Which is the best broadband provider in your area?

·4-min read
  (Unsplash)
(Unsplash)

As a Londoner, you have access to some of the country’s fastest broadband speeds, but you can expect to pay more if you want to take advantage of them. And, unlike the rest of the UK, you’ll also have access to some providers that operate exclusively within the capital.

This means that finding the best provider in your area depends on how you use the internet, how much you want to pay, and which area of London you call home.

Can I get fibre optic broadband?

Fibre optic broadband is a type of internet connection that uses fibre optic cables to transmit data as pulses of light. It differs from traditional Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) broadband which transmits data as pulses of electricity via copper telephone cables. There are two main types of fibre optic broadband.

  • Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC). This is where data is carried over fibre optics from your nearest BT telephone exchange to your nearest BT street cabinet, with copper telephone cables making up the last leg of the journey to your home

  • Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). This uses fibre optics all the way from the telephone exchange to your home. Since there’s no element of copper telephone wires in the connection, there’s no electrical resistance and so data can be transferred much faster than it can over an FTTC connection.

The type of fibre optic broadband connection you can get depends on where you live.

How are broadband speeds measured?

Broadband speeds are measured in the amount of data that a connection can download per second. It’s usually expressed as the number of Megabits per second (Mbps) the connection can handle.

A Megabit is equal to one million bits – a bit being the smallest common measurement of data.

Eight Megabits are roughly equal to one Megabyte. Since the average audio track is around three or four Megabytes, you could download a track in three or four seconds over an 8Mbps connection.

Superfast broadband is any connection that can provide speeds of between 30Mbps and 300Mbps. Ultrafast broadband delivers speeds above 300Mbps up to 1,000Mbps. The latter is equal to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps). Gigabit broadband is capable of download speeds of 1Gbps and faster.

The average UK download speed is 64Mbps.

Which providers offer the fastest broadband in my area?

If you are a heavy internet user, the good news is that several broadband providers offer gigabit broadband in London. This means you can get download speeds of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) or higher, which is equivalent to 1,000 Megabits per second (Mbps).

For context, speeds like this mean you could download a full HD film in around one minute, or a 4K ultra HD movie in 13 minutes.

London’s gigabit broadband providers include the likes of Community Fibre, G.Network, Hyperoptic, Giganet, and Virgin Media.

The best way to find the fastest broadband in your area is to type your postcode into our broadband comparison tool.

Which providers offer the best broadband in my area?

It really depends on what you think constitutes ‘best’.

If you’re interested in the fastest possible download speeds, then you’ll want either a gigabit connection or a fibre to the premises (FTTP) connection. Your postcode will determine which services are available to you.

If price is the most important factor, you may have to sacrifice some speed to keep costs down. That might be fine if you’re not looking to stream a lot of ultra HD video or play games online. If value for money is important to you, it’ll be a case of weighing up speed against cost.

Can I get fibre optic broadband in my area?

It’s almost certain that you’ll be able to get some kind of fibre optic broadband connection in London, but the type you can get will depend on your location.

Superfast broadband i.e. connections that offer speeds of at least 30Mbps using at least some element of fibre optics, are available to 96% of the UK. Ultrafast broadband offers speeds of at least 300Mbps using fibre optics and is available to some 61% of UK addresses.

Gigabit broadband offers download speeds of at least 1Gbps using fibre optics alone, and is available to 37% of addresses, mainly in major cities like London. So, Londoners have a better chance of getting a gigabit connection than those living in rural areas.

To see what fibre optic broadband is available in your area, type your postcode into our comparison tool.

What about cable broadband?

Fibre optics aren’t the only way of getting ultrafast broadband. The Virgin Media network uses coaxial cable to deliver speeds of up to 1.1Gbps. Virgin Media broadband isn’t available to every address, but its network covers 53% of UK homes at the time of writing.

Enter your postcode into our comparison tool to see if Virgin Media broadband is available in your area.

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