box Broadband review: should you take a chance on this fibre provider?

Fibre optic broadband
Full fibre: Box Broadband offers gigabit speeds

Box Broadband is a name you probably haven’t heard of. It’s one of the new breed of smaller, fibre broadband providers that have popped up all over the UK. The company is laying fibre in the south of England, in towns such as Dorking, Bexhill and Burgess Hill and it’s offering gigabit broadband at a ridiculously cheap price. So cheap, I couldn’t refuse. Should you take a chance too? Here’s my Box Broadband review.

How fast is Box Broadband?

Box Broadband is a full-fibre network, which means it uses fibre optic cable all the way from its data centres to your door. That means you can get ridiculously fast speeds.

At the time of writing, Box Broadband offers three different broadband speed tiers: 100Mbits/sec, 300Mbits/sec and 1Gbit/sec (or 1,000Mbits/sec). Those lines are symmetrical, so you get the same speed up as you do down.

You do truly get those speeds too. The Speedtest.net result shown below was taken on my 1Gbit/sec connection. As you can see, it’s only fractionally below the stated speeds, although I have seen speeds dip at peak times, although never below 550Mbits/sec, which is more bandwidth than I could ever need for the time being.

How much does Box Broadband cost?

With those speeds, you’re probably thinking it’s going to cost a couple of limbs. Think again. As a new provider eager to hoover up customers, Box Broadband is offering staggeringly good deals at the time of writing.

The 1Gbit/sec service is currently on offer at £24.95 per month, with free installation. I got my first three months for free, because I signed up for a two-year contract at that price.

The 100Mbits/sec service is on offer at £19.95 per month, while the 300Mbits/sec is at £34.95 with no discount. Yes, that makes it more expensive than the gigabit.

Why would they do that? Well, the standard price of those deals is £24.95 (100Mbits/sec), £34.95 (300Mbits/sec) and £44.95 (1Gbit/sec), so the company is clearly hoping to get people hooked on those higher speeds and then roll them on to the higher price at the end of their contract. However, in my experience, there’s always a deal to be done when it comes to contract renewal, so I’d regard those regular prices as a worst-case scenario.

Box Broadband also offers telephone and TV add-ons, but I see little value in buying those in these days of free mobile calls and TV-on-demand.

How reliable is Box Broadband?

Things didn’t get off to a great start with Box Broadband. The company turned up several hours late on my installation date, and then it failed to complete the installation on that day because of a fault at the local cabinet. It was three working days later before the connection was finally switched on. It wasn’t a disaster, because the company doesn’t use the traditional telephone/Openreach infrastructure, so I could keep my existing broadband running until Box Broadband was switched on.

I strongly suggest you don’t cancel your current broadband until you’re up and running. You should get at least a couple of months of free service thrown in with your deal, so you shouldn’t have to pay double.

The physical installation wasn’t perfect, either. As you can see from the image below, the engineers left the socket hanging an inch or two away from the wall (I thought they were coming back when they couldn’t get the service running immediately, but they didn’t return).

Box Broadband installation

When I reported this to the company, its support staff said I could simply push that socket into the wall, but I’ve not been able to do so and don’t want to force it as fibre optics are delicate. The socket is largely hidden in my home, so I’m not too bothered, but it’s a poor effort from the engineers.

When it comes to service reliability, I’ve been live for around a month now, and I’ve only noticed one outage, for around two hours on my second day. The company said this was due to a fault at the cabinet, and I can forgive such problems with a relatively new installation. However, the company offers no service status on its website or social media, which meant I had to call to find out what’s going on, which is disappointing.

Other interactions I’ve had with Box Broadband’s customer service have been mixed. Phones are generally answered promptly, except at weekends, but the quality of support has been variable. However, I was hugely impressed when one of the staff hand delivered a modem to my door so that I could use my own router equipment instead of the supplied router. Talking of which…

Which router does Box Broadband supply?

I was supplied with a Nokia G-2425G router. It’s a Wi-Fi 6 router with four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the rear. The range of the router was pretty good, reaching all three floors of my house and the outside office in a detached converted garage with reasonable signal strength.

However, the router’s features are pretty rudimentary and there’s not much in the way of device management, parental controls or other advanced features. It’s as bog standard as they come.

It doesn’t have a modem-only mode, either, so if you wish to replace the Nokia router with your own equipment, you’ll need Box Broadband to send you a modem, which the company sent to me for free.

Box Broadband review verdict

Despite the installation and occasional service hiccups, I’ve been largely impressed with Box Broadband. The speed is outrageous and so is the price. This connection costs £10 per month less than the 60Mbits/sec broadband I was getting previously and it’s locked in for two years!

You might want to put the money saved towards a better router, though, especially if you want to get as much of that speed as possible to all the rooms in a big house.

Box Broadband verdict
  • Speed
  • Customer service
  • Value for money
  • Supplied router

Summary

Hard to complain about symmetrical gigabit speeds for £25 per month, although customer service has fallen short on a couple of occasions

Overall
4

Pros

  • A gigabit (1,000 Mbits/sec) in both directions
  • Great introductory deals

Cons

  • Missed installation date and bodged the installation too
  • Supplied router is so-so

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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