When you want broadband faster than a cheetah in a Ferrari, it’s got to be fibre. But can your home get it?
Fibre optic broadband is still a fairly new technology - which is great, because it means our connections are super top-of-the-line and future-proof… but it also means it's not available everywhere we want it just yet.
Thankfully, the majority of UK towns and cities now have access to fibre broadband, so there's a good chance that you can get it where you live. Providers have even found solutions for getting fibre to remote areas and islands. In Orkney, for example, old Royal Navy barriers are now used for carrying fibre optic lines - and an undersea fibre cable has been diverted to connect the Isles of Scilly.
Around 80% of the country is covered by BT's fibre network (with download speeds up to 76Mb), and around 50% by Virgin Media (speeds up to 200Mb), and those numbers are rapidly growing day by day. There are plenty of other smaller fibre providers with their own networks too, such as Hyperoptic or KC in Hull.
To find out if you can get fibre optic broadband, enter your postcode into our postcode checker at side of the page, or at the top of this page here. We'll tell you exactly what broadband you can get where you are.
Which providers offer fibre optic broadband?
- BT - BT Infinity is the largest fibre optic network in the country
- Most providers that use the Openreach network - including Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet, and EE
- Virgin Media
- Hyperoptic - in apartment buildings and tower blocks with lots of residents
- Various small, local fibre providers, such as KC or Wightfibre
Featured fibre deals
|Fibre Unlimited||Unlimited Infinity 1 + Weekend Calls||Super 50 Fibre Broadband + Talk Weekends|
|Monthly cost £10.00 (for 12 months, then £20.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £168.95||Monthly cost £10.00 (for 12 months, then £26.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £176.95||Monthly cost £9.00 (for 12 months, then £21.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £122.99|
|Up To 38 Mb||Up To 52 Mb||Up To 50 Mb|
|Pay as you go||Weekend calls inc.||Weekend calls inc.|
Call Sky on 0800 151 2878
Mon to Sun 8am-10pm
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm
Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 6088
Why can't I get fibre?
There are all kinds of reasons why a property can't get a fibre optic connection. It may be because:
- The phone line between your home and the local street cabinet can't support fast enough speeds
- You live too far away from the nearest street cabinet
- Demand for fibre in your postcode is high, and the street cabinet is full to capacity
- Your home is connected directly to the exchange rather than to a cabinet
- You live in an apartment building where the internal wiring can't support fast enough speeds
- You live in a rural area which is difficult for cables to reach
- The nearby terrain is too awkward to run fibre cables - such as mountains, lakes, and islands
- You're in the middle of a major city centre where providers can't rip up the pavement to install cables
- There aren't many homes and businesses where you live, and providers don't consider it financially viable enough to roll out fibre
There are schemes in place to get fibre broadband to as much of the UK as possible, so it's certainly worth looking into whether it's coming to your area in the near future. Look for details on the Openreach website, your county council under Broadband Delivery UK, or Virgin Media's website.
If you can't get fibre…
When fibre isn't available, the next best thing is a standard ADSL connection. It won't be nearly as fast, but it's reliable, much cheaper, and you can get totally unlimited packages. Download speeds are usually up to about 17Mb, which is more than enough for most households - as long as you don't have multiple people streaming iPlayer or downloading huge files at once, of course.
If speed's the name of the game, however, take a look at wireless broadband, mobile broadband, or satellite broadband. These are all kinds of broadband connection that work over radio signals, like 4G, rather than through cables. Speeds are often comparable to fibre but latency (lag) can hold you back, and most have restrictive download limits.
Relish is a great choice for wireless broadband if you're in central London, as it offers affordable, unlimited packages at pretty good speeds.
Got your heart utterly set on fibre, and won't be happy until you get it? We don't blame you. While there's very little you can do to get new lines installed - assuming you don't have several hundred thousand pounds in cash just lying around - you can ask providers to consider bringing it to your postcode. Register your interest in a rollout on the BT, Virgin Media, or Hyperoptic websites.