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High-speed fibre – ’High-speed broadband’ is not a legally protected term, so there’s no official definition that can help customers understand exactly how fast they can expect this type of broadband to be. It can safely be assumed, however, that high-speed fibre broadband will be faster than ADSL / standard broadband provision. More details can be found in our guide to basic fibre broadband.
Superfast broadband – Superfast broadband does have a specific definition. It refers to broadband connections with a speed between 30Mbps and 100Mbps, enough to suit the needs of larger households and student sharers.
Ultrafast broadband – With connection speeds of 100Mbps and above (Ofcom defines it as above 300Mbps) ultrafast broadband is the choice of serious gamers or very large households. At the moment, you can get ultrafast fibre from most major providers, including Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and EE. Read more about ultra-fast broadband in our guide.
Full fibre broadband – Also known as fibre to the premises or FTTP. This term is becoming more and more popular with providers. Full fibre broadband speeds are fast, with some reaching 1Gbps.
Gigabit broadband – This term refers to the very fastest connections, those of around 1Gbps or more, which can only be delivered as fibre to the home or FTTH. 1Gbps can’t currently be reached through wifi signal in the home, so you’ll have to plug an ethernet cable into your device to reach it.
Fibre broadband is currently available to the majority of UK households (around 98%).
There are several reasons why some homes still can’t get fibre broadband. One is the cost of installing a network, particularly in rural areas where houses are few and far between. Likewise, if you live in a city or suburb, some areas are so densely populated that there simply isn’t room to add capacity for fibre connections. Some purpose-built flats and apartment blocks are also poorly serviced because of the way they’re internally wired.
Virgin Media and BT are two popular fibre broadband providers with solid coverage across the UK.
Use our fibre broadband checker to find out exactly what’s available in where you live. If you can’t get fibre, there are still some speedy options in the form of mobile broadband.
If you live alone or with one other person who also uses the internet, and the most bandwidth (speed) intensive things you do online are internet shopping and browsing social media, it’s likely that your needs will be met by standard broadband. Standard broadband has a typical speed of around 10Mbps and can reach as high as 30Mbps, which is adequate for small households of light internet users who don’t stream TV, or download music, games, or large documents online.
That being said, there are currently some great fibre broadband deals on the market, so it’s worth checking to see if you could upgrade from standard provision to a more reliable and quicker connection at little to no extra cost.
For a household of three or more people, a fibre broadband package is usually the sensible choice, especially if anyone regularly streams video, plays games online, or downloads large, multi-gigabyte files. To understand what broadband speeds are required for streaming services, read our guide.
An entry-level fibre broadband deal typically offers speeds of between 30Mbps and 60Mbps. Choosing a faster speed can help futureproof your broadband usage, particularly if you have growing kids who are spending more and more time online. If you or someone you live with might be switching to home working in the near future, it’s also a good idea to add a little extra broadband speed to accommodate this.
According to the latest Ofcom data, the average speed from fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections in the UK is 42.6Mbps, while the average of full-fibre connections is 145.4Mbps. These listed speeds are great and ideal for households that actively use the internet
The latest Ofcom data also shows that the average speed of standard broadband connections with an advertised speed greater than 10Mbps and less than 30 Mbps is 11.3Mbps, which is suitable for people that don’t use the internet heavily. Hence, you don’t need to worry much about getting good speeds from fibre broadband services.
The following table, which shows the broadband speed needed per device, should help you decide whether a fibre broadband deal is right for you. Keep in mind you might be using more than one device at once.
|Browsing social media||1Mbps|
|Browsing the internet – reading content, online shopping, etc.||2Mbps|
|Streaming Netflix in SD||3Mbps|
|Streaming Netflix in HD||5Mbps|
|Streaming Netflix in 4K||25Mbps|
|Playing games online||3-6Mbps|
One of the best ways to find out your current broadband speed is to run our broadband speed test while you’re at home and connected to your wifi. We'll tell you the download and upload speeds you're receiving with your existing broadband provider.
Our guide to broadband speeds will give you further information about the type of broadband connection that’s right for your needs.
Superfast broadband speeds are ideally suited to households with up to five people who regulary use broadband.
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Full fibre broadband is the next generation of broadband in the UK. It's full fibre to the home and it's fast, very fast. Here are the most popular deals right now:
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Looking for speedy broadband on a budget? No problem – we've got brilliant fibre broadband at prices to suit your wallet.
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Yes, particularly if you’ve got an eye for a bargain. Search for deals, and look out for bundles that package together services, such as TV and mobile. That way you can save a lot on your monthly bills. It’s possible to find cheap fibre broadband deals, but they come and go, so be sure to keep your eyes open.
Virgin Media provides the fastest widely available broadband service in the United Kingdom, boasting average download speeds of 1.1Gbps and an average upload speed of 108Mbps.
Limited fibre broadband is cheaper, but if you cross your monthly data cap, you’ll be in trouble. If you have any doubts, it’s better to go for an unlimited fibre broadband deal.
Use our free broadband speed checker. For fibre broadband, 30Mbps is considered a good speed.
Yes, it’s possible to get a fibre connection without a landline. However, some carriers require you to have a landline connection in order to get broadband regardless of if you use it. Ultrafast, fibre to the home connections usually come without a landline.
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