According to UK fibre broadband statistics, 97% of UK premises currently have a superfast, fibre broadband connection available to them. This provides download speeds of at least 30Mbps—the majority of which is mostly supplied by part-fibre, part-copper networks of cables.
Whilst superfast fibre broadband is currently sufficient for the majority of UK households, the demand for such services is increasing, and there are still around 750,000 premises in the UK without a superfast broadband connection.
Our research has collated various UK fibre broadband facts and stats for 2023, by analysing and comparing fibre broadband trends across the country. This report includes information on the UK fibre broadband market, how it has evolved since its inception, and predictions about the future of fibre broadband provision in the UK.
According to Ofcom, 97% of UK premises currently have a superfast, fibre broadband connection available to them.
There are still around 750,000 premises in the UK without a superfast broadband connection.
Ultrafast broadband (>100Mbps) is currently accessible to almost three-quarters (73.82%) of the country.
Over two-thirds (72%) of the UK can now access gigabit-capable broadband.
Less than half (42%) of UK urban premises have access to full fibre broadband, compared to just 35% in rural areas.
There is now a 58% difference between average internet speeds in urban and rural areas of the UK (62.1Mbps vs 39.4Mbps).
The UK Government’s Project Gigabit aims to bring gigabit-capable coverage to 85% of the UK by 2025.
Fibre broadband is a type of high-speed broadband that uses fibre cables to connect your premises to the internet.
There are three main types of fibre broadband connection in the UK:
Also known as superfast broadband, Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) involves running fibre cables between the broadband provider’s exchange point and the phone cabinet on the street near your home. Copper cables then connect the phone cabinet to your premises to deliver your fibre broadband.
Most commonly known as full fibre, but sometimes known as ‘Fibre To The Home’ (FTTH) or ultrafast broadband, FTTP involves running cables directly into your home, and avoids a roadside cabinet like FTTC. The result is a much faster, fibre broadband connection.
Fibre To The Node (FTTN) is roughly the same as FTTC, only the street cabinet is placed several kilometres from your street. Copper wiring is then used to make up the remaining distance to your home.
FTTP is capable of connection speeds well beyond 1000Mbps. However, most fibre broadband connections in the UK are superfast FTTC, providing download speeds of between 30-70Mbps.
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of broadband that run off fibre cables in the UK:
Superfast partial fibre: FTTC connection and currently available to 97% of UK homes, providing speeds between 30-70Mbps.
Full fibre: FTTP connection with speeds of up to 1Gbps and above, in some cases.
Virgin Media cable: A separate, fixed-line broadband network provided by Virgin Media that uses coaxial cables instead of phone lines for the final leg of the journey. These are partly fibre, and a lot faster, resulting in speeds of around 1Gbps.
As of Q2 2022, almost 99% of the UK now has fibre broadband of some kind, whether it be FTTC, VDSL, G.fast, cable, or FTTP. Comparatively, full fibre broadband stats sit at almost 44%.
At the time of writing, 97% of the UK is now fed by superfast broadband (> 30Mbps), with a similar percentage receiving speeds greater or equal to 30Mbps. By comparison, ultrafast broadband (>100Mbps) is currently accessible to almost three-quarters (73.82%) of the UK population, followed by just over 72% for gigabit broadband.
Social tariff broadband deals are now also available on the market, for those UK families on low incomes receiving Universal Credit, or other governmental financial support.
We recently found that two-thirds of financially vulnerable households were unaware that low-income broadband tariffs existed. This equates to around 10 million UK households that could save up to £243 a year—or £20 a month—just by getting cheaper broadband deals. However, in reality, less than 2% are taking up this opportunity.
Our latest UK fibre broadband statistics report shows a continued rise in the accessibility of fibre broadband services across the UK.
As of September 2022, around 1.5 million more homes now have access to gigabit broadband compared to the beginning of the year. The numbers increased from 19.3 million homes to 20.8 million, meaning that over two-thirds (72%) of UK houses now have access to gigabit broadband.
Full fibre coverage has also continued to accelerate in this time, with 12.4 million homes (42%) now having access—a 14% increase from 2021. This increase has been largely down to an increase in fibre infrastructure across the UK from larger operators, as well as a string of smaller providers supplying services to individual regions and communities.
Superfast broadband has increased to 97% (up 1% from Q3 2022). The number of premises unable to get decent broadband is down 18% from 2021, to 80,000, representing 0.3% of all UK premises. The lack of increase in superfast accessibility suggests that there’s been continued difficulty in successfully delivering the final 3% of UK households without access to superfast broadband.
Decent broadband is defined by the UK Government as ‘a broadband connection offering at least 10Mbps download speed and 1Mbps upload speed’.
As of March 2022, 91% of homes with access to broadband opted for a superfast package (of 30Mbps or faster). This has increased by more than a quarter (27%) over the last four years, and by 6% within the last year alone.
According to Ofcom, in May 2022, 70% of UK homes had access to broadband offering actual download speeds of 300Mbps or higher. Over two-thirds (68%) of properties were also receiving speeds of at least 1Gbps, including just under half (44%) which were connected to a full fibre service.
The latest UK fibre broadband stats show that every UK nation has seen their full fibre access expand within the last year. As of September 2022, 42% of the UK had access to full fibre broadband—a rise of 14% since September 2021.
While England, Wales, and Scotland each reported almost identical figures of 27% in September 2021, this had risen to 40-41% in September 2022.. Northern Ireland’s accessibility rate of 85% was more than double that of any other UK nation.
Additionally, the country's full fibre accessibility increase of 12% between September 2021 and May 2022 was the biggest rise in the study.
As with full fibre access, the latest gigabit broadband statistics show a sharp rise across the UK in terms of gigabit broadband accessibility, ranging from +11% to +25% between September 2021 and September 2022 across all four nations.
The UK’s provision for gigabit broadband has grown by almost 50% in this time, meaning over two-thirds (72%) of the UK can now access this type of broadband.
On a country level, England has increased the most (25%) over the last 12 months, followed by Wales (16%), Scotland (13%), and Northern Ireland (11%).
For each country, a larger increase occurred between September 2021 and January 2022, before being followed by a more subtle rise in May and September 2022.
Northern Ireland once again recorded the highest figures (87% in September 2022) for UK gigabit broadband access for the fourth quarter running across all UK nations. This is 16% more coverage than England (the next highest), and 35% greater than Wales (the lowest percentage coverage across the country).
In December 2021, Virgin Media O2 completed an upgrade of its network, so that all connected premises could access gigabit download speeds. This would largely explain why the accessibility figures dramatically increased between 2021-22, and have since tailed off for many parts of the UK.
With regards to superfast services, the UK has remained at 97% accessibility since January 2022, with small increases of between 1-2% across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland during this time period.
Recent superfast fibre broadband stats for the UK show that all four nations had accessibility rates for superfast broadband above 90% since 2021.
With a rate of 97%, England had the highest overall accessibility, while Northern Ireland and Scotland’s total of 94% was the lowest of the four home nations.
Unsurprisingly, superfast broadband access had lower rises than the other types of broadband covered in this study. This is largely due to the already high rates of access in September 2021, and suggests the difficulties each country faces in providing superfast broadband access, particularly to those situated in hard-to-reach locations.
As of 2022, 44% of UK households had access to full fibre, FTTP broadband. When broken down to a country level, Northern Ireland was leading the way with virtually 88% of houses that had access to full fibre, FTTP broadband—compared to almost 43% for England, and around 40% for both Scotland and Wales.
By contrast, over 97% of UK households have access to superfast broadband (at least 30Mbps), ranging from almost 98% in England down to just over 94% in Northern Ireland.
The latest fibre broadband statistics report from Ofcom indicates that, as of Q3 2022, less than half (43%) of UK urban premises have access to full fibre broadband. This is contrasted by just 34% of UK rural areas.
On a country-by-country level, Northern Ireland is very much leading the way, with 94% of its urban locations receiving full fibre broadband. The corresponding figure for Scotland is just 44%, and even less for both England (42%) and Wales (41%).
By contrast, almost two-thirds (65%) of Northern Ireland’s rural premises have full fibre internet, with respective figures of just over a third for England and Wales’ rural locations (34% and 35% respectively). Just under a quarter (24%) of Scotland’s rural premises is provided with full fibre broadband—the lowest percentage across the UK.
The average gap between UK urban and rural broadband speeds has widened in recent times. During the peak-time period of 8pm-10pm, there was a 58% difference between average speeds for urban and rural areas of the UK (62.1Mbps vs 39.4Mbps). This is a 16% increase from 2021, largely due to the high uptake and accessibility of fibre broadband in urban areas.
86% of UK urban areas were able to access broadband speeds of 30Mbps or more in 2022, compared to just over two-thirds (67%) of UK rural areas.
In 2022, UK urban areas had a slightly faster average minimum speed compared to rural areas (45.2Mbps vs 43Mbps). By contrast, the difference between average maximum speeds for urban and rural areas was just 0.9Mbps, in favour of urban locations.
The average peak-time speed (between 8pm and 10pm) was 1.6Mbps faster in UK cities by comparison, whereas the average 24-hour speed highlighted the closest figures between the two areas (50.5Mbps for urban and 50.0Mbps for rural).
Ofcom data shows that the median average peak-time download speed was more than twice as fast (58%) in urban areas of the UK (62.1Mbps) compared to rural (39.4Mbps) in March 2022.
In March 2021, respective figures showed a 42% difference of 15.6Mbps, when average urban speeds were 52.7Mbps and rural speeds were 37.1Mbps. Therefore, over the past 12 months, rural areas have only improved by 2.3Mbps compared to 8.5Mbps for urban parts of the UK.
Only 1% of urban broadband lines in the UK had an average evening peak speed of less than 10Mbps, compared to 14% of rural lines. However, this gap is 3% smaller compared to March 2011, when the respective urban and rural figures were 5% and 21%, showing some progress has been made to narrow the gap.
For UK urban areas in March 2022, average peak-time download speeds of 30-100Mbps were provided 56% of the time, compared to 60% for rural areas. This is a rise from 41% and 43%, respectively, since November 2018.
Average peak-time download speeds of 100-300Mbps were delivered to just over a fifth (22%) of UK urban premises in March 2022—a 5% rise over the past four years. The corresponding figure for UK rural areas in March 2022 was just 5% in total.
Ultrafast broadband (300Mbps and higher download speed) was provided to 9% of UK urban locations, yet just 2% for rural.
Ofcom data suggests that 4% of household lines had an average 24-hour actual speed of less than 10Mbps—the minimum download speed required for decent broadband (as defined by the UK Government).
Across the UK, around 0.3% of UK households were unable to receive this minimum standard—a decrease of 0.1% from September 2021. In terms of numbers, this dropped from 99,500 premises to 80,000 across 2022 for fixed wireless broadband networks. Yet for fixed-line broadband, it increased from 506,000 to 513,000 over the same period.
Tired of dealing with cables and wired networks? Check out our latest deals and compare wireless broadband packages available on the market.
Provision was better in England (0.2%) compared to Northern Ireland (1.2%) for houses with less than 10Mbps download speed and 1Mbps upload speed. Despite this, England’s figures have remained constant over the previous six months, whereas Northern Ireland’s has nearly halved.
For Scotland and Wales, houses that fail to meet the minimum requirements for decent broadband stand at 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively.
Of all the regions of the UK, Northern Ireland is leading the way in terms of the percentage of premises that have access to full fibre broadband (81%). However, they do have the least number of premises across all areas of the UK (870,000), which is roughly half the number for Wales.
Yorkshire and the Humber has the largest percentage of all English regions (45%) with full fibre broadband, followed by London. The capital has a greater number of premises with full fibre (1.55 million) than anywhere else in the country, yet this represents just under 40% of its total premises.
Corresponding figures for Scotland, Wales, and the vast majority of English regions fall between 31% and 39% of premises with full fibre connections.
The North East has the least amount of sites with full fibre broadband access (approximately 377,000), which represents less than a third (29%) of its total premises—the lowest percentage in the county. This is followed by the North West (30%), yet they have around two-and-a-half times more sites by comparison.
Based purely on residential properties, Northern Ireland is leading by example in terms of full fibre broadband provision. 83% of their households have availability to full fibre broadband, meaning over 670,000 families in Northern Ireland can access internet speeds of up to 1Gbps.
This is around double the amount of households compared to the North East of England, yet their figure of 366,000 represents just under 30% of all residential premises in the area—the lowest percentage across the country. Therefore it’s little surprise that schemes, such as Project Gigabit, are targeting areas like the North East, where only one in three houses can access such up-to-date, high-speed internet.
Yorkshire and the Humber, alongside London, are the only two regions of England where 40% or more houses have access to full fibre broadband (46% and 40%, respectively).
A breakdown of UK regions by the number of residential premises and the percentage that hav
When comparing business broadband services, Northern Ireland continues to impress with its levels of full fibre connectivity. Despite having the fewest number of locations, over 61% of its non-domestic premises (36,760 businesses) now have access to full fibre broadband—the highest percentage figure of any UK region.
By contrast, the North East has almost 17,000 more business premises than Northern Ireland, yet only 11,000 have full fibre connectivity. This is around a third of Northern Ireland’s total, and represents an overall 15% of businesses in the North East with an updated, faster broadband connection.
The North West and Scotland don’t fare much better than the North East, with full fibre accessibility of 17% and 19% for their respective businesses.
London has the most non-domestic premises with full fibre availability (70,785), followed by the South East of England (64,815). Both of these figures represent just over a quarter (27%) of their respective total business premises that have access to full fibre broadband.
(Source: Uswitch via Ofcom)
As of 2022, more than 98% of premises in Kingston upon Hull had access to full fibre broadband—the highest percentage of all UK local authorities. This is mainly due to provider KCOM, which has connected the vast majority of homes in the area for several years. Kingston upon Hull is followed by Coventry (almost 94%) and Milton Keynes (virtually 90%).
Most of the remaining local authorities in the top 10 are from Northern Ireland, with full fibre broadband access ranging between 84% and 89%.
(Source: Uswitch via Ofcom)
As of 2022, Oxford had the least access to full fibre broadband, with around 1.8% of its premises currently able to access this type of internet connection. This is followed closely in second place by the Isles of Scilly (1.97%), which only has 1,114 premises, yet only 22 of these have full fibre access. Oxford, on the other hand, has over 63,000 premises, but only 1,163 with a full fibre internet connection.
Incidentally, by 2025, Oxford’s percentage access to full fibre is expected to exceed 96%, whereas the Isles of Scilly is predicted to remain at less than 2%.
The vast majority of remaining local authorities in the bottom 10 for full fibre internet access are located in the north of the country, ranging from West Dunbartonshire in Scotland (2.14% full fibre access), down to Oadby and Wigston in Leicestershire (at 3.16%).
(Source: Uswitch via Ofcom)
Our data certainly reflects the Government's plans to offer large-scale increases in fibre availability throughout the UK by 2025.
There is evidence of substantial projected increases throughout the UK, with local authorities such as Stevenage in Hertfordshire, and Blaenau Gwent in Wales, both rising from just under 6% and and 4%, respectively, up to virtually 100% for both.
The highest projected increases in fibre broadband provision are typically found in the areas with the lowest current availability, with these places naturally offering more room for improvement than places with already high full fibre availability.
According to our projected full fibre broadband statistics, some of the most substantial increases will include:
Oxford (1.83% to 96.05%)
North East Lincolnshire (2.42% to 98.93%)
Burnley (2.88% to 96.1%)
Castle Point (3.35% to 99.59%).
(Source: Uswitch via Ofcom)
Some of our data underlines the Government’s continued struggle to provide certain rural areas with high-speed internet.
Despite substantial investment plans, there are certain areas expected to have little to no increase in full fibre availability over the coming years. These struggles are best defined by the Isles of Scilly, where the projected full fibre availability is expected to remain at 1.97% by 2025.
Certain areas, such as West Dunbartonshire in Scotland, will see their full fibre percentage double, from 2.14% to almost 5%. Conversely, Oadby and Wigston will see their percentage triple over the next few years, but still remain available to less than 9% of all premises.
The picture looks a little less bleak for the remaining local authorities in the bottom 10 areas for full fibre broadband access in 2025. This ranges from 18% in South Tyneside (up from nearly 9%), to almost 41% in Gloucester (a rise of 12%).
Some remote areas, such as Argyll and Bute in Scotland, will see a relatively large increase in full fibre accessibility, going from 3% to 37% in three years. However, it will still remain within the top 10 least accessible areas in the UK for full fibre internet.
(Source: Uswitch, via Ofcom and ONS)
Over 65s have the best access to ultrafast broadband in the City of Kingston upon Hull, where almost 99% of the elderly population have this form of fibre broadband.
This is followed very closely by Coventry (98.25%), then Leicester and Worthing (both over 96% accessibility for their over 65 population).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, those local authorities that already have a high percentage of households with access to ultrafast internet, also have a high percentage for their over 65 population.
(Source: Uswitch, via Ofcom and ONS)
When considering the worst local authorities for ultrafast broadband access for the over 65s, Copeland in the Lake District ranks highest. Less than 2% of the retired population here have access to ultrafast broadband, which is marginally higher than the overall household percentage.
This is followed by those living on the Isles of Scilly (just over 2%), and Allerdale in Cumbria, where only 3.28% of the over 65 population have ultrafast broadband.
The remaining percentages in the bottom 10 local authorities for over 65s ultrafast broadband access range from just over 4% in Blaenau Gwent, to over 11% in Tendring, in North Essex.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, those local authorities that already have a generally low percentage of households with access to ultrafast internet, also have a low percentage for their over 65 demographic.
(Source: Uswitch, via Ofcom and ONS)
While lower access rates for over 65s were common in most areas of the UK, there were a selection of local authorities in which this age group recorded ultrafast broadband access rates higher than the overall household percentage for that area.
The best example of this occurred in West Lancashire, where the over 65s accessibility rate of 53.2% was over 4% higher than the standard household rate, followed by Canterbury (3.61%).
Almost 93% of those aged 65+ living in Ipswich currently have access to ultrafast broadband, compared to just 40% in North East Derbyshire—the latter representing a value that is 2.7% higher accessibility compared to all households for the area (the third highest percentage difference in the country).
(Source: Uswitch, via Ofcom and ONS)
Our data shows that, in that vast majority of regions across the UK, over 65s are less likely to have ultrafast broadband access. The biggest difference was found in the City of London, where the over 65’s ultrafast broadband accessibility rate of 70.43% was nearly 11% lower than the percentage of households with access to this type of connection.
A similarly stark difference could be found in the Kent town of Ashford, where over 65s ultrafast accessibility was nearly 8% lower than the overall household access rate for ultrafast broadband in the area.
While these two places recorded the highest differences, there were numerous places throughout the UK that recorded accessibility differences of between 6% and 7%. This suggests that the reduced ultrafast broadband access for over 65s is a nationwide issue, and not localised to a specific region.
FTTP fibre broadband availability in the UK tends to be clustered around major urban areas. According to our study, London has the highest concentration of postcodes that registered an FTTP-eligible location, followed by other densely-populated cities, such as Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Newcastle.
The remaining pattern in England shows a high number of FTTP locations in the South and South East, with clusters forming along parts of the English coastline, notably Sussex, Hampshire, Cornwall, and Devon.
Rural parts of England are still registering FTTP fibre broadband sites. However, these are more sparsely distributed once you move further north beyond Leeds.
Wales has some clustering towards its southern and northern regions, but on the whole registers a scattered spread of FTTP fibre broadband locations. This is mirrored by Northern Ireland, which, apart from a cluster around Belfast, has a relatively even spread of sparsely-located FTTP points.
Scotland tends to register more FTTP fibre locations around Edinburgh and Glasgow. Otherwise, Scottish postcodes that can currently access FTTP broadband are few and far between, and situated in isolated locations throughout the mainland.
Project Gigabit is a UK Government programme aimed to bring £5 billion worth of investment to the country’s broadband infrastructure. The aim is to bring gigabit-capable coverage to 85% of the UK, and maximise coverage in the 20% hardest-to-reach locations by 2025.
Coverage figures stood at just 6% in 2019, before exceeding 72% in 2022.
According to the latest broadband news, homes and businesses without superfast broadband will be prioritised, and see their connectivity speeds rocket from less than 30Mbps to more than 1,000Mbps (or 1Gbps).
Alongside these major contracts, the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme was introduced to allow eligible individuals, households, and businesses to claim broadband vouchers. This will help incentivise broadband providers in their area to improve the quality of local broadband provision.
In total, this will provide £210 million worth of funding to immediately help those living in rural areas, with slow broadband speeds.
As of November 2022, 111,000 vouchers had already been issued across the UK, granting up to £4,500 worth of support payments to some of the UK’s hardest-to-reach areas, and those who struggle with internet connection problems.
Financial support via the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme tripled in 2022 from £1,500 to £4,500 for residential properties, and from £3,500 to £4,500 for businesses. These changes come into effect from 2023 and will enable broadband suppliers to continue installing high-speed internet connections for some of the UK’s most remote locations.
In November 2022, satellite broadband trials were also announced for various locations in England and Wales, as the UK Government aims to target those in hard-to-reach areas with alternatives to fibre broadband services.
These areas include:
Rievaulx Abbey (in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park).
Wasdale Head (in the Lake District and a notorious ‘blackspot’ zone for mountain rescue teams and global positioning systems).
Snowdonia National Park (to support life-saving operations and an activity centre located within an isolated 25-acre site).
The initial wave is being supported by Starlink satellite broadband equipment, given the readiness and availability of its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology, which is positioned between 500-1000 km above the Earth’s surface.
Recent trial tests show that these satellites can deliver speeds up to 200Mbps in many locations, well above the average speed of copper cable technology currently used in such hard-to-reach areas.
As part of the UK’s Project Gigabit, large parts of England are due for an upgrade over the next two-to-seven years, in terms of their fibre superfast broadband provision, totalling £650 million worth of investment.
In 2022, Building Digital UK (BDUK) awarded Project Gigabit contracts which will improve the quality of broadband connectivity for tens of thousands of people in Northern England, including:
Cumbria: £108 million for around 59,000 premises.
North Northumberland: £7.3 million for approximately 3,750 premises.
Teesdale: £6.6 million for about 4,000 premises.
In total, four suppliers have been awarded contracts for Project Gigabit, totalling £128 million.
The Scottish Government’s “Reaching 100%” (R100) project now means that connections are live in all contract areas across Scotland. This includes ‘The North Lot’, where 16 new subsea cables have been installed to enable faster broadband access for 15 of Scotland’s island communities.
Additional support is provided through the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme, which will provide up to £5,000 for properties in Scotland that:
Receive less than 30Mbps in broadband speed.
Aren’t due to receive a superfast connection through the R100 scheme.
This additional source of money can also be combined with funding provided by the UK Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
This expansion, costing around £36 million, will see another 2,637 rural Scottish properties able to access gigabit-capable connectivity for their broadband. This will provide speeds 30 times faster than the Scottish Government’s original commitment to some of Scotland’s most remote communities.
This is in addition to 100% relief in non-domestic rates on newly-laid fibre cables until March 2034, to further incentivise the rollout of fibre broadband across Scotland.
The Welsh Government’s Local Broadband Fund supports local authorities and social enterprises to deliver broadband projects on a local scale. The Access Broadband Cymru scheme helps to provide grants that help with the installation costs of new broadband connections for homes and businesses across Wales.
The amount of funding available will depend on the speed of the new connection:
£400 for 10Mbps (or above).
£800 for 30Mbps (or above).
Ogi has confirmed an expansion of its network reach across the country, as part of a £200 million investment. Ogi’s ultrafast service is now available across seven local authorities, taking their coverage to 80,000 premises and 38 communities. This represents nearly 50% of its initial target (150,000).
Project Stratum was developed in November 2020—a £165 million contract awarded to Fibrus Networks Ltd. By the end of 2021, Fibrus had already delivered new fibre infrastructure to more than 22,000 premises.
The project aims to provide a full fibre network across the country’s entire premises (85,000 in total), and is expected to be completed by March 2025.
Public funding of £32 million will be used to extend coverage of gigabit-capable broadband, to the benefit of an additional 8,500 homes and businesses across Northern Ireland. The focus will be on rural regions to include 2,500 hard-to-reach properties that weren’t included in the original contract, plus a further 6,000 premises.
Project Stratum represents Northern Ireland’s largest-ever public investment in telecommunications infrastructure. This is an attempt to close the gap between urban and rural broadband provision, where a third of premises cannot access speeds of 30Mbps or above.
Numerous measures have been taken by the Government and businesses since the Covid-19 pandemic to make learning from home easier for children.
Hyperoptic—one of the UK’s largest fibre broadband providers—began offering free 50Mbps fibre broadband connections to thousands of disadvantaged families during the pandemic to ensure more children had sufficient Wi-Fi access for homeschooling.
Virgin Media pledged 1,500 laptops—each with a 4G mobile dongle containing 25GB of free mobile data—to school children from low-income backgrounds who were unable to access adequate learning equipment during the lockdown. Called ‘Help for Home Learners’, these measures were rolled out in partnership with a charity called Business in the Community.
Virgin also rolled out an initiative encouraging members of the public to donate second-hand laptops or tablets to financially disadvantaged children during the pandemic.
Another notable initiative during the pandemic came from BT, allowing people to claim free Wi-Fi vouchers. This pledged to give children free access to its 5.5 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the country.
The pandemic also saw the Government work directly with the UK’s biggest mobile operators to provide free mobile data to schoolchildren whose households didn’t have home broadband and couldn’t afford to pay for extra data.
Additionally, online outlets like BBC and YouTube revamped their online learning resources during this period to aid children's learning while they were unable to attend school.
According to recent fibre broadband statistics, superfast broadband prices in 2022 were generally cheaper than ultrafast packages. For example, the cheapest superfast broadband deal for in-contract customers was from TalkTalk (£21), compared to £30 for its comparative lower-speed ultrafast package.
The overall cheapest full-price fibre broadband deal of the products analysed, as of 2022, was Hyperoptic’s lower ultrafast service at £18 per month. This was more than half the cost compared to the most expensive option, BT’s comparative package priced at £39.99 a month.
Out-of-contract customers should expect to pay more for their fibre broadband compared to those who are still in-contract. As of 2022, this ranged from £2 a month more for those with Community Fibre ultrafast broadband, up to £28 extra for Hyperoptic customers on its upper ultrafast package, making it £50 a month.
The cheapest option for out-of-contract customers for fibre broadband in 2022 was Community Fibre’s higher-speed ultrafast service (£21 per month). By contrast, Gigaclear’s comparative package was almost two-and-a-half times more expensive, at £59 a month.
When broken down by the cost per Mbps, in-contract customers using Community Fibre’s upper ultrafast service were getting the best value for money, at just 4p per Mbps. This is followed by Hyperoptic and Gigaclear’s comparative packages (5p and 6p per Mbps, respectively).
Conversely, in-contract Sky customers with lower superfast packages were paying 85p per Mbps—more than 20 times the cost compared to Community Fibre’s contracted customers.
Out-of-contract customers will generally pay slightly more per Mbps for their fibre broadband compared to in-contract customers. However, those opting for Community Fibre’s upper ultrafast package can still expect to only pay four pence per Mbps—the same price per Mbps as in-contract customers.
Similarly, those on Vodafone and Hyperoptics’s comparable services were paying 8p and 10p per Mbps, respectively, for their fibre broadband in 2022.
Those with EE paid over £1.20 per Mbps—the most expensive fibre broadband package per Mbps in our study. This is followed by Plusnet’s comparative package at £1.16 per Mbps.
According to our fibre broadband statistics for average annual price change for new customers, EE experienced the fewest amount of price changes per year (1.0), followed by TalkTalk (1.4 times per year). This equated to one price change almost every 13 months for EE and every nine months for TalkTalk.
Conversely, new customer prices for Vodafone changed more than seven times throughout the year compared to in-contract customers—the most out of all providers in our study. This equated to a price change every 1.6 months.
Sky’s prices for new customers changed more than six times a year compared to the price paid by in-contract customers, followed by Virgin Media (5.5), or a change in price every 1.9 and 2.2 months, respectively.
Compared to out-of-contract customers, the frequency of price changes throughout the year was generally much less. According to our fibre broadband study, EE, NOW Broadband, TalkTalk, and Hyperoptic saw no annual changes between the price for new customers compared to those out-of-contract with fibre broadband.
At the other end of the scale, Vodafone had an average of eight changes across the year—the most by any provider. On monthly terms, this equated to a change every one-and-a-half months.
Superfast fibre broadband statistics indicate that in-contract Sky customers will pay an average of £6 a year extra for lower speed, superfast broadband—more than any other provider. BT and EE customers will see much smaller average price hikes across the year, averaging 26p and 52p, respectively.
Alternatively, NOW Broadband, TalkTalk, and Vodafone customers saw an average annual price reduction of around 50p.
According to our superfast broadband price study, Sky had the greatest price variation between its packages, at £5.50 between its most expensive and cheapest deals. Conversely, TalkTalk and EE both had the smallest difference, at just £2.
For out-of-contract customers with lower speed superfast broadband, Plusnet comes out with the most expensive package in 2022, at almost £42. The average yearly price difference for Plusnet customers is £2.63—the only provider in this study to see a price increase for this service in 2022.
Conversely, Vodafone had the cheapest current price of £25 per month, and experienced an average annual price reduction of 50p—something only matched by BT (52p).
Plusnet also had the greatest variation in price range for out-of-contract broadband customers, at £5.23 between its maximum and minimum prices. BT and Vodafone also both registered price ranges of £5, while all remaining providers in our study had a difference of zero.
For in-contract customers with upper superfast fibre broadband packages, the average annual price change in their broadband varied between providers. As of 2022, NOW Broadband and TalkTalk currently offer the cheapest price at £22, with an average annual price reduction of around £1.
By contrast, BT offered the most expensive deal at almost £34 a month, with an average yearly price increase of £2.
Vodafone customers saw the greatest difference in prices offered—at £6—yet this also offered the lowest minimum price of £19. Despite providing the joint second-highest maximum price, EE also boasted the smallest range of just £2 between its minimum and maximum price offerings.
According to our fibre broadband statistics study, Vodafone offered the cheapest out-of-contract price for upper superfast broadband in 2022. At £28 per month, this was almost £20 cheaper than Plusnet—the most expensive provider for this service.
Plusnet customers saw an average annual price hike of £3 on their broadband payments, compared to no increase for EE, NOW Broadband, and TalkTalk customers who are out-of-contract.
BT and Sky had the greatest variation between its package prices (£8), compared to around £6 for Plusnet and Vodafone.
For those customers in-contract and receiving lower superfast broadband, the prices are quite varied. As of December 2022, Hyperoptic offered a broadband package for just £18 a month—less than half the price of BT and EE, who were both around £40 per month for the same package.
Gigaclear, while not offering the cheapest package in 2022, did have the largest average price reduction of all providers, at more than £10. This was followed by £4.50 and £3.50 for Hyperoptic and Sky, respectively. All other providers in our study saw no change across the year in their prices.
When comparing the variation of prices on offer, Gigaclear had the largest difference between its highest and lowest-priced packages (£27), followed by Sky (£20) and Hyperoptic (£12).
For out-of-contract customers with a lower superfast broadband connection, the price variations between providers was clear to see. According to our study, in December 2022, Community Fibre offered the cheapest current out-of-contract package for lower ultrafast broadband, at £22 a month. This was about two-and-a-half times more affordable compared to Virgin Media’s current price deal at £51 a month.
Community Fibre also saw the greatest average price reduction across the year at £5.65, followed by Gigaclear (£2.18), and Sky (£2). All other providers saw no change in their average annual prices.
Community Fibre also saw the greatest variation between minimum and maximum cost of out-of-contract broadband packages, at £10. This was followed by Virgin Media, which despite being the most expensive provider in 2022 for this type of broadband package, had a variation of £8 in its costs.
According to fibre broadband statistics from our study, in-contract upper ultrafast customers can expect prices as low as £19 a month, compared to a staggering £42 per month for Sky.
Across the year, Gigaclear customers who are in-contract and receiving the upper ultrafast service, saw average price reductions in excess of £10, compared to over £6 a year for Community Fibre, and £4 for Hyperoptic.
Despite offering the greatest average annual price drop across all providers in our study, Gigaclear had the largest variation between its prices. The lowest price of £19 a month challenges Community Fibre for the crown of lowest price, yet a high of £49 a month does make it one of the most expensive across the year.
Incidentally, Sky had the lowest variation of just under £3, but even its cheapest package of £40 is more than double the cost of Gigaclear and Community Fibre—the cheapest options in this study.
For those customers who are out-of-contract and receiving an upper ultrafast fibre broadband service, the prices are considerably higher compared to those in-contract. As of 2022, Community Fibre provided the cheapest current price of £21 a month, with average annual price reductions of over £13.
By contrast, Virgin Media’s comparable package was almost three times as expensive, at £62 a month. Across the year however, their customers would see a price drop of £3.50—the second highest in our study.
Gigaclear’s upper ultrafast broadband was the second most expensive, at £59 a month. However, their customers experienced an average price increase of almost £6 across the year in their broadband bill.
Community Fibre, being the most affordable, also had the greatest variation in its fibre broadband package cost at £19, followed by Gigaclear at £15 between their minimum and maximum prices.
By contrast, Sky and Hyperoptic both had no difference between their package costs, as both remained at £50 a month for their upper ultrafast fibre broadband service.
Average download speeds for broadband have increased considerably between November 2018 and March 2022. This is largely due to the rise in the number of UK homes switching to high-speed fibre broadband, such as full fibre and superfast packages.
According to our broadband statistics report, the median average download speed of UK broadband in March 2022 stood at 59.4Mbps. This is 15% (or 9.4Mbps) faster than the previous March, and 38% (or 22.4Mbps) faster than the average for November 2018.
Average upload speeds have also risen since 2018, albeit not as quickly. As of March 2022, the median average upload speed for broadband was 10.7Mbps—a rise of 0.9Mbps from a year earlier, and 4.7Mbps faster than in November 2018.
According to our global broadband index, this is more than three times slower than Chile, the fastest median download speed in the OECD, yet more than twice as fast as Turkey, the slowest.
As of Q1 2022, the percentage of UK homes receiving a 24-hour average download speed of 30Mbps or higher stood at 83% (7% more than the same time last year).
The median average download speed for full fibre connections increased slightly, to 147.9Mbps during peak time—and 148.7Mbps over a 24-hour period.
In the year up to March 2022, Virgin Media cable connections had the largest increase in their median average download speed, up by 88.1Mbps to 199.3Mbps (a 44% increase since 2021).
This significant increase is largely down to cable customers migrating to faster packages. The median performance for advertised speeds of cable services has almost doubled within the last year, from 108Mbps in 2021 to 213Mbps in 2022.
By comparison, the increase in average download speed over the last 12 months for superfast ‘fibre-to-the-cabinet’ (FTTC) connections was smaller (7.6Mbps), rising to 50.2Mbps.
A breakdown of UK connections and the percentage of UK premises able to hit these various broadband speeds
By March 2022, the median average download speed for UK broadband connections was 59.4Mbps (an 18% increase on the previous year), with a mean average of 102.7Mbps.
Understanding internet speeds can get complex, as the mean average download speed is often inflated, due to a small proportion of lines with very fast connection speeds. It’s anticipated that this gap between median and mean average speeds will grow until at least 50% of broadband connections are provided by copper-based technologies, after which the gap will reduce.
Average UK upload speeds have increased as more homes upgrade to faster broadband packages. Median upload speeds were 10.7Mbps as of March 2022—a 9% increase from last year.
Cable and full fibre lines recorded the highest speeds in 2022, with Virgin Media’s 1.1Gbps service having the fastest median average 24-hour download speed (1,137.5Mbps). The fastest median upload speed went to TalkTalk’s 500Mbps full fibre package, at 73Mbps.
Peak-period download speeds were 6% slower than average maximum speeds. Cable services with a supposed speed of 1.1Gbps delivered advertised speeds 99% of the time.
If you’re not happy with the strength of your home internet signal, then check out our guide on how to boost your Wi-Fi signal through a Wi-Fi extender.
As of March 2022, almost two-thirds (65%) of advertised download speeds for UK broadband were between 30-100Mbps—a 17% rise since November 2018. The corresponding figures were 19% for 100-300Mbps (up from 16%), and 8% for advertised download speeds of more than 300Mbps (up from 1%).
In terms of actual download speeds for UK broadband, 30-100Mbps was delivered in 58% of cases (7% less than the advertised figure), and 100-300Mbps was provided in 18% of scenarios (just 1% less than advertised download speeds). This was the same difference for broadband with speeds of 300Mbps or higher (7% actual vs 8% advertised).
Incidentally, it was for broadband of slower speed where the results were reversed. In March 2022, only 9% of UK broadband provision was advertised with speeds of 10-30Mbps—a drop of 24% over the previous four years. In March 2022, the actual download speed for this category of broadband was delivered in 13% of cases.
Broadband speeds of less than 10Mbps were advertised at 0% in March 2022. However, in terms of actual download speed, this was provided in 4% of situations in the same month. This was, however, a 12% reduction over the last four years.
Enter your details into our broadband speed test to find out your current internet speed in seconds.
In terms of FTTC fibre broadband connections, Sky’s Superfast broadband deal offered median average download speeds of 64.3Mbps — narrowly behind that of Vodafone (64.5Mbps), followed by Plusnet at 63.2Mbps.
These three packages were around twice as fast as the advertised median download speeds for BT 36Mbps service, which was the slowest in Ofcom’s study from March 2022.
In terms of mean average download speeds, BT’s 67Mbps package came out fastest (60.5Mbps). The variance of 2.2Mbps between its mean and median speeds was the smallest in Ofcom’s analysis, suggesting customers on this service are likely to get more consistent speeds compared to the other FTTC packages.
Of the five Virgin Media cable packages included in Ofcom’s 2022 study, Virgin’s 1.1Gbps service recorded the fastest mean (1,137.5Mbps) and median (1,121.8Mbps) download speeds. These figures were around twice as fast as their 516Mbps package, and more than three times quicker than the 362Mbps package.
As the advertised speed of the broadband package increases, so does the gap between median and mean download speeds. Virgin’s 108Mbps service, while being the slowest of the five broadband deals, also had the smallest variance between median and mean average download speeds (just 1.6Mbps), compared to 15.7Mbps for the fastest (1.1Gbps cable broadband).
In terms of FTTP fibre broadband packages, TalkTalk’s Ultrafast 500Mbps service registered the fastest median and mean download times (451.1Mbps and 406.4Mbps, respectively).
However, the difference of 45.2Mbps was greater than any other package in Ofcom’s analysis from March 2022, suggesting customers with this deal could experience some inconsistency in their actual download speeds.
Conversely, the next fastest FTTP connection—the BT broadband deal offering 300Mbps—had median (303.9Mbps) and mean (300.1Mbps) average download speed results that were much closer together (just 3.8Mbps), suggesting a greater consistency for its customers.
According to Ofcom’s recent fibre broadband statistics report, Virgin Media’s 1.1Gbps service registered the highest median and mean average 24-hour download speeds, from those providers analysed in March 2022.
At 1,137.5Mbps, Virgin Media’s 1.1Gbps service recorded download speeds that were 2.5 times quicker than the TalkTalk broadband deal offering 500Mbps (the fastest FTTP package with a median average download speed of 451.6Mbps). This was also 17 times quicker than the fastest FTTC connection (Vodafone 62Mbps package at a median average of 64.5Mbps).
Around half of the customers with the Virgin Media advertising speeds of 1.1Gbps cable, will actually receive download speeds of 1,137.5Mbps (the median average). However, with a lower mean average value of 1,121.8Mbps, this indicates that some customers will not receive such speeds.
For FTTC fibre broadband, the quickest average upload speeds were from BT’s 67Mbps service, with a median of 18.3Mbps and a mean of 16.1Mbps.
Although TalkTalk’s 67Mbps FTTC package registered a slightly higher upper average of 18.6Mbps by comparison, its overall averages were ever so slightly lower than BT.
The fastest cable service on offer from March 2022 for fastest upload speeds was from Virgin (1.1Gbps).
With a median average upload speed of 51.2Mbps, and a mean average upload speed of 50.4Mbps, this was around 30% quicker than both the 362Mbps and 516Mbps cable fibre broadband packages available from Virgin Media.
In terms of FTTP fibre broadband packages, TalkTalk’s 500Mbps service provided the fastest average upload speeds, roughly between 71-74Mbps. However, this was the largest variation (2.7Mbps) between the four packages included in Ofcom’s 2022 study.
Both BT’s 300Mbps and Sky’s 145Mbps deals recorded zero variation between their upper and lower recordings, while BT’s 145Mbps package only registered a difference of 0.2Mbps. This suggests customers of these services should experience greater consistency in the actual upload speeds they receive.
As of March 2022, TalkTalk’s 500Mbps FTTP full fibre broadband package had the highest median and mean average upload speeds, at 73.0Mbps and 70.1Mbps, respectively. This was more than twice as fast than the slowest FTTP service (BT 145Mbps) in Ofcom’s analysis, with an average median speed of 30.7Mbps, and mean average of 30.2Mbps.
Latency speed refers to the time taken for data to travel to a third-party server, and back again.
Most online activities require a response time of less than 100ms to provide a satisfactory experience. A broadband connection with low latency will make certain tasks, such as web browsing and video-calling, but especially online gaming, feel more responsive. In fact, according to recent online gaming statistics, some apps do require a response time of less than 50ms, in order to achieve optimal functionality.
Of the packages included in Ofcom’s research, BT’s 300Mbps and 145Mbps full fibre services had the lowest median average for 24-hour latency recorded in March 2022, with 6.7ms and 6.9ms, respectively.
FTTP packages generally performed better in this experiment, compared to providers of FTTC and cable fibre broadband. In terms of least delays, the best FTTC broadband service was BT’s 67Mbps package, with median average latency speeds of 9.4ms followed by Plusnet’s 66Mbps deal at 9.7ms.
Conversely, for cable broadband, Virgin's 516Mbps service produced the lowest latency speeds, with a median average of 12.1ms—almost twice the median average latency speed for the best performing package in Ofcom’s 2022 study (BT’s 300Mbps FTTP fibre broadband).
In terms of mean average latency speeds, the best performing package from Ofcom’s 2022 analysis was BT’s 145Mbps service, at just 7.3ms, followed by BT’s 300Mbps package at 7.6ms.
Generally, FTTP fibre broadband produced less latency compared to FTTC and cable broadband, with all five packages registering less than 10ms.
Mean average latency speeds for FTTC ranged from 10.4ms (BT 67Mbps) up to 13.3ms (BT 36Mbps). Cable broadband services had a smaller variation between its packages and providers, yet registered some of the slowest latency speeds in this study.
Virgin’s 516Mbps deal recorded the fastest mean average latency speed for cable broadband (13.4ms) compared to 15.7ms for their 213Mbps package—more than twice as slow compared to the best performing services in Ofcom’s study.
Northern Ireland recorded the highest average download speed across the UK with regards to 65-67Mbps FTTC broadband services. Their average of 72.3Mbps for March 2022 was marginally higher than London in second place (71.5Mbps).
The vast majority of England registered average download speeds between 64-68Mbps for this category, with the lowest in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber (both 64.8Mbps).
For 500Mbps FTTP broadband, the South West of England recorded the fastest average download speeds at 491.6Mbps, followed by Wales at 490.6Mbps. By contrast, the slowest speeds, on average, were registered in Scotland (478.4Mbps), with the rest of the country falling somewhere between 480-490Mbps.
In terms of 1.1Gbps cable broadband, the North East of England averaged out the fastest (1,142.4Mbps), followed by Wales (1,141.3Mbps). The West Midlands recorded average download speeds of 1,137.5Mbps, making it the slowest region, on average in the UK, for fibre download speeds.
Check out how the UK’s regional broadband statistics compares to the USA in our recent US broadband index.
Full fibre broadband services with an advertised download speed of 500Mbps experienced the fastest average peak-time upload speeds across all types of broadband packages surveyed by Ofcom in March 2022.
This ranged from 67.2Mbps in Northern Ireland up to highs of 75.8 Mbps in the South West of England (almost 8.5Mbps faster by comparison).
Those with a 1.1Gbps cable package saw less variation across the UK in terms of average upload speeds between 8pm and 10pm. These ranged from 52.4Mbps in Northern Ireland, down to 52.1 in multiple parts of England, including London, the South West, East Midlands, and East of England.
FTTC broadband offering 65-67Mbps provided the slowest average upload speeds across the country. However, all parts of the UK registered somewhere between 18.6 and 18.7Mbps upload speed in March 2022 between 8pm and 10pm.
According to our study from 2021, when broken down to street level, residents of Wistaston Road in Crewe, were only able to manage average speeds of 0.25Mbps. By contrast, those in Haul Fryn, Swansea were able to obtain an average of 882.02Mbps (3,567 times faster than Wistaston Road).
For the full results of our study into residential, check out our guide into UK streets with slowest broadband speed.
Fibre broadband stats from Ofcom surrounding UK broadband outages show that, in March 2022, those with a 516Mbps connection had the least amount of disruption.
The distribution of average daily disconnections lasting 30 seconds or more shows that under half (44%) of those with 516Mbps cable broadband reported no disruptions at all—the highest percentage in the study. This is contrasted by just 1% for those with 59Mbps FTTC and 213Mbps cable connections.
That said, the overwhelming majority of disconnections for 213Mbps cable were reported on just one occasion (95%) during March 2022, and 92% for 59Mbps FTTC.
Conversely, just over half (52%) of those with 516Mbps cable were for one outage during the month lasting at least 30 seconds—the lowest percentage for this number of reported disruptions.
At the other end of the scale, 108Mbps and 1Gbps broadband both registered more than three disconnections lasting 30 seconds or more during March 2022, on 2% of occasions. Despite this being half the amount compared to ADSL broadband, it was double the amount compared to most other forms of fibre internet connection.
Contrastingly, 50Mbps FTTC, 362Mbps, and 213Mbps all registered 0% for three or more 30 second plus outages during March 2022. The latter also registered 0% for >2 to 3 disruptions in the same month, making it one of the most reliable types of broadband in the UK for this given period of time.
If you’re experiencing outages and issues with your internet connection, then you could be entitled to some money back. Check out our guide on how to claim compensation when your broadband services are down.
5G home broadband is a form of ultrafast broadband connection for your home without the need for a fixed cable or landline connection. This means, instead of fibre or copper cables, you’re using a 5G signal to connect to the internet. However, rather than a mobile device, a 5G SIM card is planted inside a Wi-Fi router within your home, providing internet on a much higher frequency. This can provide much faster internet connection speeds than a traditional 4G internet connection too.
The long-term plan will be to provide UK homes with gigabit wireless broadband, which would mean even faster speeds than 5G can currently support, yet still without the need for cables to transmit data to your home.
Currently, 4G in the UK has average speeds of 24Mbps, contrasted by 100-300Mbps for the UK’s current fastest 5G speed—making it more than 12 times faster by comparison.
Vodafone claims that UK customers can expect average 5G speeds of between 150-200Mbps, whereas advertised EE deals range from 130-240Mbps.
A report by Opensignal in September 2022 indicated that between 1 July - 29 August 2022, Three registered the fastest download speeds in the country, with a score of 228.4Mbps. This was 97.9Mbps (75%) faster than second-placed EE (130.5Mbps). The gap is largely down to the fact Three’s 5G customers experienced a 24.1Mbps increase on their average 5G download speeds compared to previous tests.
Vodafone deals (such as those offering 105.2Mbps) and O2 (advertising 92.3Mbps) are the third and fourth fastest 5G networks in the country respectively, as of September 2022.
Coverage of 5G in the UK from at least one mobile network operator (MNO) ranges from 48% to 64% of UK outdoor premises. This was a slight increase from 47%-62% from Spring 2022.
As of May 2022, 5G connectivity from at least one provider was greatest in England (51-67%)— up 2% from January 2022. The lowest levels were felt in Northern Ireland, which have remained at 24-34% of outdoor premises that have been able to connect to a 5G network since January 2022.
When considering all operators, UK 5G statistics reveal that between 5-12% of UK premises are covered by all operators, with this figure rising up to 13% in England alone.
Between 2-10% of Scottish outdoor premises are currently connected to all 5G providers—a 2% increase since January 2022. Corresponding figures for Northern Ireland and Wales stand at 2-6% for each.
Satellite broadband is an alternative way of getting internet into your home, much in the same way as homes that receive satellite TV.
While older satellites can only manage average broadband speeds of around 10Mbps, companies like SpaceX and OneWeb are revolutionising the technology market. Their satellites are capable of providing internet speeds of up to 300Mbps—almost five times as fast as the UK’s average speed (64Mbps).
300Mbps is comparable to speeds from a fixed-line full fibre broadband network, and could be a potential solution for those premises located in some of the UK’s hardest-to-reach places.
Starlink’s high-speed low-latency broadband internet costs around £75 per month, with a one-time hardware cost of £460.
To find out if Starlink is available in your area, put your address into the Starlink availability checker.
As an alternative, OneWeb is a UK-based satellite internet brand that has, so far, launched 648 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, compared to more than 2,000 from Starlink.
Partly owned by the UK Government, the company is still building a constellation of satellites, therefore, as of 2022, is currently not publicly available. It’s believed that OneWeb satellite internet packages will become available from 2023, but will be sold via partnerships with telecoms, broadband providers, and governments, rather than directly to the consumer.
One of the main benefits of having fibre broadband in your property or premises is the associated faster, more efficient speeds that come with it, and the reasonable prices that some superfast fibre deals are now available for.
The best broadband for streaming will provide somewhere between 1.5Mbps and 25Mbps, depending on the picture quality you are watching your content in. This is also per device, so speeds will need to account for multiple users streaming on different devices in the same household.
On the other hand, broadband for gaming may require a larger minimum bandwidth and faster speeds, in order to achieve better performance in competitive multiplayer modes and avoid loading issues such as lagging and latency.
In addition, according to our TV streaming report, over a quarter (26%) of UK households in our survey stated they only watched online TV, and almost half (44%) admitted they subscribed to more than one service.
The global streaming index indicates that subscribers can access over 15,000 titles in the UK alone from Netflix and Amazon Prime, making them one of the best value streaming services in the country.
This is another reason why people get fibre broadband, with its ability to serve multiple users, platforms, and devices at once without affecting the user experience.
Are you frequently working from home and finding your broadband is not as reliable as it could be? Check out our guide on working from home and how to get the most out of your broadband.
(Source: Uswitch via Ofcom)
Our data shows an expected increase in average download speeds for faster, more modern fibre broadband options.
The biggest percentage increase in average download speeds is between FTTP (330Mbps) and FTTP (1,000Mbps), which nearly tripled from 287.45Mbps to 785.53Mbps. This increase is further evidence of the profound impact gigabit broadband is likely to wield on average download speeds, as it becomes more accessible throughout the UK.
While none of the cable connections in this study could match the average download speeds of gigabit broadband, the speeds recorded by the two fastest cable connections (350Mbps and 600Mbps) were faster than all other FTTP connections.
After a drop-down to 212.36Mbps for the first cable connection in our study (200Mbps), average download speeds would rise by a third to 317.56Mbps for the 350Mbps cable connection. This was followed by a jump of almost 50% to 596.12Mbps for the 600Mbps cable connection.
Unsure on which fibre broadband package to get? Check out our guide to find out which broadband is best for you and your internet needs.
The trajectory of average upload speeds mirrors the download rankings, with average speeds sharply rising with every fibre connection, before peaking with FTTP (1,000Mbps) at over 750Mbps. These figures reduce slightly with the introduction of cable connections. The fact that some providers offer ‘symmetrical’ upload and download speeds, that provide the same speed for both services, may have been a factor in these results.
Upload speeds for FTTC fibre broadband peak with the 76Mbps package, at 15.35Mbps—almost 50 times slower than FTTP (1,000Mbps) broadband. By comparison, the fastest upload speeds for cable fibre broadband are with the 600Mbps package, at 41.11Mbps (18 times slower than FTTP 1,000Mbps).
Comparatively, the biggest increases in upload speeds could be found from FTTP (330Mbps) to FTTP (1,000Mbps) where speeds increased by over 1,500%. This indicates the significant impact that gigabit broadband has had on upload speeds since the introduction of fibre broadband.
Check out our download time calculator to discover how long it will take you to download a file of any size on your current internet download speed.
(Source: Uswitch via Ofcom)
According to our study, the average download and upload speeds are reflected in the average time it takes to complete various online activities. Everything from film and game downloads, to uploading photos, are characterised by sharp increases in speeds that peak with the FTTP (1,000Mbps), before reducing with the introduction of cable connections.
These specified lists also provide further evidence of the power of gigabit broadband, with the average time for a two-hour film download (4K) more than halving from 0:19:29 to 0:07:08. The time taken to download 100 songs dropped hugely too, from over two minutes to just eight seconds.
Other key findings from our study show that, when compared to FTTC, having an FTTP fibre broadband connection means that:
Downloading a two-hour movie (either 1080p or 4K) or a video game = almost 14 times faster.
Uploading 100 photos = 52 times faster.
Downloading 100 songs = almost 47 times faster.
Downloading an iOS update = more than 45 times faster.
Video game download data also suggests that there is significant variation between games, with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War taking, on average, around four-and-a-half hours, compared to just over an hour for FIFA 23.
Find out how long it will take you to download a file of any size with our download time calculator.
(Source: Uswitch, via Ookla and ONS)
Our full fibre broadband statistics for download speeds by region found that London had the fastest download speeds compared to anywhere else in the UK.
With average download speeds of 148.77Mbps, the capital was found to be more than 10% faster than the next fastest region (the North East), and more than 30% faster than Wales—the slowest region of the UK for download speeds.
London was followed by the North East and West Midlands, who recorded the second and third fastest average download speeds, respectively. This suggests that high-speed internet connections are common across the whole of England and not just in the south.
This increased speed is reflected in the film and game download statistics, with a download time of 37 minutes and 38 seconds for a 4K movie—five minutes faster than the next quickest region, the North East, at just over 42 minutes.
By contrast, it would take, on average, just over 75 minutes to download God of War: Ragnorak on PS5 in London, compared to a little more than 85 minutes in the North East, and around 86 minutes in the West Midlands.
Wales and Scotland recorded the lowest and third-lowest average download speeds across the UK, respectively. Wales’ average video game download time is over two hours—almost fifteen minutes slower than any other region—and 45 minutes slower than London (the fastest region).
This suggests that more work is needed in these countries to bring internet speeds up to the same levels enjoyed by much of England and Northern Ireland.
To find out more about which broadband providers are considered the best, check out our broadband customer survey 2022, to see how UK consumers rated theirs.
For those moving home, sorting out an internet connection isn’t always top of the priority list. Changing your broadband when moving house is now easier than ever, but there is always an associated delay while your provider sets up your service in your new home.
In 2020, we found that one million Brits who recently moved had to wait an average of eight days for their broadband to be connected. In addition, one in three were forced to use up all of their mobile data allowance while they waited to be connected.
According to our research, virtually all of the major UK broadband providers had customers waiting at least a week until they were connected.
Virgin Media provided the best service, at an average of 6.6 days without a connection, whereas Plusnet took the longest time, at almost 10 days.
Changing your internet provider can also be a challenging time, partly because there are a number of myths with switching your broadband. One of these is the time it takes and the associated hassle. However, Ofcom found that 93% of customer broadband orders were completed on time, taking an average of 15 days to complete a switch.
Many are also worried about the additional cost associated with swapping your broadband provider. However, thanks to the UK’s ever-developing superfast broadband infrastructure, many fibre broadband deals are becoming available to the market, from around £23 a month.
Check out our broadband provider reviews, as we take an in-depth look into the services and products offered by different UK broadband providers.
According to our research, broadband customers usually experience a price hike when their contract ends. Most broadband contracts last between 12-18 months, after which the average price rise is 62% for existing customers, with some increasing by 82%.
New regulation means that broadband providers are obliged to inform you when your contract is coming to an end, so that you can either negotiate a new contract with your current provider, or seek an alternative option with another company, thus saving you money on your broadband bill.
If you are not happy with the service from your internet company, then check out our guide on how to complain to your broadband provider.
Fibre broadband is now available to more than 97% of UK households, yet only around 60% of those with access have signed up for this service.
In a 2021 Businessnews.org survey of 4,000 broadband customers, 25% said they still have standard ADSL broadband, while 75% have chosen to upgrade to a fibre broadband package.
When these 3,000 fibre customers were asked about the benefits of fibre broadband:
More than three-quarters (78%) observed an improvement in their connection after they switched to fibre broadband.
Almost two-thirds (63%) noticed that their fibre service was faster than standard ADSL broadband.
Half (50%) stated it was quicker to download and upload files by using fibre.
Less than half (45%) reported that their fibre connection was more reliable, with fewer dropouts.
Less than half (43%) of fibre broadband customers had a smoother streaming experience with less glitches/lagging.
Just over a third (36%) had fewer outages since moving to a fibre connection.
So, not only is fibre broadband faster and more reliable, it’s less prone to dropouts and less likely to suffer from interference. Standard ADSL broadband uses copper wires, which are susceptible to interference from extreme weather. Also, the longer the line, the slower the connection speed, which is why those in rural settings tend to suffer from slower broadband connections.
Choosing your broadband package and provider will largely depend on what service you are looking for, your intended internet usage, and the speed you require.
Fibre broadband primarily offers you faster speeds, ranging from 30Mbps up to 512Mbps for partial-fibre broadband. Compared to ADSL, the best you can expect is 24Mbps—although in reality, it is normally closer to 10Mbps. full fibre broadband deals can now offer speeds of up to 1,000Mbps (or 1Gbps).
An additional bonus is that Openreach’s superfast fibre broadband now covers most UK providers on the market. This means, unless you’re changing the type of broadband at your premises, you’ll likely be able to switch broadband providers without an engineer visit and self-install your broadband.
If you opt for a basic ADSL broadband package, chances are you’ll receive a basic router that simply connects you to the internet. However, if you sign up for fibre broadband, then you can expect a higher end, wireless router with more features, such as a greater range of Wi-Fi signals, faster speeds, and multi-devices use.
The benefits of faster fibre broadband include:
Higher-quality streaming: Platforms like YouTube and Netflix will often automatically adjust their streaming quality based on your broadband connection speed.
Better video calls: The better upload and download speeds result in improved video and audio quality with fewer dropouts.
Multiple devices can be connected at once: Having a faster connection means you can have more smart home devices (such as virtual assistants, security measures, household appliances, and entertainment systems) simultaneously connected to your network.
Large files can be downloaded quicker: Saving you time and bandwidth for other activities.
Business broadband is a dedicated broadband connection that is set up for an office or workspace that has a higher demand for the internet than a standard home.
It’s usually designed for an environment where 10 or more people will be accessing the internet at the same time.
With fibre connections, average speeds are usually around 76Mbps, with some services offering up to 1Gbps. Virgin Media business broadband runs its own advanced cable broadband network, providing speeds of up to 500Mbps wherever your office premises are located in the UK.
When considering business broadband vs home broadband, the former is supplied with a more powerful router, which provides coverage across 1,500-2,000 square feet, as well as over multiple storeys. Business broadband is also regarded as a safer option, with higher levels of security, including a VPN server, firewall, and filter content.
The Guardian recently reported that access to reliable, fast broadband was one of the key priorities for UK homeowners, as working from home has become a more permanent arrangement for many people up and down the country.
Four in 10 (41%) homeowners ranked internet speed as an important priority when purchasing a property—more important than proximity to schools, or being close to pubs and restaurants.
Two-thirds of people also think fast broadband is more important than having access to the outdoors, being near a tube station, or having the ability to extend their property.
According to the UK Government, their UK-wide superfast broadband programme will improve broadband speeds for around 5.5 million homes across the country. The £2.6 billion government scheme—which sees superfast broadband rolled out to ‘commercially unviable’ parts of the UK—sparked a surge in house values of up to £3,500 between 2012 and 2019. This equated to a rise of 1.16% in house prices, worth an additional £1.52 billion for home sellers.
Back in 2020, a survey of potential buyers found that, should they come across a property with poor broadband, they would expect the house price to be reduced by 16%, on average. Half of buyers said they would avoid the area completely, if the broadband speeds were insufficient.
A good internet connection was listed by more than half (51%) as one of their top priorities when looking for a house. One in seven potential home buyers stated they would be willing to give up a bath in their future property in exchange for good broadband. 15% claimed they would give up a garden, if it meant a more reliable internet connection.
The history of broadband has taken many steps in its development since the inception of dial-up internet in the 1990s. Broadband only became available in the UK in 2000, and since then the country’s infrastructure has continued to grow and develop.
2020 saw a global pandemic which forced millions of people to work from home, yet highlighted the number of households who didn’t have proper access to the web.
During 2022, the UK Government has continued to pledge billions of pounds to help expand the UK’s full fibre broadband network.
Ofcom’s Connected Nations report showed continued rises in full fibre access across Great Britain. The report found that around 12.4 million UK homes (42%) were fibre accessible as of September 2022, an increase of approximately 4.3 million from the same month in 2021.
The Scottish Government announced a £36 million expansion in the R100 project—a target to have 100% access to faster broadband across the country. The UK Government’s Project Gigabit will fund an additional £16 million worth of investment, with £20 million coming from the Scottish Government.
The Welsh Government reached an agreement with Openreach to extend the Superfast Cymru Project to the end of March 2023. This will provide superfast broadband to more than 37,000 Welsh homes (slightly fewer than the proposed 39,000 target).
The number of new premises in Northern Ireland with new, faster speed broadband reached 38,000 (around 44% of the overall target).
Five more providers pledged support to increase a faster broadband service across Scotland. In return, the Scottish Government has offered a 100% relief on non-domestic tax rates for any newly-laid fibres until 2034.
‘Gigabit Broadband in the UK: Government targets and policy’ was published confirming the UK Government’s commitment for 85% of UK homes to have gigabit broadband by 2025, and 99% by 2030.
Plans were also released for a further £800 million to be spent from its Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy Programme, with 7,000 hard-to-reach places in Dorset targeted for investment in gigabit broadband provision. The expected completion for this project is 2025.
The majority of the UK population are expected to have access to a 5G signal by 2030.
Additional funding of £32 million was secured for Northern Ireland’s Project Stratum to bring a further 8,500 premises into the plan for nationwide, superfast broadband. This includes 2,500 hard-to-reach places that were not included in the original 2020 scheme.