Thanks to the likes of Virgin Media, BT Infinity and Sky Fibre, you can now wave goodbye to the nightmare of sluggish web browsing, interrupted catch-up TV and slow downloads. Faster fibre broadband is now more affordable and widely available than ever before.
If you thought that the best broadband deals were reserved for slower ADSL internet connections, think again. Fibre optic broadband is a bloody battleground for the major providers, which means frequently fantastic prices for the consumer. Over the last few months, we’ve seen prices as low as £20 per month for 38Mb internet..
So check out our fibre broadband deals comparison chart above to pick out the package that suits you – whether you’re after a fibre plan that includes TV channels, a flexible phone offer or simply fibre broadband internet on its own. Below we explain everything you need to know about fibre optic broadband – including fibre broadband availability – followed by more information on providers including BT Infinity, Sky, Virgin Media, EE and more.
What is fibre broadband?
We don’t want to get too technical here – the main thing to take from this is that fibre broadband is far faster than traditional ADSL internet. It uses fibre optic cables to send and receive data, resulting in a speedier, more reliable internet connection.
So instead of being stuck with maximum standard speeds of 17Mb, you can at least double that to 38Mb for download speeds of around 4.75MB per second. As well as facilitating ridiculously fast downloading, the extra speed is ideal for large households where lots of people are using the internet at once. If you stream 4K films and TV or play a lot of online games, fibre broadband is a must to ensure the highest-quality user experience.
All of the most popular providers – including Sky, TalkTalk, EE, Plusnet, Vodafone, John Lewis and the Post Office – offer a 38Mb fibre broadband plan, while BT goes one better. Its BT infinity fibre broadband starts at speeds of up to 52Mb (6.5MB per second).
If you’re wondering why we haven’t mentioned Virgin Media broadband yet, it’s because its super fast service is slightly different again. It uses coaxial cable instead of copper fibre optics to connect your home to the exchange. That basically means even faster internet speeds for you – between 50Mb (6.25 MB per second) and an incredible 300Mb (37.5 MB per second).
Fibre broadband checker – is fibre broadband available in my area?
There’s one extremely easy way to discover whether fibre broadband is available where you live – head to the top of this page, type in your postcode, hit ‘compare deals’, and if any results come back then you can indeed get fibre. Fibre and cable broadband is currently available in around 90% of the UK’s homes, so the odds are in your favour.
What contract length should I go for?
Standard 12 month contracts used to be the norm, but more and more providers now set their minimum contracts at 18 months. There are two ways to look at this – on one hand, getting a longer contract some times also means that you are guaranteed the initial price for a longer period. So no nasty surprises half way through the term.
But at the same time, you obviously have less flexibility, being tied in for half a year longer. If you hate the idea of such a long contract, then head back up to our comparison chart and use the filter to see only year-long deals. There will be fewer to choose from, but there are still excellent prices to be had.
Will I have to pay anything upfront for fibre broadband?
Most providers ask for at least something when you take up their fibre broadband deal. This will usually be an activation fee, which covers the cost of getting you hooked up. There may also be an additional delivery charge to pay to get hold of your new router. In most cases, expect to pay between £10 and £60, although the likes of TalkTalk and Plusnet often run offers where they scrap all upfront costs.
Do I have to pay more to have a phone line?
Nope, all of the prices in our comparison chart include the land line. Providers used to specify how much you were paying for the phone line and internet separately, but now it’s standard practice just to bundle them up together and give one single price. We welcome this change, as it makes the whole buying process a lot more straightforward. Having the phone line allows you to make calls if you still use a landline, and the basic price sometimes includes free or cheap weekend calls. If you want to add any other usage packages, you can use our comparison table to find more options, like evening, anytime and international calls.
BT Infinity broadband
For most people, BT will still be the first name that springs to mind when they think of broadband. Infinity is the of its fibre broadband packages – choose from the following options:
BT Unlimited Infinity 1 | Up to 52Mb
The maximum 52Mb download speed (around 6.5 MB per second) from BT Infinity 1 is faster than most other providers’ entry-level fibre broadband. You also get the rangey BT Smart Hub router, instead of BT’s standard Home Hub.
BT Unlimited Infinity 2 | Up to 76Mb
Fast enough to keep up with downloading and streaming from multiple members of your household. It doesn’t come cheap, but does include 500GB of cloud storage, the Smart Hub and usually a very generous prepaid Reward Card to spend as you would a Mastercard.
View all BT Infinity broadband deals
Sky fibre broadband
On the face of it, the TV giant’s basic Sky Fibre package looks like an amazing price. But beware – you’re limited to only 25GB of data every month. See what else is on offer:
Sky Fibre | Up to 38Mb | 25GB data limit
Sky Fibre offers a competitive price point if you want fast broadband but don’t do a great deal of downloading or streaming. You’re limited to 25GB per month, but that’s plenty for dealing with emails and generally browsing the web.
Sky Fibre Unlimited | Up to 38Mb
Costing around a tenner more than Sky Fibre, Unlimited gives you exactly what it says on the tin – there are no restrictions at all on how much you use the internet with this plan.
Sky Fibre Max | Up to 76Mb
Sky’s premium broadband plan throws in some extras to justify the increased price. The 76Mb (around 9.5MB per second) maximum speed matches most of the fastest fibre plans around (Virgin excepted) and you get a Sky Q Hub router for free.
View all Sky Fibre broadband deals
Virgin Media fibre optics broadband
Virgin Media cable broadband offers unparalleled internet speeds – no other provider can touch even its entry-level package. You can choose from:
VIVID 50 fibre broadband | Up to 50Mb Virgin is now available for less than £30 a month thanks to new VIVID 50. So look at our postcode checker above to see if it’s available on your street.
VIVID 100 fibre broadband | Up to 100Mb
You’ll need to pay over £30 to get Virgin’s cheapest broadband package. But you’re unlikely to feel too shortchanged with the connection speeds. The 100Mb claimed speed translates to 12.5 MB per second.
VIVID 200 fibre broadband | Up to 200Mb
As Virgin proudly points out, VIVID 200 more than doubles the maximum speed supplied by BT Infinity and Sky Fibre’s fastest speed. The ultrafast 200Mb speed is a good fit if you stream 4K films and if there are 10 or so devices connected at once.
VIVID 200 Gamer | Up to 200Mb
There’s more than just the ‘boss-level broadband’ tagline that should appeal to gamers about this fibre package. Pay an extra fiver from the standard VIVID 200 to bag up to 20Mb upload speeds – handy for online gaming. And you don’t have to worry about online traffic management that can slow you down at peak times.
VIVID 300 fibre broadband | Up to 200Mb
Home broadband speeds in the UK don’t come faster than those provided by Virgin’s VIVID 300 fibre plan. It costs more than £40 a month, but you get speeds of up to 37.5MB per second. Extremely rapid.
View all Virgin Media fibre broadband deals
TalkTalk fibre broadband
TalkTalk frequently manages to come up with brilliant, cheap deals on fibre broadband. The added bonus…it doesn’t charge an activation fee when you sign up:
TalkTalk Faster Fibre | Up to 38Mb
The price for TalkTalk’s entry-level fibre broadband includes your phone line and set-up. Unlike most other providers, you can choose your contract length: 12, 18 or 24 months.
TalkTalk Faster Fibre Broadband with Speed Boost | Up to 76Mb
TalkTalk’s superfast broadband offering is one of the most competitively priced, and the absence of a set-up fee only sweetens the deal. This is the TalkTalk plan to go for if you have a multitude of data-hungry folk in your home.
View all TalkTalk fibre broadband deals
Plusnet fibre broadband
Although Plusnet is owned by BT, it is continuing to operate in its own right and tends to be more affordable than its parent company. It has two broadband options:
Plusnet Unlimited Fibre | Up to 38Mb
Choose between a 12 and 18 month contract for Plusnet Unlimited Fibre, and get unlimited usage, 365 days a year support and a Plusnet Hub One router delivered to your door for free.
Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra | Up to 76Mb
The same, only much faster! Take the Unlimited Fibre package above and double the download speed.
View all Plusnet fibre broadband deals
EE fibre broadband
A name more commonly associated with mobile phones, the UK’s fastest 4G network is trying to make EE your one stop shop for landline broadband too. You can choose from:
EE Fibre Broadband | Up to 38Mb
EE fibre broadband prices are quite attractive, but even more so if you’re already a phone customer. Then, you’ll be granted an extra 5GB of monthly data allowance on your mobile contract.
EE Fibre Plus Broadband | Up to 76Mb
It will cost you an extra few pounds to crank up the speed to EE’s fastest Fibre Plus Broadband. Like the entry-level package, you get a free subscription to Norton antivirus and the option to upgrade to EE TV.
View all EE fibre broadband deals
Vodafone fibre broadband
Another name more commonly associated with mobile phones, but there are excellent prices to be had from Vodafone broadband – whether or not you’re an existing phone customer:
Vodafone Unlimited Fibre 38 | Up to 38Mb
You may have previously found that Vodafone’s prices were a little on the high side, unless you already had your mobile phone with the network. But that’s all changed! Now, ALL new broadband customers get the benefit of Vodafone’s cheapest internet prices.
Vodafone Unlimited Fibre 76 | Up to 76Mb
Faster broadband but the same competitive pricing makes Vodafone a very enticing option if you want 76Mb – regardless of whether you’re already committed to the red network.
View all Vodafone fibre broadband deals
SSE fibre broadband
Already one of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies, SSE is now offering cheap prices on fibre broadband. As you might expect, the prices get good if you use SSE as your energy supplier.
SSE Superfast Fibre Broadband | Up to 38Mb
SSE doesn’t have a 72Mb option, so you’ll have to go elsewhere. But the 4.75MB per second broadband speed will still be ample for most small households and deliver seamless surfing and streaming. Existing SSE energy customers get an automatic £25 credit on their next bill and there’s a 25% saving to be made on an additional landline phone package.