Living in Northern Ireland and wondering what your broadband options are? Our page goes through the top providers in the country, the types of broadband packages you can get, and how to find a good deal.
Broadband deals in Northern Ireland
Broadband deals in Northern Ireland can vary greatly depending on where you live. If you live in a city or densely populated area, such as Belfast and Derry/Londonderry, you’ll be able to get plenty of broadband deals at your address.
However, if you live rurally, your options are likely to be more limited. You should be able to get standard and fast fibre broadband, though you might not have access to gigabit full fibre broadband just yet.
Northern Ireland internet providers
All the major providers operate in Northern Ireland, including:
Which is the best internet provider in Northern Ireland?
It’s hard to say which is the “best” internet provider, as that largely depends on what you need and what you can get at your address.
Nevertheless, the fastest broadband in Northern Ireland is supplied by Virgin Media. If Virgin Media isn’t available in your area, you’ll likely be able to get fibre broadband with any provider that uses BT’s Openreach network – this includes the likes of Sky, EE, Plusnet, TalkTalk, and – of course – BT.
What types of broadband can I get in Northern Ireland?
You can get several types of broadband in Northern Ireland, although your options depend on where you live.
Virtually all addresses should be able to get standard ADSL broadband. The most common and basic type of broadband connection, ADSL uses your copper phone wires to deliver internet to your home. Download speeds are usually around 10-11Mbps – fairly limited by modern standards, but it’ll be enough for general internet browsing.
At the same time, most areas can get some form of fibre optic broadband. It’s much faster and more reliable than ADSL, as it uses fibre cables to deliver your home internet connection. There are two types of fibre broadband:
- Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) – this uses fibre cables to connect the exchange to the nearest street cabinet to your home, before using copper phone wires between the cabinet and your home. Speeds are usually anywhere between 36-68Mpbs
- Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) – this uses fibre cables all the way between the exchange to your home, resulting in a quicker, more stable connection. Speeds usually range from 100Mbps all the way to 1,000Mbps (1Gbps) and above
FTTC broadband is a lot more common than FTTP, although networks are continuing to roll out their full fibre networks across Northern Ireland. In fact, the latest Ofcom Connected Nations report showed that Northern Ireland had a higher percentage of homes connected to FTTP than any other country in the UK – which is pretty impressive stuff.
For more on the differences between the two types of broadband, visit our page on FTTP and FTTC.
Finally, there’s also cable broadband, which uses both fibre optic and coaxial cables to provide ultrafast gigabit broadband. Currently, only Virgin Media operates a cable network – as a result, it’s able to provide the fastest broadband on the market, up to 1,130Mbps.
Getting fibre broadband in Northern Ireland
In general, most homes in Northern Ireland will have access to fibre optic broadband.
As with the rest of the UK, urban areas have the most choice. If you live in a city, you’ll likely be able to get both FTTC and FTTP broadband from any Openreach provider, as well as Virgin Media’s ultrafast cable broadband.
On the other hand, rural areas might only get FTTC broadband. Still, with speeds of 36-68Mbps, that’s well suited to most households.
How to compare deals for my postcode
Wondering what broadband deals you can get at your address? You can use our quick and easy postcode checker. Just enter your postcode, and you’ll be able to see all the providers and deals available in your area.
What broadband speed can I expect in Northern Ireland?
Again, that depends on where you live, as well as the speed that suits your needs best.
Wondering what speed you’re currently getting? Use our broadband speed test to see your home broadband speed – that way, you can check if you’re getting the advertised speeds, and decide whether you need a faster broadband package.