Founded in Yorkshire a decade ago, Origin has expanded beyond its home county to become one of the UK’s upstart rivals to larger internet service providers. Like fellow Yorkshire ISP Plusnet, it aims to combine national reach with the personalised service of a local business. In our Origin broadband review, we consider whether its service and speed can cut the mustard.
Origin is an independent broadband supplier, established in 2011 and increasingly rolling out its affordable broadband services nationally. Indeed, the company’s aim is to offer a ‘better standard of broadband service nationwide’. To that end, its support teams are all UK-based with support on hand around the clock.
Origin’s services are carried across the Openreach network, with ADSL and fibre broadband alongside anytime calls and broadband packages. It even offers a basic TV package through a proprietary set top box, though Sky won’t be overly concerned.
As of March 2021, Origin offers three types of broadband. Each can be acquired on a conventional 18-month plan, or paid up front for a year to achieve savings of up to 30 per cent:
The ADSL plan comes with a free router offering four Ethernet ports for hardwiring devices, which provides adequate connectivity for everyday online tasks.
Venturing into the more rapid world of Fibre to the Cabinet connectivity (FTTC), Origin’s Superfast package is over three times faster for downloads and nine times faster at uploads than its ADSL package.
The third Origin package is their Max Fibre plan, with average 67Mbps and 17Mbps download and upload speeds. It’s capable of supporting numerous smart devices simultaneously.
You’ll need an active phone line for any of these plans (which support straightforward plug-and-play router setup), while the ISP can arrange for a phone line to be installed if needed. Origin offers phone and broadband packages, with call plan options including:
Pay as you go calls (standard with all line rental packages)
Evening and weekend calls
Anytime calls plus 500 minutes to 36 countries and/or 200 minutes of UK mobile talk time
Call diversion and anonymous call reject, caller display and call barring.
Origin has recently added a TV service to its phone and broadband options, bringing it into the triple-play market for the first time. Its 4K-compatible TV box has limited streaming functionality and access to 135 TV channels. It’s no Sky rival, but it does bolster the ISP’s appeal by adding an extra service for people currently reliant on terrestrial TV.
New customers receive an Asus DSL-N16 router, equipped with four Ethernet ports to support multiple devices.
In addition to phone support, all Origin customers have access to a Customer Portal containing up-to-date information about billing and other relevant data.
Although this ISP doesn’t offer any freebies, it does have a referral bonus which will credit both customer accounts with £20 once the new subscriber has made it into the second month of their contract.
Unlike other ISPs, there are no setup costs involved with Origin broadband if you already have a working phone line in situ. With a free router and installation, this reduces the whole-life cost of a broadband plan, while it takes an industry-standard 10-14 days to get a new service up and running.
Origin broadband speeds are comparable to other ISPs using the Openreach network, and these are the averages a typical customer might expect to receive:
ADSL – 11Mbps average download speed, 1Mbps average upload speed
Superfast – 35Mbps average download speed, 9Mbps average upload speed
Max Fibre – 67Mbps average upload speed, 17Mbps average upload speed
All packages come with unlimited downloads, and without any fair usage caps or other restrictions. This means you’ll benefit from truly unlimited usage. Origin doesn’t practise web traffic management (artificially slowing the network), so speeds should be consistent.
Customer service is consistently highlighted as a key feature of the Origin customer experience, with round-the-clock online technical support from a UK-based team. Phone lines are open 12 hours a day during the week, but only for six hours on Sundays.
As of March 2021, Origin has a respectable 4.0 rating on Trustpilot, with 56 percent of reviews giving it the maximum five stars. Positive reviews regularly mention affordable price points and helpful service via phone and web chat, while negative reviews tend to focus on installation delays and call waiting times. It should be noted that other sites gave Origin lower average scores, albeit from a far smaller pool of reviews (79 on Reviews.io, compared to over 11,000 on Trustpilot).
Origin has managed to pick up one or two awards over its lifespan, including ‘Business of the Year’ in the 2014 British Chambers of Commerce Awards.
|Competitive prices||Minimum 18-month pay-monthly contracts|
|UK-based customer service team||No extras or free items like public Wi-Fi|
|TV, phone and broadband services||Even the fastest connection is relatively slow|
|Three choices of broadband speeds||It costs to have a new phone line installed|
|Unlimited downloads||TV package is very basic compared to rivals|
|No activation fee|
|Flexible pay-upfront packages|
For consumers who want a cost-effective and no-nonsense broadband plan with domestic technical support, Origin represents a tempting option. Its prices are a key selling point, undercutting many competitors at the time of writing, though it’s always worth comparing your broadband options to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Customer service stands out as one of Origin’s biggest perks, with a Yorkshire-based support team and a commitment to deliver friendly, personalised service. It’s also worth noting the unusual option to pay for a year’s broadband connectivity up front, as opposed to the 18-month contracts offered as an alternative.
However, as a relatively small ISP, Origin doesn’t currently offer enticing extras or freebies that larger providers regularly bundle in. Line speeds are modest, maxing out at 67Mbps and consequently falling short of full fibre providers. While smaller households and light web users may be attracted by the service and savings provided by Origin, serious gamers or small businesses may want to opt for faster connectivity.