There are over 150 broadband providers serving customers in the UK, all of which have a number of different services and broadband speeds to offer.
There are a few top broadband suppliers, such as BT, Sky, EE, Vodafone, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, along with a high number of mid-sized and small broadband providers that you may or may not have heard of. Each of them has its own list of pros and cons that may suit your broadband needs.
In this Uswitch broadband provider directory we've outlined the prices, features, benefits and drawbacks of some of the UK's biggest Wi-Fi providers and their networks.
Find out all you need to know about comparing different UK internet suppliers and the services they offer.
Compare broadband providers
It's important to compare what different broadband suppliers offer when you're choosing a new broadband deal. It gives you the opportunity to choose a service and package that matches your needs best, depending on what you value the most.
Whether it's value-for-money, internet speed, customer service, or all three, the requirements you have will determine which broadband provider is likely the best one for you.
By putting your postcode and address into our Uswitch broadband checker, you'll get a clear view of the different internet options available to your home. You can even filter out deals you don't want, so it's a little easier to compare providers that offer what you want.
Some providers are well-known for particular things. For example, Virgin Media is often regarded as one of the fastest broadband providers, and BT is renowned for providing a comprehensive, all-in service with extra add-ons and benefits.
Here's a brief rundown of what each provider is best known for, and which one offers services that are best suited to your needs.
BT broadband deals
BT is the largest broadband provider in the UK, offering several types of fibre broadband from superfast fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) to ultrafast full fibre connections.
It also offers extensive pay-TV packages, the major selling point being BT Sport, which includes live coverage of the Premier League and exclusive access to the UEFA Champions League.
Sky is the biggest satellite and digital TV provider in the UK, and it also offers Wi-Fi and home phone services as part of its bundle packages.
It uses the same Openreach networks as BT to deliver broadband to your home, and also offers ultrafast full fibre speeds.
Virgin Media deals
Virgin Media offers cable broadband that delivers high-speed broadband and high-quality TV through its own cable network.
It's currently available to about 52% of UK properties, and has recently upgraded its entire network to be capable of gigabit broadband speeds. Its Gig1 product supplies 1.13Gbps average speeds, to be exact.
As the provider is 'quad-play', Virgin TV and broadband deals are often bundled together for new customers. If you'd like to enjoy Virgin Media's ultrafast speeds, but you're paying for a separate pay-TV service from another provider, you could save money by choosing both services with Virgin.
TalkTalk has many broadband customers thanks to its great customer service and and cheap fibre deals, as well as home phone and pay-TV via the YouView set top box.
Vodafone is mostly known as a mobile phone network operator, but its great-value internet deals have become much more popular in recent years.
The provider offers a range of very well-priced broadband packages, particularly its superfast and ultrafast fibre broadband and 5G home broadband deals.
EE offers impressively fast 4G and 5G mobile broadband, normal fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and now also an ultrafast broadband service with speeds up to 900Mbps.
EE mobile customers benefit from purchasing EE home broadband as they can potentially boost their data plans.
Plusnet is a great-value internet service provider that offers affordable fibre and copper ADSL broadband packages to customers with excellent customer support.
It also won Broadband Provider of the Year and Best Provider Customer Service at the 2021 Uswitch Broadband & Mobile Awards.
NOW Broadband, which is owned by Sky, offers low-price fibre broadband packages with easy access to TV add-ons and exclusive content through NOW.
If you're interested in bundling NOW Broadband and TV together, take a look at the full list of NOW TV channels.
Hyperoptic is a full fibre broadband provider that provides ultrafast and even gigabit internet speeds for new-build homes and purpose-built flats.
It's also expanding its network into older properties in urban areas.
If you're looking to switch to a new provider, browse our entire range of internet deals to find a wide range of options for your home.
See if you could benefit from ultrafast broadband with our guide.
Fibre-optic internet providers
Almost all UK-based Wi-Fi providers offer fibre broadband connections nationwide. But there is still a wide variety of fibre speeds available depending on the provider and the type of fibre connection you choose.
Fibre-optic broadband speeds can range from what we call 'superfast' at 30Mbps, all the way to 'gigabit' at an astounding 1Gbps and beyond. So the service you get with fibre really does depend on what's available to your home.
The most widely available type of fibre is fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), which is supplied by Openreach's superfast network. It hosts the majority of the above broadband suppliers and is accessible by over 96% of the country.
FTTC provides speeds between 30-70Mbps, so it may be the slowest fibre broadband option, but it's often the cheapest and it's definitely the most widely-available. Plus, it's still much faster than copper-based ADSL broadband and will offer plenty of bandwidth for small families.
Virgin Media's growing cable broadband network offers much faster options, all the way from 50Mbps to 1Gbps. However, at 52% coverage it's not available to as many UK properties than Openreach's FTTC. It's also more expensive, since Virgin needs to connect its special 'coaxial' cables from the cabinet to your home, rather than just standard copper phone lines.
Full fibre providers offer the fastest broadband speeds available in the UK right now. Also known as fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), this is simply where fibre-optic cables connect directly from the provider's broadband exchange to your home. Speeds on one of these networks can range from 100Mbps all the way to 3Gbps in some areas.
Learn more about fibre broadband on our dedicated guide.
Who are the fastest Wi-Fi providers?
Internet providers who can deliver gigabit broadband will be the fastest options for you right now. This primarily will be full fibre providers, but Virgin Media is also one of the fastest, thanks to its cable broadband technology.
Although full fibre only has 33% nationwide coverage right now, it's rapidly expanding through a number of networks:
- Openreach provides FTTP broadband connections for BT and Sky
- CityFibre hosts Vodafone's 'Gigafast' connections as well as some of its own deals
- Hyperoptic provides full fibre for new-builds and flats
- Gigaclear offers speeds up to 900Mbps on its network
- Community Fibre only services London addresses, but its connections go all the way up to 3Gbps
If you'd like more information about the fastest broadband speeds in the UK, take a look at our guide on gigabit internet.
How to switch broadband providers
Certain broadband providers are better known for some services over others, and each one will have at least one unique selling point that'll make their offers attractive to a customer with a particular set of needs.
Here we'll go through the main considerations you should have for a broadband package and which UK internet providers might be more suited to each.
Cost is obviously important to keep in mind when choosing a broadband provider. A certain provider could offer deals that have more than you could ever need, but if the monthly price is out of your budget then you may end up regretting it in the long run.
Plusnet and TalkTalk are popular choices for affordable internet deals. They're both widely available across the country with fast fibre deals, and they have good customer service too.
If you're looking for broadband at an affordable price, you can compare cheap broadband deals with Uswitch.
Also, did you know that if you receive Universal Credit, you could qualify for a discounted broadband deal? Take a look at our broadband social tariffs guide
You'll need to make sure that the deal you choose has the right bandwidth for your internet usage.
If you're a very small household and you only really go online to check social media or browse the web, you could get away with a standard, 10Mbps broadband package from the likes of POP Telecom, Direct Save Telecom or John Lewis Broadband.
However, if you live with more than two people who use the internet, or you often stream high-quality TV, download large files or play bandwidth-hungry online games, that demand will quickly increase and a faster broadband package would likely be best.
Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, Vodafone's Gigafast service or suppliers using Openreach's FTTP network offer speeds for homes with the highest demand. But their coverage isn't as good as fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections.
Run a broadband speed test while connected to your Wi-Fi to see what speeds you're currently getting, and whether you could benefit from a faster connection.
As a paying customer, you'll want to be assured that the provider you choose will treat you with care, competency and, when it matters, urgency. Whether it's through complaints handling, helpful communications or fixing connection issues, good customer service makes your life a lot easier.
Get more information on which broadband provider has the best customer service.
If you have a complaint to make about your broadband service, it's best to take it up with your provider to see if they can find a solution first instead of going straight to Ofcom or the ombudsman. Here's how to complain to your broadband provider.
Who regulates broadband providers?
Ofcom is the regulator for communications services in the UK. It covers broadband, TV, mobile phones & networks and home phone services.
Broadband providers need to follow Ofcom's rules, regulations and standards to make sure they're offering a fair and transparent service for their customers. It regularly updates its policy to adapt to changes in consumer behaviour and new emerging technologies, and it can also reprimand providers that don't comply those rules.
Essentially, Ofcom is there to make sure you have the smooth, painless and enjoyable broadband experience that you deserve.
Which providers offer the best broadband deals in my area?
At Uswitch, we try to help you to choose the right broadband provider for your needs. No one deal is best for everyone, so you'll have to find one that suits your needs best.
We'll give you useful information on each provider that's available in your postcode, and we'll list their packages in an easy-to-understand, concise way — with all the details you need to know.
If you'd rather compare internet providers available to you by which broadband packages you can get, you can use our postcode checker. This allows you to see which deals are available to you in seconds.
What's the best broadband provider?
There are many providers out there, and they all are known for different parts of the service.
For example, Virgin Media is one of the fastest internet providers in the country, whereas Plusnet is revered for its customer service. Sky has great TV bundles, and BT offers a very reliable connection.
So the best provider isn't any particular one — it's the provider that offers the service that you value most.