Searching for a new broadband deal?
In this guide, we’ve reviewed the 10 best broadband providers in the UK in 2024, based on our experience testing and using these companies among our writing team.
We’ve also explained what to look for when choosing a broadband plan, so that you know what to search for when shopping.
Best broadband deals
In this part, we’ve reviewed and compared the 10 best broadband providers in the UK right now, based on our experience with their speeds and customer service, and their value for money.
1. BT Broadband
BT isn’t normally the cheapest broadband provider in the UK, but they tend to offer very good value, in our experience.
Their customer service is also very helpful, compared to many other providers. It’s easy to reach them on the phone, and their contact centre is based in the UK, which is good.
BT does normally charge an upfront cost on their broadband deals, but you get a reward card when signing up, which you can use like a prepaid debit card, helping to cover the installation fee.
While BT isn’t the cheapest broadband provider in the UK, we think it’s worth paying a bit more for the level of customer service they offer. If you ever encounter slow speeds or Wi-Fi issues, it’s good to have helpful phone support at hand.
The default contract is 24 months on BT Broadband, which is quite long, but there are also 12 month deals available, although they don’t come with a reward card.
If you want fibre broadband for the lowest possible price, NOW Broadband is definitely worth checking out.
Compared to BT, and most other Openreach providers, NOW Broadband’s monthly costs are very cheap. Plus, they only charge a £10 upfront fee, which is much lower than most other companies’ setup costs.
The default contract is just 12 months long, meaning you’re not locked in for a long time, and you can also choose a 30-day contract, if you’d prefer, for a higher setup fee (the option is available later in the checkout process).
The reason NOW Broadband is cheap is their broadband packages are very basic.No freebies, extras, or reward cards are included, and you can’t get ultrafast download speeds.
Their fastest tariff, Super Fibre, has a 63 Mbps download speed, which is enough for most families, but isn’t blazing-fast.
Overall, if you don’t need ultrafast fibre broadband, and want to save money, NOW Broadband is a great option.
Vodafone’s broadband deals are quite complex, and can be a bit hard to understand.
Essentially, there are two tiers of package to choose from:
- Regular Broadband: no extras, and can be very price competitive, even compared to a provider like NOW Broadband.
- Pro II Broadband: comes with a range of extras, including a better router, a 4G broadband backup in case your fibre connection goes offline, and a Wi-Fi booster device. Pro II Broadband is quite a bit more expensive than the no-frills broadband package.
While Pro II’s add-ons are not cheap, they can be quite good to have – especially the broadband backup service, and the WiFi 6E router they include. This router is one of the best on offer from any British broadband provider at the moment, in terms of Wi-Fi speeds and signal strength over long distances.
No matter which type of tariff you choose, you can still select the broadband speed that works for you, up to 900 Mbps, and you can also add on Vodafone’s Xtra package, which comes with an Apple TV device, 24 months of Apple TV+, and anytime landline calls to UK numbers.
Whether you’re looking for cheap broadband or a more comprehensive deal, Vodafone has you covered. No matter how you build your broadband package, there are no upfront costs with Vodafone, although the minimum contract is 24 months, which is quite long.
On the plus side though, you can get a discount on Vodafone Broadband if you’re already a Vodafone pay monthly mobile customer, which is a nice touch.
Virgin Media offers some of the fastest broadband deals in the UK right now.
With their Gig1 plan, you can get download speeds of up to 1,130 Mbps – faster than what BT and most other Openreach providers offer.
The other big strength of Virgin Media is their cable TV offers. If you want a set-top box with Sky Sports, TNT Sports, HBO, cartoons, documentaries, and a range of other cable TV channels, Virgin Media is a great choice.
There are often no upfront fees with Virgin Media, and given the download speeds on offer, their monthly costs are normally very good, depending on the promotion currently running.
However, Virgin Media Broadband does have some downsides.
The first is their upload speeds aren’t as good as most other providers, although this isn’t a big issue, since most people download a lot more data than we upload.
The biggest problem with Virgin Media is, according to Ofcom research, their customer satisfaction isn’t as good as most other major providers.
When we tested their M200 package, we found that we got slower speeds than we were paying for, although we did not contact Virgin Media to try and troubleshoot this issue.
Overall, we’d recommend Virgin Media if they’re the fastest provider at your address, and you want the fastest possible speeds. However, their customer service currently leaves a lot to be desired.
Check on Virgin Media
If you live in Greater London, Community Fibre is definitely worth checking out.
This company offers the fastest speeds of any broadband provider in the UK. You can get download and upload speeds of up to 3,000 Mbps, which is actually more than some devices can take advantage of.
There are more reasonable 150 Mbps and 1 Gbps packages available for a low monthly price, and the default contract length is just 12 months. You can also choose to join on a month-to-month basis as well, if you want the extra flexibility to cancel whenever you’d like.
One of our team has used Community Fibre since 2020, and found that while they aren’t quite getting the full speeds advertised (likely because they’re using an older router), Community Fibre is very consistent, and their support is very responsive.
Even with the slightly slower than advertised speeds, Community Fibre still offers faster broadband than we would get if we paid the same amount of money for a BT, Sky, or Virgin Media broadband package.
If you live in London or surrounding areas, we definitely recommend putting your postcode in on the Community Fibre website, to see if they service your address.
Check on Community Fibre
Plusnet Broadband is like a cheaper, more basic version of BT.
BT owns Plusnet, and they use the smaller company to offer simple, cheap broadband deals. There are no reward cards or other benefits included, but the monthly and upfront costs are lower – often, there are no setup fees.
With Plusnet, you get the same Smart Hub 2 router as you do with BT, and access to the same UK-based customer support team, which is great, given what you’re paying.
When we tested Plusnet Full Fibre Broadband, we found that they offered almost identical service to BT, just for a cheaper price.
Their speeds are very consistent, and their customer support team is helpful if you ever need assistance.
The only downside to Plusnet is there are no short-term contracts available. You have to commit for 24 months.
Check on Plusnet
7. EE Broadband
EE is another broadband provider that is wholly owned by BT.
Their packages are very similar to BT’s, and cost a similar amount. They have the same 24 month default contract, and similar upfront costs as well, although EE is sometimes more expensive.
There are a few reasons you might like to choose EE Broadband instead of BT:
- As an EE Mobile customer, if you join EE Broadband, your plan will be upgraded to unlimited data.
- You get a better Smart Hub Plus router with EE, rather than the old BT Smart Hub 2.
- The benefits are different – rather than a reward card, you get 6-12 months of Xbox Game Pass included, at the moment. You might prefer the reward card though, if you’re not a gamer.
Also, EE offers faster maximum download speeds than BT. Their fastest plan offers download speeds of up to 1.6 Gbps, with a 1.3 Gbps minimum speed guarantee, although this is not available at all Openreach full fibre addresses just yet.
Check on EE
Unlike all of the other broadband providers we’ve looked at on this page, Three delivers internet service using the mobile network, rather than using a fixed fibre connection.
If you can get 5G signal where you live, Three 5G broadband allows you to get download speeds of 500-700 Mbps from our testing, for about the same cost as a 60-70 Mbps fibre broadband deal.
The other benefit of the Three 5G Hub is it’s portable. You can use it anywhere in the UK with Three 4G or 5G signal, meaning you can easily take it with you on holiday.
Plus, since there is no landline or fibre connection required to get online, the set up process is very easy. All you need to do is insert the SIM card into the router, plug it in, turn it on, and connect to the Wi-Fi hotspot.
Three also offers a 30-day return policy on this router, allowing you to send it back if the speeds aren’t up to scratch.
The downside to using mobile broadband to get online at home is your latency will be a bit higher than using fibre, which can make online gaming lag sometimes. It’s fine for games like EA FC and Fortnite, but some competitive games like Counter-Strike might be affected by the extra latency.
Check on Three
Similar to NOW Broadband, TalkTalk is another cheap, relatively basic provider.
When we tested TalkTalk Fibre 150, we faced occasional Wi-Fi dropouts when we first joined, which could be fixed by restarting the router.
Eventually this issue fixed itself when the router installed a firmware update, and since then, our connection has been consistently at or above the advertised speed (150 Mbps), including in the evenings, when congestion normally occurs with some providers.
We have contacted TalkTalk a few times to try and save money on our bill. Recently, they suggested we remove our landline service, which was quite helpful, as it allowed us to save a decent amount of money each month.
TalkTalk generally offers very good value, and unlike NOW Broadband, they offer full fibre broadband packages. With one of these deals, you’ll get a more modern Wi-Fi router than the one we got.
For cheap, simple broadband, TalkTalk is a good choice. However, they don’t offer short-term contracts, like some other providers do.
Check on TalkTalk
Hyperoptic is a small, independent broadband network available in major cities in the UK. Currently, they cover about 1.1m households with their full fibre broadband network.
If you want fast broadband, Hyperoptic is a great choice.
They offer download speeds of up to 900 Mbps, but the great thing is their upload speeds match their download speeds – this is also known as symmetrical broadband. Most other providers have much slower uploads, compared to their download speeds.
You also get a minimum speed guarantee with Hyperoptic, ensuring you don’t drop below the advertised download and upload speed. Their monthly costs are reasonable as well.
Plus, you can choose your contract length, meaning you don’t need to lock in for a long time if you don’t want to. You can choose to get broadband on a monthly rolling basis, which most other providers don’t offer.
The biggest issue with Hyperoptic is their limited availability in smaller towns and villages. However, if you live in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cardiff, or another major city, they’re certainly worth checking out.
Check on Hyperoptic
How to choose the right broadband provider
In this part of the article, we’ve explained some key things to consider when choosing a new broadband provider.
In the UK, there are a few different broadband networks you can choose from, each with its own pros and cons.
- Openreach is the main British broadband network, available in almost the entire country. This is the network that most providers, including BT, Sky, Plusnet, and Vodafone use.
- Virgin Media has its own separate broadband network, available at around 60% of premises in the UK. It offers faster download speeds but slower upload speeds than Openreach.
- There are also a range of altnets – individual companies with their own full fibre broadband networks, in certain areas. For example, Community Fibre, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and CityFibre. These networks often offer ultrafast download speeds, but availability can vary by region.
The big benefit of Openreach is it’s very easy to switch providers, thanks to their one-touch switching process. All you need to do is place a new broadband order, and your provider will contact the old company to cancel the existing connection.
If switching to or from a non-Openreach broadband provider, you’ll need to contact your old ISP to cancel the contract.
Virgin Media is a good choice if you want the fastest possible download speeds, but they can be expensive, and their customer service isn’t the best.
Altnets are definitely worth looking into if you want fast fibre broadband, as they often offer cheaper prices than Openreach or Virgin Media on broadband deals with ultrafast speeds.
How to save money on broadband
If you want to save as much money as possible on broadband, here are some ways to do this.
- Only pay for as much broadband speed as you really need (we’ve discussed this in more detail in the next section).
- Avoid buying extra services with your broadband plan – this is where most providers make their money. Instead of paying more for a home phone service, use your mobile to make calls. And instead of getting a broadband and TV deal with a set-top box, subscribe to separate streaming services. By doing this, you can easily cancel or switch services when you want to, and you won’t pay for TV channels you’re not interested in watching.
- Never let your broadband contract expire. When this happens, your monthly cost will rise substantially. Fortunately, Ofcom has mandated that broadband providers must tell you when your contract is about to expire, so that you know when you need to recommit, or switch to another company if you can find a better deal.
- Search specifically for a cheap, no-frills broadband provider, such as NOW Broadband. It’s not uncommon for packages with the same broadband speed to cost different amounts with different providers, because some companies offer more extras and rewards with their packages than others.
- Consider using 4G or 5G home broadband from Three, as it is significantly cheaper than fibre broadband in most cases.
- Look out for social tariffs. If you’re on benefits, you might be entitled to a cheaper broadband deal available for those in need.
- If you have a phone on a pay monthly contract, see if you can buy broadband from the same company. Vodafone for example offers a discount on their broadband plans if you’re already a mobile customer.
To learn more, read our full guide to saving money on broadband.
What broadband speed do I need?
75% of UK homes can now access gigabit-capable broadband, thanks in large part to accelerated altnet rollouts, as well as continued upgrades to the Openreach and Virgin Media networks.
However, fast broadband is very expensive. Depending on the provider you choose, you might expect to pay £50 or more for a 500-1,000 Mbps connection.
While ultrafast broadband is a great luxury to have, if you’re looking to save money, you might be wondering what download and upload speed you really need.
The answer is, it depends on:
- How many people live at home.
- How often everyone gets online.
- What sort of internet activities you do.
To find out what broadband speed you need, you can use our bandwidth needs calculator. Simply input some details about your household, and how you use the internet, and you’ll get a rough idea of what download and upload speed it’s worth paying for.
You might find that, even as a family with kids online all the time, you don’t need a download speed of more than 100-200 Mbps.
In most cases, having faster download speeds than this is only necessary if:
- You often download large files, and want to make this quicker.
- You work from home, and want to increase your productivity.
- You have four or more people at home often doing data-intensive activities (such as streaming 4K video) simultaneously.
Remember, if your broadband speeds aren’t fast enough, not only will downloads be slow, but you might experience buffering when streaming video, and lag when gaming, especially when multiple people get online at the same time.
Which is the fastest broadband provider in the UK right now?
Currently, Community Fibre is the fastest broadband provider in the UK right now.
They offer download and upload speeds of up to 3,000 Mbps – an entire 3 gigabits per second – to customers on their Greater London network.
Outside of London addresses Community FIbre services, Virgin Media is the UK’s fastest broadband provider. Their Gig1 plan offers download speeds of up to 1,130 Mbps.
By comparison, the top speed offered by providers like BT and Sky via Openreach in most places is 900 Mbps.
EE, another Openreach provider, does offer download speeds of up to 1.6 Gbps (1,600 Mbps) in some areas, with coverage expanding. Later in 2024, we might see Openreach become generally faster than Virgin Media, if this 1.6 Gbps broadband service becomes more widely available.
Which is the cheapest broadband provider in the UK right now?
There is no single broadband provider that offers the cheapest prices all of the time. The cheapest provider depends on the promotions and discounts that each company runs at any given moment.
If you want to save as much money as possible, these providers are the first two we’d recommend looking at.
What to look for in a Wi-Fi router
When you buy a new broadband deal, it will come with a router included.
You can choose to buy a better router, but this can be very expensive, and not all routers are compatible with each broadband provider. Most of the time, it’s best to use the included router.
Most included routers offer good Wi-Fi performance for small houses and flats. If you want the best possible Wi-Fi signal, look for a router with WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E compatibility – this is the latest Wi-Fi standard, with faster speeds and better signal over long distances.
Another good thing to think about when comparing different providers’ routers is the number of included Ethernet ports. If you want to plug game consoles or computers into the router, it’s good to have four Ethernet ports, rather than just two.
How to tell if a broadband provider has good customer service
While it might be tempting to buy broadband from the cheapest provider on the market, it’s also important to consider how good a given company’s customer service is, before signing a contract.
The last thing you want is to switch broadband providers and have your Wi-Fi drop out, or experience slow speeds, and not get any help from your provider when you call them.
In our reviews above, we’ve explained how good each broadband provider’s customer support is, based on our team’s experience using each company.
Another way to assess the customer satisfaction of a given broadband provider is to use Ofcom’s bi-annual customer experience report.
Every other year, Ofcom assesses the real-world customer experience of each major British broadband provider, and scores the companies based on the number of complaints received, how long it takes them to answer the phone, and a range of other customer satisfaction metrics.
This report can be a good way to see how good a given provider’s customer service is, on average.
Broadband contracts explained
When you buy a broadband deal, it will come with a certain contract length, normally either:
- 30 days (relatively rare).
- 9 months (only available for students with certain providers).
- 12 months.
- 18 months.
- 24 months.
You cannot leave a broadband provider before the end of the contract, unless you pay an exit fee. These exit fees are substantial – normally they amount to the entire remaining value of the contract, minus a small discount.
12 month or shorter contracts are great if you want the flexibility to leave a certain provider at short notice. However, there are some advantages to long-term contracts:
- They normally have a lower upfront cost.
- They sometimes have a lower monthly cost.
- You won’t need to worry about re-contracting (and avoiding a huge price increase) until a long time in the future.
Will my broadband provider raise prices mid-contract?
Unfortunately, most broadband providers can raise your monthly costs mid-contract, as ridiculous as this is.
If there is an unexpected price increase you weren’t told about before signing the contract, you will be able to leave the agreement. However, most broadband contracts have inflation-linked price rises included, which you cannot avoid.
Normally what happens is, each April, your monthly cost will increase by a certain percentage (generally 3.9%) plus the rate of inflation, defined by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Fortunately, some broadband providers, especially smaller companies and altnets, promise not to increase your prices mid-contract. With the big providers though, like BT and Virgin Media, it is common to have your bills go up each April.
Do broadband deals come with unlimited downloads?
All broadband deals in the UK now come with unlimited data usage, subject to fair usage agreements.
You cannot run a business using your connection that downloads terabytes upon terabytes of data each month, but regular household usage, even using a lot of data, is not a problem with most broadband providers.
Some mobile broadband deals do come with data limits, but Three’s 4G and 5G home broadband offers currently include unlimited usage.
Do I need to pay for broadband line rental?
With most Openreach broadband plans, you must pay for line rental as a part of your broadband package.
The cost will be included in your monthly bill, so there will be nothing extra to pay, unless you want a home phone service.
With Virgin Media and altnets like Hyperoptic, you do not need to pay for line rental, since no telephone line is used to deliver broadband service.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Virgin Media and other fibre altnets are cheaper than BT and other Openreach providers. It’s best to compare the total costs of each of their deals to find which is cheapest.
Fibre vs mobile broadband explained
With advancements in mobile broadband technology, it’s now possible to use 4G or 5G as your main way of getting online at home.
These technologies can offer download speeds of around 50 Mbps with 4G, or 500 Mbps with 5G.
The advantages of using mobile broadband include:
- Easy setup (no engineer visit necessary).
- Portability – with some providers, you can pick up your router and use it anywhere in the country with mobile internet signal.
- Cost – with 5G broadband, you can get ultrafast download speeds for much cheaper than it would cost using full fibre broadband.
The downside to wireless internet is it’s often less consistent than using fibre. Your latency will be higher, potentially leading to lag when playing online games.
However, it can be a great way to get fast download speeds for a much cheaper price, if you have good 5G signal in your area.
How to switch broadband provider
If switching between different Openreach broadband providers (such as from TalkTalk to Plusnet), all you need to do is place your order with your new provider. They will cancel the old connection for you, and ship your router in the mail.
Once the router arrives, and the connection is activated, you can set it up, and get online. An engineer visit may be necessary if upgrading to a faster connection.
The process is similar when switching between broadband providers on different networks (such as from Virgin Media to BT), except you’ll need to cancel the old connection yourself, and give a month’s notice before leaving.
You can avoid downtime by making sure that the old connection ends after your new one is scheduled to start.
When switching between networks, an engineer visit will almost certainly be necessary, unless you have previously used the provider you’re switching to at your address before.
To learn more, read our guide explaining how to switch broadband providers.
This is the end of our broadband buyer’s guide.
Remember, when shopping for a broadband deal, the most important thing to decide is what speed you need. Then, it’s a matter of finding the best providers that offer this speed at your address, and seeing which offers the best value for money, along with good customer service.
If you’re still not sure which broadband provider to choose, leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
About the author
Tyler is the co-founder of Broadband Savvy. He has been helping people improve their broadband connectivity since 2018 by writing about fibre broadband and mobile broadband providers, as well as creating tutorials to help people improve their broadband speeds and Wi-Fi signal.
Tyler is responsible for the majority of buyer’s guides and broadband reviews published on Broadband Savvy. He has a wealth of experience testing and reviewing different broadband tariffs, including fibre internet plans, as well as 4G and 5G broadband deals. He is responsible for testing and evaluating Wi-Fi routers, performing speed and latency tests, and comparing the value for money of different broadband providers on the market in the UK.
Before co-founding Broadband Savvy, Tyler had a long history of tinkering with computers. He built his first PC at the age of 12, and since then, he’s become obsessed with all things networking and internet-related. He’s a massive gamer, loves Rocket League, and also plays Sunday League football.