Formerly known as First Utility, Shell Energy Broadband’s name reveals its energy market origins, before it transitioned into a broadband provider. The company is known for its budget internet deals, and this Shell Energy broadband review considers how the service measures up.
The company aims to keep its prices low, and in that sense of the Shell Energy broadband review it succeeds. If you’re looking for cheap broadband deals, it consistently rates as one of the lowest-cost providers for both ADSL and fibre optic broadband. This is particularly true when you look at the longer term. While many budget broadband providers offer cheap rates for the duration of a contract, they will then raise prices after the contract ends. Shell doesn’t do this, meaning monthly bills won’t experience any sudden price hikes after 18 months have passed.
Shell Energy’s broadband services are available via the Openreach network, like many other internet service providers (ISPs). Openreach covers approximately 95 per cent of UK households, but it’s always a good idea to use Ofcom’s postcode checker to ensure coverage is available in your locality.
The three packages listed below are all available on 18-month contracts. They include a free Wi-Fi router and service activation, line rental and unlimited usage with no data throttling at busy periods. The only extra charge is a £60 fee if a new phone line has to be installed.
The company’s most basic plan is Shell Energy Fast Broadband. Running at 11Mbps, it’s suitable for most everyday online tasks, from browsing the internet to using social media.
If you want the faster speeds associated with fibre-optic broadband, Shell Energy offers a Superfast plan. Its 35Mbps average download speed is better suited to multi-occupant households, or anyone who likes to stream online content.
Shell’s third tier of service is its Superfast Fibre Plus package. With the provider’s highest broadband speeds achievable (63Mbps on average), it can support simultaneous use on multiple devices throughout the home.
All packages are available with 18-month contracts, and include a free Wi-Fi router, line rental, and unlimited usage.
As mentioned above, line rental is included with all broadband packages, though it’s important to note this doesn’t include the cost of calls. People who still believe it’s good to talk might want to add on a call package from the following list:
Evening and Weekend: includes evening and weekend calls to UK mobiles and landlines
Anytime: includes calling at any time as well as UK landlines and UK mobiles
International: Shell’s international call package includes a specified number of minutes to 40 international nations. This can be added onto one of the other call plans mentioned above.
When you sign up for a new contract with Shell you’ll get a free Technicolor TG588v2 Wi-Fi router. This single-band router is fairly basic, though it does include a USB port for a printer or file sharing, as well as four wired Ethernet ports. If you want a newer model capable of handling fast network speeds and multiple connected devices at once, it’s possible to buy a different router and plug it into your master phone socket instead.
Shell does offer a few extras as part of its packages as well, such as the Shell Go+ app which delivers discounts on petrol at Shell garages. Shell occasionally gives away sign-up perks like Amazon gift cards, so it’s worth checking out which incentives are being offered to new customers at the moment.
Another benefit to highlight in any Shell broadband review is the absence of setup or installation fees, unless you don’t have a working phone line. Some competitors charge for installation and delivery, so this does set Shell apart.
Shell Energy’s broadband service offers speeds on par with other ISPs using the Openreach network. Here’s a breakdown for its three different services:
Fast Broadband (ADSL): Average download speeds of 11Mbps, average upload speeds of 1Mbps
Superfast Fibre: Average download speeds of 35Mbps, average upload speeds of 9.5Mbps
Superfast Fibre Plus: Average download speeds of 63Mbps, average upload speeds of 19Mbps
Shell Energy doesn’t have any traffic management policies, so speeds are consistently fast, even during peak hours. However, these speeds are only average, and performance may vary depending on geographical location and current network demands. When you place your order, Shell will check what speeds you can expect at your home. This will be impacted by the local cabinet’s distance from your home, as well as uncontrollable factors like the weather.
Although Shell Superfast Fibre is perfectly adequate for multiple users streaming and downloading content at once, the Superfast Plus plan would be better suited to homes with a wide range of devices online at the same time.
Shell Energy is quite new and as-yet untested, so there aren’t as many Shell broadband reviews as there are for other ISPs. Shell Energy has received a 3.8 out of 5 rating overall on TrustPilot, though this includes its energy services along with its broadband, and most reviews are relating to energy provision. Shell Energy broadband reviews on TrustPilot do mention positive aspects like an efficient installation process and a high level of customer service.
|Affordable broadband deals||Lack of pedigree and limited online reviews|
|UK-based customer support team||Basic router|
|No hidden price rises or fees||Minimum 18-month contracts|
|Discounts on Shell petrol||No TV bundles available|
Shell Energy broadband provides a straightforward if basic service, without any surprises. There are no setup or installation fees, and monthly bills won’t suddenly jump at the end of an 18-month contract. The provider's unlimited downloads and reliable speeds bode well for customers, too.
Although it doesn’t offer TV bundles or cutting-edge Wi-Fi routers, Shell Energy does give its customers a few little extras that set it apart from other budget providers. These include discounts on Shell petrol, as well as the occasional gift voucher when you first sign up. Existing energy customers also get discounts.
If you need speeds that go higher than Superfast, however, Shell won’t be able to help you, so it may not be the best choice for those with intensive online needs. The router is a basic model, so you might need to invest in a more advanced model if your household has a significant number of smart devices needing connectivity.
To conclude our Shell Energy broadband review, this is a solid ISP for households with modest data requirements or anyone keen to reap the rewards of using other Shell products. It’s likely to appeal to people who don’t want to keep switching ISPs, since monthly bills won’t increase as soon as any introductory contract period comes to an end.
Last updated: 21 January 2021