Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find answers to some of the most common questions asked about John Lewis Broadband and our services.





Switching to John Lewis Broadband

How do I switch to John Lewis Broadband?

Switching broadband providers may seem daunting, as you may be concerned about losing data or the email address that you have with your current provider.

When you order John Lewis Broadband, we'll let you know what's required to switch your service to us, and give you an idea of how long the process will take.

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What will happen to my service?

Switching to John Lewis Broadband is easy. Once you sign up, we'll contact your current supplier and arrange everything for you. Most providers send a letter, informing that they've received your request for the transfer of your service and including your final invoice. However, don't forget that you'll need to contact your bank to cancel any Direct Debit set up for your current supplier.

At this stage it's important that you don't tell your existing provider to cancel the service immediately. Most providers will automatically cancel your service once the migration to your new provider is completed.

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How do I sign up to John Lewis Broadband?

You have the option of signing up over the phone (0800 022 3300) or online. We'll check your phone number and address as you're placing your order. We'll send you an email from us confirming your order. It will take us between 10 and 12 working days to switch your broadband service over to John Lewis Broadband, but you'll still have broadband through your current provider until we switch you over to our Broadband network.

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Can I avoid losing my email address?

Ask your provider whether you can keep your email address if you switch from their service. Many providers offer you the opportunity to keep your email address for a small annual fee if you decide to leave. We'll offer you a new email address, with Webmail access, when you sign up to John Lewis Broadband.

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What do I need to use a John Lewis Broadband and Phone Service?

In order to receive the John Lewis Broadband and Phone Service, you need:

  • A non-cable phone line (e.g. BT, Homecall, Post Office or similar)
  • A telephone
  • An internet enabled device e.g. PC, Mac, Tablet etc
  • Either your Visa, Visa Delta or MasterCard card for initial payment
  • And bank details to set up Direct Debit payments.

If you don't have a phone line, or it's a cable phone line, we can install a new line for you. Alternatively, we can activate an existing non-cable line, if there's one in your property.

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Broadband speeds

Why might my speed be lower for the first 10 days of service?

Once your broadband is activated, tests will be run on your phone line. These find out the broadband speeds you've received in the last 10 days. From this, we'll determine the fastest stable speed that your phone line can support.

You'll see your speeds go up and down during this stabilisation period. You might even lose your broadband sync for a few seconds now and again if your line can't handle the speed. Don't worry, this is completely normal. After testing is complete, your speed may still vary from time to time, but this should be less noticeable than during the first 10 days of your service.

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Why might my download speed vary?

Although the connection speed will be set during the 10-day testing period, the actual speed at which you can download will vary because of a number of factors. Your speed may be limited by the capacity of the server that you're downloading from, or general congestion across the Internet. You may notice that the speed at which you can download is less than your connection speed if your phone exchange is busy, or has a lot of other broadband users connected to it.

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What speed can I expect from my broadband service?

Your broadband speed can be affected by many factors, and will also vary to help give you a stable connection. Your actual speeds can be affected by the quality of your telephone line, location and weather conditions, network congestion at your local exchange or the prioritisation process on our network. Please read this page in conjunction with the details of how we prioritise traffic on our network.

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What is traffic prioritisation?

We use this to prioritise different types of traffic to your household. This helps us to provide you with the best possible service where you or your household are trying to carry out more online activities than your line can physically support at any one time. Your service remains unlimited and we don't limit your line speed, usage or downloads because of prioritisation.

For example, if one person in your household is on Skype and another is downloading some files, and these activities together are more than your line can support, bandwidth priority would be given to the person using Skype as this is the most time-sensitive application. The file download would continue, but with priority given to the Skype traffic, the application should continue to work without glitches or dropouts on the call, no matter how demanding the file downloading software is.

By prioritising traffic we help to ensure that all time sensitive traffic (such as video and audio streaming, Internet calls, VPN and gaming) should not be adversely affected by more demanding applications like file downloading and software updates. This is particularly beneficial if you have a slower broadband connection, where making the most of the available capacity of your connection is important so you don't see videos buffering or experience drop outs when Internet calling.

It's important to understand that where you are carrying out activities of the same category (see below for details), no traffic prioritisation will take place. Traffic prioritisation will only be used where we are able to prioritise one type of activity above another. If only one application is running, no matter what its priority, it will run at full line speed.

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How does traffic prioritisation work?

We put every type of online activity into a category:

High Traffic in the highest priority queue
Medium Traffic which has lower priority than High, but is higher than Low
Low Traffic in the lowest priority queue

The table below sets out the different types of online activity and what category they are in.

Internet Activity Description Priority
Browsing Viewing web pages with a web browser Medium
Email Sending and receiving email with an email program such as Outlook or Mac Mail Medium
VoIP Making phone calls over your broadband connection High
Gaming Online gaming. Please note: demos, games downloads and system updates from services such as PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE fall under the Software updates category rather than Gaming High
VPN A secure way to connect to a network at another location, often used by home workers to access work systems. Includes VNC and Windows Remote Desktop. Network protocols such as SSH and Telnet also fall under the VPN category Medium
FTP Using FTP to move files to or from servers Medium
Streaming Playing continuous multimedia TV, movie or music files Medium
Software updates File transfers from update servers e.g. Windows update / Apple update Low
Peer to Peer Downloading from file sharing applications Low
Other Activities that do not fit into the above categories Medium

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What happens when the network is really busy?

Our broadband service is provided over our own and our suppliers' networks. Our total bandwidth (the amount of data that can be transmitted on any one connection) is shared between everybody who's connected to the network.

We're constantly investing in our network, and so as customer numbers and usage grows, we increase the capacity of our network to make sure there's more than enough bandwidth for all our customers.

In exceptional circumstances the network could become much busier than expected. This could be due to a major news event leading to a huge amount of online traffic, or in the rare case of network failure for example. In these situations, we would prioritise traffic on our network to help ensure that you get a great service no matter how busy it is.

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Wireless explained

How does wireless work?

Wireless networking (also known as Wi-Fi) works in the same way as your cordless phone. It uses radio signals to transmit data from the different devices on your network.

To create a wireless network you need to have a wireless router. If you use the router we provide with your John Lewis Broadband service, you can create a wireless network in your home.

We offer a wireless router with both our broadband and fibre services.

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What are the advantages of a wireless network?

  • Easy installation
  • Increased mobility - your router doesn't necessarily need to be plugged into the socket closest to your PC
  • Reduce clutter - fewer wires invading your workspace
  • Scalability - great for families with more than one computer, where it's not practical to get online via the same socket

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What routers are provided?

We will provide you with a new wireless router, with 4 ethernet ports for wired connections.

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Internet security

What internet security does John Lewis Broadband provide?

We understand the importance of internet security, and have a range of security functions designed to keep your family and your computer safe from internet threats.

For PC users we offer BullGuard, a simple and complete PC security package with antivirus, antispyware, firewall, spam filter and online backup protection. It's compatible with Windows 8,7, Vista and XP (SP2 minimum) and included with your broadband service.

To download BullGuard after you've signed up, log in to your Add ons page at My account.

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Email virus protection

How does John Lewis Broadband protect me from viruses?

You need to make sure you're protected from any malicious attacks on your computer. The majority of viruses are transmitted by email, so we employ state-of-the-art anti-virus technology to protect your emails. Any email sent to your John Lewis Broadband inbox containing a known virus is automatically deleted, and we'll then let you know who the contaminated email was from.

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What is Webmail?

Webmail comes as part of the John Lewis Broadband package. It lets you send and receive emails from any internet connection, wherever you are in the world. Webmail also gives you access to useful features, such as an address book and a free spam filter. You can log into Webmail directly

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Static IP address

What is an IP address and why do I need one?

To connect to the internet your computer needs an IP address. This enables other computers online to find you and transmit the information you need to view websites. Without an IP address, you wouldn't be able to collect email or view web pages.

Each time you connect we will randomly assign your computer an IP address unless you request otherwise. This is known as a dynamic IP address.

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Why might I need a static IP address?

Some broadband customers may need a static IP address, i.e. the same one every time they connect. This could be needed if you wish to work remotely from a central office or if you play certain online games. If you're not sure whether you need a static IP address, you probably don't need one.

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How much does it cost to have a static IP address?

A static IP address from John Lewis Broadband costs a one-off fee of £5.00. If you need a static IP address, just login to My account and click on the Internet tab to add your static IP address

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Can I still get John Lewis Broadband and Phone if my phone line is through a cable service provider?

You won't be able to get John Lewis Broadband unless you have a non-cable phone line. To have a non-cable phone line installed, you can sign up for our John Lewis Phone service as a new line installation. We will then arrange for a line to be installed for you. Please note that an installation charge of £49.99 may be applicable. You will also require a standard landline phone in order to make and receive calls.

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I already have a broadband service with another provider. Can I change it over to John Lewis Broadband?

To change your current broadband service over to John Lewis Broadband follow these simple steps:

Sign up for John Lewis Broadband. It will take us between 10 and 12 working days to switch your broadband service over to John Lewis Broadband. You'll receive an email from us confirming your order. You will still have broadband through your current provider until we switch you over to our network.

You must also move your phone services to us at the same time.

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How will the handover from my current telephone supplier be arranged if I sign up?

Switching to John Lewis Phone is easy. Once you sign up, we'll contact your current supplier and arrange everything for you. Most providers send a letter, informing that they've received your request for the transfer of your service and including your final invoice. However, don't forget that you'll need to contact your bank to cancel any Direct Debits set up for your current supplier.

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Can the installation of broadband affect my home security systems?

The installation of broadband can affect security, burglar or health alarm systems that use your phone line. You should check the compatibility of such systems by referring to your supplier before ordering John Lewis Broadband.

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How long does it take to get Broadband and Phone?

This depends on your circumstances. We'll advise you when you place your order what the timescales are.

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Do I have to pay for a new line installation if I have been using BT as my phone provider?

If you have been using BT as your phone provider or if you have a white BT phone socket on your wall it is most likely that you can continue using it when you switch to John Lewis Phone. In this instance you will not need to pay for a new line installation and we can give you a new number if required.

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Can John Lewis Broadband help me if I don't have a BT line?

Yes, we can arrange to install a new phone line, or re-use an existing phone circuit in your property.

A new line installation in most cases involves an engineer visit and will cost you £49.99. We'll arrange everything for you and you don't need to contact any other provider.

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How do I know if I need a new line?

When you place your order, we'll ask for your address. We'll use these to determine whether you'll need a new phone line, or if we can transfer an existing phone service.

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Fibre broadband

How fibre works

A modern network of fibre optic glass cabling runs from the local telephone exchange sending data at the speed of light to a green cabinet located much nearer your home. A short copper cable then runs from your nearest green cabinet into your home. This shortens the distance the signal travels along the copper wire increasing the possible speeds.

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How fibre is installed

We'll arrange for an engineer to visit your house, on the earliest available date. Before they arrive they'll do some work at your local telephone exchange and green street cabinet.

We will send you through the post a new router for your Fibre connection, after your activation you simply need to follow the instructions with the router to set up your internet connection.

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Does John Lewis Phone include line rental?

Yes. With John Lewis Broadband and Phone, line rental is included in your monthly payment.

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What call features are included?

Our phone services offer Voicemail Standard, 1471 and Caller Display free of charge. Optional call features can be added or amended at any time by visiting the Phone control panel.

Voicemail Standard

  • Picks up and takes a message when your line is engaged or not answered
  • Stores up to 10 messages and records messages up to 2 minutes in length
  • Informs you when your message box is nearly full

Caller Display

  • Shows you the number of the person calling, so you can decide whether to answer or let the caller leave a message
  • Requires a compatible telephone handset with Caller Display (also known as Caller ID)


  • Call 1471 to find out the number of the last person to call you and the time of the call

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What optional call features can I choose from?

You can personalise your phone service by adding optional calling features. These features can be ordered at the time of sign up, or can be added or amended at any time via My account.

Charges associated with the call features can be found in the Price Guide.

Voicemail Extra

  • Picks up and takes a message when your line is engaged or not answered
  • Allows you to record a personalised greeting
  • Stores up to 30 messages (each up to 5 minutes in duration)
  • Enables you to access your messages remotely from anywhere in the world using a secure PIN

Anonymous Call Reject

  • Allows you to block calls from people who have withheld their number

Call Waiting

  • Alerts you with a 'beep' when someone's trying to get through
  • Allows you to swap between calls, finish the original call or just ignore it

Call Divert

  • Diverts incoming calls to UK landline or mobile or most international numbers
  • Allows you to divert all calls, unanswered calls or when the line is busy

Ring Back

  • Dial '5' when you hear an engaged tone and you'll be called back as soon as the other person is available

Call Barring - Premium Rate

  • Block outgoing calls to premium rate numbers

Call Barring Premium and International

  • Block outgoing calls to premium rate and international numbers

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How do I keep myself secure over the phone?

Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) helps you ensure your phone number is no longer available to organisations who may call you with offers and information which aren't of interest to you. It's unlawful to make unsolicited direct marketing calls to individuals who have registered their number with the TPS.

As a John Lewis Phone customer, we'll tell you how to register with the TPS.

Protect yourself from phone scams

Never give out your personal details over the phone if you can't verify the caller's identity. When calling your bank or financial institution, only dial the number from a trustworthy published source, such as the number printed on your bank statement or on the back of your credit card.

For security reasons, it's very unlikely that your bank will ever email you, and even less likely that they'll email you their telephone number; don't dial phone numbers given in emails purporting to be from your bank.

Please be aware that calls to 090 numbers can incur significant charges.

More information on premium rate numbers is available from PhonepayPlus. (Please note that we can't be responsible for the content of external websites.)

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What are the John Lewis Broadband Phone call-rates?

For full information please see our Price Guide and Non-Geographic Call Charges.

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Do I contact John Lewis Broadband if I have a fault with my phone line that requires an engineer's attention?

Yes. We'll book an engineer appointment for you if it's required. 90% of faults are fixed within 10 days of being reported, so we'll hopefully fix yours within this time.

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Can I keep my existing phone number?

Whenever possible we'll keep your current phone number. However, in some cases we can't transfer numbers. If you can't keep your number we'll let you know before you switch to us.

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Information for Waitrose and Greenbee customers

How do I access my Waitrose or Greenbee email or account?

Once you've transferred your service to John Lewis Broadband, you will continue to use the same email address as before to access your email. You can also use webmail to access your email.

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Can I keep my Waitrose or Greenbee email address?

Yes, if you're moving from a Greenbee or Waitrose broadband account, you'll keep your Greenbee or Waitrose email address rather than getting a John Lewis Broadband email address. It is not possible to retain this email address though if you choose to move to another provider at some stage in the future.

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Can I keep my Greenbee or Waitrose webspace?


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Can I still receive invoices by post?

No. As part of our ongoing commitment to minimising our impact on the environment we've introduced paperless billing. John Lewis Invoices are available in My account and can be downloaded and printed out, if you wish to retain a paper copy.

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Can I get a new John Lewis Broadband email address?

No. You'll keep your existing Greenbee or Waitrose email address.

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General information

How do I sign up?

You have the option of signing up over the phone (0800 022 3300) or online. We'll check your phone number and address as you're placing your order. We'll send you an email from us confirming your order. It will take us between 10 and 12 working days to switch your broadband service over to John Lewis Broadband, but you'll still have broadband through your current provider until we switch you over to our Broadband network.

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Is there a minimum contract length?

There's a 12-month minimum contract for John Lewis Broadband services.

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What happens to my Broadband and Phone service if I move house?

See our home move guide.

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What if I want to cancel my Broadband and Phone subscription?

Your John Lewis Broadband and Phone service has a 12-month service term. You may cancel any time you wish after the first 12 months, subject to one month's notice, without penalty. If you cancel within 12 months charges will be incurred - please refer to the Terms and Conditions for more information. To cancel your service, just call Customer support on 0800 0227 3300 on weekdays between 9am and 5:30pm.

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How do I change my Direct Debit details?

To change your Direct Debit details, login to My account and select the My details link. Click on the Update payment details link to change your Direct Debit details.

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How can I get more help?

You can find lots of information in the support section of our site.

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John Lewis Broadband is a trading name of John Lewis plc. John Lewis Broadband is provided by Plusnet plc. Registered office The Balance, 2 Pinfold Street, Sheffield, S1 2GU.
Company registration number 3279013. VAT No. 245 7193 48

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