Sometimes the best way to get a feel for a broadband provider is to read what those who are already customers think of the service they're receiving. Below are all the reviews we've received for Community Fibre.
Very disappointed. My installation was booked for 27 Feb between 9-12. Unfortunately no one has came and I didn't receive any email or call. After a call to them it was rebooked for 1 March between 3-7pm. I left my work earlier. After coming home I received email at 2pm that installation is cancelled without any reason and rebooked (again) for 2nd March. That day engineer finally came and said that he cannot install it because of some issue with post where fibre cable is.
Reliable and fast connection for very reasonable price. UK based customer service were easy to contact and very helpful with rescheduling installation dates. Installation was relatively quick and professional.
I cannot but praise the service I have received from Community Fibre.
From excellent way their Customer Service dealt with my query, especially a man called Ashley, who is a credit to Community Fibre.
To, the quick installation of my fibre broadband.
With the upgrade to our broadband infrastructure being accelerated, ultrafast broadband is becoming more accessible with each passing day.
So you might now be wondering, is it time to upgrade to a faster deal? But what exactly do you get, and what are the benefits to ultrafast broadband? Let's take a look.
What is ultrafast broadband?
Anything with a download speed over 100Mb can be classified as ultrafast.
There are a lot of different technologies that are able to deliver these faster speeds, including upgraded street cabinets that use the G.fast technology, Virgin Media's cable and fibre network, and the growing number of full fibre, or fibre-to-the-home, services that are being rolled out across the country.
Coverage is still quite patchy, but a majority of UK homes can get an ultrafast service from at least one provider, with as many as 59% able to get speeds of at least 300Mb.
Do you need ultrafast broadband?
While faster is very much better, the normal fibre broadband connections that most of us still use are extremely capable.
A 67Mb connection is good enough to allow you watch Netflix or Amazon Prime in 4K, and can download a 1GB file in just a touch over two minutes. You shouldn't experience too much in the way of problems, even with a fairly busy household.
But remember, your available bandwidth is divided between all the devices connected to your network. The more devices you add, the more likely you are to experience slowdowns on some of your tasks - your videos drop to a lower resolution, your downloads take longer, and so on. Ultrafast broadband reduces the chances of this happening, and the faster your connection, the less likely it gets. It allows you to connect more devices, and more people, without putting any limits on what they can do.
So while you might not have a desperate need for ultrafast, right now, there are lots of good reasons why it will benefit you.
Your browsing in general will speed up. You'll notice it especially with complex web apps like Google Docs, or photo heavy sites. You get a shorter ping rate, too, which means better online gaming.
You will experience much faster downloads. This isn't just files you're actively downloading on your laptop, but other things like those Windows 10 updates that happen in the background, video game downloads, and even Ultra HD movies you load on your Sky Q box. For reference, a 5GB file will take over 10 minutes to download on a 67Mb connection, and just 42 seconds with gigabit broadband.
Along with faster downloads, you also get much faster uploads. Full fibre broadband is symmetric, which means the upload and download speeds are the same. If you work from home, especially, this could be a huge benefit.
Ultrafast broadband is future-proof. Internet use on the Openreach network, which covers most UK broadband suppliers, more than doubled throughout 2020. Yes, it was driven in part by lockdown, but it was also the continuation of a long established trend that's unlikely to change any time soon.
In some cases, ultrafast broadband might also be your best option. Lots of rural areas, as well as new build homes, have frankly terrible options when it comes to fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband - and some don't have it at all. But full fibre is independent of the old copper-based network, so you might increasingly find that it's your best, and maybe, only choice.
Can you get ultrafast broadband?
The provider with the widest ultrafast broadband coverage throughout the country is Virgin Media. They're available to approaching two-thirds of the UK and they offer speeds up to an average 630Mb. Vodafone, EE and Sky are among the other big providers that can offer ultrafast broadband at varying speeds.
There's also a big growth in the number of specialist full fibre providers, some focussing on specific regions. These include Community Fibre in parts of London and TrueSpeed in the South West, while Gigaclear target rural areas in 22 counties across the Midlands and south of England. Coverage is improving all the time, as are the range of options available to everyone.
Are you ready to upgrade to ultrafast broadband? Use our postcode checker to find out if it's available in your street already.
We've all got horror stories about bad customer service. But it's people with health, financial or emotional problems that are still having the most inconsistent experiences when they contact their broadband provider's customer service team.
That's the big finding from research by Ofcom, which looked at the progress the industry has made since the watchdog last year published its guidelines for treating vulnerable customers fairly.
They found that while some users received extra support due to their circumstances, and others reported positive experiences despite the provider not knowing about their vulnerability, the overall service was still patchy.
It suggested that people's experiences were heavily dependent on the member of staff they spoke to, with no guarantee they would get to deal with the same person twice.
It suggests there's still plenty of room for improvement in the training of customer support teams.
What makes a customer vulnerable?
Vulnerabilities come in many forms. They include physical and mental health problems, debt or unemployment, bereavement, or even becoming a victim of crime.
Unsurprisingly, the number of vulnerable customers has increased during the pandemic and its subsequent economic fallout.
While Ofcom rules require all providers to have policies in place for helping vulnerable customers, it isn't always easy for them to automatically tell if someone needs extra support. If you regard yourself as being in a vulnerable group, or if your circumstances have recently changed (you might have lost your job, for example), you should contact your broadband supplier and let them know.
They'll add that information to your account, and it should inform any relevant future interactions you have with them.
What kind of support can you get?
With the definition of vulnerable being quite broad and varied, the types of support you can get are also broad and varied.
You should have access to a range of communications channels to speak to customer support. This could include text relay services or support in different languages.
You should be given the time to get help, support and advice on managing debts without the threat of enforcement action.
Providers could consider giving you a payment holiday to help you manage cashflow issues.
Broadband providers should regard disconnection as a last resort.
Broadband providers' vulnerability policies
Ofcom's guidance expects a number of things from broadband suppliers. They should train their staff to be able to recognise the characteristics, behaviours and verbal cues of someone who might be vulnerable, so they can be proactive in offering support. They should identify vulnerable customers and record their needs. And they should make all of their customers aware of the kinds of support and services that they offer.
Many providers publish vulnerability policies. Some have specific support teams in place for vulnerable customers, and some make it easy for you to register your vulnerable status with them. This information will be treated in confidence, and is subject to all the usual data protection legislation.
Here are the relevant pages for many of the leading providers:
Some of the things you can expect include ways to improve access to support via text relay and NGT services or braille guides; simple instructions on using accessibility services like subtitles on TV; and specific policies and help for dealing with financial issues. Naturally, what's promised and what's delivered are not always the same thing, so check our user reviews to see our customers' experiences of their providers' tech support.
If you want to read the full Ofcom report, click here. Or if you want to compare the best broadband deals in your area today, use our postcode search tool to get started.
Community Fibre Broadband Buyers Guide - Is Community Fibre right for you?
Can I get Community Fibre broadband?
Community Fibre are a full fibre provider available in parts of London. While they have minimal coverage, they can deliver the city's fastest home broadband - a whopping 3Gb!
Broadband from Community Fibre is currently available to over 100,000 homes in London. You can get it in parts of the following London boroughs: Brent, Camden, City of London, Croydon, Ealing, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Westminster. The network is continuing to expand, but this takes time - their plan is to cover a million homes by 2023. If you aren't in a coverage area right now you can register your interest online.
As a community-minded provider, Community Fibre have a mission to bring faster broadband to London at a fairer price. They also provide tech support in multiple languages, and supply gigabit internet access to over 100 community centres in the city.
Community FIbre are exclusively a fibre-to-the-home provider, using their own network. One of their big selling points is that they offer a symmetric service, meaning that the upload speeds are the same as the download speeds - they're often much slower. Another things to consider is that you don't need - or get - a phone line when you sign up. If you do still want a landline, you'll have to arrange one separately from a different company.
Community Fibre offer five full fibre broadband packages, each available on deals from 30 days to two years.
The offers are:
Superfast - full fibre with 50Mb average upload and download speeds, with a free Linksys Velop Mesh Router
Ultrafast - 150Mb average upload and download speeds, with a free Linksys Velop Mesh Router
Hyperfast - 400Mb average upload and download speeds, with a free Linksys Velop Mesh Router
Gigafast - gigabit broadband with an average upload and download speed of 920Mb, with two free Linksys Velop Mesh Routers for superior Wi-Fi coverage
3 Gigafast - an incredible 3GB upload and download speed only on a 24 month contract. Installation and setup are free, and it comes with a Zyzel Wi-Fi 6 router
3 Gigafast aside, the packages are available on your choice of 30 day, 12 month or 24 month contracts. Obviously, you pay less if you're willing to sign up for longer, although the difference isn't perhaps a big as you might expect. It's around a fiver a month more on the 30 day plan, although you do also have to pay a £50 setup charge, which is waived on the longer deals.
You don't need a phone line to get Community Fibre broadband. You don't get one, either, so you don't pay line rental, but also cannot add a call plan. Unlike some other full fibre providers, they don't even offer a VoIP service for internet calls.
Which package should I choose?
With Community Fibre, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to speed.
The Superfast 50Mb package is akin to a normal fibre deal, albeit with much better upload speeds. It's a solid mainstream option for many households, where you can take advantage of the benefits of full fibre without paying extra for speed that you don't need. The Ultrafast 150Mb plan gives you a little more headroom, especially if you've got a larger household or have kids streaming TV and downloading video games all at the same time.
Going faster than that will remove any concerns you have about your broadband not being up to scratch. As the service is symmetric, you get amazing upload speeds on these faster plans, so they're ideal if you work from home and have to share large files on a regular basis.
The star of the show is 3 Gigafast. It's ridiculously quick, but is also expensive and, frankly, you'll struggle to use that bandwidth unless you have very specific requirements. Older, non-Wi-Fi 6 compatible hardware won't be able to hit those speeds, either.
It also comes on a much longer contract. Indeed, one of the best things about Community Fibre is the contract lengths. 30 days is ideal if you're in a short term let, or perhaps a student. Two years can make you a modest saving on the price for a much longer commitment - 12 months is a good compromise.
You should also note that installation is a lot more hands-on than other broadband types. An engineer will visit, they'll need access to your property, and will need to drill a small hole and install a socket. The process takes around two hours, and you (or another responsible adult) will need to be present at the time.
Points to consider before you choose
Are you in a coverage area?
How large is your household, and how many are online together?
It's good to know what you get when you join a new broadband supplier, so you can budget for any extras you need.
Linksys Velop Mesh router - You get one Linksys Velop Mesh router worth £200 on the Superfast, Ultrafast and Hyperfast plans, and two with Gigafast, enabling you to get consistently fast Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home.
Zyxel Wi-Fi 6 router on 3 Gigafast - This cutting edge wireless router is able to handle the incredible speeds on the most high-end plan. Your devices will also need to support Wi-Fi 6, or they'll only connect at slower speeds.
Comprehensive tech support - Support is offered by phone and email between 8am and 10pm, seven days a week. They can provide support in English, Spanish, Somali, French, Punjabi and Hindi.
What are the benefits of Community Fibre?
Here are the best reasons why you should choose Community Fibre.
Full fibre for competitive prices - Some of the Community Fibre packages are very attractively priced.
Crazy fast speeds on the high-end deals - Community Fibre broadband deals give you as much speed as you need, with room to spare!
Genuine future proofing - Never mind 4K video, some of these deals will be ready for when 8K starts to take off.
Flexible contract lengths - With 30 day options, you can join Community Fibre even without a long term commitment.
Cutting edge routers - To match the high-end service, you get a high-end router. They will give you fast speeds and good coverage throughout your home.
Full free tech support - Customer support is comprehensive, and available in many languages.
They're well rated - Although only a niche supplier right now, our customers rate Community Fibre highly.
What are the drawbacks of Community Fibre?
Nothing's perfect. So what are some of the potential negatives you should look out for?
Complicated install - Your installation will need a visit from an engineer, unless your home already has a Community Fibre socket set up.
You have to arrange your own switchover - Got an existing broadband deal? You'll need to cancel it yourself.
No phone line - You don't get a phone line and will lose your phone number. That's not a negative for everyone, but is something you should be aware of.
Very limited coverage - There's only a hundred thousand homes covered to date.