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.
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.
You know how it goes. Whenever you start shopping for a new broadband deal, you find yourself being steered towards the faster, flashier and more expensive services.
The thing is, not everyone needs an upgrade. Some of us are happy with what we've already got, and some don't even need that.
If you don't have a house full of kids who are all online 24/7, or if you live on your own, or are part of the generation that's less computer-reliant, then you may be able to get away with a much more basic broadband service. It could even save you some money in the process.
Let's take a look at your options.
How light is light use?
First of all, you need to work out how much you actually use the internet, to make sure your usage is as low as you think it is.
If your usage is mostly things like web browsing, shopping and bill paying then that's definitely light use. TV streaming counts as well, so long as there's only one person in your house doing it at any given time, and that you don't want to watch in the highest quality on your massive 4K TV.
But there are lots of other things as well that you don't tend to think about: Windows updates on your laptop that happen in the background, downloading movies and TV shows to your Sky Q box, playing games, and sharing large files for work. And all those other little devices you've got connected to your Wi-Fi. Some of them won't be downloading much, but it all adds up.
Chances are that you do use more bandwidth than you realise, so do make sure that you buy a broadband service that's right for your needs.
Broadband for light use
The slowest broadband you can get is standard broadband. This is the old pre-fibre service that runs entirely on the copper phone network. It offers average speeds of around 11Mb, which is enough for general web use or for one person to watch Netflix in HD.
Standard broadband is old tech and is set to be phased out in a few years, but you can still get it right now. It doesn't offer huge savings - standard broadband will typically save you a couple of pounds a month, but over the course of a year they do amount to the cheapest deals you can get.
If you don't want to go quite that slow, the most basic fibre deal you can get is from Onestream. Their 17Mb service is the cheapest widely available fibre broadband package.
Most suppliers' entry-level fibre offers more than double that speed, at around 36Mb. Almost every broadband company has a deal at this level, so there's bags of competition on price and service. TalkTalk, Vodafone and EE all have deals around the same price point for the same speed services.
36Mb is ideal for light use - it's affordable but not too restrictive. It can handle many people online at the same, with even two or three streaming movies simultaneously, so has plenty of headroom for when you have guests round.
You could also consider some specialist providers. Hyperoptic and Community Fibre have great value full fibre packages - at 30Mb and 50Mb respectively - but they're both available in only very limited areas. Or you could go for a mobile broadband deal, running on the 4G network (or 5G in some areas), such as the 18Mb plan from Three.
You don't always have to buy the best or fastest broadband deal around. Pick what you need, and if you only need something basic then you've got plenty of choices.
Ready to start shopping for a new broadband deal? Just enter your postcode into our postcode checker and you'll be able to see exactly what offers are available in your street right now.
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.