Ultrafast broadband boasts speeds of anywhere between 300Mbps and 1GB – considerably higher than most fibre optic connections. But how much does it cost? And which providers offer it? MoneySuperMarket has the answers…
Nowadays, broadband packages come with higher speeds than are really necessary for most households in the UK.
But if you’ve ever had to wait hours for a film to download, or put up with lag playing games online, you’ll understand how frustrating slow internet can be.
To that end, it’s tempting to go for a broadband package that’s billed as ‘ultrafast.’ But is it really the right choice?
Let’s take a look in more detail…
What is ultrafast broadband?
In a nutshell, ultrafast broadband is one of the speediest internet connections available.
Typically, the term refers to broadband with speeds of between 300Mbps and 1Gb (1000Mbps).
How does this compare to other broadband types?
Well, standard ADSL broadband – the most common type of broadband in the UK – delivers speeds of less than 24Mbps. It’s apt if you seldom use the internet, or live in a small household. Delivered via Openreach’s copper telephone lines, ADSL broadband is generally cheaper and slower than other connections.
Superfast broadband, on the other hand, is sent part-way to your home via copper cabling and partially through fibre optic cables. It features speeds of between 24Mbps and 300Mbps and is ideal for businesses and large households. If you’re a gamer, it’s also the obvious choice.
Ultrafast, then, reaches the home via a full fibre connection. In this case fibre optic cabling goes from the cabinet to your property. It’s worth noting that most households really won’t require anything like the ‘up to 1GB’ speeds provided by ultrafast broadband.
By way of example, the vast majority of fibre optic packages in the UK reach between 63Mbps and 67Mbps download speeds. Plenty fast enough for even the busiest of households.
Still, if your heart is set on ultrafast you can check if it’s available in your area with our easy-to-use postcode checker.
Can I get ultrafast broadband deals?
Your best chances of getting ultrafast broadband is with Virgin Media.
It’s the widest ranging ultrafast broadband provider in the UK and comes with significantly higher speeds than most other providers. Use our postcode checker to find out if you can get it.
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Which providers offer ultrafast broadband deals?
Ultrafast broadband providers are few and far between. Whether you can get it really comes down to where you live.
Broadband provider offering ultrafast packages include:
- Virgin Media: At the time of writing, Virgin Media broadband covers around 50% of the UK. It offers average speeds of 630Mbps, and boasts a 99.88% reliability rating.
- BT: Although BT’s broadband packages boast speeds of up to 300Mbps, it’s not yet widely available in the UK.
- Sky:Sky offers just one ‘ultrafast’ broadband package, with average speeds of 145Mbps. It’s worth noting that isn’t true ultrafast broadband. It’s available to around 18% of the UK at the time of writing.
- Hyperoptic: Go with Hyperoptic and you can expect speeds of up to 1GB. Right now, though, it’s only available in big cities such as London and Manchester – and mainly to blocks of flats and business units.
Simply enter your postcode into our checker below to be absolutely sure of what’s available in your area:
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What are the pros and cons of ultrafast broadband?
Given that the average broadband speed in the UK currently stands at 64Mbps, most households won’t need ultrafast broadband. A standard fibre optic service will do just fine.
That said, if it’s available where you live and you want to take advantage, here’s the pros and cons:
- A lot quicker than most broadband connections
- More reliable
- Not widely available
- More expensive
Sources and methodology
*Based on average monthly bill of £32.69 from nationally representative sample (1000) vs cheapest monthly cost for superfast broadband (>55Mbs), Vodafone £22/m. Annual saving £128.28.
What is the difference between superfast and ultrafast broadband?
Main difference is, ultrafast is quicker. Much quicker, in fact.
Whereas superfast broadband boasts speeds of speeds of anywhere between 245Mbps and 300Mbps, the term ultrafast is generally kept for packages capable of 300Mbps and above.
Is ultrafast broadband better than fibre broadband?
Here’s where things get a bit confusing. You see, when providers’ use the term ‘ultrafast’ they typically mean internet which exceeds 300Mbps.
However, this isn’t always the case. For example, Sky calls its 145Mbps broadband package ‘ultrafast.’ And although that’s quick enough for most households, it’s not true ultrafast broadband as recognised by most providers.
A true ultrafast connection is achieved through a pure fibre optic connection – in other words, full fibre optic cabling directly from the cabinet to the home.
As such, fibre optic and ultrafast are technically the same thing. Put simply, ultrafast is really just full fibre broadband.