BT Broadband Not Working

Is your BT broadband not working?

BT broadband is not workingThere will never a guarantee that your BT broadband service will always be error-free.

We understand that a connection to the internet that continues to fail can be very annoying.

This is the reason we have written this definitive guide to help you determine, trouble-shoot and fix any issues with your BT broadband internet connection.

This BT broadband internet connection trouble-shooting guide is split into two sections:

  1. Possible reasons why your BT broadband is not working
  2. Possible reasons why your BT broadband is working but slow
  3. Things you can do to fix problems with your BT broadband
  4. BT broadband Frequently Asked Questions

Your consumer rights
Before we dig into the reasons why your BT broadband is not working, let’s take a minute to clarify your consumer rights and your position when you find yourself in this situation.

BT and all other broadband service providers are obliged to advertise the average speed that more than half of their customers receive during peak times. BT would have specified an estimated average speed at the time you placed the order.

In addition to the average speed, when you signed up with BT they should have advised you of the minimum speed you should expect. It is probably somewhere in your T&Cs – terms and conditions.

If you do not get this speed, and you have provided BT ample time to fix the issues (at least thirty days), you may have the right to terminate the contract and leave without any termination charges.

BT broadband is provided via the Openreach network.

Please take the time to view the video below which covers a lot of the topics covered in this troubleshooting guide and could save you considerable time.


Why is my BT not working?

Reasons why your BT broadband is not working

The first thing you need to do before going further is to connect a traditional phone handset straight to the broadband phone socket on the wall. Connect it straight into the wall socket - remove the microfilter.

You should hear a dial tone. If you hear a cracking noise or it is silent, contact BT as the problem appears to be with the broadband line.

If you get a dialling tone continue reading this BT broadband troubleshooting guide.

We have provided a checklist of the basic things that may have caused the BT broadband to stop working.

There is no silver bullet (one tweak fixes all) to fix your specific issue however, the list below will help rule out (or rule in) potential cause or reason why the BT broadband is not working.

Ensure that its not your PC or smart device that has the issue

Before we start investigating the fault with your BT broadband, we need to rule out your device to ensure that its not the problem.

Are you seeing similar problems on another device?

BT is not working on other devicesIf the BT broadband has stopped working on your PC/device, do you have the same fault on a different device? Are all members of your household having the same problem on their device(s)?

If everybody has the same problem then it is likely that it is the BT broadband internet connection that is not working.

Similarly, if it's just one device that is experiencing the problem then the issue is with that device as opposed to the BT broadband internet connection being at fault.

Is the problem still present when you switch between a wireless and a wired connection?

Check if the issue with the BT broadband is still present when you switch between wireless and wired connections.

Find a device that has a network port and connect it directly to the BT broadband router. The majority of broadband service providers include an ethernet/network cable in the box that the broadband router came in.

The problem might be with your wireless network if you find that your BT broadband is working without any problems when you’re connected via an ethernet network cable.

If the fault is still there when connected wirelessly and wired, carry on going thru this problem-solving guide to try to find the reason why your BT broadband is not working.

Is it a specific app or website that is not working?

Try accessing a different website or app to verify whether the fault on your BT broadband internet connection is still the same.

In the event that you cannot get onto any websites or the fault is the same across different applications and websites, carry on to the next part of this BT broadband troubleshooting guide.

Want to switch from BT? Here are some BT alternatives.

Have you recently made any changes to your BT Broadband internet connection?

Think about any technical or physical changes that could have stopped the BT broadband from working.

  • Have you added any new electrical devices to the house?
    Devices such as TVs, monitors, microwaves, toasters, halogen lights, wireless devices, and dimmer switches can obstruct or interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. Extension leads are also known to cause interference.
  • Has anyone moved the BT broadband router or positioned furniture or ornaments in front?
  • Have you recently logged into the BT router and changed any settings?

A recent change might be the reason why your BT broadband is not working. Undo all recent changes.

My BT broadband internet connection is slow

My BT broadband internet connection is working but slow

Broadband Traffic Management

You may notice that your BT broadband is slowing down during peak times. Peak time tends to be evenings and weekends.

That is the reason why some broadband service providers or broadband packages have 'Traffic Management' (also known as Traffic Shaping).

That is when the broadband internet connection service provider will start prioritising certain types of internet traffic in a bid to limit other customers from using up all the available capacity.

Check or get in touch with BT to find out if there is traffic management on your broadband package.

Is your broadband overloaded?

Do you need to consider upgrading the Broadband package or switching?

Has your Wi-Fi network been compromised?

If you are sure that have enough bandwidth for your household, make sure that it is not being used by unauthorised people or your neighbours.

Log into the BT broadband router and there will be a section that shows a list of all the devices that are connected to your broadband.

Are there any device names that you do not recognise?

Rebooting the BT router will kick off all the devices connected to your broadband.

After restarting, if some of the unrecognised devices reconnect, you will have to look into finding out what they are.

Some wireless devices or smart devices may have some weird names that you may not recognise.

The best way to identify them is to switch off all your Wi-Fi devices e.g. Amazon Alexa, Google Hubs, Smart speakers, etc and then reboot your BT router and check if the unrecognised devices re-connect.

If they still re-connect, your options are to either check if the router model/version has the capability to block or blacklist devices (this is usually achieved by blocking their *MAC address). Alternatively,  you may have to change your Wi-Fi password.

*All internet-enabled devices have a unique MAC address which you will be able to see on the BT broadband router when the device is connected.

If you want to take it a step further, you can change the wireless network name (the SSID) and hide the Wi-fi network so it is not broadcasted and visible to anyone.

To add devices to your wireless network in the future, you can unhide the Wifi network temporarily while you add the new device. The alternative is to enter the details of your network into the new device.

Are you seeing an excessive amount of Wireless networks in your home?

Slow BT wireless speed might be caused by occupying oversaturated wireless channels.

Overlapping with your neighbour can cause problems on both of your wireless networks.

You can use applications such as Wi-Fi Analyzer (Android) or Network-Analyzer (IOS) to check what channel your Wifi network is operating on and how saturated the channels are.

You can then change the channel to a quieter one by logging into the wireless settings section on your BT Broadband router.

The BT broadband router might be already configured to automatically choose the best Wifi channel.

We would not recommend making changes if it is already configured to automatic.

If you manually change it, you may find that you are always in a cat-and-mouse situation of continually having to change it as and when the nearby Wi-Fi networks increase or change their channel settings.

Restarting your BT Broadband router will cause it to analyse and change to the best possible channel.

Things you to do or check to fix problems on your BT broadband internet connection

7 Steps to fix your BT broadband internet connection

Follow these steps to resolve (or help determine) why your BT Broadband is not working, is slow or keeps dropping. In order for this problem-solving guide to be useful, make sure that the suggested actions in the above sections have been performed.

1. Reboot the BT broadband router

You are probably sick and tired of hearing this but it is necessary. Broadband routers are just mini-computers which from time to time, require a reboot to clear any faults after they have been running for long periods.

This also allows them to establish and negotiate a new connection with BT.

The BT broadband router may take 3 - 5mins to go through the restart and broadband negotiation reconnecting cycle. It may take longer if it is performing an update upon restart. Please be patient.

Important: Do not switch off your BT broadband router for long periods or continually restart it.

Standard broadband (ADSL) and Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) broadband run a process called Dynamic Line Management (DLM) which attempts to stabilise a broadband connection by reducing the line speed to make it more stable.

Continually restarting your broadband router or switching it off for extended periods makes DLM believe that you have an unstable connection and thus slows it down.

2. Check the BT broadband router lights

If any of the BT broadband router LED lights are red or amber, this is a certain sign that there is a fault with the BT broadband line.

You should contact BT customer services to report this issue. Make sure that all the cabling from the wall socket to the BT broadband router is firmly connected before contacting customer services.

3. Check your BT Broadband Phone Line

If you still have a landline handset, plug it straight into the wall socket and check if you hear a dial tone. If all you hear is noise or silence, there is a fault with the line.

Get in touch with BT to report this fault.

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4. Are there any known faults with BT broadband in your area

Check if there are known issues on the BT network that may be causing your BT broadband to stop working.

Check if other BT customers have reported issues with their broadband.

5. Check if your device has an IP address

Every device needs an IP address so that it can connect to the internet.

This is something that happens in the background when you connect to any broadband wireless or wired network.

The BT broadband router is configured (by default) to assign your device(s) an IP address automatically unless you have manually changed the settings.

If your PC/device doesn’t get an IP address, it will be unable to connect to the internet or any other devices that you connect to in your house (e.g. smart speakers, Amazon or Google devices, gadgets, etc).

The screenshot below is where you check to see if your PC/Laptop has an IP address on Windows and MAC OS.

Microsoft Windows

Go to Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Centre.
Click on the name of your network connection and click the Details button. Your IP address will be displayed.

Check IP address on BT Broadband
IP Address on a Windows PC


Apple MAC

Go to System Preferences and click on the Network Preference pane.

Your IP address will be displayed as per the screenshot below.

Check IP address on BT Broadband - MAC OS
IP address on an Apple Mac

You may search How to Find My IP Address on YouTube to find tutorial videos on finding the IP address on different make/model devices and operating systems.

If your IP address starts with 169, it is an invalid IP address. It is a way your device tells you that it was not given an IP address so defaults to a 169 address.

If you are not getting an IP address or your IP address starts with 169, log into the BT broadband router and look for the section that refers to DHCP.

DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol and is the process that is responsible for assigning IP addresses. Make sure that it is enabled.

Get in touch with BT Broadband support to assist in checking issues on your DHCP service if you’re uncomfortable or don’t have the knowledge on how to do this.

If you do get an IP address, make sure you also have a Default Gateway (or Router IP) and a DNS server IP address as per the image below.

IP address Configuration

IP address
IP address has been explained in the above section.

Default Gateway or Router IP address

This device is the ‘gateway’ to the outside world/internet. In most cases, this is the IP address of the BT broadband router.

This is also referred to as a Router address on Apple Macs.

DNS Server IP address

This is the device that translates any website name that you type into your internet browser e.g. to an IP address.

Computers and internet-enabled devices ‘talk’ to each other using IP addresses.

When you type into your browser your PC/device asks the DNS server for the IP address for that website.

If you do not have a DNS server in your IP address configuration, you will not be able to get onto the internet because your device will not know the IP address for the web page or anything else that you are trying to view.

It is like trying to send mail to your friend Joe Blogg's house but don’t have his home address.

6. Check if you can connect to the internet by ‘Pinging’

If you have followed the above section and confirmed that your device has an IP address, you can check internet connectivity by Pinging

PING, is a diagnostic tool that tests connectivity between devices.

If you don’t have connectivity to Google, check that you can ping your default gateway.

If you can ping the Default Gateway but are unable to ping Google, this indicates a problem with your BT broadband as that is the route to Google.

7. Contact BT Broadband customer services

If you have followed this troubleshooting guide to this point. It's time to get in touch with BT Broadband support and tell them that you have completed the above checks.

The problem that has caused your BT broadband to stop working is outside of your home and control.

We hope this BT broadband troubleshooting guide has been useful.

If you are planning on switching your broadband internet connection, you can check out:
Top Six broadband internet offers this week.

Please bookmark or share it in the unlikely event you need to refer to it if your BT broadband might stop working again.

BT broadband FAQs

BT do not recommend manually changing wireless channels on the BT Hubs as this turns off Smart Wireless.

When Smart Wireless is on, the Hub will automatically select the wireless channel with the least interference.

If you would like to still go ahead your can find the instructions here

Unhappy with your BT broadband? Check out these alternatives