According to Ofcom’s Connected Nations spring update, the rollout of full-fibre broadband means that almost half of all UK households now have access to faster, more reliable internet.
But how do you know which broadband deal is right for you?
Broadband isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and different properties need different things to ensure the internet runs smoothly.
Compare broadband deals in your area with Go.Compare.
Broadband is the most common type of internet connection available today.
Until broadband appeared, dial-up internet was the most popular method for getting online. But luckily broadband offers a much easier, hassle-free way of connecting (and without any whirring modems).
Broadband connects all your devices to the internet quickly, too, so everything from social media browsing to online grocery shopping is available in just a few short steps.
There are several different types of broadband currently available:
Sometimes referred to as standard broadband, ADSL is the most basic type of internet connection, using copper wires to deliver your service.
Usually the most cost-effective option, ADSL broadband often has speed caps of around 10Mbps, which isn’t much by today’s standards.
Instead of using copper wires, fibre optic broadband delivers the internet through newer, more reliable fibre cables that often provide superior performance - especially during peak usage times.
With fibre optic fast becoming the norm throughout the UK, it may even be less expensive than ADSL in some areas. However, not all households have access to fibre optic yet, on account of the proper infrastructure being unavailable.
Use our postcode checker at the top of this page to see whether you can get fibre optic broadband where you live.
Sometimes called part-fibre, this connection uses fibre cables to connect your broadband to the local telephone exchange, as well as connecting the copper wires at the cabinet back to your home.
Providing superfast broadband coverage across the country, around 97% of all UK households can now get online with an FTTC connection.
Also known as full-fibre broadband, this connection plugs fibre cables directly into your property, providing you with ultrafast speeds from 100Mbps right the way up to 1Gbps (1000Mbps) and beyond.
According to Ofcom, the number of UK homes currently able to access gigabit-compatible internet is around 21.9 million (73%).
This uses the same wiring as cable TV to deliver your home internet connection.
Currently in the UK, Virgin Media is the main provider of cable broadband, offering some of the fastest speeds in the country.
If you can’t have a fibre connection installed at home, you can still get online with mobile broadband.
You won’t need a landline, and with mobile broadband, you can even connect while on the go for added convenience.
Instead of a broadband router, you’ll get online via a USB dongle or ‘Mifi’ (mobile Wi-Fi) device.
5G broadband is the latest home internet innovation, offering a great alternative to wired connections plus fast download speeds.
For instance, Three mobile offer a 5G hub with speeds up to 150MB. No landline, no engineer; just straightforward plug in and play setup. All you need to do is use our postcode checker to see if you can get coverage.
Compare Three broadband deals with Go.Compare.
A popular option for people who live in remote areas is satellite broadband.
This works by connecting you to the internet via your satellite dish; however, it can be more expensive than a fixed broadband connection.
There’s plenty to consider when choosing a broadband package, including:
If you use your broadband for streaming in 4K Ultra HD or gaming online, you’ll need a fast enough connection to support these bandwidth-heavy activities.
Depending on how many of you there are in your household, you may wish to consider unlimited broadband deals, which provide extra broadband capacity when lots of people want to get online at the same time.
Just because a broadband provider offers you everything, it doesn’t always mean you’re getting good value for money.
Compare provider costs with Go.Compare to make sure you’re getting a good broadband deal at a price that suits you.
Normally running anywhere between 12 and 24 months, you should check your contract length to make sure you’re not tied into an extended commitment with a provider, as this could make switching a lot more difficult. It’s also worth checking whether there are any exit fees, just in case you did decide to switch mid-contract.
Not all broadband connections are available throughout the UK.
Use our postcode checker to make sure the broadband deal you’re after is available where you live
Good quality customer service is essential if you ever experience less-than-expected speeds or frequent disruptions to your broadband.
Before signing up to any new deal, read market reviews to gauge what level of support your broadband provider offers.
You could also save money by bundling your broadband with other home services, such as a landline phone or TV package.
Check with your provider to see what broadband bundles they offer.
Whether you’ve found a new broadband provider or your existing provider is upgrading their services, you may be sent new equipment as part of your package.
Some providers factor this into their broadband deals, while others expect you to pay part or even all of the cost. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of your contract before committing to any additional expenses re broadband equipment.
What broadband speed do I need?
Your optimal broadband speed will depend on how much internet you use and how many devices are connected.
Measured in ‘Mbps’ (Megabits per second), some common broadband speeds include:
If you have ADSL broadband, then 10Mbps is the average speed you can expect from your internet connection.
The good news is that if you live by yourself or with one other person, 10Mbps is usually fast enough for you both to casually browse websites, check emails and use social media.
However, streaming and other online activities like gaming will require faster internet speeds.
Ofcom states that superfast broadband connections should provide speeds of 30Mbps or higher.
If you live with your family, 30Mbps should be enough to give everyone strong internet for casual browsing and/or streaming. If you’re all frequently online at the same time, you’ll most likely need a stronger connection.
This also applies to students living in shared accommodation. Compare student broadband deals to find a package that suits your study needs.
With internet speeds of 100Mbps and above, you and other members of your household should all be able to stream in 4K Ultra HD, game online and work from home without any performance issues.
It may be more expensive compared to other broadband deals, but the extra cost could be worth paying if you’ve got a lot of people joining conference calls at similar times.
Will I get advertised speeds?
According to Ofcom, advertised speeds must be available to at least half a provider’s customers between peak usage times (8pm-10pm for home services and 12pm-2pm for business services).
Remember, just because a broadband package has advertised speeds, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your internet will reach them all the time.
Most providers do have minimum speed guarantees. If broadband speeds are continuously below the guaranteed minimum after 30 days and your provider hasn’t acted to improve them, then legally you can leave your contract without having to pay an early exit fee.
Speed protections apply to customers with the following broadband providers:
What affects broadband speeds?
Lots of things can affect your broadband speeds, including:
Because different broadband connections provide different speeds, the type you choose will affect how fast your internet performs.
As a rule, ADSL typically offers around 10Mbps, while fibre and cable broadband speeds can reach as high as 1Gbps (1000Mbps) depending on where you live.
Even with fibre broadband, the distance between your broadband router and telephone exchange can affect how well your internet performs.
Because copper wires lose speed the more they stretch, if you live some distance away from your local telephone exchange, your internet speed will likely fluctuate.
If you have an FTTP connection, however, you won’t have to worry about any distance-relative speed dips. Consider switching to FTTP if speed is your top priority and your property can accommodate it.
The position of your router will affect your connection speed. You’ll enjoy optimal speeds if you position your router in an appropriate place
Avoid putting it away inside a cabinet or hiding it behind your furniture, as this will block the signal.
If possible, have it in the room where you use the internet most of all.
Using multiple devices in your household will likely mean your internet speeds will start to dip.
Online gaming, streaming in 4K Ultra HD and downloading large files can all use greater internet speeds, so be sure to consider a broadband package that accommodates these activities.
Internet speeds can dip at certain times of the day, especially in the evening when more people go online.
Nevertheless, you should still keep an eye out for internet speeds dropping below the minimum advertised requirements.
Is your internet fast enough? Use our broadband speed checker to find out.
Can I get fibre broadband?
With part-fibre broadband available to almost everyone in the UK, and full-fibre broadband available to almost half of the population, you should be able to find a fibre connection near where you live.
You’re more likely to get ultrafast connections in large towns or cities. By contrast, if you live in a more remote area, be sure to check out rural broadband deals.
What is my ideal broadband package?
Having the right broadband package often means:
Popular broadband bundles include:
If you like the idea of simple, hassle-free internet, then broadband only could be a good choice for you.
Providers usually offer ultrafast speeds as part of these deals, as they have fewer additional perks with which to incentivise customers.
Broadband only deals are great if you:
Many broadband providers still require a landline to connect you to the internet.
As such, they sometimes include a home phone as part of their deals so you’ll get better connectivity value through them.
A broadband with home phone deal is great if you:
If you enjoy watching digital TV, then consider a broadband package that offers you internet with premium channels.
You could end up paying less than if you had two separate contracts, plus if you’re already a customer with the likes of Sky, Virgin Media or BT.
Look for broadband with TV deals if you:
Remember, broadband deals that include premium TV packages are only good value if you watch a lot of channels inaccessible through other networks.
Because many broadband providers now offer additional perks, such as landline phones or anytime calling, keep an eye out for hidden costs like:
How much does broadband cost?
There are many things that can affect how much you pay for broadband each year, including:
This is how much your broadband is before any introductory offers expire.
Remember, you don’t have to pay this if your broadband isn’t connected to your home phone.
It could be better value for money if you upgrade your current broadband package instead of switching to a different provider.
See what kind of deal your current broadband provider is willing to offer.
Think about how much it’ll cost for an engineer to come out and install your new broadband. While some providers factor this into their broadband deals, others don’t - and you could be the one paying the difference.
This is how much you’ll pay for broadband during the course of your contract.
According to the Ofcom April 2023 social tariff broadband report, you could save around £200 a year by opting for a low-income broadband deal.
However, this only applies to customers who receive:
Read our guide to social tariff broadband and see if you’re eligible.
This depends on where you live.
Use our postcode checker to find out what broadband deals are available to you.
Start by comparing broadband deals and finding a suitable package.
Keep in mind that sometimes a broadband deal may not be suitable for your household; avoid confusion by checking with your new provider to make sure they can facilitate the switch.
Going forwards, your new provider should contact your old one to arrange the switch on your behalf. You should also receive letters and/or emails updating you on how the switch is progressing.
It is technically possible to switch broadband providers at any time.
However, most networks will require you to pay an early exit fee if you do this. Check any potential savings against the exit fee to see whether it’s worth paying.
If you’re switching providers because your broadband speeds are still below the guaranteed minimum after 30 days and your provider hasn’t acted to improve them, then legally you can leave your contract without having to pay an early exit fee.
It depends on the type of broadband you’re moving to.
Because most providers use the Openreach network to deliver their service, switching from one provider to another shouldn’t require a formal cancellation.
However, if you’re moving to a more robust package - such as ADSL to fibre optic - then you may need to let your original provider know or risk continuing to pay for their service until your contract runs out.
Always check with your provider.
Price is a big factor when it comes to switching broadband providers, but it’s not the only thing you should consider.
Speed, usage, customer support and more are just as important when it comes to choosing a broadband provider that’s right for you.
 Ofcom’s Connected Nations update: Spring 2023