This page will tell you everything you need to know about the basics of broadband and whatâ€™s currently available in the UK. It will also help you decide whatâ€™s right for your household, and will introduce you to some of the UKâ€™s most popular providers.
Also known as superfast, data is run along fibre-optic cables rather than copper wires. As these can transfer more information in a given time period, and suffer from fewer interruptions, the connection is usually faster and more reliable than standard. This makes a fibre-optic connection the obvious choice for large and busy households.
Frequently asked questions
What is broadband?
Broadband the name given to describe the connection between the device youâ€™re using and the internet. It allows you to stream your favourite shows, be social on social media, or do the online grocery shop.
What broadband speed do I need?
Generally speaking, the faster the speed the more you can do online regardless of how many people are connected. That said, you should allow for 10Mbps for each person in the house that uses the internet at the very least. You need at least 1.5Mbps â€“ 3Mbps for standard streaming services like BBC iPlayer or All 4. If there are gamers or household members who stream 4K (ultra-high definition) films and TV shows, you should double their allowance.
Who is the best broadband provider?
The best internet service provider is entirely dependent on whatâ€™s important to you. Weâ€™ve had a look at speed, reliability and price.
- Best provider for speed â€“ Virgin Media has some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK
- Most reliable provider â€“ EE and Sky have fewer complaints than any other supplier according to Ofcomâ€™s latest telecoms report.
- Price â€“ cheap deals change week to week, TalkTalk, SSE, Plusnet and NOW Broadband offer some of the most competitive packages. Offers start from Â£18 per month.
Are there any restrictions for switching broadband?
You can switch your supplier any time you want if your contract has ended. If you leave before the end of the contract, youâ€™ll have to pay a fee and this varies with each provider.
If you have a problem with your supplier, such as an unexpected price hike or consistently low speeds, you may be able to get out of the contract early. Our broadband cancellation guide will help you out.
How do I know if my broadband contract has ended?
Your internet service provider will send you an end of contract notification. By email, text or letter 10-40 days before your contract ends. ISPs are required by Ofcom to notify their customers when their contract is coming to an end. This includes:
- The date the contract ends
- How much you pay for the service you have
- What youâ€™ll have to pay after the contract ends
- What their best deals and prices are, including those only available to new customers
- The notice period required to end the contract