Superfast Broadband is being rolled out fast across the UK, with more than half of British homes and businesses potentially now eligible for Openreach's Superfast Fibre services. Here's our guide on how to find out whether you qualify and what to expect when you upgrade.
Why do I need it?
One of the inescapable realities of modern life is that so much of what we do requires a reliable and quick internet connection.
In the home, increasingly more of the equipment we all own relies on Wi-Fi - not just computers and games consoles but televisions and even some kitchen appliances too. If you want everything to work at the same time, you need to upgrade.
For businesses, this demand is magnified even more. Providing customers with swift and hassle-free service is a prerequisite for any start-up that wants to get off the ground, and for that - generally speaking - you need tip-top internet at your employees' fingertips.
How do I find out if I'm eligible?
Whether you are eligible for superfast broadband in the UK is contingent on your location, as cabinents supporting the service aren't yet available absolutely everywhere.
Most urban areas in Britain - particularly in the South of England - are generally well-served, which means you shouldn't have to worry about relocating.
For businesses, it can be slightly more complex, as some of the cheaper land rental opportunities are often found in the suburbs or even in remote locations. Your best bet is checking before you commit to a new operational site.
In order to find out whether your location qualifies, head on over to https://www.homeandbusiness.openreach.co.uk/ and punch in the relevant postcode. You can then get your answer in a matter of seconds.
Which companies are best?
Note that Openreach is merely the UK-wide service which installs and facilitates Superfast Fibre Broadband - the companies that then rent the lines to you and provide your customer support are completely separate.
Below are some of the major British operators, together with a summary of the kind of service they typically provide.
The advantages of sourcing internet services from BT should be obvious to anyone who has tried to go with anyone else. They already own the lines that connect to UK homes which means you avoid the hassle of having to coordinate a changeover. Their Infinity package offers speeds of up to 52MB, with unlimited calls and an 18 month contract. The price is around £40 per month, or more if you want TV channels as well.
Remember to check whether your address is served by companies other than BT, as well as being served by the Openreach initiative itself. Vodafone is a good alternative in terms of speed, and its set up costs (currently nothing) are favourable compared to BT. However, calls will be charged individually. Also an 18 month contract.
If you have any doubts about the customer service of Virgin - which has received some negative press over recent years - try and speak to other users to find out whether it's right for you. In terms of price, Virgin isn't bad, at £33 a month and start-up fees of £20. They also offer a 12 month contract for Superfast services, which is better suited to short-term tenants.
Be advised that with all of the above services, you will likely not have the option of breaking the contract early. If you agree to 18 months, you have to pay the full 18 months - and opting out before often means hefty cancellation fees.
There are many contracts for broadband with different length, speed and price. We will list the ones we recommend and are worth considering if you need superfast broadband:
- Virgin offer 516MB average speed on 18-month contract with unlimited downloads for just £46 per month. They charge £35 setup fee but that's all that you have to pay extra. The rest is just your monthly charge of £46 per month and superfast broadband. The good thing is that phoneline is not required.
- Talktalk offer 67 MB average speed on 18-month contract with unlimited downloads at £23.95 per month and no setup fee.
- EE offer a similiar deal to the above - 67 MB average speed, unlimited downloads, no setup fee at £27 per month.
It's up to you to decide who you choose as a provider. Make sure that the coverage in your area is good.
You may want to read about: Broadband, TV & Phone Packages.