Post Office Broadband: All you need to know
With over 11,500 branches located the length and breadth of the UK, 99.7% of the country’s population lives within three miles of a Post Office and 93% live within just one mile. This makes it the UK’s largest retail network, with more branches than every bank and building society put together… but, since separating from the Royal Mail in 2012, what exactly does it do?
This is a question we aim to answer in this page before moving on to focus on a key product in the Post Office’s business offering in 2020 - broadband. Didn’t know the Post Office did broadband? That’s OK, we’ll bring you up to speed in no time - but first, a little background:
About the Post Office
Everyone will be familiar with a few of the services the Post Office provides. Of course, you can still buy stamps there, collect and drop off things to post; many will know that it offers currency exchange; some may even be familiar with its financial and insurance services. In fact, the Post Office is now a commercial business offering 170 different products and services to the UK market across a range of sectors and, yes, this does include Home Broadband and Home Phone.
Many millions of customers visit the Post Office on a weekly basis, including a third of small businesses. It is undoubtedly more relevant than people tend to think, and wants to remain so by branching it into more sectors and offering more products and services.
If we were really thorough, we would begin our history of the Post Office with King Henry VII’s establishment of the ‘Master of the Posts’ in 1516 and take you right through to the present day, but to avoid going on too long we’ll miss a few stops along the way. In any case, the General Post Office was in fact established in 1660 by Charles II and went about the job of simply delivering the post until 1870, when the communications industry became a little more complicated with the arrival of the electric telegraph.
The Post Office maintained and operated the UK’s telegraph and, from 1912, telephone network until 1981, when its Telecommunications arm split off to form British Telecommunications. From this point, the Post Office operated as the customer-facing arm of the wider Post Office corporation, which also included the delivery service Royal Mail.
The 2000s saw a lot of change in this regard, with the Post Office and Royal Mail becomes increasingly distinct entities until they eventually split in 2012. You might be forgiven for thinking that it would cease to be relevant once its ties to the UK’s postal service were split, but an agreement between the two companies means that the Post Office continues to issue stamps and handling letters and parcels for Royal Mail.
Not only this but, following the split, the Post Office decided to branch out to offer a number of other services including banking and financial services, insurance, and broadband and home phone services. You might not be familiar with Post Office Broadband but in 2019 it reached an impressive 500,000 customers, so its ability to adapt and thrive in a new sector is not to be underestimated.
- 1516 - Henry VII establishes the 'Master of the Posts'.
- 1660 - Charles II establishes the General Post Office.
- 1870 - Launch of its national telegraph service.
- 1912 - Estalishes a national telephone service.
- 1969 - The Post Office Act changed it from a government department to a nationalised industry - the General Post Office is dissolved.
- 1981 - The telecoms arm of the postal service demerges to form British Telecom (now BT).
- 2000 - The businesses of the Post Office are transferred to Consignia, later renamed Royal Mail.
- 2006 - Royal Mail loses its monopoly on the postal service after regulator Postcomm opened up the market to competitors.
- 2012 - Royal Mail demerges from the Post Office.
- 2015 - Launch of Post Office Mobile and Post Office Money.
- 2019 - Post Office Broadband reaches 500,000 customers.
Nowadays, as we’ve mentioned, the Post Office is a commercial business offering 170 different products and services to the 17 million customers per week who pass through its many doors. It plans to expand and gain ground in the many and varied sectors it has entered in recent years to maintain the relevance it has had to the UK population over a long history.
Post Office jobs
If what you’re looking for is a career with the Post Office, you should head over to its website, where you’ll find roles listed either for its Customer Support Centres in London, Chesterfield and Bolton or for retail roles in branches all over the UK. Here are the positions that the Post Office hire for its Customer Support Centres:
- Supply chain
- Operations (including property and security)
- Product management (including mails, financial services, telecoms and government services)
- Retail network
- Company secretariat
- Legal, risk and governance
- Marketing and digital
- Communciations, brand and corporate affairs
- Change management
- Finance Service Centre roles
- Contact Centre roles
- HR Service Centre roles
Apart from all these, the Post Office also look for branch managers and counter service consultants for its 11,500 branches. You can check for posting in these areas via the Post Office’s recruitment site, which is - to put it mildly - a little dated. You can, however, conduct a filtered search (using keywords, function, location, etc.) to find a vacancy to suit you.
Post Office share price
The Post Office, though it is a private company, is technically classed under UK law as a ‘private company limited by shares’ - which means that its shareholders have limited liability and that, unlike those of a public limited company, its shares cannot be offered to the general public. The majority shareholder of the Post Office is, in fact, the UK government’s investment arm.
Post Office in the News
- 14/1/2020 - Ofcom hits the Post Office with a £175,000 fine. The regulator found that it had overcharged customers for phone calls, particularly people with hearing or speech impairments who had used a relay service.
Post Office Broadband
The Post Office isn’t trying to innovate with its set of broadband packages. It offers three packages similar to those you’ll see from most major providers - standard broadband, a fibre package, and a superfast fibre deal. Here are the important things you need to know about each one:
|Unlimited Broadband||Unlimited Fibre Broadband||Fibre Broadband Plus|
|11 Mbps avg. downloads||38 Mbps avg. downloads||67 Mbps avg. downloads|
|£15.90 per month||£22.90 per month||£28.90 per month|
|12-month contract||12-month contract||12-month contract|
|No upfront cost||No upfront cost||No upfront cost|
|Line rental included||Line rental included||Line rental included|
The price tag on each of this deals is pretty tempting - and with nothing to pay in advance and no added cost for line rental, we have to say that as a basic set of packages they seem to do the job very well. Not that they’re bereft of extras, each deal also including the following:
- In-contract fixed-price guarantee
- Six months’ Weekend Calls at no extra charge (if you opt-in for it)
- A six-month free trial of F-Secure SAFE antivirus protection included
- Free WiFi Router
The fixed-price guarantee, in particular, is something we’re a big fan of. Too many providers spring unexpected mid-contract price rises on their customers, and we don’t think it’s fair - your monthly bill should be the one you sign up for. Post Office Broadband do guarantee this, but what about once your contract ends?
Well, it seems that this is where they really take advantage of customers not paying attention or being too busy to look for another deal. Here’s what you would pay per month if you let your deal run past its 12-month term:
|Unlimited Broadband||Unlimited Fibre Broadband||Fibre Broadband Plus|
|£30 per month||£37 per month||£42 per month|
This is quite the jump - and in the case of the two slower packages, well above the market average prices for deals offering these speeds. We would suggest that if you’re tempted by the low initial prices the Post Office offers, do consider signing up (once you’ve done a bit more research into the quality of its service) but be sure to make a note of when your contract ends and set a reminder to switch in good time so you don’t end up paying too much.
All of Post Office’s broadband packages come with line rental included, but if you don’t need an internet connection you can just take out a Home Phone plan, where line rental will set you back just £13 a month. Included in this price are free calls to other Post Office Home Phone numbers, 10% off calls to loved ones, and features like caller display, call barring and 1471.
You can also add calls packs to your deal for an extra monthly cost. Here are the calls plans the Post Office offers Home Phone customers:
- Weekend Calls (to landlines only): +£2 per month
- Evening & Weekend Calls (to landlines only): +£5 a month
- Anytime (to landlines only) +£7 a month
- Anytime Plus (to landlines & mobiles) + £10 a month
- Mobile Saver 100 (100 mins to UK mobiles): +£3 a month
- Mobile Saver 500 (500 mins to UK mobiles): +£8 a month
- International Saver (calls to international landlines in 40 countries): +£5 a month
Be careful not to go over the hour mark!As with most providers, calls are inclusive up to the 60-minute mark. If you want to go on chatting for longer, hang up and redial or you’ll be charged the standard rate for every minute you go on talking over an hour.
To find out more about these packages, including the finer points about inclusive calls and the countries included in the International Saver, head over to the Post Office website where you’ll find all the details. You’ll also find out about Post Office calls add-ons, such as voicemail and incoming call alerts, which you can get from £2 extra a month.
How do Post Office Broadband prices compare with the market average?
You’ve now got an idea of the Post Office’s broadband products, but how do they compare with the rest of the market? To save you trawling through several other providers’ deals, we’ve averaged out the prices across the rest of the market to see how Post Office Broadband compares. We’ll begin by comparing its 38 Mbps fibre package against similar packages on the market:
|Post Office Unlimited Fibre Broadband||Market Average (35-38 Mbps packages)|
|£22.90 per month||£31 per month|
This is a good start. While you’re in contract, you can save around £8 a month with a Post Office package, but remember that once your deal ends the price shoots up to £37 a month immediately. This would take you from an £8 monthly saving to paying £6 over the odds for broadband every month. We’d suggest that if you’re going to sign up to a deal, you pay close attention to your contract end date and be sure to skedaddle before the price rises.
Now let’s see how Post Office’s price for its fastest package (67 Mbps) compares with the market average for packages of a similar speed:
|Post Office Fibre Plus Broadband||Market Average (67 Mbps packages)|
|£28.90 per month||£40 per month|
Again, there’s a considerable monthly saving to be made here - just over £11. This saving is, like that of its standard fibre deal, also lost once your term is up. You won’t be paying quite so much over the average, though - it will rise to £42, just a couple of quid over. All the same, it will be worth scanning the market for better deals, as we’re sure you’ll be able to find similar savings again when the end of your contract rolls around.
Get in touch with the Post Office
If you’re looking to get in touch with the Post Office, there are a few options available to you. Given that you’re found your way to its broadband page, however, we’re going to assume you’re interested in its broadband service. The first number we’re going to give you, then, is the number to call if to get in touch with Post Office Broadband:
Post Office Broadband Customer Care contact
Please check with your provider if you don't know how much a call will cost.
0345 600 3210
*Lines open 8am-8pm Monday to Saturday; 9am-6pm on Sunday
This number is the one you call whether you’re a prospective customer or an existing one looking for technical help, billing, home moves, general queries or complaints. For technical help, the line is open for a bit longer (until 9pm) Monday to Saturday.
If you don’t want to call or your issue is perhaps less complex and you’re expecting a simple answer, you can type it into the online chat function on the Post Office’s website and its virtual assistant will get back to you. If your issue isn’t urgent and you don’t feel like hanging around for a response, you can drop the Post Office’s support team an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post Office Broadband review
So now you know more or less everything you need to about Post Office Broadband, except for one pretty important detail - how happy are Post Office customers with their broadband service? Luckily for you, we’ve scoured the internet to find out just that. We normally like to start with what Ofcom reports into service quality says about a provider, but Ofcom seems only to have been able to gather one solitary stat about the Post Office - it’s call wait times (an average of 34 seconds) are the second-best on the market. Not a bad start!
The second place we look to is the customer review site Trustpilot, to which complainants tend to flock to share horror stories about their providers. Unfortunately, Post Office seems to be no exception - a TrustScore of 1.6 out of 5 on the review site Trustpilot is a worrying start. It is true that ratings for broadband are mixed in with those complaining about its other services, but filtering through reviews to find those specific to broadband is no less encouraging:
If Post Office were the last broadband provider to exist, then I would recommend you continue on with your life without the internet
Ouch. They don’t come much more damning than that. But what’s causing the ill-feeling behind most of these bad reviews? Unfortunately, it seems that the main problem with Post Office Broadband is its poor customer service. Several reviewers cite unhelpful and sometimes even deceitful agents. The general feeling seems to be that the service is, in one customer’s words “fine - if nothing goes wrong”, but once something does happen the Post Office is terrible at resolving issues:
All fine until a few weeks ago. Internet kept dropping out. Numerous calls to customer service who checked the line remotely. Each time identified a fault … To get an engineer out to investigate, you are only given a 3 consecutive day appointment … So, 3 days at home ... no communication at all. Worst of all, no engineer turned up on any of the 3 days. So phoned on day 4 and they said a system error had closed the ticket. We will call you back within the hour to confirm another engineer appointment. That was 4 hours ago. Guess what? No call...
This lack of efficiency and consideration for customers in need of help is a discouraging sign. You may get a good deal with the Post Office, but hand in hand with it you run the risk of falling in with all the other customers who have been left frustrated and disappointed with yet another broadband provider they now know to avoid.
Pros and cons
Finally, we’re going to look at the positives and the negatives of subscribing to Post Office Broadband. It seems to us that it’s possible to have a good experience with this provider, but only if you’re lucky in not needing much help from its customer service team and you leave them just as your contract is ending.
|In-contract prices for its broadband and fibre packages compare well with the market average.||Fixed-price guarantee while you're in contract.|
|Very poor customer reviews which cite unhelpful customer services.||Out of contract prices shoot up to well above the market average.|