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Can I get cable in my area?

Luke Thompson
Thursday, November 5th 2015

A cable connection is a fixed-line connection that delivers fast fibre optic broadband, TV and phone to your home.

Cable broadband enables far faster internet connection speeds than standard broadband, which uses copper telephone wires to deliver a broadband service. This guide looks at whether you can access cable broadband where you live, and how to get it installed.

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If you live in a cable area, you can use our cable availability checker below to compare all available packages and bundles including TV, broadband and phone.

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You can choose from several internet service providers

Although there are only two main fibre optic networks in the UK (BT Openreach and Virgin Media), BT allows other ISPs to use its network. So if the BT network has reached your area, you will be able to choose from a number of providers to get a package that suits you. If you only have Virgin’s network in your area, then Virgin Media is your only option.

The equipment you will need depends upon which services to which you subscribe

In order to access fibre optic broadband you will need a special router, or modem, while for your TV package you will need a suitable set-top box. The good news is that your chosen provider will supply these as part of the subscription once you sign up.

Cable broadband and fibre optic broadband is the same thing

There is no difference between cable and fibre optic broadband, they are just different names for exactly the same technology. There is a tendency for people to associate one term with TV packages and the other with broadband, but they are in fact one and the same.


The installation will be made by a qualified engineer. Once you have selected and signed up for your chosen package or bundle, your provider will arrange for an engineer to install the whole system for you. Someone will need to be at home when the equipment is being installed, as the engineer will need access to your home.

A connection will be made between your property and the fibre optic network

An engineer will connect your property to your local fibre optic cabinet. Once that is done the engineer will install connection points in your home. The number and location of these points will be determined according to the services to which you are subscribing.

The benefits of cable broadband

There are many benefits associated with cable, with the high broadband speeds being probably the most widely advertised. It brings broadband download speeds that are many times faster than standard broadband. The fastest broadband package which is widely available in the UK has a top download speed of a blindingly fast 200Mbps.

Cable broadband can be purchased as part of a TV bundle

You can also subscribe to digital TV services that can feature more than 200 channels and on demand services, all without the need for a satellite dish on the outside of your property. This makes it a great choice for people living in rented or listed buildings.


If the network hasn’t reached your area yet, there are still options available to you.

Satellite broadband is not constrained by location

Satellite broadband is a viable option for those not covered by the cable broadband network, so it’s predominantly used by those in rural locations. It is generally slower than fibre optic broadband, comes with restrictive usage limits and, as you need a satellite dish to receive it, has high upfront costs.

If you are in the small proportion of the UK population unable to receive standard broadband, probably because you live in a remote part of the country, you may wish to read our guide “Can I get satellite broadband?”.

Mobile broadband is limited by providers’ coverage

If you run out of options, then mobile broadband may be for you. From pay monthly to pay-as-you-go deals, there’s something to suit everyone. Mobile broadband networks run on 3G and 4G, which is available with a variety of networks including Three, EE, O2 and Vodafone. Although 4G is faster, 3G is more widely available and cheaper.

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