Want to find the cheapest cable broadband deals? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn about cable broadband, including which providers sell it, and how to get the package that best suits you for the cheapest price.
For most people, there’s little to distinguish cable and fibre optic broadband - both are faster and more reliable than standard ADSL broadband, and ideal for larger households. But if you’re thinking of getting cable, there are some key differences between the two you need to know about.
What is cable broadband?
First off, cable broadband, or Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC), uses a combination of fibre and coaxial wires to establish an internet connection.
What does that mean in plain English? Well, unlike fibre packages from providers like BT and TalkTalk, with cable broadband the last stretch of wire that runs from the exchange to your home is made up of coaxial cable, rather than standard copper phone lines.
Coaxial cable transports data a lot faster than copper wire, and experiences little loss in speed over long distances - hence why it’s so popular among gamers, and those who work from home.
Is cable faster than fibre?
That depends on the type of fibre package. Most providers in the UK share the BT Openreach infrastructure, where copper wire connects the cabinet to the home. Cable broadband is faster than these packages.
The reality is that pure fibre packages are still quite rare in the UK and only available in a few areas. For most people, cable broadband is likely to be the fastest option available. To find out more about all that techy stuff, check out our guide to fibre connections:
Who are the best cable broadband providers?
Although the most widely available type of broadband in the UK comes from BT’s Openreach network, Virgin Media supply the majority of the UK’s cable broadband.
Virgin Media offer speeds of up to a whopping 350Mb and although it’s not the cheapest company out there, it is the most widely available cable broadband provider. And, unlike BT, you won’t need to pay for a telephone line when you take out a package.
Who provides cable in my area?
Here’s the thing - as fast and reliable as cable broadband is, it’s not as widely available as other types of fibre. You’ll likely have to take out a package from Virgin Media to get it.
Even that isn’t as available in all areas, so you may find that providers like BT, TalkTalk and Sky are your only option. That’s not the worst thing though - they’re still pretty fast.
To find out if you can get cable broadband in your area, pop your details into the postcode checker, below:
Compare broadband deals in your area
How to find the best cable broadband deals
To find the best cable broadband deals, simply enter your postcode at the top of this page to compare packages and find the one that best suit you.
When you look for a cable broadband package, think about things like:
- How many people are in the household? One thing cable broadband has going for it is that it’s a lot faster than standard ADSL broadband. Therefore, it’s a great option if you’re in a large family or shared house.
- How many often do you use the internet? If you rarely surf the web, or just occasionally check your emails from time to time, you’d better off saving your money and taking out standard broadband with providers like Plusnet, Post Office or TalkTalk.
- Do you do much online gaming? For hardcore gamers, a decent broadband connection is essential. If you want to avoid lag, and download updates faster, then you should take out cable broadband.
- Do you own a business? If you own a business, then cable broadband would certainly be the best option for you. Take a look at Virgin Media’s Voom Fibre broadband for potential speeds of up to 350Mbps.
Switching to cable broadband and installation
As long as cable broadband is available in your area, switching from your current provider is pretty straightforward. simply check out the table at the top of this page or click on the button below to find the cheapest cable broadband deals.
Because Virgin Media’s network works differently to Openreach, you won’t need a phone line to take out one of their packages. You may, however, need an engineer to come and install the cables necessary - the company will let you know if that is the case.
If you’re a brand-new customer, Virgin Media may charge you an installation fee, and most of their contracts last twelve months.
What if I can’t get cable broadband?
Not to worry. Chances are, a faster broadband connection will reach your area - keep an eye on this page to see when it will become available.
In the meantime, here are a few alternatives:
- ADSL broadband - your bog-standard internet connection. Pros - it’s perfect for causal internet users and easy on the wallet. Cons - you’ll get much faster speeds with a fibre or cable connection.
- Mobile broadband - if you’re really struggling for a broadband connection, perhaps because you live in a rural area, you might want to consider mobile broadband. Simply pick up a dongle, pop it into your computer and you’ll be good to go. Just watch out for download limits.
- Satellite broadband - As its name suggests, Satellite broadband uses a dish to establish a broadband connection, and with speeds improving all the time, you’ll now be able to get broadband speeds of up to 30Mpbs per second.
So, there you have it - if you think cable broadband is for you, use our postcode checker to see what packages are available in your area, and find a deal you like.