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Ask the expert: What's the fastest broadband you can get?

Wednesday, August 2nd 2017 by Dan Howdle
This isn't one of those blogs – you know the sort where you say 'I want a squillion, gajillion megabits' and we prove mathematically that you don't need that much. No, this blog focuses on one thing only: You want the fastest, so here's how to get it… no questions asked.

Traditional wisdom (that is to say, wisdom received from organisations trying to sell you things) says bigger numbers (megabits, megapixels and so on) are always better. But are they?

Not really. 4K TVs offer pixels beyond the range of the human eye. There are bicycles that cost thousands more than the next model down for the weight difference of a free range egg, and anything beyond 100Mbps is kind of redundant for the time being.

But I'm not here to judge, I'm here to deliver the information you need to get yourself the fastest broadband you can get at your address. All delivered to you in an easy, step-by-step style...

Step one: Can you get Virgin Media?

Virgin Media offers hands-down the fastest widely-available broadband in the UK. Trouble is it's only available to just over half of all UK households. If you can get it, and you want the fastest, at up to 350Mbps Virgin Media is where you should start.

Now, one small caveat I should mention is that there is one provider who is considerably faster than Virgin Media, and that’s Hyperoptic, which offers up to 1000Mbps (or 1 gigabit). As a smaller provider, Hyperoptic also offers award-winning customer service. However, your chances of living somewhere you can get it are hundreds to one.

Step two: No Virgin Media? Take your pick, but I’d recommend BT or Sky

If you can’t get Virgin Media, which is so fast because it has its own network, you’ll have to choose a broadband deal from another provider – all of which share BT’s Openreach network, and will bring broadband into your household through your BT landline.

The maximum speed you’ll get, then, is currently up to 76Mbps, and that won’t vary depending on which provider you pick. Since you’re after the fastest you can get, I’m guessing your budget is fairly substantial. In which case you should consider narrowing your choices down the Sky or BT.

Both of the providers offer high-quality equipment, efficient installation, free gifts for joining, and the option to upgrade or add on with TV, home phone and mobile. Other, similar broadband deals may be a bit cheaper, but they’re also not going to offer the quality of gear or the expandability offered by these two.

Step three: Compare the fastest deals

Once you understand what you can get, it’s time to look at what’s available where you live. You can do that by entering your postcode below. This will take you to a tailored broadband deals comparison page that will only show you the stuff you can get where you live.

Just select ‘download speed’ from the sorting menu at the top of the page and that will show you the fastest first.

Dan Howdle, Cable.co.uk

Dan Howdle is Cable.co.uk’s resident telecoms expert. Dan appears regularly in the UK press to talk about issues faced by UK consumers on matters of broadband, TV and mobile, and has appeared on BBC Breakfast, ITV News, Sky News, and on a number of BBC and non-BBC UK radio stations. If you have a question for Dan, you can email him at expert@cable.co.uk.

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