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Broadband package deals explained

How to find the right broadband package deal

Choosing a broadband package for the first time or switching to another provider isn't as difficult as you might think. With so much competition in the market, and the huge investments in faster technology of late, there are more options available now than ever. And while all this choice might seem a little confusing at first, it also means that the right broadband package for you is out there.

In our comparison tables, you can clearly see the details of each broadband package, the monthly price, length of contract, as well as any additional features or benefits.

We also include a “price details” button so you can see a breakdown of the costs associated with each broadband package — such as line rental, setup cost and regular price — to help you make an informed decision.

Make sure to take note of the contract length, as well as the out-of-contract prices your provider will charge once your fixed-term period ends, so you know the right time to switch to your next package.

If the end of your contract is approaching but you'd like to spend a bit more time researching the best deal to switch to, you can also sign up for regular email updates from us to get expert insight and advice, plus a view of the latest money-saving deals on our site.

Compare broadband packages

To find the best broadband package for you, you can filter all of our deals according to popularity, speed, download allowance, bundle availability, broadband provider, contract length or price.

It's also important to bear in mind the following factors when comparing broadband packages and looking for the best internet providers for you:

  • Broadband availability: Very few areas of the UK have access to every broadband package on the market. Enter your postcode into our broadband postcode checker to find out what's available in your area.
  • Broadband and TV deals: Broadband and TV deals are a popular way for customers to save money on both services, but it's only worth it if you actually make use of the channels it gives you access to.
  • Type of connection: The UK has ADSL, fibre-optic, cable and mobile broadband, each of which has its own pros and cons. You can find out more information below.

ADSL broadband and ADSL2 broadband packages

Most home broadband packages require an active copper-based BT landline in order to operate. A connection that relies entirely on this type of broadband is called ADSL, which stands for 'asymmetric digital subscriber line'.

ADSL uses Openreach's copper phone lines all the way from from your provider's broadband exchange to your home. If you have an active Openreach line, you can either choose broadband packages that offer standard ADSL, offered by the majority of internet providers in the UK, or ADSL2, which is slightly faster but less widely available.

ADSL is the oldest broadband technology that's still in regular use today, therefore it's also the slowest and, in most cases, the cheapest broadband connection type in regular use.

Fibre-optic broadband packages

Fibre broadband has recently overtaken ADSL as the most widely-used broadband connection in the UK. This is a faster type of broadband due to the use of fibre-optic cables, which use pulses of light rather than electrical signals to transmit data either partially or entirely to your home.

There are two main types of fibre broadband:

  • Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC): The cheaper but more widely available type of fibre broadband, this uses fibre-optic cables from your provider's exchange to your local street cabinet, and then the same copper phone lines as ADSL from there to your home.
  • Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP): Also known as 'full fibre', this is currently the fastest type of broadband you can get, with fibre-optic cables connecting directly to your home.

Cable broadband packages

Cable broadband is a different type of fibre connection serviced by Virgin Media. It uses the same fibre-optic cables as other providers from the exchange to the local street cabinet, but instead of BT telephone lines for the final part of the journey, it connects its own much faster coaxial cables from the cabinet to your home.

Virgin's cable broadband is much faster than ADSL or FTTC broadband, providing UK subscribers with speeds of up to 600Mbps (depending upon your area) and in some areas, even 1Gbps. However for the most part, it's not as fast as FTTP (full fibre) broadband, which uses fibre entirely from the exchange to your house.

Its network currently reaches about 52% of UK homes. Learn more about cable broadband on our Virgin Media broadband deals page.

Mobile broadband packages

One thing traditional broadband providers can't do is give you reliable internet on the go.

Mobile broadband packages run on 4G and 5G mobile phone networks and therefore do not require a landline or broadband cable to connect to the internet. It's perhaps best suited to people who don't have access to fibre broadband or those who need to get online while they're on the move, including abroad.

5G is a newer mobile broadband technology and offers much, much faster connection speeds than 4G; however, a 4G connection is much more widely available.

Compare mobile broadband deals here.

What broadband package is best for me?

There are several factors to take into account when choosing a provider. Key questions include the speed, the monthly cost, any one-off setup fees and the length of contract you'll have to sign up for. Finding the best broadband package means understanding what you want to use it for, how much you want to pay and what extras are on offer.

How do I know what broadband speed I need?

The two main factors to consider when determining the right speed are the number of users and the expected usage. Here are a few rough guidelines:

  • Below 30Mbps: 1 or 2 users, mainly web browsing
  • 30-60Mbps: 3+ users, infrequent streaming and gaming
  • 60-100Mbps: 5+ users, frequent HD streaming, multiple connections
  • 100Mbps+: 8+ users, multiple simultaneous streaming, large downloads

What's the difference between ADSL and cable broadband?

ADSL broadband delivers data services using the same copper cabling that connects your phone, and requires an active landline. Cable broadband uses dedicated fibre-optic cables to provide services. This makes it much faster than ADSL, with speeds of up to 512Mbps on offer, although its availability is more restricted.