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How to compare broadband in your area

By Dan Howdle

Before choosing a new broadband deal the very first thing you need to consider is what's available where you live. Because it may well be you'd really like to get a crazy-fast gigabit full fibre deal, but ultimately you're going to be limited by what's available in your postcode. Or, more precisely, which broadband network technologies are available.

And we'll get into which technologies exist, how they differ, and how likely you are to be able to get each of them a bit further down the page. But for now, know this: You're in the right place to find out. Stick your postcode in at the top of this page and we'll show you what you can get. It's that simple. The rest of this page is for those curious about the detail.

How to use our broadband postcode checker

You're in the right place to find out which broadband deals are available in your postcode. Congratulations and welcome. Here's how to compare like a pro in five easy steps:

  • Step 1: Enter your postcode at the top of the page. Our checker will find exactly what's available where you live
  • Step 2: The list presented will initially be sorted by 'Recommended' – that is, we've prioritised deals and providers which rate highest as a combination of what their customers say, how our in-house experts rate the providers (broadband reviews), and which deals are currently the most popular. The closer a deal is to the top of the page when it's sorted this way, the stronger our recommendation
  • Step 3: You can and should re-sort the list using the dropdown menu above the top-listed package. If you have a budget or a speed in mind, this can be a useful way to see how all providers compare on a sliding scale
  • Step 4: The filters (on the left of the list on a computer, or via the 'Filter' button on mobile) can be used to narrow down your search – to one or more providers, to a particular budget, to deals that comes with rewards or cashback (our favourite) and more. Feel free to play around with them. There's a reset button to start again if you get lost along the way
  • Step 5: The 'Save Deal' button allows you to make a shortlist as you go and look at them side-by-side. And once you've narrowed things down to one or two deals, you can hit the 'more info' button to see more stats about the package or packages

Of course, not everyone comes into their search knowing what speed they need. Don't worry! We have a tool that'll help you find out. Just hit 'Get started' below:

Help me choose

Let us help guide you to your new broadband deal. We'll check speeds and providers at your home, saving you time and money.

UK broadband availability and speed

The speed ranges available to your home are defined by the types of broadband technology running through your street. So let's first take a look at the types of broadband that are widely available in the UK, which will help you better understand why you can get the speeds you can get where you live.

There are four common types of broadband technology

On two widely-available broadband networks (the physical web of cables, cabinets and exchanges), and where you live will determine both which of the two you will be able to get, and which broadband technologies are available to you on those networks. Here's an at-a-glance look at what all that means:

Technology Also known as Speed range Availability to households
ADSL Standard broadband, fast broadband 10-11Mbps 99.98%
FTTC Fibre to the cabinet, superfast broadband 35-67Mbps 97%
FTTH Full fibre, ultrafast broadband, gigabit broadband 50-900Mbps 24%
Cable broadband Virgin Media Broadband 50-1130Mbps 60%

If any of that terminology is confusing, don't worry. All you really need to understand is the type of cables running past your home determines the technology you have available to you, and the technology determines the speed you can get.

Internet providers in your area

We've established so far that which broadband speeds you get are determined by which technologies run through your street, but what about providers? Well, it's pretty straightforward, since there are in essence three 'types' of provider, with Virgin Media being a type in and of itself since it's the only provider that is widely available using its own discrete network. Almost everyone other provider is on the Openreach network and therefore mostly offer similar speeds. Altnets are local providers running their own network, and we'll talk about those separately in the next section. For now here's a brief overview of the providers:

Broadband Provider Network Average download speed Average upload speed Top advertised speed
BT Openreach 95Mbps 29Mbps 900Mbps
BeFibre Own network - - 900Mbps
Community Fibre Own network 308Mbps 282Mbps 3Gbps
EE Openreach 48Mbps 16Mbps 900Mbps
Gigaclear Own network 153Mbps 174Mbps 900Mbps
Hyperoptic Own network 223Mbps 219Mbps 900Mbps
NOW Openreach - - 63Mbps
Onestream Openreach - - 67Mbps
Plusnet Openreach 37Mbps 10Mbps 900Mbps
Shell Energy broadband Openreach - - 920Mbps
Sky Openreach 69Mbps 22Mbps 900Mbps
TalkTalk Openreach 55Mbps 29Mbps 900Mbps
Trooli Own network 261Mbps 142Mbps 900Mbps
Virgin Media Own network 179Mbps 28Mbps 1.1Gbps
Vodafone Openreach 93Mbps 23Mbps 910Mbps
Wildanet Openreach 77Mbps 60Mbps 910Mbps
YouFibre Own network 323Mbps 305Mbps 10Gbps

Local broadband providers (altnets)

Most UK homes will only see the main providers pop up in their search results after entering their postcode – your Sky, your Virgin Media and so on – but some may also find a local provider or two is available. Local providers are usually what's known as an 'altnet' or 'alternative network'. They operate on their own network (not Openreach or Virgin Media) and serve clusters of homes and businesses in specific towns, cities and villages. Some, such as Gigaclear, even specialise in bringing ultrafast broadband to very, very rural locations.

If you do see an altnet listed when you enter your postcode, do consider signing up to it. Most of them are very good indeed, providing extremely fast broadband via truly excellent equipment. They also tend to offer exceptional value for money. Here are some things most, but not quite all, altnets have in common:

  • Full Fibre – Altnet networks are almost universally full fibre, meaning they can and do offer extremely fast broadband
  • Extremely fast speeds – Almost all altnets offer speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps), but some even offer 2Gbps, and we know of one that offers a frankly insane 8Gbps
  • Symmetrical speeds – Most altnets offer upload speeds that are the same as their download speeds across all of their packages, unlike widely available providers, where upload speeds are fractional
  • Mesh router systems – All altnets we've looked into offer a stellar Wi-Fi 6 mesh router system that ensures every corner if your home is reached with fast wifi
  • No mid-contract price rise guarantee – Pretty much all altnets promise not to raise the price while you're under contract

Should that have piqued your interest about altnets, we've reviewed a whole bunch of them in our reviews section.

Dedicated local broadband pages

We have dedicated pages about broadband in your area including speeds, providers and the latest deals.

What’s the cheapest broadband in my area?

Standard broadband connections tend to be cheaper than the fibre packages but, as a consequence, are slower and can be subject to usage limits and traffic management policies. However, providers are no longer offering standard ADSL broadband in areas where fibre connections are available (almost everywhere). As a result, the cheapest broadband you can but is now likely to be a 35Mbps fibre service.

35Mbps is ideal for general browsing as well as streaming over Netflix in a small household. With prices for a 35Mbps fibre connection starting at around £20 per month, they are also very affordable and little more than a standard broadband connection.

Broadband Provider Average Speed Prices From
Shell Energy broadband 11Mbps £19.99 per month
NOW Broadband 11Mbps £20 per month
Vodafone broadband 38Mbps £25 per month
Sky broadband 61Mbps £27 per month

Compare cheap broadband

See also

Frequently asked questions

How do I check broadband in my area?

The easiest way to find the best broadband in your area is to use our broadband postcode checker. Jump back up to the top of the page and find out the best providers and deals available.

What is the best broadband in the UK?

It depends. Hyperoptic came top in our broadband customer survey, however it's only available to a fraction of UK homes. BT has fared particularly well in most areas more recently, while Virgin Media still offers the fastest widely available service. It ultimately comes down to what you can get, what you can afford and, importantly, what you actually need.

Is superfast fibre available in my area?

96% of UK households can access superfast fibre broadband. To check if you can, simply enter your postcode to see the best providers and speeds available to you.

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