Alternative fibre broadband networks (known as altnets) have seen significant growth in the UK over the past five years.
In many parts of the country, if you want fibre broadband, your choices are no longer limited to either Openreach or Virgin Media – you also have the option of choosing a smaller, alternative fibre broadband provider, such as Community Fibre, ZZoomm, or Hyperoptic.
But do these altnets offer competitive tariffs, compared to the incumbents? Which fibre networks are delivering the best service at the moment? And have the recent financial struggles of certain altnets affected the value that they offer consumers?
Gigabit broadband performance index
Here at Broadband Savvy, each year we analyse the performance of each full fibre broadband network in the UK.
We score each provider based on its monthly costs, upfront costs, upload speeds, premises covered, and a range of other factors, to see which is delivering the best value for consumers at the moment.
To be included, each fibre network had to cover at least 50,000 residential premises in the UK, as of the latest data released by the supplier.
|Rank||Network||Gigabit broadband monthly cost*||Upfront cost||Premises covered||Upload speed (Mbps)||Contract length options (months)||In contract price increases?||Price increase after contract expiry||TOTAL SCORE|
|1||Community Fibre||£25.00||£14.95||720,000 (Feb 2023)||Symmetrical||12/24||Yes||8%||11|
|2||Hyperoptic||£45.00||£0.00||1,150,000 (July 2022)||Symmetrical||1/12/24||No||33%||10|
|3||Toob||£25.00||£0.00||140,000 (Jul 2023)||Symmetrical||18||No||16%||9|
|4||Lightspeed||£39.95||£30.00||120,000 (Apr 2023)||Symmetrical||12/24||No||0%||8|
|4||Netomnia (YouFibre)||£29.99||£0.00||410,000 (Mar 2023)||Symmetrical||24||No||33%||8|
|4||CityFibre (Brillband)||£35.00||£35.00||2,900,000 (Aug 2023)||Symmetrical||18||No||14%||8|
|4||Brsk||£30.00||£0.00||266,000 (Aug 2023)||Symmetrical||1/24||No||Unknown||8|
|4||Zzoomm||£29.95||£0.00||150,000 (Jun 2023)||Symmetrical||12||No||33%||8|
|4||Lit Fibre||£45.00||£0.00||140,000 (Jul 2023)||Symmetrical||12/18/24||No||44%||8|
|4||Lightning Fibre||£39.00||£0.00||60,000 (Sep 2022)||Symmetrical||1/12/24||No||26%||8|
|5||Virgin Media||£50.00||£0.00||16,140,000 (Feb 2023)||104||24||Yes||0%||7|
|5||BeFibre||£30.00||£0.00||100,000 (Jun 2023)||Symmetrical||24||Yes||63%||7|
|5||WightFibre||£49.95||£0.00||57,000 (Aug 2023)||Symmetrical||1||No||0%||7|
|5||Trooli||£46.00||£0.00||275,000 (Aug 2022)||300||24||No||0%||7|
|5||Digital Infrastructure (BeFibre)||£30.00||£0.00||100,000 (Jun 2023)||Symmetrical||24||Yes||63%||7|
|5||M53 (Open Fibre)||£38.99||£0.00||100,000 (Apr 2023)||Symmetrical||24||Unknown||Unknown||7|
|6||Openreach (Vodafone)||£42.00||£0.00||10,000,000 (Mar 2023)||109||18||Yes||Unknown||6|
|6||Gigaclear||£49.00||£0.00||450,000 (Jun 2023)||Symmetrical||18||Yes||61%||6|
|6||Fibrus||£39.99||£0.00||256,000 (May 2023)||300||24||No||50%||6|
|6||G.Network||£48.00||£29.00||400,000 (May 2022)||Symmetrical||1/12/24||No||25%||6|
|6||Jurassic Fibre||£39.00||£0.00||150,000 (Jun 2023)||200||24||No||Unknown||6|
|6||Truespeed||£39.00||£0.00||75,000 (May 2023)||Symmetrical||12||No||Unknown||6|
|7||KCOM||£69.99||£24.99||300,000 (Jan 2023)||180||24||Yes||4%||5|
|8||OFNL (Pure Broadband)||£45.00||£50.00||50,000 (estimated, Sep 2022)||Symmetrical||24||Yes||Unknown||3|
|8||Ogi||£60.00||£0.00||60,000 (Jul 2023)||90||12/24||Yes||Unknown||3|
|9||GoFibre||£69.00||Unknown||50,000 (Jul 2023)||100||12/24||Yes||Unknown||1|
*Price of a broadband package with an advertised average download speed of 900-1,130 megabits per second (Mbps), except for Gigaclear which offers 830 Mbps. As of 14/08/2023. Price recorded based on the default contract length where multiple contract lengths are available.
Complete data with scoring can be viewed here.
Winner: Community Fibre
Community Fibre was found to be the best gigabit broadband provider in the UK, in large part because of how price-competitive they are.
Gigabit broadband costs just £25.00 per month with Community Fibre – significantly lower than the average across all networks, which is £43.40.
For new customers, Community Fibre offers the choice of a 12 or 24 month contract. When the initial agreement is over, the monthly cost rises to £27.00 – just an 8% increase – although Community Fibre does have provisions in place to implement mid-contract price rises.
You also get access to gigabit upload speeds with Community Fibre, and although its tariffs do have an upfront cost, this connection fee is much lower than what most other providers charge, at just £14.95.
Runner up: Hyperoptic
Although Hyperoptic is not as cheap as Community Fibre, its broadband offering performs extremely well in other areas.
You get symmetrical download and upload speeds with Hyperoptic, and their service is currently available at 1.15 million homes (as of February), making them the second-biggest altnet in the country, behind CityFibre.
Hyperoptic also offers the choice of a 1 month, 12 month or 24 month contract – this flexibility is great for consumers who don’t necessarily want a long-term commitment. Plus, they charge no upfront costs, and promise no mid-contract price rises.
Hyperoptic lost out to Community Fibre primarily due to its prices. Currently, you’ll pay £45.00 per month for 900 megabits per second with Hyperoptic, rising to £60.00 per month at the end of the contract.
Cheapest gigabit broadband in the UK: Toob
As of the time of writing, Toob currently offers the cheapest gigabit broadband in the UK.
Currently, you can get a broadband package with a 900 Mbps download speed and a 900 Mbps upload speed for just £25.00 with Toob – nearly a third of what some other providers (such as KCOM) are offering.
Community Fibre also offers a £25.00 per month gigabit broadband tariff. However, they currently charge a £14.95 setup cost, while Toob offers free installation, making them the cheapest gigabit broadband provider in the country at the moment.
Toob also took the honour of third place in our overall rankings, largely due to the value for money that it offers consumers.
To assess the current performance of each gigabit network, we took into account:
- Current monthly costs for a 900-1,130 Mbps connection
- Upfront costs (if any)
- Number of premises covered
- Upload speeds
- Number of contract length options
- Whether the ISP can increase prices mid-contract
- How much monthly costs increase at the end of the contract
For each of these factors, we assigned a score. For example, if a provider states that they will not increase prices for customers in-contract, they received one point in this category. If they state that they can or will increase prices for customers in-contract, they received zero points in this category.
After assigning scores for each factor, we totalled the number of points for each broadband provider in order to rank them.
To assess the performance of networks with more than one public-facing supplier (such as Openreach) we chose the cheapest provider at the time of data collection, based on the monthly cost of its full fibre broadband package. We recognise that other more expensive providers may offer different contract length options, and different upfront/monthly cost structures. For all other networks, we assessed residential pricing when buying from the network provider’s website directly.
When collecting monthly cost data, we ignored introductory offers (such as half-price for the first month) and instead recorded the monthly cost during the contract once the introductory offer expired. Where a provider offered multiple contract length options, we assessed their monthly and upfront costs based on the default contract displayed on the website.
About the author
Tom is the founder of Broadband Savvy. He has more than five years’ experience writing broadband tutorials, reviewing routers and internet service providers, and explaining broadband-related concepts. Tom is experienced as a writer, and also produces videos for the Broadband Savvy YouTube channel.
He currently specialises in writing content for Broadband Savvy designed to help people understand broadband jargon and terminology, increase their download and upload speeds, and improve their Wi-Fi connectivity. Tom also occasionally contributes to buyer’s guides and review articles on Broadband Savvy, utilising his knowledge of the broadband market in the UK.
When he’s not writing about broadband, you’ll find him walking his dog (Rex) or playing agar.io.