Fastest Broadband

What is the fastest UK home broadband speed?

David Hickman
David is the editor for the money section of UK based comparison website PocketRate.com.

If you’re operating multiple devices, streaming movies and music whilst at the same time playing online games, then you probably need a fast broadband connection, especially if you have a family of people who share the same Wi-Fi signal.

The PocketRate broadband tables compare top UK broadband providers. Here are the top 5 fastest broadband packages available right now:

1. Hyperoptic

Hyperoptic

PACKAGE: Fibre Broadband

SPEED: 1 GB

Hyperoptic currently offer the fastest home broadband connection on the PocketRate comparison tables and are about three times faster than the next best speed.

The way they achieve such high speeds is because unlike most providers, they do not use copper wire. Instead, they use fibre optic cables that go all the way to your home.

2. Virgin Media

Virgin Media

PACKAGE: Vivid 350 Fibre Broadband

SPEED: 362 MB

Virgin Media use DOCSIS® 3 (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) technology that allows high bandwidth data transfer together with what Virgin say is a uniquely insulated cable with a thicker copper core.

Virgin Media state that the signal offers 99.9% reliability, ideal for online gaming and streaming movies.

3. EE

EE Broadband

PACKAGE: Fibre Max 2

SPEED: 300 MB

EE were born out of a joint venture between Orange UK and T-Mobile. They are now a division of the BT Group.

The Fibre Max 2 offering uses G.fast (Fast Access to Subscriber Terminals) technology, which enables Ultrafast broadband and is currently being rolled out by Openreach across the UK network.

EE also offer a cheaper version called Fibre Max 1 that runs at a reduced speed of 145 MB.

4. BT

BT Broadband

PACKAGE: Superfast Fibre

SPEED: 67 MB

BT is the fastest provider in our comparison list in terms of regular optical fibre cabling technology.

With an average download speed of 67 MB, this should be perfectly sufficient for most online requirements including watching HD TV, streaming movies and online gaming.

The Superfast Fibre Plus offering also includes a keep connected promise and an 18 month price freeze.

5. Plusnet

Plusnet Broadband

PACKAGE: Unlimited Fibre Extra

SPEED: 66 MB

Although Plusnet is owned by the BT Group, it still operates as a separate business.

They offer a decent 66 MB average download speed at an affordable price and have picked up a number of best provider awards.

You have the choice of 12 or 18-month contracts and packages include the Plusnet dual band Hub One Wi-Fi Router.

What factors affect your broadband speed?

Despite the average broadband speed that is advertised by providers, there are still a number of factors that may affect the actual speed you get including:

  • Where you live
  • How far you live from the telephone exchange
  • How far away your street cabinet is
  • The type of broadband cable used
  • The time of day you are using the connection

The postcode where you live

Over 95% of the UK now has access to fast broadband (24 MB+). However, some rural and remote locations still have very weak broadband speeds due to the lack of investment in the infrastructure required to provide cabling. It's important to give a provider your postcode so that a more accurate idea of speed can be given and the packages available to you.

How far you live from the exchange

Even if there is cabling available to your home, the distance you live from the exchange may still affect both the speed you get and the quality of the signal. Longer distances from the exchange increase the potential for noise on the signal.

How far away your street cabinet is

Unless your provider is running fibre optic cable directly into your home, your speed will still depend on the distance you live from your nearest street cabinet. Most fibre broadband connections run fibre cabling to the cabinet but from there a copper wire connection is used to complete the journey to your home. The further away the street cabinet is, the more copper wire is needed and therefore the slower your connection is.

The type of broadband cable used

A standard ADSL broadband connection will be using standard copper wire from the exchange to the cabinet and then to your home. This type of connection will give you much slower speeds that are usually around 10MB.

Fibre optic cabling provides a huge increase in speed above the standard copper wire connection. As mentioned previously, most providers will still run copper wire from the street cabinet to your home.

However, some providers, such as Hyperoptic, run fibre directly to your home without using any copper wire. This delivers a massive performance boost where speeds of 1 GB can be achieved.

Time of day

During peak usage times, you may find your broadband speed is slower than at other points in the day. The busiest time is usually early evening whilst the fastest times to surf the web are early morning or during the night.