It normally takes 2 weeks to get home broadband set up. Alternatively, plug & play setup on the next working day is available from Three Broadband.

In the UK, it usually takes around two weeks to get a home broadband service set up with the traditional fixed-line providers (including fibre broadband, cable broadband and ADSL broadband providers).

In some cases, an engineer visit will also be required for setting up the service. Permission from the home owner might also be required for any works that need to be done during setup (e.g. if a cable needs to be laid to your home).

As an alternative that’s both faster and easier to set up, you can also consider Three’s 4G & 5G home broadband service. Three offers next working day delivery of their 4G and 5G broadband hubs, with a simple plug-and-play setup that doesn’t require an engineer visit. This makes it a lot faster to get your broadband service set up, without the two week delay and the wait for an engineer visit.

Check 4G & 5G Broadband Availability →

In this article, we’ll look at how home broadband services are set up in the UK and how long you can expect it to take to get your home broadband service installed. We’ll also look at Three’s home broadband service which has a simple plug-and-play setup, along with traditional broadband providers that use fibre, cable or ADSL.

Broadband Setup and Installation

It normally takes around 2 weeks to get your home broadband service set up in the UK. This applies for fibre broadband, cable broadband and ADSL broadband. An engineer visit may also be required for the set up of the service.

If you want a home broadband service that’s faster and easier to set up, it’s now possible to get 4G or 5G home broadband instead. Three Broadband is the main provider of this in the UK, offering a plug-and-play set up with free next working day delivery of your hub.

The following table shows an overview of the different types of home broadband in the UK, along with how you can get it set up and installed:

Broadband Type Typical Set-Up Time Engineer Required? Setup Fee Example Providers
4G & 5G Broadband 1 working day delivery
Plug-and-play setup
No None Three Broadband
Fibre Broadband 2 weeks Sometimes Varies (£0 to £140) BT
Plusnet
Sky
TalkTalk
Full Fibre Broadband 2 weeks Normally required Varies BT
Hyperoptic
Cable Broadband 2 weeks Normally required† Typically £35 Virgin Media
ADSL Broadband 2 weeks Sometimes Varies (£0 to £140) BT
Plusnet
Sky
TalkTalk

† An engineer visit will normally be required unless you’ve been a Virgin Media customer in the past 3 years.

In some cases, where a new physical connection needs to be laid to your home, there may be additional setup fees (e.g. for the civil engineering). If you’re renting, you’ll need to get permission in advance from the home owner for any changes that need to be made to the property.

Three 4G & 5G Broadband

The easiest and fastest way to get connected to home broadband is using either 4G home broadband or 5G home broadband.

Both 4G and 5G broadband use wireless technology so you’re able to get connected to the internet without the need for a phone line. As there isn’t a physical connection that needs to be set up to your address, you won’t need to wait two weeks for the service to be installed. There’s also no need for an engineer visit as you can simply plug in the new router or hub to start using it yourself.

Because 4G and 5G broadband doesn’t require installation, it’s perfect if you’re renting your home or if you’re planning to move home soon (as you can simply take the broadband connection and bring it with you elsewhere). It’s also perfect if you’re not able to get fast broadband from one of the traditional providers (e.g. in more rural areas and other locations without fibre broadband).

If you’re living in a 4G coverage area, you can get unlimited 4G broadband from £17/month (discounted from the normal price of £22/month as a special Black Friday 2020 offer):

NetworkData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£17/month
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data12 month contract£19£20/month
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data1 month contract£49£30/month

For a few pounds extra each month, you can add a range of smart devices to your 4G home broadband service like the Amazon Echo Show 5 smart display or the Google Nest Audio smart speaker.

If you’re living in a 5G coverage area, you can get unlimited 5G home broadband from £24/month. This can give you average download speeds in excess of 100Mbps, with peak download speeds of up to 1,000Mbps (1Gbps):

NetworkData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
Three
Three 5G Hub
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£24/month
Three
Three 5G Hub
Unlimited Data12 month contract£0£29/month

You can also add an Apple TV 4K set-top box to your 5G home broadband service.

To find out whether 4G or 5G broadband services are available at your address, enter your postcode on the Three Broadband website:

Check Three Broadband Availability →

For more information, see our Three 4G broadband review and our Three 5G broadband review.

Fibre & ADSL Broadband

If you’re signing up for fibre or ADSL home broadband (e.g. from providers like BT, Plusnet, Sky and TalkTalk), it will normally take around 2 weeks for your broadband service to be set up and installed.

Depending on the service you order, an engineer visit may or may not be required. Normally, an engineer visit will be required if you don’t have a working phone line, if your phone line needs to be updated or if you’re taking a G.fast or full fibre service. For ADSL and standard fibre broadband, the engineer may be able to complete the set up remotely at the cabinet.

The installation fee for your home broadband service differs depending on your provider:

  • On BT, the standard connection charge is £140. However, this is normally discounted when you take a broadband service so check the details of your plan before you sign up.
  • On Plusnet, there’s normally a £10 activation fee.
  • On Sky, a £20 connection charge may apply for setting up your line.
  • On TalkTalk, there’s normally a £60 set up fee when a new line installation is required.

For the latest on broadband engineer visits during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, see the Openreach website.

Cable Broadband

If you’re signing up for a cable broadband service (e.g. from Virgin Media), you’ll normally need an engineer visit. This is unless you’ve previously had a Virgin Media service in the past 3 years, in which case, you might be able to set it up yourself. There’s normally a £35 set-up fee for cable broadband with a wait of around 2 weeks for an engineer visit (dependent on the availability of engineers in your area).

On the day of the installation, you’ll normally need to leave around 2-3 hours available for the setup. During this time, an engineer will come to visit your property. They’ll need to lay a piece of cable between the street and your home, which may involve digging up part of your front garden or running the cable along the wall to your property.

Once they’ve done that, a cable termination box will be placed on the outside of your home. A small hole will also be drilled in to the front wall of your property for the cable connection to enter your home. In some cases, if it’s a complex installation (e.g. due to a concrete driveway or the length of the cable), a more detailed site survey may need to be carried out and the installation may take longer.

On the day of the installation, someone aged 18 or over will need to be present at the property. If you’re renting, you’ll also need to get permission in advance from your landlord before the service can be installed.

For more information about how Virgin Media’s cable services are set up, see the guide on Virgin Media’s website.

More Information

For more information about the broadband installation process, please see your new broadband provider’s website.

For a home broadband service that’s fast and easy to setup without an engineer visit, consider Three’s 4G & 5G home broadband service.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. You can add your own comment here.

Leave a Reply