Want to know more about the broadband available in your area? This guide will help you to find out more about the different types of broadband available in your area, including fibre availability, as well as the best broadband providers and the best broadband deals you can get.
The majority of home broadband connections will be either ADSL, fibre, or cable broadband, with ADSL and fibre available to the vast majority of UK homes.
According to Ofcom, superfast broadband — fibre — is available to over 95% of the UK. Cable broadband is also widely available, but less so since it's only offered by Virgin Media.
If you're not sure what broadband is available in your area, you should use a broadband availability checker to see if you can get fibre in your area.
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 available at your home.
It might be that by switching broadband, you can double your connection speed and, if you're currently out of contract, save money too. This checker can help you find a better broadband package available in your area.
How fast is the broadband speed in my area?
You can also visit our broadband speed test page to measure your current connection against that of your neighbours or to see if you're getting the speeds you're paying for.
Some out-of-contract ADSL customers may be paying more for their broadband than new customers with much faster fibre speeds, so it’s always worth checking if you could benefit from switching provider.
Offered by nearly every UK broadband provider, this is the most widely available connection type. ADSL runs on existing Openreach phone lines so it can potentially reach over 99% of UK homes. The data runs from telephone exchanges along copper telephone lines and into your home. Because of frequency differences, it is possible to use both telephone and internet at the same time on the same line.
Regular ADSL provides average broadband speeds around 10Mbps or 11Mbps, making it a good choice for smaller homes with only a few connected devices.
Fibre broadband in my area
Instead of copper wires, fibre broadband connections rely on fibre-optic cables for at least some of the connection. Fibre-optic cables can transmit data faster, hence the boost in broadband speed.
There are several different types of fibre broadband connections, and which one 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 exchange to the green cabinets you see on your street. The rest of the connection then relies on copper wires, making it slower than 'full fibre', or fibre to the premises (FTTP).
Can I get fibre broadband?
It's a common misconception that fibre is expensive and hard to get. It's true that full fibre connections are limited in availability (for now), but fibre to the cabinet connections are now available to over 95% of the UK and are fairly similar to prices for ADSL.
Average fibre broadband speeds range from 35 Mbps to 67 Mbps for fibre to the cabinet connections and can reach up to 900 Mbps for full fibre. This makes fibre an excellent choice for larger homes, households that have a lot of connected devices, or people who stream a lot of TV, music or films.
Fibre broadband checker
Take a look at our fibre broadband page to find out which providers offer fibre-optic broadband in your area.
What is full fibre broadband?
Full fibre broadband, also known as fibre to the premises, has fibre-optic cables throughout the entire broadband connection, directly into your home. As of 2019, full fibre is still the least-available option for broadband in the UK, available to just 8% of homes across the country.
However, there has been significant government investment in drastically increasing access to full fibre broadband in the coming years. 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.
Virgin Media cable broadband
Virgin Media offers high-speed cable broadband, which is different from fibre. Instead of using fibre-optic cables or copper wires, cable broadband uses coaxial cables, which are also capable of delivering very, very fast broadband speeds. Currently, Virgin Media offers broadband speeds ranging from 54 Mbps to 516 Mbps.
Because Virgin Media isn't part of the Openreach network, the company creates its own infrastructure — which is why its availability is a bit more limited. However, Virgin Media is available in more areas than full fibre, so if you're looking for speeds faster than 67 Mbps, it's worth checking to see if Virgin is available in your area.