Thanks to countless technological innovations over the last 20 years, it’s now easier than ever to have high speed internet in your home or business. For more information about how broadband works, check out our handy guide here. That way, you can ensure you’re best informed about how to move forward with looking for a new deal.
How fast can broadband be?
The speed of your broadband connection is measured in megabits per second (Mbps), and there are four main types that you can get:
Standard speed (up to 17Mbps)
This is the most basic option available, provided by standard copper ADSL (Asymmetric digital subscriber line) wires. ADSL enables faster data transmission than a conventional voiceband modem can provide.
Fast fibre-optic (up to 38 – 52Mbps)
Using more modern fibre optic technology, this is a sophisticated connection that opens up a number of new possibilities.
Superfast fibre-optic (up to 76Mbps)
This is usually the highest fibre optic service your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will offer and provides your property with a strong and reliable connection.
Ultrafast fibre optic (up to 350Mbps – 1GBps)
Unsurprisingly, this isn’t available everywhere. You’ll have to be particularly well located in order to be eligible to receive this kind of coverage. But when you are, there’s not much you can’t do online!
What broadband speed do I need?
It might be tempting to go for a lighting speed package, but you’ll see that these do come at a premium cost. You might be paying for something you don’t actually need, so take a look here to see which type best suits your needs.
Up to 17Mbps: This is suited for low-level users, who want only to surf the internet, send and receive emails, and occasionally watch videos online.
Up to 38-52Mbps: With this you can watch HD online streams, upload and download heavy files and connect multiple devices.
Up to 76Mbps: You can do all the above, as well as comfortably play online games, and connect even more devices to the internet.
Up to 350Mbps: As we said before, there’s not a lot you can’t do with this type of speed! The only drawback is the cost and availability.
Which provider has the quickest broadband speeds?
Only a select few ISPs are offering ultrafast broadband speeds of up to a whopping 1GBps (1000 Mbps). Sky and TalkTalk are trialling an Ultra Fibre Optic service in some parts of York, as well as a lesser-known provider called Hyperoptic.
Virgin Media has the fastest and most widely available Ultrafast broadband service, with top speeds of 516Mbps. Use their broadband deal postcode checker to see if it’s available in your area.
Other providers, such as BT, TalkTalk and Plusnet (as well as the others mentioned above) offer enviable fibre optic broadband speeds of up to 76Mbps.
How fast is Virgin Media broadband?
Virgin Media broadband runs off its own independent fibre optic network, thanks to the company’s seemingly endless resources.
Their M500 fibre broadband package is the most widely available deal of its kind, providing speeds of up to 516Mbps. According to their own research, around 44% of homes in the UK are able to receive this kind of coverage, and they expect to increase that to 53% within the next few years.
It is also expected that by the end of March 2021, Virgin Media will be able to provide average speeds of 600Mbps to many of these properties. Customers who purchase the Virgin Media Ultimate Oomph bundle, inclusive of broadband, TV, phone and 4G, are automatically eligible for the speed upgrade when it comes in.
View our guide for more information on Virgin Media broadband deals.
What is Hyperoptic broadband?
A relative newcomer to the broadband scene, York-based firm Hyperoptic are creating waves with their reasonable prices and impressive performance capabilities of an average of 900 Mbps. Take a look at our Hyperoptic broadband deals to find out more.
What’s the fastest broadband provider in my area?
Due to infrastructure costs, not all types of broadband are available across the country. Use our handy postcode checker to see the best broadband deals in your area. You can find out what kind of speeds you can expect to receive to your property and discover the fastest provider in your area.
Will I actually get these top broadband speeds?
Be aware that whenever an ISP advertises its top speeds, this is just an average you can expect to receive. Of course certain infrastructural and ecological factors, such as remoteness and weather, can result in slower speeds.
How do I switch my broadband deal to get faster broadband?
If you’re looking to switch your broadband to something with a little more ooph, check out our guide on how to switch broadband provider here. It’s probably easier than you think!