What's the best broadband in my area?
By Mike Whitehead | Monday, January 28th 2019
In this guide
- Broadband postcode checker
- Fastest broadband
- Cheapest broadband
- Fibre or standard?
- Broadband speed tests
- What affects broadband speed?
Choosing the right broadband that suits your circumstances is essential. One of the key factors in making this choice is being able to find out what services are available in your area. Our availability checker will tell you what you need to know.
There are so many enticing broadband deals out there right now you could be forgiven for jumping in and taking advantage before it’s too late. However, before you make your final decision, you need to know what broadband speed your household needs and whether that particular package is available in your area.
Broadband postcode checker
By entering your postcode into the checker above you’ll instantly be able to see what sort of broadband packages are available in your area. Alternatively, we've picked out some of the best widely available deals available right now for you just below that.
Next you need to think about what you need out of your broadband package. If you’ve already done all your homework, you can dive straight into our broadband comparison page and select the best deal for you. If you’re still uncertain, here are two simple things to think about. How many internet users do you have in your house and what exactly do you use it for?
What's the fastest broadband in my area?
The higher the number of megabits, the faster the broadband connection will be. A fibre optic line will give you the fastest available speeds, allowing for much swifter downloads and uploads, much smoother streaming capabilities, and is ideal for impatient gamers.
The UK’s current speed titan is Virgin Media with its 350Mbps option, but this is way beyond the needs of almost any household. Its 100Mbps package is ideal for households with a need for speed. Alternatively, if Virgin has not yet reached you, all providers operating on the separate Openreach network offer fibre speeds averaging 65Mbps.
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. This can result in slowdowns during peak periods in order to ensure consistent speed for everyone across the provider's network.
However, for those of you who are general browsers, rather than regular streamers or downloaders, it’s likely you won’t be too concerned by this and will be satisfied that the speeds – and monthly bill – suit you.
Fibre optic or standard broadband?
Once seen as limited in availability and somewhat on the steep side in terms of financial outlay compared to standard broadband, fibre is now becoming the preferred choice, and the norm, for many households.
The technical difference between fibre and standard is quite straightforward. Standard broadband – the elder of the two – uses traditional copper cable to transfer data, whereas fibre uses a more modern network of high-speed fibre optic cables that are more resilient. Presently, fibre optic connections cover around 80% of the UK population.
As previously mentioned, Virgin Media’s 350Mbps option is the fastest broadband around, but most providers offer fibre packages averaging 35Mbps. Fibre is much more compatible for those households wanting to connect using a number of devices – phone, laptops etc – all at the same time without seeing any change in speed. You can find out more about the differences between fibre and standard broadband elsewhere on the site.
Remember, though, the key is not to seek the fastest speeds at all costs. The deal has to be right for your needs and one that is available in your area.
Broadband speed tests
Whilst the availability checker is a great place to start for giving you an approximate estimate of download speeds available within your postcode, our speed test will give you a much more accurate assessment of the speed on your line.
The broadband speeds available to you will inevitably be influenced by the network usage during peak times throughout the day. Naturally the speeds will be affected when there are more people connected than not.
What affects broadband speed?
There are quite a few factors that can affect the performance of your broadband speed. For standard broadband in particular, the distance between your home and the nearest exchange can cause problems as those old copper wires don’t take too kindly to travelling too far these days; broadband signal deteriorates the further it has to travel.
Traffic management policies are also a scourge of speed performance. Typically targeted at peak times during the weekends and evenings, it is worth considering opting for a truly unlimited package to avoid such restrictions.
There are also hurdles to jump from within your own home as well as outside. Wireless routers are not as effective as those connected by cable and more likely to incur interference and, thus, affect your broadband speed. Other household electrical devices such as microwaves can also interfere with your router hence why it’s advisable to keep it somewhere more isolated such as the hallway.