Best broadband for gaming

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  • Compare the best gaming broadband deals and offers
  • Best providers for gaming – BT and Virgin Media
  • December 2019 deals start from just £28 per month
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Recommended deal Virgin Broadband
Broadband speed 362Mbps
Upload speed 21Mbps
Contract length 12 months
Monthly price £43 per month

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Best broadband for gaming

PackageBroadband SpeedMonthly UsageSet-up CostContract LengthMonthly Price
Virgin Media M100 Fibre Broadband + Weekend Calls108Mb averageUnlimited£3512 months£33 per month
BT Superfast Fibre50Mb averageUnlimited£9.9924 months£28.99 per month
Virgin Media M100 Fibre Broadband108Mb averageUnlimitedFree12 months£28 per month
Virgin Media M200 Fibre Broadband213Mb averageUnlimitedFree12 months£33 per month
BT Superfast Fibre 267Mb averageUnlimited£9.9924 months£34.99 per month
Virgin Media M350 Fibre Broadband362Mb averageUnlimitedFree12 months£38 per month
Virgin Media M200 Fibre Broadband + Weekend Calls213Mb averageUnlimited£3512 months£38 per month
BT Superfast Fibre + BT Sport App50Mb averageUnlimited£9.9924 months£38.99 per month
Virgin Media M350 Fibre Broadband + Weekend Calls362Mb averageUnlimited£3512 months£43 per month
Virgin Media M50 Fibre Broadband + Weekend Calls54Mb averageUnlimited£3512 months£28 per month
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PackageProviderOfferAverage SpeedMonthly UsageSet-up CostContract LengthFirst Year CostMonthly Price

M100 Fibre Broadband + Weekend Calls

  • For busy households with 5-9 devices
  • Average upload speeds of 6Mbps
Virgin Media
order by phone
0800 211 8165
  • New customers only
Broadband
Download speed (average)108Mb
Upload speed (average)6Mb
Monthly usageUnlimited
Fair usage policyNo
Home phone
Daytime calls (per min)9.94p
Evening calls (per min)9.94p
Weekend calls (per min)included
Price breakdown
Monthly cost£33.00
Set-up cost£35.00
First year cost£431.00
Average cost per month£35.92
Minimum contract length12 months
108Mb
Average
Speed
Unlimited
Monthly
Downloads
£35.00
Set-up
cost
12
Month
Contract

Superfast Fibre

  • Get the speeds promised or £20 back
  • Smart Hub – more powerful than from other big providers
  • BT Virus Protect on 2 devices and Parental controls
  • Pay as you go calls
BT
  • New customers only
  • £120 Reward Card
  • Save £168 on your contract
  • Ends soon
Broadband
Download speed (average)50Mb
Upload speed (average)9.5Mb
Monthly usageUnlimited
Fair usage policyNo
Home phone
Daytime calls (per min)13p
Evening calls (per min)13p
Weekend calls (per min)13p
Price breakdown
Monthly cost£28.99
Set-up cost£9.99
First year cost£357.87
Average cost per month£29.41
Minimum contract length24 months
Terms and conditions
The BT Reward Card is preloaded with funds you can spend at most merchants that display the Mastercard logo. Only available to new BT customers ordering BT Broadband/BT Superfast Fibre/BT Ultrafast on bt.com. Available with or without TV. Claim once your broadband is up and running. T&Cs apply.
50Mb
Average
Speed
Unlimited
Monthly
Downloads
£9.99
Set-up
cost
24
Month
Contract
£120
Reward Card

M100 Fibre Broadband

  • For busy households with 5-9 devices
  • Average upload speeds of 6Mbps
Virgin Media
order by phone
0800 211 8165
  • New customers only
  • Free set-up worth an extra £35
Broadband
Download speed (average)108Mb
Upload speed (average)6Mb
Monthly usageUnlimited
Fair usage policyNo
Price breakdown
Monthly cost£28.00
Set-up cost£0.00
First year cost£336.00
Average cost per month£28.00
Minimum contract length12 months
108Mb
Average
Speed
Unlimited
Monthly
Downloads
Zero
Set-up
cost
12
Month
Contract
Save
£168

M200 Fibre Broadband

  • For busy households with 10+ devices
  • Average upload speeds of 12Mbps
Virgin Media
order by phone
0800 211 8165
  • New customers only
  • Free set-up worth an extra £35
Broadband
Download speed (average)213Mb
Upload speed (average)12Mb
Monthly usageUnlimited
Fair usage policyNo
Price breakdown
Monthly cost£33.00
Set-up cost£0.00
First year cost£396.00
Average cost per month£33.00
Minimum contract length12 months
213Mb
Average
Speed
Unlimited
Monthly
Downloads
Zero
Set-up
cost
12
Month
Contract
Save
£168

Superfast Fibre 2

  • Get the speeds promised or £20 back
  • Pay as you go calls
BT
  • New customers only
Broadband
Download speed (average)67Mb
Upload speed (average)19Mb
Monthly usageUnlimited
Fair usage policyNo
Home phone
Daytime calls (per min)13p
Evening calls (per min)13p
Weekend calls (per min)13p
Price breakdown
Monthly cost£34.99
Set-up cost£9.99
First year cost£429.87
Average cost per month£35.41
Minimum contract length24 months
67Mb
Average
Speed
Unlimited
Monthly
Downloads
£9.99
Set-up
cost
24
Month
Contract

M350 Fibre Broadband

  • The UK's fastest widely available broadband
  • Average upload speeds of 21Mbps
Virgin Media
order by phone
0800 211 8165
  • New customers only
  • Free set-up worth an extra £35
Broadband
Download speed (average)362Mb
Upload speed (average)21Mb
Monthly usageUnlimited
Fair usage policyNo
Price breakdown
Monthly cost£38.00
Set-up cost£0.00
First year cost£456.00
Average cost per month£38.00
Minimum contract length12 months
362Mb
Average
Speed
Unlimited
Monthly
Downloads
Zero
Set-up
cost
12
Month
Contract
Save
£168

M200 Fibre Broadband + Weekend Calls

  • For busy households with 10+ devices
  • Average upload speeds of 12Mbps
Virgin Media
order by phone
0800 211 8165
  • New customers only
Broadband
Download speed (average)213Mb
Upload speed (average)12Mb
Monthly usageUnlimited
Fair usage policyNo
Home phone
Daytime calls (per min)9.94p
Evening calls (per min)9.94p
Weekend calls (per min)included
Price breakdown
Monthly cost£38.00
Set-up cost£35.00
First year cost£491.00
Average cost per month£40.92
Minimum contract length12 months
213Mb
Average
Speed
Unlimited
Monthly
Downloads
£35.00
Set-up
cost
12
Month
Contract

Superfast Fibre + BT Sport App

  • Great for streaming and catch-up TV
  • Top sports events with the BT Sport app & online player
BT
  • New customers only
  • £120 Reward Card
  • Save £168 on your contract
  • Ends soon
Broadband
Download speed (average)50Mb
Upload speed (average)9.5Mb
Monthly usageUnlimited
Fair usage policyNo
Home phone
Daytime calls (per min)13p
Evening calls (per min)13p
Weekend calls (per min)13p
Price breakdown
Monthly cost£38.99
Set-up cost£9.99
First year cost£477.87
Average cost per month£39.41
Minimum contract length24 months
Terms and conditions
The BT Reward Card is preloaded with funds you can spend at most merchants that display the Mastercard® logo. Only available to new BT customers ordering BT Broadband/BT Superfast Fibre/BT Ultrafast on bt.com. Available with or without TV. Claim once your broadband is up and running. T&Cs apply.
50Mb
Average
Speed
Unlimited
Monthly
Downloads
£9.99
Set-up
cost
24
Month
Contract
£120
Reward Card

M350 Fibre Broadband + Weekend Calls

  • The UK's fastest widely available broadband
  • Average upload speeds of 21Mbps
Virgin Media
order by phone
0800 211 8165
  • New customers only
Broadband
Download speed (average)362Mb
Upload speed (average)21Mb
Monthly usageUnlimited
Fair usage policyNo
Home phone
Daytime calls (per min)9.94p
Evening calls (per min)9.94p
Weekend calls (per min)included
Price breakdown
Monthly cost£43.00
Set-up cost£35.00
First year cost£551.00
Average cost per month£45.92
Minimum contract length12 months
362Mb
Average
Speed
Unlimited
Monthly
Downloads
£35.00
Set-up
cost
12
Month
Contract

M50 Fibre Broadband + Weekend Calls

  • Average upload speeds of 3Mbps
Virgin Media
order by phone
0800 211 8165
  • New customers only
Broadband
Download speed (average)54Mb
Upload speed (average)3Mb
Monthly usageUnlimited
Fair usage policyNo
Home phone
Daytime calls (per min)9.94p
Evening calls (per min)9.94p
Weekend calls (per min)included
Price breakdown
Monthly cost£28.00
Set-up cost£35.00
First year cost£371.00
Average cost per month£30.92
Minimum contract length12 months
54Mb
Average
Speed
Unlimited
Monthly
Downloads
£35.00
Set-up
cost
12
Month
Contract
13
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Call us free to check availability on 0800 840 5395

Broadband speeds you receive may be slower than listed depending on where you live. Monthly costs include line rental. All prices are inclusive of VAT except business prices. Contract lengths vary. Prices may change during this period unless otherwise stated. You should have the right to cancel without penalty if your provider increases charges during the minimum term of your contract.

About broadband for gaming deals

By Luke Albiges | Friday, June 14th 2019

In this guide

Broadband for online multiplayer gaming

From teaming up with friends to take on all manner of challenges to facing down random players from around the world in competitive modes, online play is a massive part of the gaming experience for many people. Speed isn't actually as important as you might think – as anyone who played the likes of Quake, Counter-Strike and Phantasy Star Online on dial-up connections back in the day will know, online gaming can work perfectly fine on a relatively modest data budget.

There are advantages to having faster speeds, but you're unlikely to notice much practical difference between, say, a 50Mbps connection and a 350Mbps one, especially when everyone else's speeds will affect overall performance as well.

More important things to look at are details that aren't typically so widely advertised as general speeds, such as packet loss, latency, and jitter. Ofcom reported almost universally low latency levels from all major providers tested, with all providers coming in around the 20 milliseconds mark, with Sky and Virgin just edging it by dropping below 15 milliseconds.

Packet loss – where some data may not reach its destination, possibly manifesting in lag or other glitchy movement – is a somewhat different story, with much more variable results across the board and notable differences between general and peak time performance. BT comes out slightly in front here, with an impressively low packet loss rate of just 0.05%.

player unknown's battlegrounds

Virgin's faster packages come in at the weaker end of the spectrum and rising as high as just shy of 0.2% – still not terrible, but statistically 3-4 times more likely than the stablest competitors to suffer data hiccups. Jitter too sees Virgin come out in last place, although there's little to choose from between the rest as they're all reassuringly low.

Conclusion

While superfast options like Virgin's VIVID bundles might seem like the best match for online gaming on paper, they actually came out among the weakest in tests across fields more important than pure speed. More casual players might not notice much practical difference, but enthusiast users will likely see slightly >better overall performance from BT and Sky.

Broadband for growing and maintaining a digital library

Games are getting bigger all the time. Massive patches are commonplace, while games themselves have even started to break the 100GB mark. If getting digital games downloaded to your device or seeing them updated as promptly as possible is your main gaming concern, then download speed will be more or less the only factor that really matters.

buying games online at the Playstation store

With this in mind, the clear front runners are Virgin and BT, whose high speed packages outspeed the competition several times over. A file download of around 10GB would take over three hours on the quickest standard broadband lines, compared to around 20 minutes on 67Mbps fibre and under five minutes on Virgin's fastest 350Mbps.

You're unlikely to ever really get those top advertised speeds based on both provider traffic and that of services like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, but faster options will typically still outperform others. You'll also need an unlimited package to accommodate all those huge downloads – most services now offer uncapped data as standard.

Conclusion

If you're mainly concerned about getting your games fast, the best logical choice is an ultrafast line, so that means going with either BT or Virgin Media – the former appears to perform slightly better in other aspects of gaming while the latter offers faster raw speeds for quicker downloads, so weigh up the two based on your own needs.

If those options aren't available to you, most top-end fibre options will offer roughly comparable speeds to help keep you in your favourite games, with that same Ofcom report suggesting that BT and Sky are most likely to provide maximum speeds closest to those advertised.

Compare gaming broadband

Broadband for live-streaming your gameplay on Twitch etc.

Letting game fans around the globe watch you play has become popular to the point where the biggest names can make a great living from streaming, so naturally a whole generation of aspiring streamers wants a piece of that pie. If you're into live-streaming your gameplay, good upload speeds will be your main requirement – the faster the better, as you'll want to prevent your stream stuttering or struggling when speeds inevitably dip a little.

a player streaming fortnite on twitch

A stable 1080p broadcast requires a rough upload speed of 6Mbps or so, so you'll want to come in a fair bit higher than that. Bear in mind that using any online gaming functionality will also require some of your available bandwidth, so it's a good idea to give yourself as much headroom as possible.

Most entry-level fibre packages on the market offer upload speeds of 9-10Mbps, so any of those should meet the bare minimum requirements for streaming. Step up to the top-end fibre packages and those upload speeds double to 20Mbps, making these top-end options the best for budding streamers. Virgin loses another life here, as only its top-end options can match those kinds of upload speeds – you need VIVID 200 (12Mbps upload) or VIVID 350 (20Mbps upload).

Conclusion

Upload speeds across providers using the Openreach network are pretty uniform, so there's not a lot to choose between the various top-end fibre options available – all major operators offer upload speeds here that comfortably offer the bandwidth necessary for streaming with plenty of room to spare. Note, however, that Virgin's upload-to-download speed ratio is significantly lower than other providers, meaning you'll need to take its most expensive packages to see the same kind of upload speeds as 76Mbps packages.

Broadband for cloud gaming, game down-streaming, games on demand

This emerging sector of gaming is only likely to grow as digital infrastructures improve, and it's a real test of both upload and download performance. At its simplest, this uses remote hardware to run gaming content, sending pictures and audio to the user while relaying their inputs back to the host machine in order to action their commands. Sony's PlayStation Now service is a good example of this kind of streaming, with a stated minimum requirement of 5Mbps meaning that it's really only viable on a fibre line if you're looking for half-decent performance.

snoy's playstation now streaming service

Once again, the majority of major providers using the Openreach network means there's little in the way of difference between them for this kind of gaming usage – in fact, latency becomes a more important thing to factor in as there's an inherent latency to this kind of remote gaming solution, so layering too much extra on top of that can make some games pretty much unplayable. And so we refer back to those factors covered in the online gaming section earlier, as these will all affect the quality of streamed play.

Conclusion

Once again, it's BT and Sky who top the leaderboards here, although not by much over the rest in terms of practical usage. And again, Virgin turns in a weaker performance than its peers.

Best general online broadband performance

Another factor to consider when picking a provider for gaming is the quality of the router provided. BT's Smart Hub is regarded as one of the best out there in terms of wireless performance, but it has been known to not play nice with some gaming devices – including the Xbox One – without some fiddling. It's also worth noting that gamers looking to use their own hardware might not be able to do so with all providers – they each provide compatible hardware to new users, but not all existing routers will be compatible with all services, so do your research beforehand.

Reliability is also important, as there's little more frustrating than losing connection mid-game, especially since some competitive games will treat this as an early disconnection and punish it accordingly. In a recent Ofcom report Sky took the lead in terms of avoiding interruptions and disconnections, with Plusnet and Virgin at the bottom end.

Every individual case will be different, based on the quality of your line, the distance from your local cabinet and numerous other small factors. As a result, it's impossible to draw a full conclusion as to which will be best for you and your individual gaming needs, so you'll also need to do a little research of your own if you're after something specific.

Overall

Strong performance in most fields means that BT and Sky come out as the best overall providers for general gaming purposes. If, however, quick access to content is most important to you, Virgin's faster speeds will get you your games faster than any other provider, but bear in mind that its performance for most other aspects of gaming tracks weaker than its competitors.

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