The most accessible and popular types of home broadband in the UK are ADSL and cable (fibre). While ADSL is almost universally available, cable is only available in selected areas, so you need a broadband availability checker to see if you can get it.
Broadband availability checker
Use the uSwitch broadband postcode checker to see which packages and what speeds are on offer to you.
You can also visit our broadband speed test page to measure your current connection against that of your neighbours.
It might be that with a simple switch of provider you can double your connection speeds, so take a look at our broadband availability checker to see if this applies to you.
ADSL / ADSL2+
Offered by nearly every UK broadband provider, this is the most popular form of connection. It is widely available because it runs on existing BT phone lines, so can potentially reach 99 per cent of UK homes. The data runs from telephone exchanges along copper telephone lines and into your home. And because of frequency differences, it is possible to use both telephone and internet at the same time on the same line.
ADSL only provides telephone and internet. If you want television as well then it will have to be arranged separately.
Regular ADSL provides speeds of up to 8Mb. ADSL2+ uses the same lines, but a different software and transmission protocol, so can achieve speeds of up to 24Mb using the same lines.
Looking to set up an ADSL broadband connection? Click here to see the best ADSL Broadband packages packages.
Cable connections carry a lot more data than ADSL, and can provide television, telephone and broadband through a single fibre-optic connection.
Most people will have a FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) connection. This means that the fibre cable runs to the phone cabinet in the street, at which point the copper phone lines take over to deliver it to your home. With this fibre broadband technology, customers can expect speeds of up to 76Mb.
Some lucky fibre customers, however, will have a FTTH (fibre to the home) connection, where the fibre cables run all the way into their house instead of stopping in the cabinet outside. Speeds for these connections can reach up to 120Mb. In the UK, only Virgin Media's network offers a fibre to the home service.
Cable connections are on offer through Virgin Media, BT and other networks that use BT's fibre optic network infrastructure such as Sky, EE, Eclipse, Plusnet and TalkTalk. Use our broadband postcode checker to find out which providers supply broadband in your area.
Compare super-fast cable packages now at our dedicated Super fast Broadband comparison page.