Zen

Multi-award winning broadband with outstanding reliability and support

  • Multi-award winning broadband
  • UK-based technical support staff who don't use scripts
  • 1 month rolling contracts with all standard broadband deals
  • Standalone broadband available - including fibre
  • Truly unlimited usage on fibre broadband and large allowances on standard
  • Rated the most reliable out of all suppliers on Broadband.co.uk

01706 902 950   Go to site

Zen Unlimited Broadband with Line Rental
£28.00 for 12 months
£32.99 thereafter

No upfront cost

  • AC-rated Wireless Router
  • 12 months reduced price!
  • Truly unlimited usage
  • N-rated Wireless Router
  • Static IP address
  • UK-based technical support
  • Top rated for reliability and service
  • Only pay for the calls you use
  • No activation fee
  • 12 month contract

01706 902 950   Buy now

Zen Unlimited Fibre 1 with Line Rental
£37.00 for 12 months
£43.99 thereafter

£55.00 upfront cost

  • AC-rated Wireless Router
  • 12 months reduced price!
  • 35Mb average download speed
  • 6Mb average upload speed!
  • Truly unlimited usage
  • Only pay for the calls you use
  • 12 month contract

01706 902 950   Buy now

Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 with Line Rental
£43.99 for 12 months
£46.99 thereafter

£55.00 upfront cost

  • AC-rated Wireless Router
  • 12 months reduced price!
  • 66Mb average download speed
  • 17Mb average upload speed!
  • Truly unlimited usage
  • Static IP address
  • UK-based technical support
  • Zen line rental and calls
  • 12 month contract

01706 902 950   Buy now

Reasons to choose Zen Broadband

  • Reliable - as a primarily business-focused provider, Zen prioritises reliability and technical support. As such, they're rated most reliable of all suppliers on Broadband.co.uk
  • Technical support - Zen's support staff are UK-based and work from technical knowledge rather than scripts
  • Fibre packages available - speeds averaging 55Mb download and 17Mb upload available in enabled areas
  • Standalone fibre packages - Zen are one of the few providers that don't require you to switch your line rental and calls to them for their fibre products
  • Rolling contracts on all standard broadband - for no additional charge, all ADSL-based products come with a contract with no minimum term; just give a month's notice to cancel at all time
  • Truly unlimited usage with no traffic management slowdowns available on fibre and ADSL
  • Phone bundles - all deals come with the option of line rental and pay for what you use calls. Anytime calls can be added by taking out Line Rental Plus
  • Award winning products and customer service - Ten year winner of PC Pro's Best ISP Award and Which? Magazine's recommended broadband and phone services supplier April 2013
  • Faster in the evenings - due to being a business-focused provider, Zen's network has a 'peak time' during working hours and actually sees a slight speed increase in the evenings
  • Static IP addresses included as standard

Possible downsides

  • No short contracts on fibre - however 12 months is among the shortest contracts any provider offers for this service
  • No inclusive phone calls - there is no evening or weekend inclusive calling period on Zen's phone bundles, you just pay for the calls you use, or pay an extra £6.31 a month for anytime calls
  • Low peak time speeds - Advertised average speeds achieved by 50% of customers between 8pm and 10pm are significantly lower than most other providers using equivalent technology
  • Premium service - Zen prioritises reliability and quality of service over offering the very lowest prices

Features at a glance

  • Superfast Fibre 2 averages 55Mb download speed and 17Mb upload, Fibre 1 averages 26Mb download and 6Mb upload, standard broadband averages 6Mb download and 600kb upload

  • 1 month contracts on ADSL, 12 month on fibre

  • Download allowances truly unlimited on all packages

  • Free ADSL connection if switching from another supplier, £55 connection fee for Fibre (plus £48 for new connections)

  • UK based customer and technical support

  • 11 email addresses with every account

  • Email anti-virus protection

  • Only pay for the calls you use with basic line rental, or opt for an Anytime package

4.2 stars
  satisfaction rating based on 340 customer ratings since 2017-11-16. See more Zen customer ratings and reviews.

Details last checked on 2018-11-06

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Package    
Speed    
Usage    
Contract    
1st Year Cost  (Sorted)  
Monthly Cost    
Zen Unlimited Broadband More Info

Special offer: AC-Rated Wireless Router + 12 months reduced price + no activation fee!

802.11ac Wireless Router

averages
10Mb
truly
unlimited
12
months
£216
plus line
rental costs
£18.00
£22.99 after 12 months
Separate line rental required

Go to site

Or sign up by phone
01706 902 950
Zen Unlimited Broadband with Line Rental More Info

Special offer: AC-Rated Wireless Router + 12 months reduced price + no activation fee!
Add unlimited inclusive anytime minutes for an extra £6.51 a month with Line Rental Plus

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingLine Rental

averages
10Mb
truly
unlimited
12
months
£336 £28.00
£32.99 after 12 months

Go to site

Or sign up by phone
01706 902 950
Zen Unlimited Fibre 1 More Info

Special offer: AC-Rated Wireless Router + 12 months reduced price + Keep your existing line rental and calls deal!

802.11ac Wireless Router

averages
35Mb
truly
unlimited
12
months
£379
plus line
rental costs
£27.00
£34.00 after 12 months
Separate line rental required

£55.00 upfront cost

Go to site

Or sign up by phone
01706 902 950
Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 More Info

Special offer: AC-Rated Wireless Router + 12 months reduced price + Keep your existing line rental and calls deal!

802.11ac Wireless Router

averages
66Mb
truly
unlimited
12
months
£463
plus line
rental costs
£34.00
£37.00 after 12 months
Separate line rental required

£55.00 upfront cost

Go to site

Or sign up by phone
01706 902 950
Zen Unlimited Fibre 1 with Line Rental More Info

Special offer: AC-Rated Wireless Router + 12 months reduced price!
Add unlimited inclusive anytime minutes for an extra £6.51 a month with Line Rental Plus

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingLine Rental

averages
35Mb
truly
unlimited
12
months
£499 £37.00
£43.99 after 12 months

£55.00 upfront cost

Go to site

Or sign up by phone
01706 902 950
Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 with Line Rental More Info

Special offer: AC-Rated Wireless Router + 12 months reduced price!
Add unlimited inclusive anytime minutes for an extra £6.51 a month with Line Rental Plus

802.11ac Wireless RouterPhone CallingLine Rental

averages
66Mb
truly
unlimited
12
months
£583 £43.99
£46.99 after 12 months

£55.00 upfront cost

Go to site

Or sign up by phone
01706 902 950
  • ICON KEY
  • Wireless Router
  • 802.11n Wireless Router
  • 802.11ac Wireless Router
  • Phone Calling
  • Television Service
  • Line Rental

Details last checked on 2018-11-06

Customer Reviews

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 Zen.

Customer Ratings Summary

  • Satisfaction
    4.2 stars
  • Customer Service
    4.4 stars
  • Speed
    3.7 stars
  • Reliability
    4 stars

Based on 343 customer ratings since 2017-11-15

Show all time ratings

Add your own review of Zen

Ratings are left by users of our speed test as well as by reviewers. Recent star ratings summarise the last 12 months of ratings or the last 100 placed, whichever is largest.

Reviewer Location Reviewing Date Ratings
I have been a Virgin Media customer for broadband for nearly 10 years, and a BT customer for landline for 35 years. Both are expensive, and the wireless performance of Virgin's 'Super-Hub 3' router, is anything but super. Virgin refused to accede to my request for a reduction in their latest annual "much-more-than-inflation" price increase, so I began to look for an alternative, and mentioned it to various friends. To my surprise, Zen, a 'local' (NW England) firm was very highly recommended by two friends - particularly in respect of service quality. I did some research, top-notch service being my my highest priority, followed by price. I must admit that Virgin have been pretty good at service, but the reviews of Zen are outstanding. When I used Zen's website to find out how much a combined landline/broadband contact would be, I found to my amazement that I would save £25 per month in the first year and £18 in the second year. Virgin had regularly offered to provide me with a dual service, but this would have meant another cable coming into my house, which I didn't want. Being a retired IT person, I phoned Zen's Technical Dept. to ask them various questions, and was impressed by the replies I received - technically savvy, polite, friendly and quick. My Virgin cable broadband achieved 90Mb/sec download speeds on speed-check apps, but I never got anywhere near this in real life - obviously the speed of routers which are negotiated in getting data to me can adversely affect everyday speeds. By switching to Zen Fibre, I now get 40MB/sec, and HAVE NOT NOTICED ANY PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE from Virgin in day-to-day use. The Zen router's wi-fi is in an entirely different league to Virgin's - I can now stream to my TV without any problems. The Zen router (a Fritz!Box) arrived when promised and is pre-set - all I had to do was plug it in, connect the leads and everything worked first time with no problems. My landline has just swapped to Zen - again, no problems at all. It will take a few weeks to get the BT and Virgin DD's sorted, with refunds and so-on, but I am relaxed about that. So, this long review is, intentionally, just about as positive as I can make it.
  • Satisfaction
    5 stars
  • Customer Service
    5 stars
  • Speed
    5 stars
  • Reliability
    5 stars
Preston, Lancs Zen  
DISGRACEFULLY POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE! Not only do you have to wait hours to get through to anyone, but they are RUDE and condescending when you finally do! The last person I spoke to sounded like he was playing games with a colleague after I called up to find out about a ‘fault’ - which by he way has been going in for nearly 12 hours bow. I was literally laughed at and told it’s not their problem and it’s an open reach problem. But the open reach status website says there is no current fault. Awful service that I assumed would be good because of a review by Which. Even signing up was a nightmare and took weeks to get connected. Will be changing provider immediately after contract expires!!! AVOID!
  • Satisfaction
    3 stars
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    3 stars
  • Reliability
    1 star
London Zen  
Can't give less than one! Horrible service from the word go. I was with Virgin all these years and made a mistake of switching over to Zen purely based on Which? review. Installation engineer did not know he is coming for installation. He rather thought it is for repair. When he arrived he found Zen had not delivered BT openreach modem to me. Modem for unlimited ultrafast 4 fibre optic service? He had to go and get it. Took whole day to install. In the end he said everything is working and left When I tried to connect, realised Zen had not spoken to BT to activate the service. Contacted Zen. No one in Zen seems to know what was happening. Children and myself left with no internet for days. Could not do their home works. Speed- rubbish, compared to Virgin. Thinking of leaving the contract and going back to virgin at a significant cost. Horrible tech support; don't seem to know where the problem was. AVOID ZEN!
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Birmingham Zen  
Moved address in July, asked to move over fibre optics service. Advisor told me they would need to check if fibre is available after £70 line rental instalation. Begrudgingly agreed, wasn’t aware that once they installed the line and realised they couldn’t run fibre optics, would only offer ADSL which i never wanted. Went with Zen for fibre. Could have gone with Virgin Media who previously cancelled my early termination charges as they was unable to contunue provinding fibre optics service. Zen charge me a total of £250 to cancel early, was totally not negotiable and failed to meet any deadlines of call back and a lot of the time not call back at all. When i finally got through i was repeatedly told “we have systems in place which mean we can’t do anything about the charges”. I’m rating 1 star as paid for a service i was no longer using. Therefore, meets minimum score in all areas.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Southend-on-Sea Zen  
Zen terminated my telephone and broadband without notice and they don’t know why - blaming openreach - promised to get it up and running in 24 hours - still waiting 6 days later. Terrible customer service neither mixed messages from different people - I don’t believe them. It’s good when it works - their systems are terrible and they can’t cope with a problem. Lost loads of business and many disgruntled residents without broadband - instead of an apology and compensation they sent me a bill for a service I don’t have - can it get any worse.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    5 stars
  • Reliability
    5 stars
Grange over sands Zen  
I switched my small business broadband & phone services to Zen IT about 3 months ago. The customer service has been top notch! It is so refreshing to speak to customer service agents who (1) speak in a clear, understandable manner and (2) listen to what you say before riddling off a script. My broadband service dropped this weekend and the service & response time were brilliant. I understand services have issues once in while - the thing that makes the difference is the manner in which a company fixes those issues. Zen IT handled my call with speed, clarity, efficiency and friendliness. The entire service call was stress free. I would recommend Zen IT to anyone.
  • Satisfaction
    5 stars
  • Customer Service
    5 stars
  • Speed
    4 stars
  • Reliability
    4 stars
Knaresborough Zen  
For myself its always the customer service that counts, lets face it all of the ISP's apart from Virgin use BT lines.

I have found out via a Subject Access Request that the staff have been lying to myself about not already having the account details on the screen in front of them, as they have been making entries on my account notes despite claiming that they have no access to the account until I answer the questions - which by-the-way do not provide security which I think according to the GDPR and the ICO they are supposed to do. The questions that are asked are mainly common knowledge questions, questions whose answers are in the public domain - I am sure that my landlord and his son know where I live, what my name is, and have a telephone.

I would say that if one can write entries on the account notes and the account notes are part of the account, then access to the account is enabled.

Also, if they do not know who they are speaking with over the telephone, its amazing how they are able to pin-point the correct account to write the entries on - every-time.

I also noticed that the notes were inaccurate, and appeared to be written with the intent of keeping the call centre staff's job at the expense of the customers reputation ie he did this, he did that, but I was great - this type of thing.

Last week I had five of their representatives/agents slam the telephone down on myself, while I was telling them why I was calling. Five calls on the trot. Which is when I sent an email.

I have given them sometime to answer my email to them, I have not heard a even a peep, so now I have come here to report it - so to speak.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    3 stars
  • Reliability
    3 stars
mid west wales Zen  
I was almost deterred from moving to Zen because of the reviews here. I so glad I went ahead. No issues at all with the change over. No drops in Internet. So pleased to be out of BT contract and the years of stress they caused me. Now I’m simply paying the same amount each month. No price hikes. No random charges. Peace of mind at last.
  • Satisfaction
    5 stars
  • Customer Service
    5 stars
  • Speed
    5 stars
  • Reliability
    5 stars
East Midlands Zen  
Most of the time reviews you read on the internet are the result of someone's ire causing them to try to find a way to pay back the harm that a company has caused. But I, personally, can't speak highly enough of the peace of mind these guys give me whenever I call them.

From set-up to moving house to cancellation and renewal of contracts, every time I've had an issue with them, I've given them a call to be answered by a lovely Northerner within 3 minutes, and had all my concerns put aside.

Speeds have been a pretty constant 6-7MB/s download for a year now, with only a week here and a week there of wobbly slow-down that was always corrected.

In a 2 person-household the prices are roughly £25/month each for their top-tier speeds, but given the reliability and the actual customer service, it's worth the extra spend compared to someone like Virgin with their constant drop-outs, throttling, and customer service outsourcing.
  • Satisfaction
    5 stars
  • Customer Service
    5 stars
  • Speed
    4 stars
  • Reliability
    4 stars
London Zen  
I joined Zen around 2013 since then the service has become diabolical.
The Tech support staff are morons who seem to read from flow charts, when you call due to lost connectivity to the Internet they blame YOUR equipment, router, Ethernet cable, micro filter, computer - its never their fault always yours and despite buying a new router, micro filters and Ethernet cables the last time, they still weren't happy, the first guy failed to diagnose an trunk outage in my area affecting many residents all on different providers. The second failed to walk me though setting up a new router I had to rush out and buy as the first guy insisted that my router, micro filter and Ethernet cable was likely the fault, then I was asked despite telling the second guy (all this in the same day) that I had had a stroke and heart attack and was struggling physically, to get down on the floor to struggle to unscrew a phone socket on the wall to get at a test socket - only to be told he advised me to unscrew the wrong one, so then I had to trace wiring to the feed socket in my garage on the other side of the house then he asked me to unscrew that one and try a phone in it, so had to go all the way back to the other side of the house to get the phone but no that wasn't enough I was asked to go and get my router so had to go back to the other side of the house to get that. struggled to plug the phone or router into a live test socket hanging off my garage wall and the second tech guy decides its an outage in the area as both phone lines and internet by this time are down so books an engineer, telling me that if I don't pay £120 to get a private Broadband engineer out to check my internal wiring I might be asked to pay BT £140 - £178 for the call out I was incensed.
Called out a Broadband specialist costing £120 this was on top of having to rush to a local computer store on the insistence of the first tech guy and spend £75.91 on a router, Ethernet cable and micro filters, the Broadband specialist asked the neighbours if they had any connectivity and they didn't after he had tested the internal wiring.
I called a PC repair guy out as it was suggested by the first Tech guy it may also be my computer, so that cost me a further £50 and all of this time I am losing income from booked in clients on the busiest night of my working week as I need the phone and internet to run my business.
The PC repair guy said he migrated away from Zen Internet as he found them a rip off and completely incompetent and he had had the same problems as me.
I phoned to lodge a complaint and a 3rd tech guy was smarmy and condescending, utterly rude and disrespectful, so I really did lose my temper by this time as he tried to justify the actions of the previous two tech guys, as if I was at fault.
I then demanded that a manager called me on Monday one between 11 am and 12 noon as I started work at 12 noon and at 12.54 pm on the Monday someone called Nick called claiming to be a manager - he was only their supervisor and he was equally obnoxious and unhelpful so I have asked for my complaint to be escalated above him, he refused to reimburse me for the costs I incurred from the Broadband specialist call out and PC repair man call out and only offered to pay for the router claiming that none of the tech guys recommended me calling out a Broadband specialist, but fact is I would never have l thought of doing that as I never knew they even existed until the 2nd tech guy suggested it, so they endlessly back their staff and have zero respect for their customers. The support is diabolical amateur and useless, no 24/7 tech support either yet I pay stupid money for this crap service - £67.67 per month for one phone line with broadband on and one without and no more than 5.85 mbps download speed and 0.84 mbps upload speed, diabolical customer service and they know I am self employed and if I am late paying a bill their Rottweiler in Billing spams me with nasty threatening emails with an insipid tone and they wonder why you lose your cool and tell them that you are far from happy with their service. Threaten to leave them and in a smarmy voice they rudely tell you you will never find as good a deal elsewhere, well I will do this time as I am done with X+Zen Internet they are a disgrace and should be closed down I am far from happy - my advice - steer well clear utter rip off utter rubbish and crap rude unpleasant experience.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Holmeswood, Rufford, Ormskirk Zen  

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The reviews published on this page are those of the individual authors who have warrantied that they abide by our review guidelines. Reviews are not the opinion of Broadband.co.uk.

Sky Q Hub

Why getting a new router can speed up your broadband

Posted on 2016-11-22 11:35 in News Features Virgin Media Origin TalkTalk Zen EE Vodafone Plusnet Sky BT

If you find broadband speeds confusing, you're not alone. What speed broadband providers advertise and what you actually get are rarely the same thing. The ASA has recently announced that it will be taking steps next year to bring clarity to the entire issue.

But that's a way off. In the meantime there are steps you can take to ensure you achieve speeds closer to what you were expecting.

You may not know that your Wi-Fi router can have a massive impact on the internet speeds you get throughout your home. Since the provider supplies the router we tend to assume that they're automatically good enough. But that isn't always true - sometimes they're old or slow, and not capable of handling a superfast broadband connection.

In these cases, upgrading to a more powerful router can help speed up your broadband dramatically.

How a new Wi-Fi router can help

Let's start with the technical bit.

The performance of a router is determined by the wireless standard that it uses. The best modern routers use the latest standard, called 802.11ac. It's the fastest available, and it runs on the 5GHz band which is clean and interference free.

802.11ac superceded the 802.11n standard. This is much slower - perhaps half or even a third of the speed - and it commonly runs on the 2.4GHz band which is much more prone to interference from other electrical devices in your home. As a result, the signal is not just slower but it gets much weaker the further it travels.

The router as a bottleneck

Many broadband providers supply an N-rated router with their packages, and it may not be up to the job. Tests show that 802.11n routers have a real world top speed of 50-100Mb, at close range. At a distance of 20 metres, and with a few obstacles like walls and floors in the way, that speed can be slashed in half - or worse.

So, if you've got a high-end fibre package and are getting speeds of 50Mb or more, then an N-rated router simply won't cut it. Your broadband is faster than your router, and the router becomes a bottleneck. Even on an entry-level fibre deal, with speeds of 25Mb, you'll be pushing it. You might find you get good speeds downstairs, but that they fall off sharply in the bedrooms.

In both cases, upgrading to an AC-rated router is likely to give you a major speed boost. The exception is standard broadband. Here, the speeds top out at 16Mb, and in practice are usually somewhat slower. An N-rated router should be able to handle this.

An easy way to check if you're affected is to use our free Speed Test tool. Stand next to your router and run the test on your laptop. Then head to the furthest corner of your house and run it again. If there's a major discrepancy in your results then it could be a sign that you need to upgrade your router. (Or it could mean you need to find a better position for your router.)

Do you need a new router?

You can see why a slow router can mean you don't get the broadband speeds you were expecting. So do you need to upgrade?

When you're shopping for broadband deals, all our comparison tables have icons to show what kind of router you're getting. Click the More Info button to see whether there's an option to upgrade to a better router when you sign up.

What router do you get?

  • Many of the major providers now supply AC-rated routers with all their packages. This includes TalkTalk, Vodafone and Virgin, while Sky also provides the new Sky Q Hub if you are a TV customer.
  • BT, Plusnet and EE supply 802.11ac routers with their fibre packages, and N-rated routers with standard broadband. BT offers a paid upgrade for standard broadband customers, but the other two don't.
  • Origin customers get an N-rated router, and need to pay at checkout to upgrade to a faster AC-rated unit.

If you've been with a provider for some time it's possible you're still using an older N-rated router and aren't getting the fastest possible speeds from your broadband. In this case it's worth checking with the provider to see if they'll swap your router for a newer model for free. Some may give you one in exchange for you signing a new contract. Just make sure you know exactly what you're getting, and that you aren't charged or placed on a new contract without knowing.

Lastly, a handful of providers, including Plusnet, Zen and Origin, allow you to use own router, so you can shop around and check independent reviews to get the best model for your needs.

The router is a frequently overlooked part of the broadband service. It's natural to assume that broadband problems are the fault of the provider, but the reality is that if your router is too slow you can easily be cutting your internet speed in half without even realising.

Give your router a quick check now to see if you would benefit from an upgrade.

Comments

Zen Buyers Guide

Can I get Zen Broadband?

Zen's standard ADSL-based broadband is only available in Zen network areas. Their fibre service is restricted to exchanges that have been upgraded to support fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) broadband.

This currently applies to about two-thirds of UK households although this is growing as more and more exchanges are being upgraded to enable fibre every month. You can discover whether or not you live in a fibre-enabled area with our postcode checker. In addition to having a fibre enabled exchange, your street cabinet also needs to have been upgraded to support the technology (BT generally place advertising posters on these once they've been enabled).

What packages are available?

Zen Broadband offer one ADSL-based broadband packages and two fibre broadband packages covering a range of speeds, all offering truly unlimited downloads.

The Zen Broadband ADSL-based broadband package is:

  • Zen Unlimited Broadband - averages 6Mb at peak times

All ADSL-based broadband packages with Zen Broadband have a one month rolling contract, allowing for flexibility in your contract duration. You can get these packages without line rental for £10 a month less, but must have a working phone line with another company, such as BT.

Their standard phoneline speed is given as ‘averaging 6Mb at peak times’ despite a 'protocol speed' of up to 17Mb, this is because of factors like the distance from the telephone exchange in line length, and peak time congestion. At least half of users will achieve speeds faster than 6Mb at peak times and all users are likely to see speed increases outside of the 8pm to 10pm peak time. You can find out where your local exchange is, and how far away you are from it, with our postcode checker.

The Zen Broadband fibre broadband packages are:

  • Zen Unlimited Fibre 1 - averaging 26Mb download and 6Mb upload at peak times
  • Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 - averaging 55Mb download and 17Mb upload at peak times

Unlike with the ADSL-based packages, all fibre and phone package contracts with Zen Broadband have a duration of 12 months. You can also get these packages without taking out line rental for £10 a month less, but must have a working phone line with another company, such as BT.

Fibre services are also likely to experience some slowdown with copper line length, but thanks to using fibre-optic from the exchange to the street cabinet, it's only the much shorter distance from that cabinet to your home that causes any slowdown. FTTC products are also based on the faster VDSL technology over the copper cable segments, so the lowest speeds to be experienced from the longest lines are still likely to be as high as 10 or 15Mb when ADSL-based products might be experiencing 0.5Mb.

Which package should I choose?

Zen Broadband offer different kinds of package with their fibre and phone deals as opposed to their ADSL broadband deals, but the main factors are still speed, download capacity, phone service, contract length and overall expense.

When deciding between fibre and ADSL, your main concern should be speed. Fibre can be a lot faster and it is tempting, but the stated headline ADSL speed of 6Mb (available to 50% of users during peak hours, 8pm to 10pm) is more than enough for the majority of Internet uses, allowing not only casual browsing and email usage, but also watching videos, using Skype or downloading music. If you're on a budget then there could be little point paying extra for speed you won't necessarily need.

However, the faster speeds that fibre provides do suit some people better - especially if you're a regular heavy Internet user, and if your connection is shared with other heavier users, or just a lot of other people. The speed of the connection will be divided by those using it any one time, and so larger households including student flats and large families will benefit from having a fibre connection. This applies even more with the Zen Unlimited Fibre 2’s even higher speeds averaging 55Mb. People living far from telephone exchanges might also benefit from fibre if they can get it, as their ADSL speed is likely to suffer.

However, Zen Broadband’s deals are also tied to contract length. The short 1 month rolling contracts offer a great deal of flexibility, so are ideal for those whose living circumstances are likely to change in the next year, such as young people and students. The flexibility also means you are less tied to a single package (and provider). However the 12 month fibre contracts are still relatively short compared to many providers' fibre offerings which commonly have 18 or even 24 month minimum contract lengths. At the time of writing, the only fibre contracts shorted than 12 months offered are 9 month student-only offers from BT and Virgin that are only available around the start of the academic year.

Those who would like a home phone line provided with their broadband should opt for the packages with line rental and calls. The basic line rental package with only pay for the calls you use costs £16.99, and the Line Rental Plus package costs £23.50 a month and comes with anytime calls. If you want to keep your existing provider for line rental and calls, you can select the no line rental option for all of these packages for an extra £5.40 a month.

All of these factors must be weighed against each other in relative importance to you because you can only pick and match to a limited extent - all 1 month rolling contracts come with ADSL-based broadband, for example. The bottom line is to remember that you shouldn't have to pay for more than you require, as much as possible.

Points to consider before you choose

  • Do you need the flexibility of a 1 month minimum contract term or is the speed of fibre a more important factor?
  • How many people will be using your broadband connection at any one time, especially for heavy downloading, HD streaming or online games?
  • Would the expense of the faster speed be worth it for you?
  • How far do you live from a BT telephone exchange, and will this be a problem for your ADSL speeds?
  • What are your main priorities out of speed, download capacity, contract length, phone service and cost?

Compare all Zen Broadband deals

What do I get when I sign-up?

It's always good to know upfront what you'll get when signing up with an ISP so you know what you can enjoy for free, or to budget for any extras you may want.

  • Zen Customer Portal - The Zen Customer Portal allows you to manage your connection, including showing you how much data you have used so you know if you are approaching your download cap (if you have one).
  • 2GB inclusive web hosting - If you want to start your own website, or host files online, you may find this an attractive feature.
  • Zen Webmail - Closely linked to the Zen Customer Portal, Zen Webmail provides up to 11 POP3 email accounts per Zen Broadband account, and comes with Zen’s regularly-updated antivirus email protection to catch any threats before they reach your mailbox.
  • UK-based customer support - Unlike some other providers, Zen’s customer support is entirely UK-based, and do not use scripts. Calls to them are at local rates, which is not as good as freephone customer service, but still better than some other providers’ premium rates.
  • Broadband Voice - Zen Broadband’s Broadband Voice service allows Zen Broadband customers with a VoIP-compatible router and telephone to make telephone calls over the internet, providing an extra outgoing phone line for a fraction of the cost of a landline at £5.10 per month for 1000 inclusive minutes.
  • ADSL Move - Zen Broadband’s ADSL Move service helps you transfer your home broadband connection when you move house. Zen Broadband will help manage everything free of charge, and will waive the usual activation fee for setting up their broadband connection at the new home. This does not apply to Zen Fibre customers however - indeed, it is not currently possible to move your Zen Fibre connection with you and you might end up paying for two houses’ connections at once (however this may be the case with any BT Wholesale fibre to the cabinet service).
  • Static IP addresses - Zen Broadband offer free static IP addresses as a matter of course, which can be a great benefit to customers running servers.

What are the benefits of Zen Broadband?

The benefits offered by an ISP may be what seals the deal in your decision to buy a package from them.

  • Award-winning - Zen Broadband have a number of accolades to their name, including having won the PC Pro Best ISP Award ten years in a row, and being named Which? Broadband recommended provider. These awards are good signs that a provider delivers on its promises and provides a quality service. Zen Broadband’s customer service team are particularly praised in this regard.
  • UK-based customer support - Unlike some other providers, Zen’s customer support is entirely UK-based, and do not use scripts but are instead staffed by technically proficient technicians.
  • Short rolling contracts - While Zen Broadband offer 12 month fibre contracts which can be helpful for those who like to manage their accounts on an annual basis, they also provide short rolling one-month contracts on their various ADSL packages, which can be of great help to those with uncertain living circumstances or short tenancies who may need to move within the next year, such as students. It also provides greater flexibility in your broadband service, not consigning you to a contract for the foreseeable future.
  • Truly Unlimited fibre - Zen Broadband’s fibre and phone packages are truly unlimited, meaning that they are not only free of download caps and fair usage limits that would curb your internet usage per month, but they are also free of traffic management, meaning your fibre broadband service will never be artificially slowed.
  • Premium features - As a business-focused provider, Zen offer extras like static IP addresses, web space, truly technical support and exceptional reliability. Having majority business users also means that their network is slightly faster in the evenings when most other providers would be experiencing peak network congestion.

What are the drawbacks of Zen Broadband?

Let's face it, not everything can be perfect, and even the best deals may have a downside.

  • No inclusive routers on ADSL packages - Unlike almost all other providers, Zen Broadband do not provide free inclusive routers with their ADSL contracts, necessitating you to get your own. There is the option to purchase routers from Zen Broadband with £6.95 delivery, however this still adds up to an extra cost, unless you already have a compatible router.
  • No freephone tech support - Calls to customer support are charged at local rates. This isn't as bad as some providers' premium rate lines, but may become a significant additional expense.
  • Low peak time speeds - Zen's advertised average speeds, as achieved by 50% of customers between 8pm and 10pm, are significantly lower than most other providers using equivalent broadband technology. Zen's slowest advertised speed is only 6Mb while the next slowest provider has an average of 10Mb for the same protocol.
  • Premium pricing - Zen is rarely the cheapest option available. They've chosen to invest in stability, performance and excellent technical support, rather than offering the cheapest possible prices.
Broadband.co.uk