You can still switch broadband with confidence. The majority of broadband switches are unaffected by COVID-19. For the few installations that are affected, you can find out more here.
The Uswitch broadband postcode checker is a quick and simple way to find broadband packages that are available where you live or work. You can see a range of broadband deals available at your postcode in a few simple steps:
You'll see a table of broadband packages from many of the UK's top providers and, depending on the availability in your area, you'll see a range of different broadband speeds available to you as well.
You can then check the price against your current monthly bill and decide if what you're paying is about right or too much.
Whether you want to upgrade to a faster connection, add other services like landline or pay-TV services, or just find a similar broadband speed for a cheaper price, you'll find lots of options with our broadband postcode checker.
The best broadband in your area will depend on what exactly you're looking for. Each household is different, and the best broadband deal for you is one that suits your needs — whether that's your budget, the number of people in your household, or what you want to use your internet for.
There will also be some differences in the availability of services across the UK, but with multiple broadband networks with nationwide coverage and plenty of choice on the market, there should always be a broadband deal in your area that suits you.
The most widely-available connection in the UK is ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) broadband, which is delivered over the same copper phone wires as landline phones.
ADSL uses different frequencies on this line to transmit internet data and make home phone calls at the same time. We've come a long way since dial-up.
The Openreach network, owned by BT Group, wholesales its service through a range of different providers, who then offer you their services through a host of packages tailored for different needs.
Download speeds on ADSL often average around 10Mbps, depending on the quality of lines and connections in your area, as well as how far away you are from your local street cabinet.
It's referred to as 'standard' broadband because, now dial-up internet is largely out of use, this is the slowest type of broadband that's still widely available.
Nowadays, most providers offer fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) packages to their customers using the Openreach network, providing what is known as 'superfast' internet connections through fibre-optic cables that run to the many street cabinets across the country.
The cabinets then deliver broadband to the surrounding homes in their vicinity using the same copper phone lines as ADSL — so again, if you're using FTTC, your distance from the street cabinet might slightly affect your broadband speed.
Despite using the same phone lines for the final leg of the journey, the fibre connection between the broadband exchange and your street cabinet is what makes the difference. Fibre-optic cables can transmit more data in a much shorter time period, which is why average FTTC broadband speeds start at about three times faster than ADSL — often averaging between 30Mbps and 70Mbps.
Some providers' fibre broadband offers are even the same price as their ADSL ones nowadays, since fibre uptake is now so common. Plus, the industry wants to eventually remove copper from the UK's telecoms infrastructure, so there will be more incentives to take up a fibre connection.
Over 95% of the country is covered by Openreach’s FTTC network, and there's a good chance you can get broadband from the providers who use it, including BT, Sky, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Vodafone, EE and many others.
As of early 2021, Virgin Media's privately-owned cable broadband network covers roughly 52% of UK premises, although this is constantly growing.
It makes use of the same fibre-optic cables from the broadband exchange to street cabinets, but then it connects homes to street cabinets with its own, much more modern coaxial cables instead of traditional copper phone lines.
This makes it faster than FTTC connections but not quite as fast as 'fibre-to-the-premises' (FTTP), commonly known as full fibre broadband.
A number of providers are also slowly rolling out full fibre connections, too. These involve fibre-optic cables connecting all the way from the broadband exchange to your home, which can offer speeds in excess of 1000Mbps (1Gbps).
Although the aim is for everyone to eventually get access to full fibre, only around 21% of the country currently has access to this type of broadband.
The government recently announced Project Gigabit to speed this process up though — this will allocate billions of pounds to make it more affordable for providers to lay fibre cables in rural and remote parts of the UK.
Simply put, checking your postcode to see exactly what's available in your area is the best way to find out how you can get the right broadband for your needs.
Broadband availability varies across the country due to the infrastructure in each location.
Our own research at Uswitch discovered that nearly one fifth of homes achieve speeds of less than 10Mbps, while one in ten can be as slow as 5Mbps. Ofcom has pointed out this is very unlikely to be enough to cover the average family's demand for internet, especially when accounting for music and video streaming.
Thankfully, there has been a big push in the last couple of years to provide gigabit broadband speeds for as many UK homes as possible this decade, which is an ambitious target but should hopefully mean that soon those suffering on slow connections will get faster, more reliable speeds in the coming years. Currently, 37% of UK premises can access some form of gigabit-speed broadband.
If your property can't access gigabit broadband yet, it's still worth checking Uswitch to see if you could benefit from switching providers, especially if you're in a rural area and you feel you aren't getting the speeds you need.
According to figures from Ofcom, 95% of the UK can now access FTTC broadband, so there's a good chance your area has fibre broadband in place.
Our broadband postcode checker will quickly show you if your location can access fibre broadband, and at what speeds. You can also filter the deals that come up to only show fibre broadband packages.
We'd recommend making use of our fibre-optic broadband checker — to ensure you're pricing up exactly what you need and can access it in your area.
Once you enter your information on most providers’ websites — particularly your home address — you should get bespoke speed estimates for your home, including an average speed and minimum speed guarantee.
At Uswitch, we can show you deals from some of the best broadband providers, including:
Most providers offer tempting limited-time offers, often throwing in free add-ons such as reward cards, mobile contract discounts or smart speakers to sweeten the pot.
So while you should never choose a deal solely for its add-ons, try to keep an eye out for when a deal you like is offering them.
We have already mentioned that broadband speeds can differ wildly from those we see advertised online and on TV, depending on the local area, proximity to the street cabinet and availability of certain providers.
However, the extent to which this applies was underlined by Uswitch's most recent test of consumer speeds, published in December 2020. It found that even nearby streets can be subject to wildly varying internet connectivity, making for something of a postcode lottery.
For example, our ranking of the slowest streets in Britain saw Spencer Road in Caterham, Surrey take one of the top (or bottom) spots, achieving average download speeds of just 0.55Mbps. That's 372 times slower than on Woodcote Lane in Purley, which finished high up on our list of the fastest streets and enjoyed download speeds of 206.45Mbps.
We agree that factors outside your control can sometimes impact the speed of your broadband, but we also discovered a lack of public awareness that better services are probably available where you live.
So don't be resigned to poor broadband speeds — put your postcode into Uswitch's broadband checker and see if you could enjoy a better deal on your broadband with one quick, easy switch.