is everywhere nowadays, but not all connections are equal. There are a few different technologies that enable you to get online, each with different benefits and drawbacks.
One of these is cable broadband, but exactly is it? We have put together a quick guide to keep you informed.
What is cable broadband?
Cable broadband is a high-speed alternative to fibre optic
, and while they are similar in some ways there are a few key differences. The main provider of cable broadband is Virgin Media
, and if you use them the majority of your connection is still going to be fibre optic. The main difference is the last mile of your connection, from the roadside cabinet to your home, is going to be made up coaxial cable opposed to the traditional ADSL copper phone lines. The coaxial cable can carry data quicker than its copper counterpart as it encounters less loss over distances.
So what’s faster, cable or fibre?
Currently cable broadband packages are faster, with Virgin offering speeds up to a whopping 300Mbps, while with fibre optic
you will only be able to hit up to 76Mbps. Generally, both Fibre and Cable will be able to provide ample speed internet for your normal household. Different situations will mean you can get different speeds with the two options, so it’s always worth checking things like what building you live in or how far away you live from your closest exchange to get an accurate measurement.
Why choose cable broadband?
When comparing broadband deals, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of getting cable broadband over other types of broadband packages:
- Higher download speeds will suit large households, streamers and gamers.
- Higher upload speeds suitable for live streamers and conference calling.
- More reliable connection as copper phone lines are bypassed.
- Usually more expensive than other broadband deals, especially ADSL packages.
- Not yet widely available across the whole country.
- Installation of cables could cost you time and money.
Where can I get cable?
One of the main problems with Cable broadband it that it isn’t as readily available as fibre. BT
’s fibre optic packages serve around 85% of the country, whereas cable is only an option in roughly half of the UK.
Where can I get the best deal?
Although Virgin are the most widely available Cable broadband provider
, they will generally not be the cheapest broadband
option. Companies such as TalkTalk
will generally be able to offer you the cheapest options but will be less widely available. If you would like to say what options are available in your area, check out our handy broadband comparison
How to Switch to Cable Broadband
Firstly, enter your postcode into the search engine to see which companies operate in your area. You will then want to identify which ones will offer the service that you are looking for. To make this easy, there will be lists comparing price as well as the maximum available speed that you can get out of a package. Most companies will also be offering bundle packages
which may include TV and a phone line as well so make sure you have a browse to see which one suits your needs.
Once you have found a broadband deal
that suits you simply click on the deal that is right for you, you will be directed to the broadband provider
's website. From here, simply follow the on-screen instructions and you’ll get to broadband heaven in no time.
Wait for the Switch to Go Through
Once you confirm your switch, you must then wait for the switch to go through. The time this will take will vary depending on your provider and where you live. You also may have to pay an installation fee, as your provider will be using its own cable network rather than the ADSL copper phone line that is already connected to your home.
That’s all there is to it. Prior to June 2015 you needed a Mac code from your old provider to switch broadband
. Thanks to Ofgem this is a thing of the past and your new broadband provider will handle the whole process for you.