Best broadband providers 2024: The UK's top internet providers rated

Dan Howdle | January 29th, 2024

Woman using a laptop on sofa

Who is the best broadband provider in the UK?

The truth is, brace yourself, the question 'Who is the best broadband provider?' has a different answer depending on what exactly it is you're looking for. Want the fastest? That's one. Most reliable? Best customer service? Cheapest? Every one of these has a different answer. But worry not. Our experts are here to show you who the best provider is for each of these important criteria and more.

Bigger tends to be better

If you've already skipped down the page some, you may have noticed that most of our picks are the larger, more well-known broadband providers. That shouldn't be all too surprising. While you can often get a good deal from one of the smaller, indie providers, often the frills are lacking, and your options will be more limited should you wish to expand your plan to include TV for example. Bigger providers also tend to offer the most reliable service, and the fastest fixes when problems occur.

Best broadband deal for July 2024

Before we get into which providers are best at what, here's our pick of the best broadband deal this month:

Virgin Media logo

Virgin Media M125 Fibre Broadband

£55 bill credit, no set-up cost

Virgin Media isn't available everywhere. We're going to mention that a lot, because although Virgin Media dominates for speed, reliability, and in our opinion value, it's still only available to around 55-60% of UK households. So it's an 'if you can get it' best deal. Virgin Media's M125 broadband package offers, confusingly, 132Mbps. And that really is plenty for most households, despite what Virgin Media's upper-echelon speeds might suggest. Right now, you'll also get an £55 sweetener in the form of a bill credit, which will be discounted a cross your first few bills, and there's no set-up cost – which is usually £35.

Best broadband providers in July 2024

We've picked our favourite broadband providers in a number of different categories, aimed at helping you find the right provider for you, depending on what exactly is most important to you.

Virgin Media logo

Best overall provider

Virgin Media

As previously mentioned, Virgin Media isn't available to everyone. Just over half of UK households can get it, in fact. Does that disqualify it from being chosen as our favourite provider? No, it doesn't. This is a broadband speed, quality and service competition, not a 'who can get it' competition. Virgin Media offers the fastest widely available broadband in the UK, with a current top speed of 1130Mbps for its Gig1 service. And unlike many other providers, your chances of getting that speed or better are extremely high, with just 1% of Virgin Media customers not able to get the promised minimums.

Virgin Media is also extremely reliable. It runs its own network, separate from Openreach (used by all the others – Sky, TalkTalk, BT and so on), and uses a different set of technologies. Virgin Media also offers some of the best subscription TV in the UK should you wish to bundle up, and since merging with mobile network provider O2, can also bundle mobile SIMs into your deal with the likes of the Ultimate Volt Bundle. You can get anything and everything from Virgin Media. It's a one-stop shop where the more services you bundle up, the more you save. If you can get it, it's a no-brainer.

Reasons to buy

  • Faster speeds more widely available
  • More reliable than others
  • You don't need a phone line

Reasons to avoid

  • Can be pricey outside of sale time
  • Not available everywhere
  • Harsh cancellation fee policy

Read our full Virgin Media broadband review.

How do Virgin Media broadband packages compare?

Broadband Package Download Speed Upload Speed Monthly Cost
0Mbps 0Mbps £0 per month
M125 Fibre Broadband 132Mbps 20Mbps £26.50 per month
M250 Fibre Broadband 264Mbps 25Mbps £30.50 per month
M350 Fibre Broadband 362Mbps 36Mbps £34.50 per month
M500 Fibre Broadband 516Mbps 52Mbps £33.99 per month
Gig1 Fibre Broadband 1.1Gbps 104Mbps £40.99 per month
Gig2 Fibre Broadband 2Gbps 200Mbps £84 per month
Our best Virgin Media broadband deals

Compare Virgin broadband Call Virgin 0333 210 1126

BT logo

Best universally available provider

BT broadband

Unlike Virgin Media, BT is universally available, and offers speeds of up to 900Mbps. But there are some big 'buts' that go along with that. You see, the Openreach network, on which BT and all the others operate, is made up of three different technologies: ADSL (up to 17Mbps), standard fibre broadband (up to 76Mbps), and 'pure' or 'full' fibre (up to 900Mbps). And while pretty much everyone can get the first two, full fibre is only available to about one in five households at the time of writing. So, BT Broadband is universally available, but its complete range of speeds is most certainly not.

That said, BT is a true premium provider. You can often pay a little more for a BT deal over the likes of Plusnet or TalkTalk, but for that premium you get a premium service, with a fantastic router, a wifi guarantee (meaning wifi reaching every corner of your home), and one of the fastest fault resolution times in the business. BT has also built a stellar reputation for excellent customer service over the past half-decade, and also offers excellent TV, phone and mobile SIM options should you wish to stack your bundle.

Reasons to buy

  • Up to 900Mbps broadband
  • Great router, 'unbreakable' Wi-Fi
  • Reliable 'complete' Wi-Fi

Reasons to avoid

  • Expensive, and best features cost extra
  • Limited availability for Full Fibre packages
  • Long contracts

Read our full BT broadband review.

How do BT broadband packages compare?

Broadband Package Download Speed Upload Speed Monthly Cost
Broadband 10Mbps 1Mbps £29.99 per month
BT Fibre 1 50Mbps 9.5Mbps £34.99 per month
Fibre Essential 36Mbps 9.5Mbps £33.99 per month
BT Fibre 2 67Mbps 19Mbps £36.99 per month
BT Full Fibre 100 150Mbps 28Mbps £29.99 per month
BT Full Fibre 500 500Mbps 73Mbps £49.99 per month
BT Full Fibre 900 900Mbps 110Mbps £44.99 per month
Our best BT Broadband deals

Compare BT broadband

Plusnet logo

Best budget provider

Plusnet broadband

So far we've recommended primarily premium providers. Why? Because there's more to value for money than simply how much you pay each month. It is also about what you actually get compared alongside that monthly outlay. It's all very well signing up to a deal from 'Cheapaschips Telecom' and saving a fiver a month, but is that really money worth saving if they provider you with a ten year-old router and have you wait an hour to speak to anyone when you encounter the inevitable problems that go along with that.

Plusnet (owned by BT), is that happy medium. It tends to offer lower-priced, or rather more affordable broadband packages that granted have fewer frills and even fewer options to bundle up or build a stack of services in the same way you might be able to from Sky, Virgin Media or BT. However, what you will get with Plusnet is a great router (same one as BT's premium service), fast, reliable broadband and customer service that has won more awards over the past decade than you've had hot dinners. In the world of 'budget' broadband, Plusnet simply cannot be beat.

Reasons to buy

  • Stellar customer service
  • Quick installation
  • Premium router, budget price

Reasons to avoid

  • First month payable upfront
  • You can't bundle a TV package
  • Line rental required for broadband

Read our full Plusnet broadband review.

How do Plusnet broadband packages compare?

Broadband Package Download Speed Upload Speed Cost
0Mbps 0Mbps £0 per month
Fibre Broadband 66Mbps 9.5Mbps £27.99 per month
Full Fibre 74 74Mbps 20Mbps £27.99 per month
Full Fibre 145 145Mbps 30Mbps £28.99 per month
Full Fibre 300 300Mbps 50Mbps £32.99 per month
Full Fibre 500 500Mbps 75Mbps £37.99 per month
Full Fibre 900 910Mbps 110Mbps £44.99 per month
Our best Plusnet broadband deals

Compare Plusnet broadband

Sky logo

Best broadband and TV bundles

Sky broadband

It's a close-run thing with Virgin Media bringing such a stacked offering to the table when it comes to TV. But ultimately, Sky is not only more widely available than Virgin Media, its new Sky Stream service – which the provider is now putting a heavy emphasis on over its traditional 'Sky Q set-top box plus satellite dish' is simply more convenient and more capable. Sky TV services, with Sky Stream, only need the internet connection you'll already have bundles into the deal.

But there's a Virgin Media streaming service too, imaginatively titled 'Stream from Virgin Media' – differentiating its naming slightly from Sky Stream, but in the process sounding more like a men's perfume. Stream by Virgin Media, pour homme. But, and this is important, no Virgin Media service includes the content broadcast by Sky via Sky Atlantic. And that means no HBO shows on Virgin Media. That may seem like a small difference until you consider the shows you can't get anywhere else as a result. We're talking Succession, The Last of Us, House of the Dragon, Game of Thrones and many more. In many cases, the best, most popular and talked about shows in the world.

Reasons to buy

  • Good router
  • Good speeds
  • Awesome TV bundles

Reasons to avoid

  • Not as fast as Virgin
  • Pricey if not bundling TV
  • High set-up cost

Read our full Sky broadband review.

How do Sky broadband packages compare?

Broadband Package Download Speed Upload Speed Cost
Superfast 35 36Mbps 9Mbps £40 per month
Superfast 61Mbps 16Mbps £27 per month
Ultrafast 145Mbps 27Mbps £28 per month
Ultrafast Plus 500Mbps 60Mbps £33 per month
Gigafast 900Mbps 100Mbps £43 per month
Our best Sky Broadband deals

Compare Sky broadband

How to choose the right broadband deal for you – some tips

Not happy with our choices? No bother. You needn't take our word for it. We have extensive comparison tools and filters to help you find a broadband deal catered exactly to your needs. Before you go there, though, here are a few tips to help you more easily find what you're looking for:

  • Check availability: Determine which broadband providers offer services in your area to narrow down your options
  • Speed requirements: Assess your internet usage needs and choose a broadband package that provides sufficient download and upload speeds
  • Compare pricing: Compare the prices of different broadband packages, including any discounts or promotional offers, to find the best value for your budget
  • Contract terms: Review the contract length and terms, such as early termination fees, to ensure they align with your preferences and flexibility requirements
  • Customer reviews: Read reviews and ratings from other customers to gain insights into the reliability, customer service, and overall satisfaction with the broadband provider
  • Consider bundle deals: If you require other services such as TV or phone, explore bundle deals that offer combined services for potential cost savings
  • Check installation and equipment: Inquire about the installation process, any setup fees, and whether the provider offers necessary equipment such as routers or modems
  • Customer service: Evaluate the quality and availability of customer support channels, including phone, email, and online chat, in case you encounter any issues

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