Want to know what broadband is available in your area? Find out about the different types of broadband in your area, including fibre broadband.
The most accessible and, therefore, popular types of home broadband in the UK are ADSL, fibre and cable. ADSL broadband is available nearly everywhere, and fibre broadband is becoming more accessible year-over-year. 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.
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.
Broadband availability checker
To find out what broadband you can get, use the uSwitch broadband postcode checker to see which packages and speeds are available at your home.
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.
It might be that by switching broadband, you can double your connection speed and, if you're currently out of contract, save money, too. Our broadband availability checker can help you find a better broadband package in your area.
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.
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, 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 home.
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 roughly on par with prices for ADSL.
Average fibre broadband speeds range from 38 Mbps to 67 Mbps for fibre to the cabinet connections and can reach up to 900 Gbps 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.
You can use our fibre broadband postcode checker to find out which providers offer fibre-optic broadband in your area.
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 362 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. Virgin Media is available in more areas than full fibre, though, so if you're looking for speeds faster than 67 Mbps, it's worth checking to see if Virgin is available in your area.