When it comes to getting a broadband deal, location is everything. The packages you can choose from will depend on your postcode - that's why our Broadband Unbundled tool allows you to search which providers, speeds and prices are available in your area to give you a true comparison.
How broadband availability varies
The broadband that's available to you will depend on where in the country you are. Broadband infrastructure - ie, the wiring - and providers vary according to postcode. As a general rule, if you live in a big town or city you're likely to have a decent choice and get the best speeds. Live out in the sticks, and you may struggle.
Most broadband providers (including BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet and many more) operate off the BT Openreach network - which is in the process of splitting from BT as this article was written.
As a general rule for the providers above:
- Standard speed broadband with average peak speeds around 10Mb is available in 99% of the UK, though there are still the odd pockets where you can't get it.
- Fibre-optic broadband with average speeds between 8pm-10pm of 30Mb to 67Mb is less common - it's still being rolled out across the UK but around 90% can get it.
What about Virgin Media?
The big exception is Virgin, which runs its own separate fibre-optic cable network. This covers a smaller area - just over 50% of households. But if you're in the right area it can be very fast, offering top speeds of 350Mb.
It's worth noting broadband and home phone service work a little differently in some places in and around Hull - the city has an entirely independent telecoms network run by KCOM, also known as Kingston Communications.
How to check what's available in your area
The simplest way to navigate this postcode lottery is to use our free Broadband Unbundled tool.