Broadband in London: What are your internet options?
If you're looking for London broadband options, you'll be spoiled for choice! Being in the capital means you likely have access to many providers (including some others around the country can't get) with various speeds and types of internet connection, allowing you to select the perfect home broadband at the right price.
You'll also have access to a wide variety of money-saving options, whether it's vouchers, free gifts, free installation, or cashback.
ADSL broadband should be available anywhere in the London area. It provides average download speeds of around 10Mb, using the same copper line used for your phone line.
For individuals and small homes, this is often adequate for many common online tasks, including streaming music and web browsing.
DSL’s slow speeds become an issue if you're downloading and uploading large files. Uploads are often limited to 1Mb. It will also be restrictive for homes with multiple users.
ADSL is a good choice for light usage, but as you start to do more online or share the connection with others in your household, you may find it a little too restrictive. However, most ADSL deals still offer unlimited broadband, so you won't have to worry about your usage being capped!
What does ADSL mean?
ADSL stands for ‘Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line’. It’s broadband technology that allows the transfer data across regular telephone lines. You can make calls at the same time as being connected to the internet.
An ADSL line will, at minimum, allow for a broadband connection of up to 8Mb. These days, that’s pretty slow and won’t allow you to do much other than emailing or basic web searches.
ADSL2+ is now available at nearly all exchanges across the UK with slightly faster data transfer rates of around 10-11Mb.
BT network fibre (Openreach)
FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) broadband available throughout the UK by BT Openreach, gets rid of the old copper lines for all but the last run into your home. It delivers average download speeds of around 65Mb, and upload speeds of around 20Mb. This is a huge improvement in comparison to ADSL.
Fibre broadband’s reach is now much improved, so many areas should have access to fibre with an average speed of around 35Mb or 65Mb.
With the increasing amount of competition in the market, prices are actually falling close to ADSL. Fibre optic broadband is now available from many of the top broadband providers, including Plusnet, Sky, and TalkTalk, as well as BT.
And of course, those speeds are far better for big file downloads, high definition video streaming, and lag-free online gaming. It’s particularly useful if you’re sharing the connection with multiple users and devices.
Virgin Media fibre
Virgin Media broadband offers what is currently the fastest mass-market broadband in the country. Its top service rockets along at an average 1.1Gb!
Virgin users also benefit from a wide variety of ‘triple play’ offers with phone and TV packages available alongside broadband. Broadband only deals are also available, although bundles often work out the best value overall.
The top-end packages aren’t cheap, but with the rapid connection speeds and an enormous selection of TV channels, you do get a lot for the money.
There is a catch, though. Virgin Media installs and operates its own fibre network and only covers around half of the UK.
In many parts of London, this shouldn't be an issue (particularly in newer blocks of flats where cable is often installed during construction). But, you may discover that's not available in your street, even if you live right near another location served by Virgin.
Full Fibre Broadband
London is blessed with a good selection of services from ultrafast FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) internet providers — more so than any other city in the UK.
What does FTTP mean?
Fibre optic broadband is a service that provides fast internet speeds using fibre optic cables. It’s much faster and more reliable than ADSL broadband, which uses copper telephone wires.
Fibre optic broadband is now available in every part of the country, and for a basic package, it never costs much more than slower ADSL per month.
The majority of fibre broadband deals are also known as FTTC or ‘Fibre-To-The-Cabinet’ Broadband. This is available on the BT Openreach network. FTTC uses fibre optic cables that connect to your nearest telephone cabinet. Keep an eye out for the green boxes you see on the side of the road - those are the cabinets.
From the cabinet to your home, data then carries on across the same copper telephone wire as a standard ADSL broadband service.
Fibre broadband is also sometimes referred to as ‘Superfast’ broadband. With fibre you can expect to receive a minimum speed of 35Mb.
Full fibre broadband providers such as Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and Community Fibre will offer some of the fastest broadband speeds on the market, for a very affordable price. In fact, in terms of pure price-per-Mb, these are some of the cheapest broadband deals you'll find in London.
You can find these by entering your address into our checker to find out what ultrafast broadband deals are available in your part of London.
Broadband Genie deals checker
How to find the best broadband deal in London
While the internet services we’ve listed above will typically be available in many parts of London, this doesn't mean you can definitely get them in your home.
To receive ADSL2+ or fibre optic home broadband, these services must be installed in your local exchange. In a busy urban area, this is rarely an issue, but if you happen to be on an exchange that hasn't been enabled yet, you’ll find your choice is more limited.
Also, remember that the speed of ADSL internet is affected by the distance to your exchange — if you’re miles away, you won’t hit the top speeds.
And as mentioned, Virgin Media fibre is only available in the areas where Virgin has installed lines. This may not be an issue in many places across London, but there can still be ‘not spots’ in between.
When you compare internet services in London, be sure to use our postcode search feature. Simply tap in your postcode into our checker above and our system will automatically filter out the options according to the availability at your exchange. You'll still need to confirm availability and speed with the ISP before you buy, however using this search function should stop you from wasting too much time looking at providers which aren’t available at your home.
Where we get our information
We strive to keep our local broadband information as up to date as possible. This means using trustworthy sources with regular checks. The information on this page comes from the following: