Fast broadband, while becoming more accessible, still depends on where you live and what you’re willing to pay.
We talk you through how to find the fastest broadband in your area.
How to find the fastest broadband in your area
To find the fastest broadband in your area, use our site to compare broadband deals. It's important to remember that while there are swathes of broadband providers, not all will actually operate where you live. That's why you need to put in your postcode first, to avoid wasting precious time.
Once you've done this, it couldn’t be simpler. We'll show you available broadband deals, and to find the fastest broadband, simply sort or filter results by speed to match your preferences.
It’s worth knowing that, in occasional instances, independent networks have been known to set up in remote areas, installing superfast broadband where big providers have been unable to offer or implement it. So, this is something to keep in mind if you live remotely; alternatively, you can visit our rural broadband page to find deals in your location.
Which is the fastest broadband provider?
In a few select areas of the UK, populations can get Ultra Fibre Optic (UFO) speeds – we’re talking over 1 Gbps. Some small, specialist broadband providers can offer this, as well as a handful of the main networks (such as TalkTalk). But on the whole, these speeds are a way off yet for most of the UK population.
Superfast and ultrafast broadband deals from Virgin Media are the most widely available in the UK, so if you’re after these speeds you’ll need to check whether Virgin cover your area. They lead the way by a fair stretch with their speeds.
New-build properties are often limited to BT broadband for a number of years after completion. Some areas may be able to get BT superfast fibre broadband; others may have more limited options.
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What broadband speed do I need?
With tantalising broadband deals being constantly released, it’s easy to get swept up in thinking you need more, more, more – but that’s not necessarily the case. Let’s take a look at the typical speeds and consumer type of certain broadband packages.
Standard broadband – 3Mbps – 10Mbps – If your household has only 1 or 2 people, you’ll probably be fine with a standard broadband deal if you don’t do heavy-usage activities like online gaming or simultaneous streaming.
Fibre-optic broadband – 38Mbps – 52Mbps – Consider fibre-optic if your household has 3-4 occupants, where there are multiple devices streaming content at the same time.
Superfast fibre-optic broadband – up to 76Mbps – If you have a large household and many of you are heavy users that frequently game online, look at superfast fibre broadband deals.
Ultrafast fibre-optic broadband – usually top speeds of 350Mbps – this isn’t widely available in the UK yet, although Virgin Media do offer it to certain areas.
You can read more about what broadband speed you need here.
How to get fast internet
How fast is fast? Well, that really depends on how you use the internet. These days, even the most basic broadband deals offer average speeds of 10Mbps. This allows you to browse, respond to emails and light stream with ease, which will suffice for many households. If your home has multiple users, you’ll want something faster.
Be sure you don't pay for more than you need though – rapidity comes with a price tag, so assess your needs first.
Once you’ve considered what speeds you require, use our tool to compare the best broadband deals in your area. All you need to do is pop in your postcode, then filter results to select your minimum speed requirement.
All this being said, be aware that fibre or superfast fibre broadband might not yet be possible where you live. While it is becoming more widespread, typically urban areas get fast speeds first.
How fast is my internet currently?
The simplest way to find out your internet speed is to run a broadband speed test, like ours. In order to increase accuracy, it's best if you ensure no other background activities are carried out while the test is happening. Disconnect any other devices from WiFi too, and we advise running the test a number of times at various points of the day for consistency’s sake.
You likely have an idea of what your internet speed is: it’s what your broadband package was sold on when you signed up. However, remember advertised speeds are averages, so don't be surprised if your actual speed is a little off.
Is fibre broadband always fastest?
Fibre-optic broadband is the fastest broadband available, much faster than ADSL broadband. This is because of the connection travels through fibre-optic glass cables rather than copper ones.
But within the fibre domain, there are several rankings. You have superfast fibre and ultrafast fibre that supersede fibre-optic, as well as the mystical Ultra Fibre Optic we mentioned earlier.
Plus, remember that not every part of the UK may be able to access fibre broadband. It’s important to neither pay for speeds you can’t get, nor those which you don’t need: for many, a standard broadband connection is fast enough.