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Broadband availability checker — guide to broadband in your area

Nick Baker, Broadband and TV expert
Written by Nick Baker, Content Editor - Telecoms

20 May 2022

Want to know more about the broadband available in your area? In this guide, we'll tell you all you need to know about the different types of broadband in your postcode, as well as which fibre broadband deals you could get.
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We'll also show you the range of broadband providers you could choose from and help you find the right broadband package to match your needs.

The majority of home broadband connections will have superfast fibre-optic (whether that's to your street cabinet or straight to your home) and Virgin Media's cable broadband. Under 4% of properties won't be able to access these speeds, but many of those could make use of 4G and 5G mobile connections.

What broadband can I get?

ADSL and superfast fibre are available to the vast majority of UK homes, so you'll likely be able to receive both.

  • ADSL (copper) broadband:

     

    The slowest broadband network that's still widely available, and serviced through the UK's copper phone line network that reaches 99% of the country.

  • Superfast fibre broadband:

     

    Supplied by a fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connection, it's at least three times faster than ADSL and available to over 96% of the UK.

  • Cable broadband (Virgin Media):

     

    Also widely available, but only to around 52% of the UK, Virgin Media's cable broadband lets you enjoy ultrafast and gigabit broadband speeds up to 1.3Gbps.

  • Full fibre broadband:

     

    The fastest type of broadband you can get, capable of offering gigabit internet speeds and higher. It has a limited but growing availability, currently at 33% UK coverage.

What broadband can I get?

what broadband can I get

By switching broadband, you could help you significantly boost your internet speed and, if you're currently out of your initial contract period, you could save money too. Checking your postcode can help you find a better broadband package that's right for you.

To find out what broadband is available to you, use the Uswitch broadband postcode checker to see which broadband packages and speeds are in operation in your area.

Find broadband in my area

How fast is the broadband speed in my area?

The best way to find out how fast the broadband speed is in your area is to run a quick speed test every now. You'll be able to compare your current connection against the available deals in your area. You can then see if you're getting the speeds you're paying for.

Some out-of-contract customers on slower copper ADSL speeds might be paying more for their broadband than new customers with much faster fibre speeds, so it’s always worth checking if you could save money, or just find a better deal if you switch broadband provider.

Take a broadband speed test

Fibre broadband

Fibre-optic broadband availability varies across the country, in large part depending on which type of fibre broadband you're after. There are many types of fibre broadband connections, and the type that you have determines the speeds you can expect.

Instead of copper wires, fibre broadband relies on fibre-optic cables for some, or all, of the connection. These cables can transmit much more internet data in a much shorter time period than copper, which provides the boost in broadband speed.

Superfast fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband

The most widely available type of fibre is known as fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), which uses fibre-optic cables from your provider's broadband exchange to the green cabinets on your street.

The rest of the connection then relies on the same copper wires as ADSL, making it faster than a purely copper connection, but still slower than 'full fibre', or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband.

FTTC broadband is available to around 96% of UK premises, so there's a very good chance it'll be available to your home. It provides superfast broadband speeds between 30-70Mbps.

Try our fibre checker below to see if you have access to a fibre-optic connection.

Take a look at our fibre broadband deals

Full fibre broadband

Full fibre, also known as fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband, uses fibre-optic cables for the entire connection from the provider directly into your home.

As of the end of 2021, full fibre was still the least-available option for fixed-line broadband in the UK, available to just 33% of homes across the country.

Is gigabit broadband near me?

There has been significant investment in rapidly increasing access to full fibre broadband in the coming years, especially with projects like Project Gigabit. So in order to bring the UK in line with other countries throughout Europe, full fibre providers are adding thousands of homes to their network every month.

As a result, full fibre broadband might be more available than you think. In fact, around 66% of UK premises now have access to some form of 1Gbps internet (also called 'gigabit'), which is around the speed that full fibre can provide, just achieved through different technologies like full fibre, Virgin Media, and 5G. So it's certainly worth using an FTTP checker to see if you can get these connections.

Can I get fibre broadband in my area?

It's a common myth that fibre is expensive and hard to get. It's true that full fibre connections have a limited coverage for now, but superfast fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections are already available to 96% of the UK. Plus, they're priced very similar to, and sometimes even cheaper than copper ADSL broadband packages, which are much slower.

Average fibre broadband speeds range from 30Mbps to 70Mbps for FTTC connections and can reach over 1Gbps (1000Mbps) for full fibre.

This makes fibre an excellent choice for larger families, households that have a lot of connected devices, online gamers, people who work from home or regular streamers of TV shows, music and films.

Fibre broadband and FTTP checker

Try out our fibre broadband checker to find out which providers offer fibre broadband, or even full fibre FTTP in your area.

Openreach fibre broadband

Openreach, formerly called BT Openreach but still owned by BT Group, is by far the largest broadband network in the UK.

The majority of homes rely on the Openreach network, as it is the only supplier of copper-based ADSL and fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband — both of which take up the vast majority of connections in the country.

It also has a growing full fibre (or FTTP) network where certain customers can access ultrafast BT deals, but there is a lot more competition amongst other providers for this type of connection than there is for the slower, more widely-available types.

Have a look at our BT fibre checker to see if the provider has superfast or ultrafast deals in your area.

Virgin Media availability

Virgin Media's cable broadband is different from fibre in a few key ways. While it also uses fibre-optic cables from its exchange to each local street cabinet, it then uses its own 'coaxial' cables to finish the journey to your home.

This means Virgin Media is also capable of delivering very fast broadband speeds — currently ranging from 100Mbps to 1Gbps, after it upgraded its entire network to be gigabit-capable at the end of 2021.

Because it isn't part of the Openreach network, Virgin has its own broadband infrastructure — which is why its Virgin Media coverage is a bit more limited, at around 52% of UK premises.

However, Virgin Media is available in more areas than full fibre, so if you're looking for ultrafast or gigabit speeds, it's worth checking to see if Virgin Media broadband deals are available in your area.

Our latest Virgin Media broadband deals

Copper ADSL broadband

This is the most widely-available type of broadband connection, but it's also the oldest and slowest. Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) runs on existing Openreach copper phone lines all the way from the broadband exchange to your home, so it's accessible to over 99% of UK properties.

Due to the use of different frequencies, it was the first broadband technology to let you use a landline and the internet at the same time — unlike the old days of dial-up internet. There are drawbacks to this technology now, though.

Regular copper ADSL broadband provides average internet speeds around 10Mbps or 11Mbps, making it a good choice for smaller homes with very low internet use, but those homes only. However, many fibre broadband packages are priced very similarly to (or even cheaper than) ADSL deals nowadays, so you might benefit from much faster speeds for a very small difference in cost.

4G and 5G mobile broadband

If you can't get access to the broadband speeds you want with a fixed-line connection, you might find a better option with mobile broadband.

These services still provide a router like normal broadband providers, but those routers will connect to the internet via a 4G (or 5G if available) mobile network instead.

This is a great option for those who want speeds offered by fibre broadband but for whatever reason can't get fibre installed into their home.

4G is now widely available across the UK and can offer average speeds of around 24Mbps. And 5G, while currently mainly available to urban areas, can provide speeds up to and beyond 300Mbps in certain areas.

If 5G is something you are keen on, then you should first check that it is available in your area. 5G.co.uk provides a checker which shows the general state of coverage in your area.

As we mentioned above, 5G is in the process of rolling out, but is not yet as commonplace as 4G.

It is also advisable to contact your intended provider and ask them directly about the state of service.

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