It might be a surprise to see one of the UK’s ‘big six’ energy suppliers featured in a domestic broadband review, but SSE is rapidly growing as an internet service provider (ISP). It offers discounts for existing energy customers, along with fibre-optic broadband packages at affordable prices.
SSE broadband is supported by the Openreach network, ensuring widespread coverage to most UK households. All packages come with a few notable perks, including:
No exit fee with a 60-day ‘Happiness Guarantee’, giving you time to change your mind
No price hikes during an 18-month contract
No upfront broadband charges
Free wireless router
There are three connection speeds to choose from, depending on what’s available in your area. It’s a good idea to use a postcode checker to find out if fibre-optic broadband is in your neighbourhood.
The ISP’s most basic packages rely on an ADSL connection through a traditional phone line. These are slow but adequate for smaller households. You’ll be able to shop online, send and receive emails and browse the web without any problems, though multiple smart devices could bog down the network.
If you prefer to use the internet for downloading larger files, watching catch-up TV or online gaming, you’ll need fibre broadband speeds. This plan also comes with unlimited downloads averaging 35Mbps
SSE Fibre Plus increases average download speeds to 63Mbps. There are unlimited downloads and sufficient bandwidth to watch HD movies, download large files and support multiple connections all at once.
Every SSE broadband package includes line rental with pay-as-you-go calls. This will be fine for people who use their mobiles in preference to their landlines, though people who want to make local or international calls can upgrade to SSE broadband packages bundled together with a calling plan. Here are the three types of bundle on offer:
Evening and Weekend – includes calls to local, national and UK mobile numbers during weekends and evenings
Anytime Calling – As above, but calls are free at any time of day
Anytime Plus – As above, with additional international calling privileges to 35 destination countries
All SSE broadband packages include a Technicolor TG589vac Wi-Fi router as standard. This is a basic dual band model with a USB port for easier file sharing, and some customers may decide to invest in their own modem for multiple antennae and greater signal strength. As is customary on ISP contracts, the supplied free router will have to be returned if you leave your 18-month contract early.
Packages also include a few little extras thrown into the deal - those looking for an internet security system will be happy to hear that you receive a free subscription to the Net Intelligence Internet Security Suite with its parental controls and anti-virus protection. Customers can also join the SSE Rewards program, which gives the opportunity to acquire tickets at SSE Venues across the UK when they reopen.
When it comes to installation costs, only current SSE energy customers are exempt from paying a one-time fee. Installation times are estimated at roughly 18 days, although this depends on current demand.
As mentioned above, there are three broadband speeds to choose from. SSE broadband speeds will depend on your location, time of day, the weather and other factors, so exact broadband speeds might vary. Average speeds are as follows:
Standard ADSL: Average download speeds of 11Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps
Unlimited Fibre: Average download speeds of 35Mbps and upload speeds of 9 Mbps
Unlimited Fibre Plus: Average download speeds of 63Mbps and upload speeds of 19 Mbps
There are no usage caps, and all packages include unlimited downloads. However, SSE does manage web traffic to keep the network stable, which can slow down the network slightly when it’s at its busiest. It shouldn’t be too noticeable most of the time unless you’re engaged in peer-to-peer file sharing.
As we’ve noted above in our rundown of the available plans, the most basic 11Mbps service is adequate for smaller households and everyday online tasks. However, for heavier gaming or streaming services like Netflix, fibre connection speeds will be beneficial.
SSE’s customer support team is based in the UK, with a helpline open seven days a week. Reviews which mention the ISP’s broadband services describe the customer support team as helpful, despite issues with dropped service or slow speeds. However, this type of criticism applies to almost every broadband provider on the Openreach network.
|Fixed prices for 18 month contract||Doesn’t offer the fastest speeds|
|Unlimited downloads||Basic wireless router|
|Free router||Not many perks for customers|
|SSE Rewards program||No short-term contracts|
|Anytime calling plans available||Web traffic management in operation|
|60-day happiness guarantee||Extra charges for non-SSE customers|
|Value for money||No TV bundles available|
Any SSE broadband review has to acknowledge this company is a trusted brand delivering a reliable service. Although it doesn’t offer the cheapest broadband packages on the market, SSE is still affordable, while locking in rates for 18 months removes any concerns about unexpected price changes.
The company’s fibre broadband services measure up to comparable ISPs using the Openreach network, both in terms of speed and reliability. However, SSE does practice web traffic management which can slow things down during peak times, particularly if you engage in peer-to-peer file sharing.
Current SSE customers have a distinct advantage thanks to the lack of setup charges, but anyone can benefit from the firm’s 60-day happiness guarantee. A range of calling plans extends the landline package’s functionality, but consumers wanting mobile or TV services should look at a different provider like Sky or BT.
Last updated: 28 January 2021