By Dan Howdle | Tuesday, February 11th 2020
Hyperoptic is part of a new wave of providers offering gigabit broadband speeds. It does this using its own network and has a strong focus on apartment blocks in big cities. It is ludicrously quick, but also incredibly unlikely you will be able to get it. That said, how does Hyperoptic match up to the likes of BT and Sky?
|Average download speed||50Mbps – 1Gbps|
|Average upload speed||5Mbps –1Gbps|
|Prices from||£19.95 per month|
Most of the UK’s broadband is delivered using copper for at least some of its journey from the cabinet to your home. But Hyperoptic uses fibre for the whole of its network, boosting speeds and capacity far beyond what anyone else can offer.
Hyperoptic’s entry-level product provides 50Mbps download speeds. It also offers a 150Mbps service and a 500Mbps service. The former is ideal for a household with a few devices for streaming, online gaming and general web use. The latter two provides capacity for more users and 4K streaming with quite a bit to spare.
The real head-turner, though, is the 1Gbps package. It’s the UK’s fastest home broadband service, period. If you need fast broadband, there’s nothing else in the UK that can rival it.
More traditional rivals, such as BT, can serve up 314Mbps ‘ultrafast’ speeds in some parts of the UK, while Virgin Media offers 514Mbps broadband, but only if you take your broadband out with its most copious and expensive TV package.
According to Ofcom's 2018 data (Ofcom data is more often than not over a year behind the present date) the UK’s average broadband speed is 46.2Mbps, so this is a huge upgrade. Although 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) is the fastest broadband speed in the UK, Hyperoptic is by no means unique in this regard. Gigaclear is another offering gigabit speeds, but in more rural areas, and you're even less likely to be able to get that.
Hyperoptic’s bundles are available on rolling contracts but if you commit to 12 months there are big savings to be had. Either way, there is an activation fee to pay. Just bear in mind that availability is very limited. You can check if you can get Hyperoptic via its website. If you can't get it, your best chance at ultrafast broadband is Virgin Media.
With many providers, the upload speed is a poor relation to downloads. One of the beauties of FTTP Fibre – the type of fibre used by Hyperoptic – is that it can offer symmetrical speeds. That means the download and upload rates are the same.
Although the 50Mbps service offers a meagre 5Mbps, the other packages offer the same upload speed as download. This is a godsend if you regularly deal with large files such as video or audio.
It’s rare for Hyperoptic to offer freebies or massive discounts to attract new customers. It tends to rely on its speeds and reputation to bring in new customers. You can check out some of its latest offers below.
All broadband packages come with a Hyperhub. This is able to support 1Gbps speeds over a wired connection. You won't get the very top speeds if you go wireless.
Hyperoptic is fast, but can many people get it? Well, not really. Hyperoptic is only available to around 350,000 homes and business in the UK. And it’s hard to get connected unless you live in a block of flats or in a new build.
Hyperoptic invites landlords and residents to express an interest. It also works with councils to bring gigabit broadband to social housing. And it has partnered with more than 100 home developers. Hyperoptic has plans to reach five million within a decade, but you’ll need to be patient.
If you are lucky enough to be covered, then installation is a bit different to most providers. As Hyperoptic doesn't use the Openreach network, its engineers will need to install a separate ‘Hyperoptic Socket’ inside your home. Installation generally takes an hour and engineers will install a socket up to 10 metres from the entrance. If you want the socket any further into your home, you'll have to pay a bit extra.
If you want to connect a whole building, this will take a little longer. Hyperoptic will assess the building to see if it is viable and seek permission from the freeholder or building management company. If all is well, the process will take four to six weeks.
If you do have any problems, then Hyperoptic has a 24-hour customer support team which handles anything from router problems to connection issues. As with most broadband providers, there are some complaints about delayed or missed engineer visits, but in general the feedback is positive. It seems Hyperoptic’s speed has inspired a degree of customer loyalty.
It’s worth pointing out that you don’t need a phone line to get Hyperoptic. But if you want to pair your broadband service with a home phone, you can. Calls are made over the internet using VoIP technology. This means the quality should be high but if your broadband goes down you won’t be able to make calls.
The fact that Hyperoptic offers the fastest speeds in the UK will be enough for some people, provided they can get it. Especially those who deal with large file uploads, or those simply desperate to get away from BT Openreach. Even better, its bundles are pretty affordable, even when compared to more conventional fibre rivals.
It’s a shame there are only meagre savings on offer for those who don’t want a home phone. Given the Openreach network is bypassed entirely, the absence of line rental and phone charges would be a huge selling point for a generation that is ‘cutting the cord’.
It’s also worth pointing out that most web users won’t actually need 1Gbps, or even 150Mbps. So is the increased cost worth missing out on bargain TV services and free wi-fi from other providers? But the biggest issue is coverage. Hyperoptic might have big plans in the works, but for now it’s very limited when compared to the national scale of BT and Virgin Media. If you need, and want, gigabit broadband then Hyperoptic comes recommended – if you can get it.