What types of broadband are there?
Broadband is the standard way to connect to the internet, but the key differentiator is speed, measured in megabits per second (Mb) – and the faster the speed, generally the pricier it gets.
- Standard – with average speeds of 10-11Mb. This is the basic level, sometimes called ADSL.
- Fast fibre-optic broadband – average speeds of 35-36Mb (though some offer 50Mb). This is delivered through more sophisticated glass or plastic wires before connecting to your home.
- Superfast fibre-optic – with average speeds around 63Mb. Uses the same fibre wires, it's just faster.
- Ultrafast fibre-optic broadband – with average speeds usually above 100Mb. This requires more sophisticated wiring usually direct to your home, and is only available from a limited number of suppliers. It’s also referred to as Full Fibre or Fibre to the premises (FTTP), see our FTTP guide for more info.
What is the difference between broadband and fibre?
Speed and cabling, in a nutshell. Fibre is a type of broadband which uses newer technology to connect your home to the internet which means it is able to offer faster speeds while standard ADSL connections are still made entirely through copper wires which were not designed for speed.
What broadband speed do I need?
While a lightning-quick package may sound tempting, it'll come at a premium, so make sure you really need the extra speed. Fast fibre is best if you're a heavy user - so if you do lots of streaming, online gaming or downloading, or have multiple users in your home - you may find it's well worth it, as doing lots at the same time slows you down. If you just use the web for basic tasks such as emails and the odd bit of browsing then standard with average speeds of around 11Mb should be fine.
What's my current internet speed?
Try a free test for an indication of both your download speed (the rate at which you get data from the web) and upload speed (the rate at which you can send data to the web).
Use a couple from the list below to get a range of results, and perform the tests at different times to get an idea of how speeds fluctuate:
- Broadband Genie*
- Fast.com (powered by Netflix)
See our improve your broadband speed guide for more tips.