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What is superfast broadband?

Superfast broadband describes any broadband service that provides speeds of 30Mbps or higher, according to Ofcom. The faster your broadband speed, the faster you can download files, movies and games.
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Compared to standard copper internet, superfast broadband lets more people at home use the internet at any one time. It can handle higher-quality streaming and gaming, and it can make it a lot easier for multiple people to work from home.

Superfast broadband is a broad category of speeds, running from 30Mbps to 100Mbps. Anything faster than that falls into either the Ultrafast or Gigabit categories.

Some form of superfast broadband is available to 97% of the UK from the majority of internet service providers, and in many cases is actually more affordable than slower, old-fashioned ADSL connections, especially if you happen to be out of contract on an ADSL package.

If you're still using copper ADSL and want to get faster internet, you can compare superfast and ultrafast packages in your area now with Uswitch.

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Choose between our wide range of fibre broadband deals on Uswitch.

How does superfast broadband work?

Superfast speeds usually reach homes via a part-fibre broadband connection, which uses fibre-optic cables up until the local street cabinet, and then copper phone lines for the final leg of the journey to your home.

Some full fibre deals will offer superfast speeds too, but they come with the capability to boost your speed much further - all the way up to 1Gbps.

Fibre-optic cables can transfer more data at faster speeds than copper wires, and so the more your connection is supplied by fibre-optic cables, the faster your broadband speeds will be.

When shopping for superfast broadband deals, you’ll notice that speeds are given as an average of speeds available to 50% of customers in your area during peak times. As such, superfast broadband speeds often appear in comparison tables in a similar range of speeds: 36Mbps, 50Mbps and 67Mbps are the three most common speeds for superfast broadband you’ll see on our comparison tables.

Find out how fast your current broadband is with our broadband speed test.

Should I get superfast broadband?

Superfast broadband is suitable for all but the most casual of internet users. If you literally only use the internet for checking your email and an occasional Google search, then a standard ADSL broadband deal would probably be fine.

But if you use the internet for anything more demanding, then superfast broadband should be the minimum that you'd want for your household. Especially if you live with more than two other people.

Plus, superfast deals are now very similarly priced to copper ADSL connections, so the speed bump could well be worth the extra couple of pounds per month in some cases.

Advantages of superfast broadband

Superfast broadband obviously has faster download speeds than ADSL, meaning that you’re able to take full advantage of all the entertainment options available online beyond casual browsing. If you regularly download or stream movies, music, games or TV shows, then you’ll want to upgrade to a superfast broadband package.

This includes using streaming platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime, or even using the on-demand features on your digital TV service like All 4 or Sky catch-up. Similarly, if you stream content from apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, or Sky Go on other devices like your laptops or iPad, your viewing experience will be much faster, smoother and with less buffering with a Superfast broadband package.

If you’re a gamer, then superfast speeds at a minimum are vital as they come with reduced ‘ping’ and improved response times compared to copper broadband. This means that online gamers will have a competitive advantage over the opposition and can enjoy a better gaming experience.

Disadvantages of superfast broadband

Even though superfast speeds are widely available these days, there is still some variation between the speeds advertised and the speeds you can actually get at your specific address.

This variation can be frustrating when shopping around for a superfast broadband deal, mainly because the factors affecting it are out of your control. Things like the quality of the connection wiring and the distance you live from the provider's exchange or street cabinet.

Even if superfast broadband is on offer in your area, these limiting factors may impact your actual speeds.

Can I get superfast broadband?

Superfast speeds are now available to 97% of the UK, so bearing any property-specific limitations you should be able to get superfast broadband in your home.

Most homes won't need any kind of special installation to get superfast or cable broadband installed — especially new builds — but this does vary by location.

You can compare different broadband packages in your area to see if superfast is right for you.

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Search on Uswitch to find the right broadband package for you.


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