What broadband services can you get at home? broadbandchoices.co.uk looks at coverage and availability for each of the the main providers in the UK.
In this guide:
There are some questions we get asked time and time again: what broadband deals can I get where I live? Is a particular broadband service available in my area? Why is your TV advert so irritating…?
We're ideally placed to answer the first two at least - it's our speciality after all.
See, many people assume that broadband is available everywhere. Sadly that's not the case. Your broadband options differ according to where you are in the country, so you need to check whether a provider offers services at your address before you switch.
Commonly, it's rural areas that get the shortest end of the stick when it comes to coverage - but don't assume you'll get every choice if you live in a town or city either. Plenty of urban areas have limited options too - you still can't get BT Infinity or Virgin Media fibre optic broadband in parts of London, for example.
In short, if you're thinking about switching broadband, the first thing you should do is check coverage and see what your options are. With that in mind, here's how you go about it if you have a specific provider in mind:
BT Infinity, the company's fibre optic service is less widespread. It's available in most cities and many towns now - although you'll still find some urban areas where you can't get it - but it's less common in rural areas. Having said that, the government has reached into its pocket and splashed out on getting fibre rolled out across Britain over the last few years, so if you don't have it now, you may in the future.
But how do you know if BT Infinity is coming to your area? Well, BT says "We're investing in the future of the internet by rolling out BT Infinity across the UK," which translated from corporate-speak, basically says: "you'll have it when you have it".
…yes, we know that's not particularly helpful. You might be able to get some more solid advice specific to you straight from the source by speaking to BT.
For more information about BT, check out our full provider guide.
Can I get BT broadband in my area?
There are two easy ways to see if BT is available in your area:
- Use our postcode checker to see if BT broadband's available in your area
- Use the coverage checker on BT's website
As with all fibre options, you can't get it everywhere - EE says its available to over 15 million homes in the UK - so you'll need to check coverage if you're tempted to sign up.
Can I get EE in my area?
Many urban areas are covered for EE fibre, so if you live in a town or city you may be in luck. Here's how to find out if you are:
- Use our postcode checker to get a list of packages available in your area
- Visit EE's website and enter your details
- Ring up EE for a chat on 0800 072 4137
Plusnet (www.Plus.net), the Yorkshire-based budget broadband provider stormed the broadbandchoices Customer Satisfaction Awards in 2013, claiming the coveted title of "best overall broadband provider". It does pretty well for coverage too, with standard broadband available to 99% of the population.
That's because it's owned by BT (although run separately) and uses BT's whole network to deliver broadband.
As for Plusnet's superfast fibre, that uses the whole BT Infinity network, which is not available to everyone in the country, though coverage is increasing.
For more information about Plusnet, check out our full provider guide.
Can I get Plusnet broadband in my area?
Want to see if you can get Plusnet broadband at home? Here's some quick and easy ways to do it:
- Enter your postcode into our comparison service to see everything available in your area - if you only want to see Plusnet packages, select 'Plusnet' under the 'Refine' option on the results page
- Use Plusnet's own coverage checker to see what packages you can get
- Call Plusnet on 0808 256 4076
As for fibre optic broadband, it's a familiar story - it's not available everywhere yet, but coverage is expanding. Primus uses the same infrastructure as BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk and Sky, so if you can get fibre from them, you should be able to get it from Primus too.
Can I get Primus in my area?
To find out:
- Compare packages available to you with our postcode checker
- Visit www.primussaver.co.uk and enter your postcode there
- Give Primus a ring on 0808 149 6457
You can get Sky TV pretty much anywhere in the UK. It's one of the big advantages of satellite TV - after all the extra channels of course. Sky (www.Sky.com) broadband is less widely available than its TV service, covering 88% of UK homes - unsurprising since it comes through cables and wires as opposed to magic space beams (alright, that's not how satellite works), but Sky still has decent coverage.
Sky fibre is less common, though coverage is increasing over time. If you're interested in going superfast, you should check whether it's available in your area. Here's how:
Can I get Sky broadband in my area?
- Use our postcode checker to find out
- Check coverage on Sky's website
- Call Sky directly on 0808 163 1093
TalkTalk (www.TalkTalk.co.uk) is the largest local loop unbundled provider in the UK. What does that mean? Basically, it's installed its own equipment in more than 2,000 telephone exchanges, rather than leasing lines from BT. As a result, it has coverage in some areas that other providers haven't reached yet. As it stands, the company's broadband and TV packages are available to more than 90% of the UK's population.
TalkTalk's fibre uses the same basic infrastructure as BT, Plusnet, Sky and EE - which means if you can get fibre from those providers, you should be able to get TalkTalk fibre too.
Can I get TalkTalk broadband in my area?
Want to check coverage? Here's how you do it:
- Use broadbandchoices.co.uk (that's us!) to compare packages available in your area
- Check coverage by visiting www.TalkTalk.co.uk
- Call TalkTalk for a... erm... talk on 0808 252 0069 and they'll tell you
Virgin Media (www.VirginMedia.com) broadband is many things - it's fast, reliable, and a great choice for students, telly addicts and more. However, the availability of Virgin's fibre network - which is the bit of Virgin's service that most of us are interested in, is still somewhat limited.
Virgin Media's fibre optic network covers more than 50% of the UK population, and offers speeds of up to 30Mb, 60Mb and 100Mb depending on the package.
For more information about Virgin Media, take a look at its full provider guide.
Can I get Virgin Media broadband in my area?
Two easy ways to find out:
- Stick your postcode into our comparison service to see a list of broadband deals in your area - if Virgin Media is already available where you live it will be listed in the results
- Use Virgin Media's site to see what you can get
- Give Virgin Media a call on 0808 168 6088
If you want to see what otther provider offer packages where you live, pop your postcode into the broadbandchoices postcode checker and we'll show you what's available at your address.