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UK broadband statistics 2023

This page includes relevant broadband statistics for 2023, such as UK broadband coverage growth, the availability of different types of broadband across the country, average download and upload speeds, and the reliability of UK broadband networks.
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Since the birth of the World Wide Web in 1989 by Tim Berners Lee, the internet has become a vital tool for information, communication, and entertainment alike.

With streaming being a popular way to watch TV and listen to music, as well as working from home becoming the norm, reliable broadband is now a necessity for the majority of households across the UK.

But how accessible is broadband in the UK and beyond? We’ve collated the latest UK broadband statistics for 2023, covering broadband access, usage, speed, cost, and more.

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Quick overview of UK broadband statistics 2023

  • In the UK, there were 27.3 million fixed broadband lines fitted to homes in Q3 2022, an increase of 91,000 from the time in 2022.

  • During the same period, data shows that 99.7% of UK homes had access to decent internet (10Mbps or above).

  • Over three-quarters (76%) of UK properties have access to gigabit internet, with theoretical download speeds of 1Gbps. 

  • Nottingham suffered the longest combined outage time in the UK in 2022, with over 70 hours spent disconnected to the web. 

  • Virgin Media offered the closest average download speeds to what they advertised (97.58%) which was 7% more than their nearest rival, Zen.

  • BT is the best-reviewed broadband provider, with 83% of customers satisfied with the service they receive.

UK broadband market share statistics

UK broadband market share statistics by provider

According to UK broadband market share statistics, BT, in conjunction with Plusnet and EE, have the largest number of UK customers, with 9.3 million subscribers using their broadband services.

Sky Broadband has a customer base of 6.7 million across the UK and Ireland, followed by Virgin Media (combined with O2), which has a market share of around 5.6 million. 

A breakdown of UK broadband market share statistics by broadband provider (ISP) and estimated subscriber count

Tree map showing the estimated subscriber count of broadband companies in the UK

Glide, a specialist business to business (B2B) Wi-Fi service with a focus on students and student accommodation, has a market share of 400,000, making it the seventh most popular broadband provider in the country.

Hull-based KCOM has a market share of less than 140,000, making it the smallest broadband provider on the list with a subscriber count nearly 70 times less than BT.

UK broadband access statistics

UK broadband statistics show that there were 27.8 million fixed broadband lines in the UK at the end of Q3 2022—an increase of 91,000 (0.3%) year-on-year. Of these, around 70% (19.4 million) were predominantly FFTC or full fibre variants

The number of ADSL lines fell by 209,000 (6.6%) during the quarter. These figures are likely to have been influenced by Openreach’s ongoing ‘copper switch-off’ resulting in more people moving onto full-fibre connection.

Conversely, cable line numbers increased by 13,000 (0.2%), and the number of ‘other including FTTx’ lines increased by 154,000 (0.8%). 

Between Q3 2021 and Q3 2022, the number of dedicated mobile broadband subscriptions also increased by 100,000 (1.2%) to 5.3 million nationwide. 

How many people access the internet in the UK?

Over the years, the share of households with access to a “decent” broadband connection has grown steadily.

What is decent broadband? 

Decent broadband is described as having a download speed of at least 10Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1Mbps.

UK broadband statistics from Ofcom’s latest Connected Nations Report discovered that 99.7% of households in the UK had access to a decent broadband connection as of September 2022. This was up by more than one percent from the last report in September 2021.

A breakdown of UK households with access to at least 10Mbps broadband services (2021-2022)

CountryMay 2021September 2021January 2022September 2022
Northern Ireland95%95%96%99%

(Source: Ofcom)

UK broadband access statistics reveal the number of properties (both residential and commercial) that cannot receive a decent broadband service from a fixed line stands at around 80,000 (or 0.3%) as of September 2022. This is a significant decrease from 650,000 in December 2021. Half of these (40,000) are located in England, with 21,000 in Scotland, 10,000 in Wales, and 9,000 in Northern Ireland. 

A breakdown of UK homes and businesses unable to access decent broadband services (2021-2022)

CountryMay 2021September 2021January 2022September 2022
Northern Ireland2%2%2%1%

(Source: Ofcom)

What percentage of the UK has gigabit broadband?

The number of homes able to get gigabit-capable broadband continues to increase, with nearly 20.8 million (70% of all UK homes) now able to access these faster services—up from 13.7 million (47%) in December 2021.

This has, in part, been driven by the rollout of full-fibre broadband and Virgin Media O2 making its network entirely gigabit-capable.

A breakdown of UK premises with access to gigabit-capable broadband services (2021-2022)

Access to full fibreMay 2021September 2021January 2022September 2022
Northern Ireland73%76%82%87%

(Source: Ofcom)

UK broadband access statistics indicate that gigabit-capable broadband is now available to 87% of Northern Ireland’s premises—the most of any UK nation and accounts for 0.7 million locations across the country. This is followed by England, with more than seven in every 10 locations (71%) now able to access gigabit-capable broadband (or 17.6 million premises). 

Ofcom’s broadband report shows that Wales has the smallest percentage, with just over half (52%) of its homes and businesses connected to gigabit-capable broadband. However, as a total, this equates to 0.8 million—approximately 100,000 more than Northern Ireland. 

Over time, the percentage of UK premises connected by gigabit-capable broadband has almost doubled, from just 40% in May 2021. England has seen the biggest increase (33%) of all four UK nations, followed by Wales (22%) within the previous 18 months. 

What percentage of the UK has full fibre broadband?

UK fibre broadband statistics indicate that full fibre coverage across the country continues to increase with more than four in 10 (42% of) UK homes having access to full fibre services in September 2022. As a result, full fibre coverage sits at just under 12.4 million—an increase from 8.2 million (28%) homes in December 2021 and a seven-fold increase since 2018. 

This has been bolstered through deployments by larger fibre infrastructure operators, and supported by smaller providers up and down the UK that serve individual regions.

A breakdown of UK premises with access to full fibre broadband (2021-2022)

CountryMay 2021September 2021January 2022September 2022
Northern Ireland67%71%79%85%

(Source: Ofcom)

In terms of UK broadband access statistics for full fibre internet, Northern Ireland is leading the way across all four UK nations, with 85% of its premises now served by this type of broadband. This equates to around 0.7 million properties. By contrast, Wales has managed to connect around 0.6 million homes and businesses with full fibre broadband, yet this represents only 40% of its total property numbers. 

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A broadband report by Ofcom indicates England and Scotland have both managed to connect 41% of their premises with a full fibre broadband connection. However, in terms of numbers, this accounts for approximately 10.1 million and 1.1 million homes and businesses, respectively.  

What percentage of the UK has superfast broadband?

Superfast broadband coverage continues to slowly grow—albeit at a reduced pace compared to gigabit and full fibre—with coverage now reaching 97% of all UK homes. This slow progress is likely due to the increased rollout of full fibre and gigabit-capable connections UK-wide.

A breakdown of access to superfast broadband services (2021-2022)

CountryMay 2021September 2021January 2022September 2022
Northern Ireland90%91%92%94%

(Source: Ofcom)

According to recent UK broadband access statistics from Ofcom, England continues to lead the way in terms of superfast broadband coverage, at 97%, followed by Wales (95%), and then Northern Ireland and Scotland (both 94%). 

What about fixed wireless access (FWA) networks and wireless internet service providers (WISPs)?

Aside from gigabit, full fibre, and superfast, broadband services are also available from Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) networks provided via mobile networks, or through Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs).

Latest Ofcom data shows that FWA coverage from mobile networks is available to 95% of premises in the UK, and around 7% can receive a decent broadband service from a WISP.

A breakdown of UK premises with access to fixed wireless networks (2021-2022)

Type of network connectionMay 2021September 2021January 2022September 2022
UK Mobile Network Operators (MNO)93%94%94%95%
UK Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs)6%7%7%7%

(Source: Ofcom)

Wireless broadband statistics show that since May 2021, the percentage of UK premises has increased by 2%, whereas the corresponding figures for UK WISPs has risen by just 1%. 

As of September 2022, UK broadband stats for MNOs indicate that 96% of England’s homes and businesses could connect to such a network, compared to just 85% for Northern Ireland. Comparative broadband figures for WISP FWA network connections in these two countries were 7% and 0%, respectively. Incidentally, almost one in three (32%) of premises in Wales could connect to a WISP FWA—the highest percentage across all four UK nations.  

Bearing in mind the broadband coverage estimates provided by FWA providers, it is estimated that there are still around 80,000 UK premises that do not have access to a decent broadband service from a fixed network or an FWA network at the beginning of 2022.

UK broadband connection statistics

UK urban vs rural broadband statistics

According to UK broadband connection statistics, there is a notable difference between urban and rural connectivity across the country. Average UK broadband speeds in UK rural areas tend to be considerably slower than in urban areas. 

As of March 2022, this gap has subsequently widened, with median peak-time download speeds of 39.4Mbps in rural areas and 62.1Mbps in urban areas of the UK—a 58% difference. In 2021, this figure was just 42%. 

A breakdown of UK broadband connection statistics for urban and rural areas

Infographic comparing UK rural and urban broadband statistics such as median average peak-time download speed, proportion of lines with an average evening peak-time speed of higher than 30 Mbps, and percentage of broadband lines with an average peak-time download speed of less than 10 Mbps.

Despite UK rural broadband speeds increasing since 2021, this rate was lower compared to urban areas, where growth in broadband availability and take-up of full fibre, superfast, ultrafast, and gigabit services are considerably greater. 

According to UK broadband connection statistics, as of March 2022, 86% of UK urban broadband lines had an average peak-time download speed of at least 30Mbps, compared to just over two-thirds (67%) of rural areas. 

Likewise, for those with speeds of less than 10Mbps, the corresponding figures were 14% for rural areas and just 1% for UK urban regions. 

A breakdown of UK broadband connection statistics for rural and urban areas by speed and type of broadband connection

Bar chart showing UK broadband connection statistics for rural and urban areas by speed and type of broadband connection

UK broadband connection statistics reveal that ADSL2+ connections constitute over 95% of all ADSL lines in the UK. As of March 2022, the median average 24-hour download speed in UK urban areas was 16.2Mbps—more than double the average for rural areas (6.0Mbps). 

For FTTC broadband connections statistics, the difference between urban and rural download speeds is much smaller (50.5Mbps vs 50.0Mbps respectively). This is because there is less variation in the length of copper lines for the street cabinet to a user’s premises in urban vs rural areas. 

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UK broadband figures from Ofcom indicate a 22.7Mbps difference between median average peak-time download speeds for urban and rural areas in March 2022. The corresponding figure for March 2021 was just 15.6Mbps, when speeds were 52.7Mbps and 37.1Mbps for UK urban and rural areas, respectively. 

March 2022 also revealed a 19% difference between urban and rural areas in terms of average evening peak-time speeds of 30Mbps or higher (86% vs 67% in favour of urban areas). This was 5% greater than the difference recorded in March 2021. 

Conversely, the broadband report from Ofcom also highlights a 13% difference between March 2022 figures for broadband lines: the average peak-time download speed (of less than 10Mbps) was 3% lower than March 2021 stats, when respective urban and rural figures stood at 5% and 21%. 

A breakdown of UK urban vs rural statistics by type of broadband connection 2022

Bar chart showing UK urban vs rural statistics by type of broadband connection 2022

As of 2022, more than two-thirds (76%) of UK urban premises were connected by a gigabit-capable broadband connection, compared to less than 40% for rural areas. By contrast, just 35% of rural areas had full fibre broadband connectivity, compared to 43% of respective urban areas. 

UK broadband connection statistics reveal that superfast broadband was the most common type of high-speed broadband connection as of 2022. Nearly all (98%) of UK urban premises, and 86% of UK rural homes and businesses, were connected with this type of internet. 

Great Britain broadband connection statistics by council 2023 (exclusive data) 

Our exclusive data looked at broadband connectivity in councils across Great Britain. We looked at the percentage of premises with superfast and full fibre access in each council, as well as the median download and upload speeds, to give each council a connectivity score out of 10. 

A breakdown of the best British councils for broadband connectivity

Map of the UK showing best and worst British councils for broadband connectivity
CouncilSuperfast broadband (% premises over 30 Mbps)Full fibre broadband (% premises FTTP)Median download speed (Mbps)Median upload speed (Mbps)Connectivity score
Kingston Upon Hull, City of99.70%99.70%121.847.19.95
Milton Keynes99.30%92.60%69.720.19.34
Epsom and Ewell99.90%79.40%68.417.89.33
Barking and Dagenham99.20%66.70%7718.39.03

(Source: via Thinkbroadband, ONS, and Norris Web)

Our data found that England far exceeded Scotland and Wales for broadband connectivity, with each of the top 10 councils based in England. This dominance becomes even more evident further down our list, with 21st-placed Edinburgh the highest-ranking non-English council.

Kingston Upon Hull was found to be the best council for broadband connectivity, with a median download speed of around 122Mbps and a median upload speed of 47.1Mbps—the best recorded figures in our study. Though the East Yorkshire council topped our list, the rest of the top 10 is made up entirely of councils based in Southern England and the Midlands. 

The West-Sussex town of Worthing provided the highest score of any southern council, with third-placed Derby finishing the highest of any Midland areas. Though Worthing’s average upload speed of 20.2Mbps was the second-highest in the top 10, its upload speed was around 3Mbps lower than eighth-placed Slough. 

Though every council in the top 10 achieved superfast broadband access rates of over 99%, the scores for full fibre access were more modest. Only three councils in our list were found to have full fibre access rates above 90%, with Watford’s score of 65.5% providing the lowest figure in the top 10. 

A breakdown of the lowest-ranked British councils for broadband connectivity

CouncilSuperfast broadband (% premises over 30 Mbps)Full fibre broadband (% premises FTTP)Median download speed (Mbps)Median upload speed (Mbps)Connectivity score
Orkney Islands66.30%2.70%15.31.30
Shetland Islands75.70%4.40%
Na h-Eileanan Siar80.10%5.90%
Argyll and Bute85.70%5.80%
Perth and Kinross88.10%12.60%

(Source: via Thinkbroadband, ONS, and Norris Web) 

In direct contrast to our top 10, 70% of our lowest ranking councils for broadband connectivity came from Scotland. With a full fibre access score of 2.7% and a median upload speed of just 1.3Mbps, the Orkney Islands were found to be the worst place for broadband connectivity in the UK.

The Orkney Islands’ median upload speeds were 75% lower than the Shetland Islands, which finished second-last, with a full-fibre access percentage of 4.4%.

Cumbria was responsible for two of the three non-Scottish councils in our bottom 10, with Copeland and Allerdale both recording median upload speeds below 6Mbps. The only other English council in our study was Richmond, which recorded a median download speed that was 73% slower than Kingston Upon Hull. 

Though none of the councils in the bottom 10 had full fibre accessibility above 25%, the results for superfast broadband were more promising. Despite scoring low overall, all 10 councils in the bottom 10 had superfast accessibility percentages above 60%, with Copeland and Allerdale each recording scores above 90%.

Great Britain’s digital divide by council 2023 (exclusive data)

Our exclusive data looked at the extent of a digital divide among councils across Great Britain. This study looked at the percentage of premises with superfast and full fibre access in each council, as well as the median download and upload speeds, to give each place a broadband connectivity score out of 10. 

Coupled with this was the percentage of employees working in a technological-based industry to generate an index score for economic and employment within each council. 

These two index scores were combined to create an overall digital divide score out of 10. A value closer to 10 indicates a greater extent of digital divide within the council, while a score closer to zero suggests a lesser gap between residents of that local authority.  

A breakdown of the largest and smallest digital divides by councils across Great Britain 2023 in terms of broadband accessibility, economy, and employment

Map of the UK showing largest and smallest digital divide by councils across Great Britain 2023 in terms of broadband accessibility, economy, and employment
CouncilSuperfast broadband (% premises over 30 Mbps)Full fibre broadband (% premises FTTP)Median download speed (Mbps)Median upload speed (Mbps)Percentage of people who work from home* (%)Broadband score (/10)Economic and employment score (/10)Digital divide score (/10)
Argyll and Bute85.70%5.80%26.75.818.80%0.170.369.79
Dumfries and Galloway88.90%24.40%30.15.724.22%0.791.319.21
West Lindsey89.60%31.40%37.77.723.76%1.721.148.99
Neath Port Talbot98.30%17.60%388.322.31%2.50.958.72

(Source: via Thinkbroadband, ONS, and Norris Web) 

*This percentage reflects anyone who works from home as part of their job. 

According to broadband connection statistics from our study, Argyll and Bute ranks as the British council with the biggest digital divide. Generating a broadband index score of just 0.17 out of 10, just 5.8% of Argyll and Bute residents have access to full fibre broadband. 

Coupled with this, less than a fifth (18.8%) of its population work from home, giving them an economic and employment score of 0.36, and thus making it the lowest scoring British council for this type of factor. Both these factors combined led to Argyll and Bute receiving an overall digital divide score of 9.79 out of 10. 

Based on our broadband study, five of the top 10 most digitally divided councils in Great Britain are located in Scotland. Highland is placed second on the list with a score of 9.29 out of 10, with fourth-placed Dumfries and Gallway (9.21) the third Scottish council in the top five.

The West Cumbrian council of Copeland was found to be the most digitally divided council outside of Scotland. With a median upload speed of 5.4Mbps, and just 3.4% percent of the population with full fibre broadband access, Copeland finished third with a digital divide score of 9.26.

Copeland was joined in our top 10 by three more English entries, with Allerdale (9.17), West Lindsey (8.99), and Rochdale (8.72) finishing fifth, sixth, and ninth, respectively. Though Rochdale was found to score high for superfast broadband connectivity (98.8%), the Greater Manchester council had its score compromised due to its relatively low percentage of residents working from home (20%).

The most digitally divided council in Wales is Neath Port Talbot, which ranks as the tenth worst scoring British council overall. Just under a quarter of its population (22.21%) work from home and less than a fifth (17.6%) have access to full fibre broadband. 

A breakdown of the smallest digital divide by councils in Great Britain 2023 in terms of broadband accessibility, economy, and employment

(Source: via Thinkbroadband, ONS, and Norris Web) 

*This percentage reflects anyone who works from home at least partly for their job. 

Broadband connection statistics from our Great Britain digital divide study reveal that Lambeth is the least digitally divided council in the country. 

An impressive score of 0.66 out of 10 is attributed to:

  • Extremely high level of superfast broadband connectivity (98.9%).

  • Moderately fast download and upload speeds (58.6Mbps and 17.5Mbps, respectively). 

  • Relatively high percentage of employees who work from home (53.8%) compared to other British councils.

Lambeth is followed in second place by fellow London boroughs Hackney and Wandsworth, which both received digital divide scores of 0.67. Nine of the top 10 least digitally divided cities are all based in the south of England, suggesting councils in northern England and the other parts of Britain are disproportionately affected by the digital divide. 

Rugby is the only non-southern council in our top 10, with the West Midlands town finishing tenth thanks to its high scores for superfast connectivity (98.5%) and people working from home (52.5%).

Outside of England, the City of Edinburgh was found to be the least digitally divided Scottish council. With an impressive full fibre coverage rate of nearly 75%, and median upload speeds of 71Mbps, the Scottish capital finished 16th overall with a digital divide score of 1.56. 

The Vale of Glamorgan was the best performing Welsh council, finishing joint-21st with a digital divide score of 1.73.

UK broadband outage statistics 

Broadband outage statistics across the UK 

According to research by Uswitch, 11 million customers experienced broadband outages of three hours or more between 2021 and 2022. With more than 50% of the UK’s workforce still working from home in some capacity, this means significant disruption for UK employees and businesses. 

The financial implications of this are estimated to be around £1.3 billion, highlighting the ever-growing importance of having a stable broadband connection in your home. 

A breakdown of broadband outage statistics in the UK by major city

Map of the UK with proportional symbols to show the amount of broadband outages in that area

According to Uswitch broadband outage statistics, Nottingham was the UK city with the highest average downtime between the summers of 2021 and 2022. 

Broadband customers here experienced on average more than 70 hours of downtime within the 12-month period. This is followed by Southampton, with almost 46 hours, then Manchester and Bristol—both with more than 38 hours of broadband connection problems across the year.  

The impact of storms on UK broadband outages 

Between 2021 and 2022, the UK was hit by a number of severe storms, which had a significant impact on communication services. In November 2021, the gale force winds of Storm Arwen reached 100mph, causing complete power outages for almost one million customers across the UK. 40,000 were without supply for more than three days, and nearly 4,000 were cut off for over a week. 

Storm Eunice in February 2022, also caused record power outages over a 24-hour period, affecting over 1.4 million UK households. 

These storms caused considerable damage to Openreach’s overground network, destroying more than 650 poles across the country, with South Wales, the South of England, and East Anglia affected the most. 

Infographic showing the amount of damage caused in the UK by Storm Arwen in 2021

The loss of power lines created the majority of disruption for UK broadband customers, impacting large providers as well as small-scale fibre networks. The impact was mostly felt in rural areas, due to the prevalence of overhead power lines as opposed to urban areas which are routinely buried underground. 

During Storm Arwen in late 2021, over 1,500 of Openreach’s exchange sites were running on back-up generators, and fibre street cabinets were also running on reserve batteries. These can typically last for four hours, yet due to the prolonged power outages in some areas, this also resulted in many fibre street cabinets losing power supply. 

A breakdown of monthly reported incidents of mobile and fixed broadband outages across the UK

An area graph showing monthly reported incidents of mobile and fixed broadband outages across the UK

UK mobile phone statistics relating to outages indicate over 1,200 incidents were logged with Ofcom throughout 2022—an increase of 761 since 2021. 

The number of fixed-network incidents rose from 426 in 2021 to 545 in 2022, and was broadly in line with the previous year-on-year variability. However, the number of mobile network incidents more than doubled, from 335 to 736 between 2021-22. 

The average number of monthly reported incidents in 2022 stood at 95, compared to just 62 in 2021. The winter storms of 2021-22 had a significant impact on this, particularly during December-March when reported incidents peaked at 147 incidents.

Conversely, this was followed by a significant drop of reported outages in April 2022, when figures almost halved from the previous month to just 61. 

UK broadband usage statistics by age

Age of internet users in the UK vs the world

In the UK in 2020, 92.1% of the population aged 16 and over used the internet. As expected, this number has continued to grow over time, increasing from 79.4% a decade earlier—a rise of 16%. By 2021, this figure had risen to 94% of UK households.

A breakdown of UK broadband usage statistics by age group

Bar graph showing the percentage of UK people who do/don't have internet access at home, and those who do/don't use it, broken down by age group.

As of 2021, 6% of UK adults do not have access to the internet at home, and this figure increases with age. A fifth (20%) of those aged 65+ do not have domestic internet access, compared to just 1% of 18-34-year-olds. 

Those aged 65+ are also most likely to have internet access but not use it (7%), compared to a UK average of 2%. Less than three-quarters (73%) of those aged 65+ have internet access at home and use it—the only age group in Ofcom’s study to not record a figure of 96% or above for this category. 

A breakdown of internet users in the UK by age group over time (2011-20)

A line graph showing a breakdown of internet users in the UK by age group from 2011 to 2020.

Over the last 10 years, 16-to-24-year-olds used the internet the most, except for 2019 when 25-to-34-year-olds finished highest with 0.2% more users. This was short-lived, though, as 16-to-24-year-olds regained the top spot. As of 2020, the largest proportion of internet users came from the 16-24 and 25-35 age groups, with a share of 99.5% each.

Internet connections in households with one adult aged 65 years and over have increased since 2019 to 80%, however, these households still have the lowest proportion of internet connections overall.

UK internet user statistics by socio-economic group

No internet access at home2%3%5%14%
Have access at home and go online97%96%91%82%
Have access at home, but do not use it1%1%4%3%

(Source: Ofcom) 

UK broadband usage statistics indicate that those in higher socio-economic groups (such as AB and C1) tend to have a higher percentage of access to the internet at home, compared to those in the lower socio-economic groups (such as C2 and DE). 

Around one in seven (14%) of those in the lowest group (DE) have no internet access at home, compared to just 2% and 3% for AB and C1, respectively. By contrast, 82% of those in the DE group have access at home and go online, compared to 97% for those in the wealthiest group (AB). 

UK internet user statistics by different parts of the UK

EnglandScotlandWalesNorthern Ireland
No internet access at home6%7%9%1%
Have access at home and go online92%81%90%95%
Have access at home, but do not use it2%1%1%3%

(Source: Ofcom)

The spread of internet users across the UK is unevenly distributed. UK broadband usage statistics from Ofcom indicate that, as of June 2022, 9% of people in Wales still have no internet access at home, compared to just 1% of those in Northern Ireland. Comparable broadband statistics for England and Scotland stand at 6% and 7%, respectively. 

Northern Ireland is very much leading the way with 95% of people connected to the internet and regularly using the internet. By contrast, only 81% of Scottish inhabitants can boast the same fact.  

Average UK daily internet usage statistics by age

According to UK broadband usage statistics from Ofcom’s Online Nations report (2022), the average UK adult spends just under four hours a day online. This figure is highest among the younger age groups, with those between 15 and 24 years old spending more than five hours a day (on average) using the internet. 

Incidentally, those aged 55+ spend the least amount of time online per day, at just under three hours on average. 

A breakdown of average UK daily internet usage statistics by age group

Infographic showing average UK daily internet usage statistics by age group

Average UK daily internet usage statistics by nation 

Across all four nations of the UK, residents in Scotland spent the longest time each day online, averaging four hours 18 minutes. This is followed by England (at just under four hours per person) and Wales (three hours, 43 minutes) for the average resident.

A breakdown of UK daily internet usage statistics by country 

EnglandScotlandWalesNorthern Ireland
Average daily time spent online (hours: mins)03:5904:1803:4303:25

(Source: Ofcom)

Those living in Northern Ireland spend the least amount of time online each day on average, at three hours, 25 minutes per person. 

Global internet user statistics

In 2021, just over a third of internet users were aged between 25 and 34 years old, making up the largest share of online users around the globe. Those aged between 18 and 24 years old contribute just under a quarter of online users worldwide, and 35 to 44-year-olds take up almost 19%.

The global digital population aged 65 or older represented approximately 5.5% of all internet users worldwide.

A breakdown of internet users worldwide by age group (2021)

A graphic showing a breakdown of internet users worldwide by age group in 2021.

On a global scale, almost two-thirds (63%) of the world’s population had access to the internet in April 2022.

Advancements in technology, along with the fast-paced development of telecommunication networks and infrastructure around the globe, have directly impacted internet penetration globally.

As a result, the number of internet users has increased since 2005, from 1.02 billion to an estimated 4.9 billion in 2021 – up three million from the year before (4.6 billion).

A breakdown of internet users by country (2023)

Treemap showing internet users by country (2023)

According to an internet user statistics report, there were around five billion people on the internet, as of January 2023. 

China ranked as the country with the most internet users worldwide. With more than a billion internet users, this was more than triple the amount of third-placed USA with 307 million, and almost double that of India in second (692 million). 

Despite China having by far the most internet users, its overall percentage of users (72%) was considerably lower than the United States and United Kingdom, who recorded percentages of 91% and 96%, respectively.  Similarly, though India had the fourth highest number of internet users (around 692 million), this represented less than half of their overall population (43%).

With approximately 66 million internet users, the UK has the sixteenth highest number of internet users—six million more than France in 18th.

A breakdown of global internet penetration rate by region (April 2022)

 A graphic showing the global penetration rate by region, as of April 2022. Northern Europe leads the way.

Broadband penetration statistics reveal that, as of April 2022, Northern Europe had the highest internet penetration rate, with 98% of the population having access to the internet. Western Europe followed closely behind, with 94%.

Asia has the largest internet user base, with an estimated 2.7 billion internet users hailing from the region (this can be explained by its global population share). East Asia contributed the majority with an online penetration rate of close to 73% as of April 2022—just above the global average of 63%. Despite this, Asia is far from being a leader in regard to online penetration.

Fixed broadband internet subscriptions around the world (2021)

A table showing the breakdown of fixed broadband internet subscriptions around the world by household in 2021

Global broadband penetration statistics show that almost one in three households have access to the internet via a fixed broadband connection. When broken down by region, however, Europe leads the way. Over 86% of European households have a fixed Internet connection, followed in second place by The Americas, with almost 80%.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) represents those countries formed through the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Just over three-quarters of these households have a fixed Internet connection, compared to almost 72% of those located in Asia and the Pacific. 

The Arab States refer to the 22 Arab nations, who are members of the Arab League, and span across North Africa and the Middle East. Just over half of these households (56%) have access to the internet via fixed broadband, which is below the global average of 65.79%. 

Less than 3% of African households have access to a fixed broadband internet connection, which highlights the infrastructural chasm between the developed and the developing parts of our world.

Despite this, it's worth noting that the number of households with a fixed broadband connection in the Arab States and Africa could be significantly lower than in other regions because they rely on other types of broadband to access the internet, such as mobile broadband or satellite.

UK broadband speed statistics

Choosing a broadband package that is right for you will largely depend on your budget, what you intend to use your internet for, and the broadband speed you require to complete those activities. 

Uswitch classifies* broadband speeds into the following four main categories:

  • Standard broadband: Uses ADSL technology to provide average download speeds of around 10-11Mbps.

  • Superfast broadband: Uses fibre-optic cables to deliver a range of speeds, from 30-100Mbps.

  • Ultrafast broadband: Delivers speeds between 100-1,000Mbps.

  • Gigabit broadband: Providing internet speeds of 1,000Mbps (1Gbps) and above.

The UK Government criteria for a “decent” broadband service is generally described as having a download speed of at least 10 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1Mbps. This is what you usually get with a standard broadband package, and enables you to carry out tasks like browsing the internet, online shopping, and sending emails. 

*This is based on what broadband providers refer to in their products.

Average UK broadband download speed statistics

As of March 2021, the median average internet speed in the UK was 50.4Mbps. This is a sharp increase of 40% from five years earlier, when the average was just 36Mbps. By March 2022, this had risen to 59.4Mbps—a 9Mbps (18%) increase on the previous year, as people upgraded to faster broadband services across the UK.

UK broadband speed statistics reveal that more than nine out of every 10 UK households with internet now opt for a superfast package, with advertised download speeds of 30Mbps or higher. As of March 2022, this figure stood at 91%, with 8% choosing ultrafast broadband packages (average advertised speeds of at least 300Mbps).  

A breakdown of average UK broadband speeds over time (2017-2022)

A bar chart showing how the average download and upload speed has varied from 2017 to 2021.

UK average download speeds by time of day

UK average download speeds tend to slow during busy periods when broadband networks suffer the effects of—what’s known as—contention. In plain terms, this means competition for resources.

Across all connections in March 2022, the average UK daily minimum speed (52.9Mbps) was around 86% of the average maximum speed (61.0Mbps). This was a 6.7Mbps rise in the average minimum speed, and a 9.9Mbps increase for the average maximum speed, in the UK compared to March 2021. 

A breakdown of median average UK broadband speeds by time of day

A stacked bar chart breaking down the median average UK broadband speeds by time of day.

UK broadband speed statistics reveal that, as of March 2022, the average 24-hour speed stood at 59.4Mbps for all connections, yet only 12.8Mbps for those between 10-30Mbps advertised speed. This was contrasted by average 24-hour speeds of almost 64Mbps for connection types with 30Mbps or higher. 

Ofcom research shows that across all connections, the average 8-10pm peak-time speed (57.3Mbps) was 94% of the average maximum speed, compared to 88% for fibre and cable lines with advertised speeds of 30Mbps or more, and 83% for lines between 10-30Mbps. 

Fixed broadband speeds vs reported internet speeds

Interested in finding out the difference between fixed broadband package speeds and the reported internet speeds, Uswitch analysed Ofcom fixed broadband performance data from homes across the UK. 

We obtained data on the region, internet service provider (ISP), broadband connection, and peak recorded download speeds from over 3,300 homes with fixed broadband. From this, we found the listed average download speeds for broadband connections in each home using each ISP website. 

The percentage difference between the listed ISP broadband download speeds versus the connection’s reported peak download speed was then calculated for each ISP, broadband package, and UK region.

A breakdown of fixed broadband speeds vs reported internet speed statistics across various UK internet service providers (ISPs)

Internet service providerAverage download speed (%)


Virgin had the highest average download speed of all internet service providers (ISPs) analysed, with a difference of 97.58%. The only other ISP with an average download speed of 90% or more is Zen, with 90.67%. Comparatively, TalkTalk’s average download speed is just 81.39%.

Fixed broadband package download speeds vs reported internet speeds across various ISP broadband packages (2022)

ISP broadband connectionsPackage download speed (Mbps)Reported download speed average (Mbps)
BT 160 FTTP150145.83
BT 38 FTTC3626.82
BT 52 FTTC5043.18
BT 76 FTTC7462.95
BT 76 FTTP7473.8
EE 38 FTTC3632.2
EE 76 FTTC7461.72
Plusnet 38 FTTC3629.42
Plusnet 76 FTTC6660.61
Sky 38 FTTC3629.74
TalkTalk 38 FTTC3832.23
TalkTalk 76 FTTC8062.26
Virgin 100 Cable108109.47
Virgin 1000 Cable1130953.4
Virgin 200 Cable213208.58
Virgin 350 Cable362374.69
Virgin 500 Cable516540.35
Vodafone 76 FTTC7360.17

(Source: Uswitch) 

We found that three out of five broadband connections from Virgin Media had a higher average download speed than stated in their package. Virgin’s M500 cable connection lists its package speed as 516Mbps, but the average download speed reported via Ookla reaches 540.35Mbps.

A similar story can be said for BT, with its broadband download speeds close to those listed in its package details. However, the BT 38 Superfast connection is reportedly 10 Mbps less than stated in the package (36Mbps vs 26.82Mbps).

On the other end of the spectrum, TalkTalk has the worst package speed vs reported internet speed, with their 38 FTTC and 76 FTTC packages both failing to reach the download speeds consumers pay for. 

A breakdown of UK average download speed of fixed broadband packages (2021

A graphic showing the average download speed of 18 different fixed broadband packages in 2021.

According to UK average download speed statistics from our study, Virgin 100, 350, and 500 cable broadband packages each outperformed their advertised download speeds when it came to reported download speed figures. Virgin’s 500 cable broambpsedband advertises speeds of 516Mbps, yet reported download speed stats in 2021 indicate customers were receiving nearer 540 Mbps on average. 

Our findings indicate that the vast majority of UK broadband providers were delivering somewhere between 80-90% of advertised broadband speeds to customers in 2021. BT’s 160 and 76 FTTP services both achieved scores in the high 90s for their reported download speeds as a percentage of their advertised speeds (145.83Mbps and 73.9Mbps, respectively).  

At the other end of the scale, BT’s 38 FTTC package was the joint-lowest package in our study for advertised download speeds at 36Mbps, yet achieved less than 75% of this when it came to reported download speed figures. This was followed closely by Talk Talk’s 76 FTTC service, reporting almost 78% of its advertised 80Mbps package. 

A breakdown of UK average download speed by region

RegionAverage download speed (%)
Yorkshire & Humberside90.81
North East90.39
South West90.17
South East89.4
Northern Ireland88.88
East Midlands88.33
West Midlands88.2
North West86.08

(Source: Uswitch) 

England’s capital, London, has the fastest average download speed of all regions in the UK, with an average download speed of 93.6%. Yorkshire and the Humber, the North East and South West follow behind with average download speeds in the 90% range. 

Scotland, on the other hand, fares the worst of all, with an average download speed of 85.11%—a difference of 8% from London at the top of the table. 

Check out our latest broadband deals in London to help find a package that is right for you. 

Internet download speed statistics by UK local authority

Which local authority has the fastest and slowest download speeds in the UK? 

To find out, we utilised iOS and Android Speedtest data from Q2 2022 via Ookla. We then applied this to local authority boundaries, as per the Office of National Statistics, to highlight the average download, upload and latency performance speeds for each local authority. 

A breakdown of the UK local authorities with the fastest and slowest download speeds

A map showing the local authorities with the fastest and slowest download speeds in the UK in July 2022.

Southampton has the fastest average download speed, clocking in at 166.677Mbps. This was closely followed by Stockon-on-Tees, with a download speed of 166.356Mbps. 

Third place goes to Newham with a download speed of 157.795Mbps, fourth to Coventry (157.652Mbps), and fifth to Peterborough (157.509Mbps).

On the other end of the scale, the local authority with the slowest download speed is the Isles of Scilly, with an average download speed of 24.536Mbps—142.141Mbps slower than first place Southampton.

A breakdown of the UK local authorities with the fastest and slowest upload speeds

A map showing the local authorities with the fastest and slowest upload speeds in the UK in July 2022.

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets takes the crown for the fastest average upload speed, measuring an impressive 107.851Mbps. Tower Hamlets is followed closely behind by Milton Keynes, with an average speed of 105.531 Mbps.

Southampton, which has the fastest average download speed, also has the third-fastest upload speed, clocking in at an average of 102.859 Mbps. 

On the other end of the scale, as well as having the slowest download speed in the UK, the Isles of Scilly has the slowest upload speed too. The local authority racks up an average upload speed of just 6.555 Mbps, which is almost 16 times slower than Tower Hamlets in first place. 

Are you suffering from slow broadband speeds? Check out our guide to find out why your internet is so slow and how to fix the issue. 

A breakdown of the UK local authorities with the fastest and slowest latency speeds

 A map showing the local authorities with the fastest and slowest average latency in the UK in July 2022.

Online gaming statistics reveal that the best broadband for online gaming will provide a response time of less than 100 milliseconds (ms) in order to provide a good experience, (although some online gaming apps require 50ms). 

Our research identified that the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has the best average latency speed, measuring just 9.554 ms. Second place goes to Newham, another London Borough, with an equally impressive latency speed of 9.846 ms.

Latency definition: Latency refers to the delay before a transfer of data begins. A connection with low latency often feels more responsive for simple tasks like internet browsing.

Residents in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland don’t have it quite so good, clocking an average latency speed of 58.874 ms. This is still reasonable and would allow residents to carry out simple tasks online, however, there is a considerable difference of 49.32 ms from Tower Hamlets in first place. 

Which UK street has the fastest and slowest broadband speed?

Every December, we analyse all broadband speed tests that were run throughout the year using our broadband speed test to identify the UK streets with the fastest and slowest internet speeds.

A breakdown of the UK streets with the slowest and fastest broadband (2021)

A table showing the UK streets with the slowest and fastest broadband as of December 2021.

As of December 2021, the street with the slowest broadband speed was Wistaston Road in Crewe, where residents have an average broadband speed of just 0.25Mbps. At this speed, according to our download time calculator, it would take residents over two-and-a-half days to download a two-hour HD film and almost 24 hours to download a 45-minute HD TV show.

Check out our latest TV and broadband deals to help find a product that is right for you.

 By contrast, residents living on Britain’s fastest street for broadband, Haul Fryn in Birchgrove, Swansea, experience an average speed of 882.03Mbps. This means Wistaston Road is a staggering 3,567 times slower than Haul Fryn, and residents would only have to wait about a minute to download the same film or a mere 24 seconds to download the same show.

UK mobile broadband statistics

With over 20% of new mobile devices capable of accessing the 5G broadband network, mobile network operators are beginning to extend coverage from large cities to smaller towns and urbanisations, whilst also improving 4G connectivity across the UK.

A breakdown of 4G and 5G mobile broadband statistics across different countries of the UK

Box plot diagram to show 4G and 5G mobile broadband statistics across different countries of the UK, for 4G outside premises, 4G geographic, 5G outside premises, 4G total not spots, and voice and text not spots

5G broadband coverage statistics across the UK

In terms of full 5G coverage across the UK, England has the strongest connections of all four UK nations. Outside of premises, 5G signal is available across 42-61% of the nation—the only country within the UK that exceeds the minimum average coverage figures for the UK of 39-58%. 

UK broadband stats reveal that 5G coverage in Northern Ireland is significantly behind that of England, with only 14-26% of the nation covered near premises. Similarly, Wales also lags behind the UK average, with 5G coverage only extending to somewhere between 10-46% of the country. 

5G coverage statistics per operator

5G across the UK is covered by multiple MNOs, or Mobile Network Operators. BT and EE, Three, Virgin Media and O2, and Vodafone offer some of the UK’s fastest mobile coverage on the market. 

A breakdown of 5G coverage statistics by operator and their percentage coverage for outside UK premises

5G network provider% coverage outside UK premises
BT and EE55%
Virgin Media and O238%

(Source: Ofcom)

Of all MNOs, Three offers the widest 5G coverage, with 58% of UK outdoor premises covered by a 5G signal. In a close second is BT and EE, working together for their 5G offering, covering over half (55%) of outdoor premises confidently—this represents just 3% less than that of Three. Virgin Media and O2’s coupling yields the least coverage across the UK, with 38% of outdoor premises having access to a consistent 5G signal.

In terms of the UK’s four nations, England has 42-61% 5G coverage outside premises, whereas Scotland has only 29-51%. Comparatively, Wales and Northern Ireland lag behind the other two nations, with 10-46% and 14-26% 5G coverage, respectively. 

4G broadband coverage statistics across the UK

Across all four nations in the UK, 4G coverage is far more widespread than that of its more modern counterpart, 5G. The average 4G coverage for the UK is above 99%, equal to the highest ever recorded across the UK in 2021.

4G coverage across England reflects that of the entire UK (99% and above). However, that applies to ‘outside premises’, meaning signal availability in areas such as villages, towns, and cities. 4G coverage geographically across the nation is somewhere between 92-94%, meaning that between 6-8% of the landmass is currently not covered by a consistent 4G signal. Only 2% of England has zero 4G signal, and that figure has remained stable from the 2% recorded in 2021.

In Scotland, 4G outside premises is between 97-99% coverage, almost rivalling that of the UK’s average. However, in terms of full-geographic coverage, they only have 57-75% of their landmass covered by 4G, meaning large swathes of the nation remain without consistent 4G broadband. The 4G signal figure has, however, improved somewhat since recording 57-73% 4G coverage in 2021. 17% of the country has zero access to 4G, an improvement of 1% over data from 2021.

Corresponding UK broadband stats show that Wales offers similar 4G coverage to Scotland, in terms of 4G outside premises (96-99%). With regards to 4G coverage by geography, Wales has 73-85% of their landmass covered—almost 20% more compared to Scotland. However, 10% of Wales has zero access to 4G, 2% more than the UK’s average of 8%.

Northern Ireland’s 4G coverage is 98-99% for outside premises, representing the second-best 4G coverage statistics in the UK. In terms of geographic coverage, the country recorded 88-92% in 2022–-again, a recorded figure that is higher than all other UK nations apart from England. Only 3% of NI’s landmass has zero access to 4G, markedly better than Wales and Scotland, and 5% better than the UK average. 

A breakdown of 4G coverage statistics per operator (2022)

4G network provider% coverage across geographical landmass (2022)% improvement from 2021
BT and EE87%0.01
Virgin Media and O282%0.02

(Source: Ofcom)

UK broadband statistics indicate BT and EE’s 4G coverage has the widest reach amongst network operators, with 87% of the UK’s entire landmass covered by their signal. This is a small improvement of 1% since 2021.

In joint-second is Virgin Media and O2, alongside Vodafone. They each have 82% of the UK’s landmass covered by 4G signal, although in the case of VMO2, the 82% figure is a 2% increase over 2021 figures, compared to 0% increase for Vodafone. 

5G’s largest provider, Three, has the smallest amount of 4G signal coverage in the UK as of 2022, with 80% of the landmass covered. This represents a small improvement of 1% compared to 4G coverage statistics for 2021. 

Rural vs urban 4G coverage statistics across the UK

BT and EE, Virgin Media and O2, Three, and Vodafone all claim 100% 4G coverage of UK urban areas, exactly the same as offered in 2021.

However, in rural parts of the UK, 4G coverage doesn’t exceed 84%. BT and EE claim that figure, covering the largest geographical area with signal—a 2% improvement on their 2021 figures.

Virgin Media and O2 also improved between 2021-22, raising their rural UK coverage figure to 80% (a 2% increase from 2021).

Neither Three nor Vodafone improved in 2022 on their 2021 rural coverage statistics, with Vodafone achieving 80% and Three achieving only 76%.

The average cost of broadband UK

Pricing for broadband services from the UK’s independent full-fibre network operators can be lower than those from established providers—an important factor when it comes to potentially switching your broadband

According to Uswitch’s global broadband index, the UK ranks as the fifth most affordable country in the world for broadband, as a percentage of income per capita. With an average of £26.39 per month, this equates to around 1.16% of the average citizen’s monthly earnings—a statistic only bettered by Israel (0.78%), Lithuania (0.97%), France (1.14%), and Luxembourg (1.15%). 

Data from Ofcom shows full-fibre broadband pricing for selected independent providers, as well as BT using the Openreach full-fibre network and Virgin Media (which uses DOCSIS 3.1 cable and full-fibre technology) to provide ultrafast services. New operators (such as Community Fibre, Hyperoptic, and G.Network) have also entered the broadband market in 2022, resulting in more choice for UK broadband customers.

On top of the monthly price, some broadband providers charge fees for activation, set-up, or installation, which is dependent on the provider and contract length. Broadband deals with no upfront costs are available on the market, but you will need to check this before committing to a package. 

Want to try and avoid installation costs? Check out our guide on how to self-install your broadband as a potential method of saving some money. 

Broadband installation cost also depends on whether the broadband provider is registered to the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS). The scheme, which has been running since 2021, can provide up to £210 million worth of funding to help homes and businesses cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband. 

Households eligible for this can claim vouchers worth up to £1,500 through a registered broadband provider, and businesses can claim up to £3,500.

A breakdown of UK broadband cost statistics by broadband provider and package

A graphic showing the average cost of broadband across the main broadband providers in the UK as of 2022

Knowing when to switch your broadband is no easy answer. Average UK broadband costs vary considerably between providers and the type of broadband you purchase. Some providers will offer promotional prices, as a way of enticing new customers to join, with the list price returning to similar prices offered by competitors after a given period of time. 

The average monthly broadband cost for 30Mbps and 50Mbps packages ranges between £20-£28, compared to £22-£40 for 100Mbps and 150Mbps deals. 

It’s also worth noting that some UK broadband providers will charge installation costs, have varying lengths of contract, and are liable to mid-contract price increases in 2023. Therefore, it’s advisable to fully check the terms and conditions before committing to a broadband package. 

Those opting for 300Mbps and 350Mbps advertised download speeds can expect to pay anything between £20 a month with Gigaclear up to £56 per month for Virgin Media. Should you desire some of the fastest broadband speeds on the market (900Mbps and 1Gbps), average monthly broadband costs will set you back somewhere between £25 (Toob) and £80 (Trooli, Jurassic Fibre, and County Broadband). 

Saving money on your broadband bill is a high priority for many UK households, particularly during the current cost of living crisis. There are also cheap broadband deals for low income families in the UK, such as Community Fibre, to help ensure all households across the country have the opportunity to access a decent domestic broadband service. 

These broadband cost figures are for broadband-only deals. We also have a range of broadband and home phone deals for those looking to incorporate a home phone into their internet package or for those looking to get broadband without a landline

Social broadband tariffs statistics 

Social tariffs are reduced-cost broadband deals for low income families in the UK. 

Recent UK broadband stats reveal that, as of August 2022, only 3.2% of UK households on Universal Credit decided to take advantage of social tariffs offered by broadband providers. During this time, around 4.2 million UK households were receiving some form of Universal Credit, and yet only 136,000 households moved onto a social broadband tariff. This is an increase of almost 150% from February 2022, when the social tariff takeup figure stood at just 55,000 households.

Broadband providers and their social tariffs

ONS research suggests that as many as three in 10 households struggled to pay for their communications bills in July 2022. Furthermore, up to seven in 10 eligible customers aren’t aware that social tariffs exist. 

Below is a list of current social broadband packages available in the UK in 2023, along with their associated monthly costs, average advertised speed, and eligibility criteria.  

A breakdown of current social tariff broadband packages available in the UK 2023

PackagePrice (per month)Average speedYou could qualify if you receive...
4th Utility Social Tariff£13.9930MbpsOpen to all
Air Broadband Air Support£20100MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
BT Home Essentials£15Around 36MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
BT Home Essentials 2£20Around 67MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
Community Fibre Essential£12.5020MbpsOpen to all
Country Connect Social Tariff£1550MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
EE Basics£12Up to 25MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
G.Network Essential Fibre Broadband£1550MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
Grayshott Gigabit Connect£20100MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 50£1550MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 150£20150MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
KCOM Full Fibre Flex£14.9930MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
Lightning Fibre Social Tariff£1550MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
Lothian Broadband Social Tariff£19.99100MbpsOpen to all
NOW Broadband Basics£2036MbpsUniversal Credit or Pension Credit
Sky Broadband Basics£2036MbpsUniversal Credit or Pension Credit
SMARTY Social Tariff£125G where availableVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
Virgin Media Essential Broadband£12.5015MbpsUniversal Credit
Virgin Media Essential Broadband Plus£2054MbpsUniversal Credit
Vodafone Essentials Broadband£1238MbpsVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
VOXI For Now£105G where availableVarious benefits (in and out of work)*
Wildanet Helping Hand Social Tariff£2030-100MbpsUniversal Credit
WightFibre Essential Broadband£16.50100MbpsUniversal Credit or Pension Credit

(Source: Ofcom)

*Each company has its own list of eligible benefits, but all include Universal Credit. Other benefits may include Pension Credit, Job Seekers’ Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, and Care Leavers’ Support.

Early Termination Charges (ETCs)

Ofcom noted that TalkTalk, Shell, EE, Plusnet, Vodafone, O2, and Three have all not committed to introducing a social tariff for home broadband.

Certain broadband providers may apply Early Termination Charges (ETCs) if the current broadband contract is ended prematurely by the customer. February 2022 data from Ofcom shows the potential value of social tariffs equate to £144 per year per customer. However, ETC’s are valued at between £10-£14 per month, so if your contract has 6 months left, then you are liable to pay between £60-£84 in order to terminate your social tariff broadband deal early.

If you fit the criteria for a social tariff and therefore decide to change provider, be aware that your current supplier may charge an ETC penalty for breaking the contract early. Always consider the terms and conditions of your broadband contract before making the move.

UK broadband customer satisfaction statistics

As well as having the most customers across the nation, UK broadband customer satisfaction statistics also suggest that BT also has the highest overall customer satisfaction rate in the broadband industry.

Almost nine in every 10 (88%) of broadband subscribers approved of BT’s services, far better than the industry average of 83%. 

With a score of 83%, BT also exceeds the industry average speed satisfaction rate of 80%. More than half (55%) of customers were happy with the way BT dealt with complaints, beating Sky Broadband by 1%.

Visit our broadband awards page to find out which providers impressed with their services. 

A breakdown of best broadband providers in the UK by customer feedback (2022)

ProviderSatisfaction with speed of service (average 80%)Customers with a reason to complain (average 20%)Overall satisfaction with complaint handling (average 50%)Satisfaction with service overall (average 83%)
Virgin Media79%23%45%78%

(Source: Ofcom)

Note: NOW and KCOM were excluded due to lack of relevant data regarding customer satisfaction. ***Vodafone has no comparative data due to new entrance to the broadband market)

EE received a customer satisfaction rating of 85% (3% less than that of BT, but 2% more than the industry average). However, less than eight in every 10 customers (79%) were happy with their broadband speeds—4% below the industry average. 

While EE had a lower quantity of customers with reason to complain (17%), their overall rating for satisfaction regarding customer complaints handling was less than half (only 49%). This represented 1% less than the industry average and 6% less than BT.

Vodafone, a new entrant into the broadband market, received the worst rating of all broadband providers listed. With an overall customer satisfaction rate of just 77%, this represented a score that was 6% below the industry average. 

While more than eight out of every 10 customers (81%) were happy with the speeds Vodafone provided, more than one in four (26%) had a reason to complain about one aspect of the service. In addition, just under half (45%) approved of Vodafone’s customer complaints handling. However, this was 5% below the industry average.

Want to raise an issue with your internet company, but not sure how to go about it? Check out our guide on how to complain to your broadband provider

A breakdown of broadband complaints statistics per 100,000 subscribers in Q3 2022

Bar graph showing broadband complaints per 100,000 subscribers in Q3 2022

On average, 11 out of 100,000 customers in Q3 2022 complained to Ofcom about their broadband provider—an increase of one compared to a year earlier in Q3 2021. This shows relative stability within the broadband market regarding quality of service from broadband providers. 

Ofcom customer complaints statistics show that Shell Energy accrued the most complaints in Q3 2022. Out of 100,000 customers, 27 people registered an issue with Ofcom regarding Shell Energy’s broadband service, with the primary issue being ‘complaints handling’. In Q3 2021, 17 customers complained about the services Shell Energy provided, showing a 58% increase from the previous year. 

TalkTalk remained the second most complained about broadband provider, earning 18 Ofcom complaints per 100,000 customers in Q3 2022—a small increase from the 17 complaints seen in Q3 2021.

Sky overtook EE to become the best broadband provider for customer service based on having the fewest Ofcom complaints (going from five in Q3 2021 to four in Q3 2022).  Meanwhile, EE had only four complaints in Q3 2021, but unfortunately received six just 12 months later. Both providers remain far below the industry average of 11 complaints per 100,000 subscribers, with BT and NOW Broadband joining them as the UK’s least complained about broadband providers. 

Most common broadband issues in the UK

In the UK, the main reason for Ofcom complaints regarding broadband is ‘faults, service and provisioning’. This can be attributed to outages and speed throttling, alongside customer service itself, and represents less than four in 10 (38%) of all broadband complaints made to Ofcom.

UK broadband statistics show that just under a third (31%) of Ofcom complaints in 2022 related specifically to ‘complaints handling’ (i.e. the way companies deal with issues raised by the customer). 

Finally, less than a fifth (18%) of UK broadband customers complained to Ofcom about their provider’s ‘billing, pricing and charges’. Shell Energy, the company with the largest number of complaints relating to broadband, had more than a quarter (26%) of its customer complaints relating to this very reason. Of the 27 people who raised issues in Q3 2022 regarding Shell’s broadband, seven customers (around a quarter) stated that ‘billing, pricing and charges’ was the primary reason for their Ofcom complaint.

Mobile broadband customer satisfaction statistics 

Mobile broadband usage has increased exponentially across the UK in recent years, with 4G now covering almost the entire country, and the superfast 5G rollout happening in towns and cities nationwide. 

According to UK broadband stats from Ofcom, the average monthly data consumption on mobile broadband alone was 5.6 gigabytes in 2021—a 24% increase on the 2020 figure. However, with increased subscriber counts and usage comes increased scrutiny. Below are the mobile broadband complaints statistics available for Q3 2021 and Q3 2022 per 100,000 subscribers. 

A breakdown of mobile broadband complaints statistics per 100,000 subscribers in Q3 2022

Bar graph showing mobile broadband complaints statistics per 100,000 subscribers in Q3 2022

For mobile complaints in Q3 2022, the industry average is less than that of fixed broadband: just two complaints per 100,000 customers, as opposed to 11 complaints, respectively. This represents the same as Q3 2021, showing 100% stability in terms of mobile customer complaints.

Talk Mobile had the most complaints per mobile provider, with a total of nine in Q3 2022 alone. This is seven more than the industry average, and four more than second-most complained about provider, TalkTalk. 

BT Mobile saw the largest increase in complaints, with four Ofcom issues raised per 100,000 customers for Q3 2022. In the same period a year earlier, they accrued only two complaints per 100,000 customers—the industry average for that period.

EE and Tesco Mobile were the two companies who had the least complaints made about them across the two years studied. In Q3 2021 and Q3 2022, both companies received only one Ofcom complaint per 100,000 customers. 

Check out our broadband provider reviews for further information on different UK internet suppliers and the results of our latest broadband customer survey

Most common mobile broadband issues in the UK

Both ‘complaints handling’ and ‘faults, services and provisioning’ received just over a quarter (26%) in the Ofcom complaints review, highlighting just how important customer service is to consumers.

Around four in 10 (42%) of BT’s issues were focused on ‘complaints handling’, far higher than any comparable service provider with available data.

A fifth (20%) of all complainants felt their primary reason for raising an issue with Ofcom was ‘changing provider’, with BT again having the most complaints in that field (25%).

UK broadband glossary


4G, or Fourth Generation, is a type of broadband typically used by mobile devices. Following on from 3G, 4G is between five and seven times faster than its predecessor, allowing for a maximum potential peak download speed of 300Mbps. Although realistically, 42Mbps is consistently achievable on standard 4G with the higher speeds usually recorded on 4G LTE (A type of 4G not readily available in the UK). These speeds are a huge improvement on 3G services, which were limited to an average speed of 6Mbps in real world tests.


Following on from 4G, 5G is the latest in high-speed internet connectivity, again typically used on mobile devices. 5G is seen as five times faster than 4G, and with a decreased latency, means data signals should stay stronger and more reliable as the networks roll out full coverage.

ADSL technology

ADSL broadband, or asymmetric digital subscriber line, uses copper cables otherwise utilised by phone lines. ADSL is the one of the slowest broadband variants in the UK, with speeds averaging only 10-11Mbps. The cables, attached to the vast majority of UK homes, suffer from geographical slowdown, meaning ADSL internet speeds are worse the further away the property is from the telephone exchange (the system used to send and deliver your data). By comparison, fibre (the more modern alternative) operates at light speed, and so offers zero slowdown with no geographical limitations.


Broadband is the most prevalent way households connect to the internet in the UK. The name derives from ‘wide-bandwidth data transmission’, and unlike its predecessor ‘dial-up’, can remain online and connected at all times. 

Fibre broadband 

Fibre broadband is the backbone of high-speed internet access for the UK. Instead of using traditional copper cables to send data, fibre broadband uses optical cables, which are far more capable of sending large quantities of data reliably. Fibre broadband sends data via beams of light, meaning there’s no geographical slowdown. As a result, much higher download and upload speeds are available for broadband customers.

Fixed wireless broadband

Fixed wireless broadband is a variant of broadband that uses radio signals to transmit data instead of using copper or fibre optic cables. Quite often this is using 4G or 5G connectivity and is traditionally achieved by installing a satellite dish to the top of the property. In turn, this will communicate with another device in its line of sight, and so on all the way to the initial server. This system aims to connect rural properties that cannot access copper or fibre cables, and offers similar broadband speeds to that of fibre, although often at a higher cost.

Gigabit-capable broadband

Put simply, gigabit-capable broadband offers download speeds of 1,000Mbps, or 1Gbps. Films in high definition (HD) are typically between two and four gigabytes in size, meaning it could potentially take mere seconds to fully download using gigabit-capable broadband. While this won’t make the server you’re downloading from any faster, it has the added-benefit of increasing bandwidth for your entire home. This means large families with various devices won’t experience any slowdown from their broadband.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Internet service provider (ISP) is the phrase used to describe companies that provide internet access to customers. Examples of such companies are BT, Virgin Media, and PlusNet. In the UK, data shows there are over 100 registered ISPs, highlighting the competitive nature of the UK broadband market. 


Latency, otherwise known as a ‘ping rate’, measures the time it takes for a quantity of data (called a ‘packet’) to go from your internet-enabled device, to your router, then to the street cabinet, the server, and all the way back again. Latency is most important for live-video calls and online gaming, where reactions are required quickly. Actions, such as comparing wireless routers and upgrading to the newest models, reducing the amount of connected devices, and changing to a better service provider can all potentially reduce your broadband latency.


Mbps stands for ‘megabits per second’, and is a unit of measurement in terms of data transfer and network speed. A megabit is 1/8th of a megabyte, meaning that if you have a broadband speed of 100Mbps, you can download 12.5 megabytes per second of data (MBps). When written, ‘Mb’ stands for megabit and ‘MB’ stands for megabyte.

UK broadband FAQs

Methodology and sources