In the UK, 'superfast' broadband is defined as a connection with download speeds of 24Mb or above. That's almost always achieved with a fibre optic line - though you can also get superfast speeds through mobile broadband and occasionally copper lines.
What is superfast broadband?
Fibre optic broadband cables are the exact same kind of fibre optics that you find in those cool lamps. Light travels along them, flashing in a way that computers and data centres can interpret as information. And because the speed of light is pretty darn fast, you get lightning-quick internet. (Read more about how fibre works here.)
ADSL broadband - the standard kind, delivered through telephone wires - has download speeds of up to 17Mb, with 'basic' broadband defined as anything above just 2Mb. Superfast fibre, meanwhile, usually comes at download speeds of up to either 38Mb or 76Mb. Some providers offer it at up to 200Mb, or even up to 1Gb.
Vitally, upload speeds are faster with fibre too - meaning you can post to social media, make calls on Skype, and host livestreams without an issue. While you'll be lucky to get upload speeds of 2Mb on standard broadband, with a superfast connection it could be as high as 20Mb. (Read more about download and upload speeds here.)
What's superfast broadband for?
How to get superfast broadband
First of all, check it's available in your area by using our postcode checker:
Fibre coverage is getting better by the day, but sadly it still doesn't quite reach everybody. Use the 'minimum speed' filter at the side of the page to make sure you only see packages that give you superfast speeds. Then, choose a package that you like the look of, click through, and sign up. It's that simple.
|Package name||Unlimited Broadband||Fast Broadband||Broadband Unlimited||Unlimited Infinity 1 + Weekend Calls||Vivid 50 Fibre Broadband|
|Up to speed||17 Mb||17 Mb||17 Mb||52 Mb||50 Mb|
|Pay as you go||Pay as you go calls||Pay as you go||Weekend calls inc.||-|
|Offer end date||Offer ends 28/02/18||Offer ends 22/02/18||Offer ends 29/03/18||Offer ends 22/02/18|
Looking for superfast business broadband? A number of providers, including BT Business and TalkTalk Business, offer special connections for businesses, which include leased lines with speeds up to 10Gb. Compare business broadband deals here.
Which broadband is fastest?
Exactly which provider will give you the fastest possible speeds depends on your area - but here are the 'up to' speeds on the superfast packages offered by the main UK providers:
- BT Infinity - 52Mb or 76Mb
- EE, Now TV, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone - 38Mb or 76Mb
- Virgin Media - 100Mb, 200Mb, or 300Mb
So, of the big providers, Virgin Media has the top speeds. Sadly, it's not available in as many places as the others, but 38Mb or 76Mb is still more than enough speed for most of us.
To find out exactly what you can get in your area, use our postcode checker.
If superfast broadband is so fast, why is MY superfast broadband so slow?
All kinds of things could be affecting the speed of your broadband connection. That includes stuff like thick walls that block Wi-Fi signals, a crummy router, how far your house is from the local exchange, lots of gadgets connected at once, and outdated software.
For tips and tricks on how to speed it up, see our guide to boosting your broadband speed.