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.
We'll also show you the range of providers you could choose from and help you find the right broadband package to match your needs.
The majority of home broadband connections will be either fibre-optic, cable broadband, or an older copper phone line connection called ADSL. ADSL and fibre are available to the vast majority of UK homes, so you'll likely be able to receive it.
- ADSL broadband: The slowest broadband network that's still widely-available, 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 95% of the UK.
- Cable broadband: Also widely-available, but only to around 52% of the country, Virgin Media's cable broadband is capable of ultrafast broadband speeds.
- Full fibre broadband: The fastest type of broadband you can get, capable of offering gigabit internet speeds. It has a limited but growing availability, currently at 21% UK coverage.
What broadband can I get?
To find out what broadband is available to you, use the Uswitch broadband postcode checker to see which packages and speeds are in operation in your area.
By switching broadband, you could significantly boost your connection speed and, if you're currently out-of-contract, you could save money too. Checking your postcode can help you find a better broadband package that's right for you.
How fast is the broadband speed in my area?
You can run a broadband speed test to compare your current connection against the available deals in your area, and to see if you're getting the speeds you're paying for.
Some out-of-contract customers on slower 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, by switching your broadband provider.
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 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 is possible to use your landline and the internet at the same time — unlike the old days of dial-up internet. This means you can talk to grandma on the phone, without having to break from looking at cat memes.
There are some potential drawbacks though.
Regular ADSL provides average broadband speeds around 10Mbps or 11Mbps, making it a good choice for smaller homes with only a few connected devices. However, many fibre packages are priced very similarly to ADSL deals nowadays, so you might benefit from much faster speeds for a very small difference in cost.
Fibre broadband in my area
Instead of copper wires, fibre broadband connections rely on fibre-optic cables for some, or all, of the connection. These fibre-optic cables can transmit data much faster, hence the boost in broadband speed.
There are several types of fibre broadband connections, and the type that you have determines the speeds you can expect.
The most widely-available is known as fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), which uses fibre-optic cables from the provider's broadband exchange to the green cabinets you see on your street. The rest of the connection then relies on the same copper wires as ADSL, making it faster than purely copper connections, but still slower than 'full fibre', or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband.
FTTC broadband is available to around 95% of UK premises, so there's a very good chance it'll be available to your home. Try our fibre broadband checker below to see if you have access to a fibre-optic connection.
What is full fibre / FTTP broadband?
Full fibre broadband, also known as fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), uses fibre-optic cables for the entire connection from the provider directly into your home. As of the Spring 2021, full fibre is still the least-available option for fixed-line broadband in the UK, available to just 21% of homes across the country.
However, there has been significant government and private investment in rapidly increasing access to full fibre broadband in the coming years, especially with projects like Project Gigabit. In order to bring the UK in line with other countries throughout Europe, network providers are adding thousands of homes to their network every month.
So full fibre broadband might be more available than you think. In fact, nearly a quarter of UK premises now have access to some form of gigabit internet (1Gbps), so it's certainly worth checking to see if you can get it.
Can I get fibre broadband?
It's a common misconception that fibre is expensive and hard to get. It's true that full fibre or FTTP connections are limited in availability (for now), but fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections –– often referred to as "superfast broadband" –– are currently available to over 95% of the UK and are priced very similar to ADSL.
Average fibre broadband speeds range from 35Mbps to 67Mbps 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, or people who stream a lot of TV, music or films.
Fibre broadband checker
Have a look at our fibre broadband deals to find out which providers offer fibre-optic broadband 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 fibre-to-the-premises) network where certain customers can access ultrafast BT FTTP 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.
Virgin Media cable broadband
Virgin Media offers ultrafast cable broadband, which 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 54Mbps to 600Mbps across the UK, and up to 1Gbps speeds in a growing number of locations.
Because it isn't part of the Openreach network, Virgin Media has its own infrastructure — which is why its availability 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 speeds faster than 67Mbps, it's worth checking to see if Virgin Media broadband deals are available in your area.
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 the speeds fibre broadband can offer 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.