What broadband can I get in Bristol?

What was once a shipping town full of commerce and pirates, is now fast becoming a digital hub. The West Country city of Bristol is thriving with creative and tech-savvy businesses - but being surrounded by rural towns and villages means a lot of variation when it comes to broadband.

BT (www.bt.com) has the city almost totally covered, and all the exchanges around the centre are fibre optic. That means a good chance of getting a BT Infinity connection in Bristol, or a package from a provider like Sky (www.sky.com), Plusnet (www.plus.net), TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk), or Fuel (www.fuelbroadband.co.uk). The Connecting Bristol scheme has already come far in improving the city’s broadband, and its Gigabit Bristol project currently underway is attempting to get it recognised as a ‘superconnected city’ - so expect even better internet in the coming years.

There’s already fantastic coverage from Virgin Media (www.virginmedia.com) too. Huge swathes of the city are covered with its network, extending north all the way to Filton and Emersons Green, and south to include most of Bishopsworth. You’ll even find Virgin Media available in some smaller towns and villages like Yate and Keynsham.

Hyperoptic’s ultrafast broadband can be found in Bristol as well, though only in a few select locations in Bedminster and parts of the city centre. A lot of Bristolians have already registered an interest in its services, however, so it’s likely to roll out further across the city.

Download speeds in Bristol are overall pretty good. ADSL connections in the city itself are almost entirely 8Mb and above - but in the smaller surrounding villages, and more rural locations, speeds take a bit of a dive. This includes places like North Common, Leigh Woods, and parts of Brislington. Fibre optic broadband speeds, on the other hand, are a lot better, consistently reaching 24Mb and above for most of the city and nearby towns - though there are still a few scattered not-spots in rural areas.

Of course, the broadband speeds and packages available to you can depend on a lot of factors, including your area of Bristol or your local street cabinet. Use the postcode checker above to see what you can get where you are.

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Or, find out about broadband in Birmingham, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, and Sheffield.

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FAQs

  1. How do I switch broadband provider?

    The process of changing your broadband provider is actually pretty straightforward. First, you put your postcode into our impartial comparison tool. We’ll display the broadband, phone and TV deals available where you live, and then you can use our search filters to narrow down the options and find the perfect package for your household. Finally, you sign up with your new provider online. They’ll contact your existing provider and take care of everything else for you (unless you're switching to or from Virgin Media).

    The actual switch should be virtually seamless, and in the vast majority of cases it is. Your new broadband provider will send you all the stuff you need to get set up, like a new wireless router and/or TV set-top box.

  2. How long does it take to switch broadband?
    When you sign up to a new provider, they’ll contact your existing one and request a transfer of your service. The only exception is when you're switching to or from Virgin Media, in which case you'll have to call and cancel. While switching times vary depending on the type of package, it shouldn’t usually take more than 10 working days. It can take longer if you don’t currently have a phone line, as an engineer will need to come out and install one for you.
  3. Can I keep my email address if I change provider?
    This depends entirely on who your current provider is. If your email address is from BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, or Plusnet, you'll still have access to your emails at least temporarily - but we'd suggest changing over to a free service like Gmail or Outlook so you don't need to worry about losing all your emails just for switching broadband. See our guide for more info.
  4. Can I get broadband without a phone line?
    Cable giant Virgin Media is the only major UK provider to offer broadband without a telephone line. Its fibre optic network is completely separate from the copper phone wire network that ordinarily connects you to the web. Aside from this, the only alternative is to use mobile broadband instead - then you have no requirement for a landline. But, if your internet use is anything other than particularly light, this might just prove to be too slow or too restrictive to need your needs.
  5. Can I save money by bundling TV, phone and broadband?
    Yes you can. Providers like Sky and Virgin Media offer competitively priced bundles, comprising broadband, home phone and TV, and getting all three services from the same place often leads to significant savings. It also makes it easier to manage finances, as all services come on a single bill.
  6. I'm moving house - how do I get a phone line?
    Unless you're moving to a new build, there's a good chance your new home will already have a phone line, and you'll just need to get it activated or connected to your chosen provider. If not, however, your new provider will give you all the info you need for getting a new one installed when you sign up to a package. Some will even install it for free when you sign up.
  7. Do I need fibre optic broadband?

    Fibre optic broadband is much faster and much more reliable than broadband through the phone line, but it’s not essential for everyone. If you just want to browse the web, check email, Facebook, Twitter etc, you’ll be fine with standard broadband through the phone line.

    However, if you stream a lot of video, download music, films and games, and other such activities, you will likely find a fibre connection hugely beneficial.

    It’s also a boon for large households, especially ones with lots of gadgets like smartphones, tablets, and computers connected up most of the time. The more people using a connection, the slower it will be, so if you have a big family where lots of people want to connect to the web at the same time, for example, a fibre connection will ensure everyone can get a good experience.