How to compare fibre broadband deals
Fibre broadband is a fast, affordable, and reliable way of delivering an internet connection to your home or business.
This page will tell you what fibre broadband is, help you consider whether a fibre broadband deal is right for your needs, and show you where you can access some of the best fibre broadband deals in the UK.
Our top fibre broadband deals for August 2021
We’ve combed through our fibre-optic broadband deals to pick the very best deals this month.
TalkTalk Fibre 65
£70 Reward Card£25 p/mZero one-off cost See Deal
- 67Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
- PAYG calls
Virgin Media M100 Fibre Broadband + Calls
No set-up fee£26 p/mZero one-off cost See Deal
- 108Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
- Inclusive calls
BT Fibre 2
£120 Reward Card£32.99 p/m£9.99 one-off cost See Deal
- 67Mb average speed
- Unlimited usage
- No phone line
What is fibre broadband?
Also known as superfast broadband or fibre optic broadband, fibre broadband runs data along fibre-optic cables rather than the traditional copper phone lines used by ADSL broadband.
As these can transfer more information in a given time period, and suffer from fewer interruptions, the connection is usually faster and more reliable than standard broadband. This has made fibre broadband the obvious choice for households of more than two people, along with heavier internet users.
Fibre broadband can be ‘fibre to the cabinet’ (FTTC) or fibre to the home (FTTH).
With FTTC, fibre optic cables run to green cabinets located on street corners, followed by traditional copper wires that take the connection to your home.
FTTH also runs to the cabinet, but extends the fibre optic cables to your home, rather than using any copper wires - making it faster than a FTTC connection.
While standard broadband has traditionally been much cheaper than fibre broadband, the two are often now comparable in price. If you want to learn more about the differences between FTTC and FTTP, read our guide.
Which UK broadband providers offer fibre broadband deals?
All of the UK’s major broadband providers, as well as some smaller companies, offer fibre broadband provision. Here’s a rundown of what’s on offer, so that you can compare fibre broadband deals for one that’s both affordable and right for your household.
- BT broadband – The UK’s biggest broadband provider, you won’t often find BT on the cheapest fibre broadband deals list, though the brand runs regular promotions and bundles which can make it more affordable.
- Sky broadband – Sky’s fibre broadband deals can also be pricey, but you can make savings by combining broadband with any of the brand’s TV services in a bundle deal.
- Virgin Media broadband – With top speeds that run almost eight times faster than its nearest competitor, Virgin offers super-fast fibre broadband that’s also very reliable. You’ll need to check what’s available in your postcode, as Virgin’s network doesn’t yet cover the whole of the UK.
- Plusnet broadband – Now owned by BT, Plusnet has some of the UK’s cheapest fibre broadband deals and consistently scores highly for customer service.
- Vodafone broadband – Better known as a mobile provider, Vodafone’s fibre broadband packages are competitive and, what’s more, come with excellent customer service as standard.
- TalkTalk broadband – This budget-friendly brand offers fixed-price fibre broadband contracts that often include great free gifts or cash back incentives.
- EE broadband – Existing EE mobile customers will enjoy a range of great fibre broadband deals when they switch to EE Broadband.
- John Lewis Broadband – This is a good choice for regular Waitrose and John Lewis shoppers, as the brand often offers store gift cards as incentives with broadband deals. John Lewis broadband is also noted for its exceptional customer service, and has some very affordable fibre optic broadband deals.
- Shell Energy Broadband – The energy company turned broadband provider offer competitively priced fibre broadband packages, with few frills.
- SSE broadband – This energy provider offers affordable fibre broadband packages which are comparable in price to ADSL/standard broadband provision.
Check which fibre broadband deals are available in your area with our postcode checker.
What types of fibre broadband are commonly available?
High-speed fibre broadband – ’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.
Super-fast fibre 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.
Ultra-fast fibre broadband – With connection speeds of 100Mbps and above (Ofcom defines it as above 300Mbps) ultra-fast fibre broadband is the choice of serious gamers or very large households. At the moment, you can only get ultrafast fibre broadband deals from either Virgin Media or Hyperoptic, and only in some areas of the UK. Read more about ultra-fast broadband in our guide.
Gigabit broadband – This term refers to the very fastest connections, those of around 1Gbps or more, which can only be delivered as FTTH (see above for a definition). 1Gbps can’t currently be reached through Wi-Fi signal in the home, however, so you’ll have to plug an ethernet cable into your device to reach it.
Difference between fibre broadband and standard broadband
The most obvious difference between ADSL & standard broadband and fibre broadband is speed.
By using fibre-optic cables rather than the older, copper-based phone lines ADSL relies on, fibre broadband is able to deliver much faster download speeds than standard broadband, starting at around 30Mbps, and reaching speeds of over 300Mbps with some providers (compared to an average standard broadband speed of 10Mbps).
There are also some providers that offer fibre broadband deals at speeds of up to around 1Gbps. At around a hundred times faster than standard broadband speed, this type of connection would future proof a home or business for years to come!
Fibre broadband also provides a more reliable connection than standard broadband, so it’s no surprise that it can be more expensive than standard broadband. It’s worth noting, however, that fibre broadband packages at their lowest speeds can be comparable to ADSL prices if you shop around. For an in-depth explanation of the difference between ADSL and fibre broadband, check out our guide.
Can I get fibre broadband where I live?
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. If you live in a city or suburb, however, 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 Hyperoptic are two fibre broadband providers with networks that currently don’t cover the whole of the UK.
Use our fibre broadband checker to find out exactly what’s available in where you live. If you can’t get fibre broadband, there are still some speedy options in the form of mobile broadband.
Do I need fibre 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 is usually 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 3 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 30-60Mbps. Choosing a faster speed can help future proof 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.
The following table, which shows 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 Neflix in SD||3Mbps|
|Streaming Neflix in HD||5Mbps|
|Streaming Neflix in 4K||25Mbps|
|Playing games online||3-6Mbps|
|Streaming games like Google Stadia||35Mbps|
A good way to find out your current broadband speed is to run a broadband speed test while you’re at home and connected to your Wi-Fi. This will tell you the download and upload speeds you have with your existing broadband deal.
Our guide to broadband speeds will give you further information about the type of broadband connection that’s right for your needs.
Frequently asked questions
Can I get fibre broadband in my area?
Use our postcode checking tool to see if fibre broadband is available in your area. Nowadays, you’ll probably find it available. However, if you live very rurally, this may not be the case.
Why can’t I get fibre broadband in my area?
There are still a few parts of the UK where fibre optic technology has not been introduced. It’s worth checking with different providers. For example, Virgin Media fibre broadband is only available to around 60% of the country. Other providers may be slower, but offer far more coverage.
Is fibre broadband affordable?
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.
Should I choose limited or unlimited fibre broadband?
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.
Do I need a new router for fibre optic broadband?
Yes. This is something that your provider will almost always take care of during the installation process.
How can I check my broadband speed?
Use our free broadband speed checker. For standard broadband, 11Mbps is considered a good speed.
Can I get fibre without a landline?
At present, only Virgin Media or Hyperoptic offers this service. Coverage is limited around the UK, so this may or may not be available in your area.