Your choice of broadband providers and the speeds you can get are hugely affected by where you live. Here’s how to find out what’s available in your area and the providers that offer the best coverage.
Compare internet service providers in your area
There are more ISPs operating in the UK than you can shake an ethernet at, meaning that wherever you live, you should have a few to choose from.
Different providers come with different services and benefits – such as different download speeds, discounts on other services, low prices, and bundling options.
Those bundling options can vary a lot between providers. Some have particularly excellent home phone services (like BT and Virgin), some also do mobile phones (like EE, Sky, and Vodafone), and some of course offer TV as well.
Even amongst those offering broadband and TV bundles, the service can vary a lot – from hundreds of satellite channels with Sky, to a simple Apple TV device with Vodafone.
What does broadband availability mean?
The term ‘broadband availability’ refers to the range of providers who offer a broadband service where you live, as well as the sort of speeds and type of broadband that’s available to you in your area.
However if you live in the countryside or somewhere remote, your choice may be limited to providers who solely offer standard broadband. And you may not be able to get fibre broadband at all.
The UK’s broadband landscape is changing though, with super fast fibre broadband provision being extended to more and more locations.
At the time of writing, it’s available to 94% of UK homes and businesses.
The best and most failsafe way to find out what’s available in your area is to use our postcode checker.
Just input your postcode and we’ll show you exactly what’s available where you live and suggest some packages that’ll you get you the most for your money.
Compare broadband deals in your area
What's the best broadband in my area?
The simplest and fastest way to find out the best broadband packages that are available in your area is to use our postcode checker.
Just type in your postcode and we’ll do the rest.
Compare broadband deals in your area
What's the fastest broadband where I live?
This can vary quite a bit, depending on where you are. The only way to find out for sure is to type in your postcode.
Just about everywhere can get basic (ADSL) broadband, up to speeds around 10Mbps.
Most of the country can get fibre broadband, up to speeds of 65Mbps – fast enough to suit most households who have lots of devices to connect.
If you can get Virgin Media in your area (somewhere between 60-70% of us), the fastest speed available will be up to about 500Mbps – or 1Gb (1,000Mbps) in some places.
Other lucky areas can get ultrafast broadband from other providers too, again up to 1Gb. This is the fastest residential broadband available in the UK right now. You’ll mostly find it in large towns and cities, and in areas where a local fibre provider has set up a network (e.g. Community Fibre in London, or WightFibre on the Isle of Wight).
How do I find out the average broadband speed in my area?
Broadband providers are obligated to deliver the ‘average download speed’ that you sign up for when you take out a contract. So the speeds you see when you enter your postcode and address into our comparison tool should be quite accurate.
You can also investigate independent data, though its accuracy can be hard to verify. And it’s affected by what speeds your neighbours have signed up for – not the maximum available to them.
Bear in mind, too, that the exact download speed you get on your laptop can vary based on other factors too. That includes things like the precise cables at your property, how far you are from the cabinet and exchange, how conducive your home is to Wi-Fi signals, what kind of router you have… the list goes on.
So you might get your area’s average broadband speed, or it may be slower – or if you’re lucky it could even be a lot faster.
Similar broadband packages
Which broadband provider has the best coverage?
When it comes to standard broadband almost all the best known providers, such as BT, TalkTalk, Plusnet and Sky, use the same national network infrastructure, which covers 99% of UK homes and businesses.
So there’s nothing to choose between them when it comes to coverage.
With fibre broadband, once again, the likes of BT, TalkTalk, Plusnet and Sky use the same national, fibre broadband network, which covers 95% of homes and businesses in the UK.
Consequently, once again when there’s no difference in coverage provision.
The major exception is Virgin Media, which operates its own, separate fibre broadband network. This covers about 60% of UK homes.
You’re more likely to be able to get Virgin Media broadband if you live in a town or city.
That's because its network mostly covers the UK’s most densely populated areas.
Do broadband speeds differ between areas?
Broadband speeds vary significantly between different postcodes, and even different homes on the same street.
They’re affected by a number of factors, including the type of property you live in and how far you live from your telephone exchange.
Under regulations for broadband advertisements, the speeds listed by providers must be available to at least 50% of customers at peak times.
So although there’s a good chance you’ll get the advertised speed, it’s not guaranteed.
If you want broadband that absolutely guarantees fast speeds, fibre optic broadband is the way to go.
Not only is it considerably more reliable than standard ADSL broadband, it’ll give you speeds much closer to those advertised.
- 10Mbps or 11Mbps - Available pretty much everywhere, these sort of speeds will suit you if you just use the internet for browsing the web, sending emails, and maybe a bit of streaming.
- 24Mbps-72Mbps - This is the usual range for download speeds on fibre optic packages, qualifying as 'superfast', and more than 90% of households can get them. It's ideal if you have a lot of gadgets to connect, and like to stream TV, play online games, or regularly download HD movies.
- 300Mbps and above - Connections at this speed and above count as 'ultrafast', and they aren't available everywhere. It's worth considering if you have a big household with lots of people online at once.
Where do we get our broadband availability data?
We get availability information about standard and fibre optic broadband directly from providers.
We make sure all the data is checked and updated regularly to make sure it’s accurate. The price of packages can vary between areas too, so we also track prices.
When you enter your postcode we compare it against all the data we’ve collected to show you the best broadband deals that are available in your area.
Can I get Sky broadband in my area?
There’s a good chance! Sky operates on the Openreach network, and offers a broad range of broadband speeds – from ADSL to ultrafast. It’s not quite as widely available as BT, but it’s close.
See if you can get Sky broadband in your area by checking your postcode.
And you can read more about Sky, and see its range of deals, with our full Sky guide.