But if you've got a busy family home where the connection is shared, or you simply want to get downloads as quickly as possible, and stream 4K video without being bothered by buffering, then speed rather than price is going to be your primary concern.
In that situation, you'll want to know which broadband can deliver the best performance, so this guide to the fastest broadband in the UK is a good place to start in your search for a new high-speed broadband connection.
Fastest broadband: the key points
Ready to buy? Check out our top fast broadband deals below:
What is the fastest broadband in the UK?
The very fastest internet in the UK is an ultrafast gigabit fibre service. This is a “full fibre” connection that offers broadband speeds of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps/Gb) or more, with a few areas lucky enough to have the option of speeds up to 10Gb!
But full-fibre internet is not available everywhere as only a few providers offer this kind of high-speed broadband.
For most of us, Virgin Media is the fastest home broadband provider. Its network is available to around 53% of homes, and it provides average speeds up to 1.1Gb.
There are also specialist high-speed providers focused on smaller areas. For example, Hyperoptic delivers gigabit broadband in London and some other major cities and has been focusing on adding fibre lines to new-build blocks of flats. Similarly, Community Fibre provides very fast fibre optic internet largely in the London area.
Overall, according to thousands of speed test results from our Home Broadband Survey, the following providers represent the fastest internet in the UK:
Fastest internet in the UK: download speeds
Fastest broadband in the UK: upload speeds
If you cannot get Virgin Media or one of the full-fibre services, the next fastest option is an Openreach (BT) fibre service with average speeds of around 65Mb.
How much do the fastest broadband packages cost?
The fastest broadband packages are not actually that expensive. Hyperoptic’s top speed of 1Gb is available for around £60 per month, while Virgin Media 1.1Gb fibre starts at around the same price. And there are always special offers and free extras available to add more value.
The fastest Openreach network fibre deals are even cheaper, with prices under £30 on some deals.
Which other providers offer fast speeds?
Virgin Media is the single fastest nationwide provider, but there’s a wide choice of providers offering fibre optic broadband over a regular phone line using the Openreach network which is available to more homes.
Average top speed: 67Mb.
Prices start at around £40 with offers, but you may need to switch or negotiate at the end of the contract to avoid a price rise. BT also offers the fastest entry-level package with an average speed of 50Mb.
Average top speed: 66Mb
Plusnet offers good value packages with monthly prices starting under £30. It’s also well regarded by customers; Plusnet is a frequent winner in our annual home broadband awards.
Average top speed: 63Mb
Sky Broadband Superfast up to 63Mb starts at £30 per month for broadband and a phone line, making it one of the better value offerings. Of course, you can also add a Sky TV bundle with a vast choice of channels for a complete entertainment package.
Average top speed: 63Mb
TalkTalk often has some of the cheapest deals available. It’s fastest fibre broadband is usually available for under £30 for the initial contract term.
Use our home broadband comparison tools to see other fast broadband services and view the latest offers.
What is the fastest standard broadband?
Standard ADSL broadband using a BT phone line is quite a lot slower than fibre optic, but for some, it may be the only fixed-line broadband that is available.
There is not much difference between providers for standard broadband. All of them quote an average speed of either 10Mb or 11Mb for the ADSL2+ service available to most homes in the UK. In a few rare instances, you may not be able to get ADSL2+, in which case the speed will be limited to a maximum of 8Mb.
What is the fastest broadband available in my area?
You can instantly find out the maximum broadband speed in your area using our broadband postcode checker:
Broadband Genie postcode checkerWhy do we need your postcode?
Why do we need your postcode?
You'll also find the postcode checker on any of our comparison tables; just enter a postcode and the table will be filtered by location to show packages available in that area.
If you’d like to learn more about broadband coverage visit our guide to broadband in your area for information about specific towns and cities.
Will my location and postcode affect my speed?
Your choice of broadband services is affected by availability at the exchange serving your address.
When you carry out a postcode check this shows what the exchange can offer. If fibre is not available you will have to choose a standard broadband package.
However, broadband speed and availability on Openreach (BT line) services are also affected by the length of the line. In some cases, an exchange may have fibre optic, but your home is too far to receive the service.
And when it comes to standard broadband there’s a significant impact on performance when you’re far from the exchange. To read more about this, check out our guide on fibre to the cabinet vs. fibre to the premises.
When signing up to a provider you should always be given an accurate speed estimate using your home address.
When will my area get high-speed broadband?
The majority of premises now have access to fast broadband services using an Openreach telephone line or from the Virgin Media network (and often there’s a choice of both).
If you’re still waiting, Openreach has a wealth of information about superfast broadband deployments. It also offers a tool for checking the status of network upgrades in your area, so you can see what’s planned and when fast broadband may become available.
Frequently Asked Questions about fast broadband
Will I get the speeds advertised?
The advertised download speeds are an average speed based on the performance of the provider's broadband users, so you can reasonably expect to get something very similar in practice. However, it is not guaranteed and you may find that the connection is slower (or perhaps even faster) than the advertised rate.
But this should not come as a surprise. When joining a provider you should always be given an accurate speed estimate for your address. If the connection is slower than the estimate, speak to the provider about possible solutions.
Do I need the fastest broadband?
Not everyone needs the very fastest broadband they can get.
Standard broadband will suffice for homes where the connection is used by one or two people mainly for web browsing, social media, and some video and audio streaming.
If you have a busy shared or family home, or you’re planning on using it for demanding tasks like downloading lots of files, and streaming hours of high definition video then a fast broadband service will be necessary.
For help with choosing the right package read our guide to broadband speeds.
What is superfast broadband?
Superfast is a term used to describe broadband services that are quicker than ADSL broadband.
Ofcom defines it as a connection with a download speed of 30Mb+, but it may also refer to broadband speeds of 24Mb+.
How do I test my broadband speed?
You can test your speed right now using the free Broadband Genie speed test.
What is 'Broadband Max'?
'Broadband Max' is a term once used to describe a BT product known as ’ADSL Max'. This cutting edge technology promised a blazing 8Mb — a big improvement over other services available at the time. As you can see, fibre broadband today has a much higher maximum speed.
Can I get fibre broadband in my area?
To find out if you can get fibre in your area use our free postcode checker tool, which you can find further up the page or on any of our broadband comparison tables.
If you’d like to learn more about fibre optic we have a dedicated fibre optic broadband guide that will explain everything you need to know.