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A lot of the terminology that internet service providers (ISPs) use can be somewhat confusing to customers. For example, you may be looking for a faster broadband connection and be told that you can get fibre broadband. However, a standard fibre broadband connection will still utilise your old copper phone line to complete the last part of the connection from your local exchange to your home. So, it’s not hard to see why some customers get confused when they hear that they can upgrade their fibre broadband to a ‘Full Fibre’ connection.
ADSL Broadband (also referred to as ‘Standard Broadband’) is when the broadband connection is delivered using the original, old copper phone wire infrastructure. This method is being phased out as ISP’s push to sell faster broadband. With a standard ADSL broadband connection, you can expect to get an average download speed of 10Mbps. The connection speed will drop significantly the further away you are from the telephone exchange. Whilst ADSL broadband might be the slowest option, it’s not necessarily cheaper than ‘fibre broadband’. If you’re out of contract and have an ADSL broadband connection, you’re likely to be paying more than you would with a new provider. The broadband market is very competitive, so it’s worth asking your current provider to see if you can get a better deal, then compare that offer with our broadband checker.
Most home broadband connections in the UK are fibre to the cabinet (FTTC). FTTC Broadband is when the local (street cabinet) has had its incoming connection upgraded to fibre broadband. This means that the local telephone exchange is able to deliver a faster broadband connection to your home. The connection from your home to the local (street cabinet) will still be sent down the old copper phone line, but your broadband speed will be significantly faster than a standard ADSL broadband connection. A typical FTTC broadband connection in the UK would have an average download speed of 66Mbps.
Currently only a small number of homes have access to ‘Full Fibre Broadband’ also known as fibre to the premises (FTTP). As it implies, the fibre broadband connection does not stop at the local street cabinet, it continues directly to your premises. This means that you no longer need to rely on your old copper telephone cable to get broadband. It’s still relatively expensive to install as it requires new cables being installed to your property. A typical average FTTP download speed is between 330Mbps to 1Gbps and is the future of broadband in the UK.
G.Fast is one of the latest ultrafast broadband technologies that is capable of supercharging your FTTC broadband speed up to 300Mbps without the need to have fibre to your premises. As G.Fast uses most of the existing infrastructure, it’s cheaper and faster to roll out - but it’s not all good news. The catch is that your premises needs to be within 500 metres of your local street cabinet. We’re not convinced of the future of G.Fast. It’s a clever interim solution until we see the same fibre coverage that copper cables have today. Consider it akin to the mini disk player when Apple are about to launch the iPod. G.Fast is only available if your local exchange has been upgraded to accommodate the G.Fast technology. To see if G.Fast broadband is available in your area enter your postcode into the availability check above.
Cable broadband is uniquely different to fibre broadband. Instead of using a fibre cable it’s delivered down a coaxial cable. Currently Virgin Media dominate this market with their own cable network. Cable broadband is capable of achieving a download speed of 1130Mbps when ordering a Gig1 broadband package.
There are alternative ways to get a faster broadband connection e.g. by installing satellite broadband, microwave radio transmission or the more familiar 4G broadband. But, as fibre broadband now covers 95% of the UK, you can probably get a fast broadband connection installed via one of the many UK ISPs. Just enter your postcode into our broadband availability checker to find the best broadband deals available in your area. Alternatively you can compare 4G and 5G home broadband options on our mobile broadband comparison page.
Whilst trying to remain impartial, we all have our favourites. It’s easier to find negative reviews than glowing ones - but that glowing review might not be the best broadband deal for you. If you are looking for the fastest broadband provider then Virgin Media is a good place to start. If you're an avid online gamer and latency and upload speed are paramount then BT and Zen are worth considering. If it’s a budget broadband package that you are looking for, start with TalkTalk. For just plain, good old customer service we would steer you towards Plusnet.
No ..... but we do compare the majority of major UK broadband providers, as well as some of the smaller ones. Our broadband results are not sponsored or driven by commission, unlike some other broadband comparison websites. Just apply filter options to tailor the results that you want to see. If you enter your postcode into the availability checker, the results will only show you providers that are available in your area. Here are the broadband providers that we do compare (in no particular order): TalkTalk, Plusnet, John Lewis Broadband, Virgin Media, SSE, EE Broadband, NOW Broadband, Sky, Vodafone, Zen, Onestream, Hyperoptic, BT, Community Fibre, OneStream, Cuckoo Broadband, Kcom, Trooli, G.Network, Truespeed & Shell Energy (formerly known as First Utility, Post Office broadband also sold it's customer base to Shell Energy broadband in February 2021).
Switching your broadband provider is a less painful exercise than it used to be. Before you begin the process, it's definitely worth making sure that you're outside of your contract tie-in with your current broadband provider. If you aren't then you will face a financial penalty and will probably be required to pay for each month that you have left on your contract. If you would like to switch broadband provider and your contract has ended, there is no need to contact your existing supplier. The switching process is triggered by the broadband provider that you have decided to move to. The exception to this rule is if you want to switch to a Virgin Media fibre broadband deal. Unlike other broadband providers, Virgin Media Fibre doesn't use copper phone line cables to deliver it’s broadband. So, if you want to switch to a Virgin Media package, you will need to notify your current broadband provider after Virgin have given you an install date. This way your broadband disruption will be minimal. If you're ready to start looking for a better broadband deal, just enter your postcode into our broadband availability checker at the top of this page to see what broadband deals are available in your area.
With any ADSL broadband connection the broadband is sent down the copper phone line. Even if you have Superfast fibre broadband the last part of the connection from the telephone exchange to your property still requires the phone line. Virgin Media is the only broadband provider in the UK who can deliver fixed line broadband without a phone line. This is because Virgin don’t use BT’s infrastructure. Instead, they use their own fibre-optic network. Virgin Media broadband is not available to all properties in the UK but, if you are in a city or built up area, you are more likely to have the option of getting broadband without a phone line.
Not in the deals on Fasterbroadband, but there are a few things that you should be aware of! Phone and broadband providers used to advertise broadband prices with an eye catching price tag, then in the small print mention that you still had to order phone line rental. This would often raise the price significantly. Since October 2016 the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have clamped down on this misleading practice. So, now the broadband prices advertised include line rental. If you use our broadband availability checker above and filter by ‘First year cost’ the figures that you see will include all extras e.g. the cost of posting the router, installation fees etc.
The simple answer is YES! As long as you're not moving house away from your current telephone exchange. If you're switching to Virgin Media they too will allow you to keep your old telephone number. You will be asked which number you would like to transfer during the sign up process.
If you're only switching your broadband and not the telephone provider then your switch over should be almost seamless. If you are switching both your phone and broadband provider, this will require an engineer to visit your local telephone exchange. The switch over is usually complete within 3 hours of disconnection. If you are switching to Virgin Media, it is possible to keep your old broadband connection active until your Virgin Media broadband has been installed and is active.