Compare Fibre Broadband: types of broadband, deals, and prices

In an era of remote working and HD streaming, a fast, reliable Internet connection is essential for most people. Buffering and connection dropouts are hugely disruptive to our online lifestyles, whether we’re watching Netflix shows or attending important Zoom meetings. This is why fibre broadband deals are so popular, as they offer customers a faster, more dependable online experience. 96% of the UK population can access superfast fibre broadband, partially due to the wide and competitive range of providers. However, when you compare fibre broadband deals from these companies, there are many factors to consider. This includes fibre broadband speeds, TV and phone bundles, and monthly costs.
Last updated in: June 2022

In this guide, we explain all you need to know as you compare fibre broadband providers and packages. We’ll cover everything from fibre optic broadband prices and packages to the benefits of fibre broadband. This guide also discusses ultrafast broadband and its availability.

What is fibre broadband?

Fibre broadband is a type of broadband connection that uses fibre optic cables to transfer data. These cables support faster Internet speeds than a basic asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) connection, which only uses copper phone lines.

What is fibre optic broadband?

Fibre optic broadband is another term for fibre broadband, a type of broadband that uses fibre optic cables to transfer data. It offers faster speeds than a basic ADSL connection.

How does fibre broadband work?

Fibre broadband uses fibre optic cables to transmit data via pulses of light rather than electrical signals. Data travels at much higher speeds down glass fibre optic cables, resulting in a faster connection – even when transmitting data over long distances.

Do I need fibre optic broadband?

If you’re doing anything more than casually browsing the Internet, it’s unlikely that ADSL will meet your needs. A fibre broadband connection can easily handle streaming or video calling, even when multiple people in a household are online at once. Fibre broadband deals come at a similar price to ADSL, so fibre is definitely worth having.

What are the benefits of fibre broadband?

Fibre broadband provides a range of benefits that you won’t get with a basic connection. This includes better Internet speeds than ADSL broadband offers and a greater capacity to connect an entire household or office at once:


Benefits of Fibre Broadband
Benefit Explanation
Faster Internet speeds Fibre broadband enables faster uploading and downloading.
Improved reliability You’re less likely to lose connection due to high speeds.
Better quality when streaming video or audio Fibre broadband supports high-quality video or sound.
Increased capacity for multiple devices Multiple devices can be online simultaneously, without connection issues.


Types of fibre broadband

There are a few types of fibre broadband to choose from, as summarised in the table below.

What is the difference between fibre and standard broadband?

The key difference between fibre and standard ADSL broadband is the type of cable used. Fibre broadband uses fibre optic cables to carry data at high speeds, whereas standard broadband uses slower, copper lines. The use of fibre optic cables makes fibre broadband much faster than standard broadband.

Another difference is that fibre broadband cables maintain high speeds, regardless of distance from the nearest telecoms exchange. This is unlike ADSL broadband, where speeds drop over long distances.

What is the difference between superfast, ultrafast and gigabit broadband?

There are three categories of fibre broadband speeds to consider when you compare fibre broadband deals. Broadband speeds are measured in megabits per second (Mbps) or gigabits per second (Gbps).


Fibre Broadband Speeds
Type of fibre broadband Also known as Connection type Download speeds Availability to UK properties (%)*
Superfast Fibre Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) 30-100Mbps 96%
Ultrafast Full Fibre Fibre to the premises (FTTP) 100-500Mbps 70.14%
Gigabit Hyperfast FTTP 500Mbps-1Gbps 46%


*The availability of broadband technology doesn’t reflect how many people actually use it. Note that the availability of superfast, ultrafast, and gigabit speeds may vary between providers and locations.

​​What is full fibre broadband?

Full fibre broadband gets you online with fibre optic cables only. It’s different to standard/superfast fibre, which uses fibre cables until the street cabinet; from there to your property, data travels along copper cables. Full fibre uses fibre cables the whole way, so there’s no slowdown from copper wires. This means you’ll get faster speeds than you would with FTTC broadband offers.

Is fibre broadband unlimited?

Across all of the major UK providers, their fibre broadband deals include unlimited Internet usage. This is standard for fibre broadband packages, so you won’t be restricted by download limits.

How can I find the best fibre broadband deal for me?

There are a range of factors to consider when finding the perfect fibre broadband deal in your area:


Fibre Broadband Factors to Consider
Factor Why it matters
Monthly price You’ll need to ensure you can afford the monthly payments.
Overall price Monthly costs may change during your contract, increasing the overall price.
Upfront/installation costs There may be extra costs during the setup process, e.g. engineers’ visits.
Contract length If you can’t commit to the full contract, you may face early cancellation fees.
Broadband speeds Your fibre broadband deal should provide speeds to suit your household’s needs.
Type of fibre broadband Some fibre deals may not be available in your area due to local infrastructure.
TV or phone bundles Many providers bundle TV and phone services with broadband, which can save you money.
Customer service If you need technical support, it’s important to have access to decent customer service.
Free bonuses Some fibre broadband deals include free bonuses which add value.


What is the best fibre-optic broadband deal?

When you compare fibre broadband deals, you’ll need to think about prices, providers, contract lengths, and more.

How much is fibre broadband?

The price of fibre broadband varies between providers, contract lengths, and types of fibre broadband. However, FTTC superfast broadband is available from around £20 per month, which is a similar price to a standard broadband connection.

The table shows the average monthly cost of fibre broadband according to Ofcom’s 2021 Pricing Trends Report. Note that you could pay far less each month by shopping around and comparing fibre broadband deals.


Average Monthly Fibre Broadband Cost
Connection type Average monthly cost Notes
Superfast (FTTC) £39.75 Including phone service
Ultrafast (FTTP) £61.90 Including phone service
Gigabit (FTTP) £50-£70


As gigabit speeds aren’t widely available, Ofcom hasn’t reported its average costs, but monthly prices tend to range between £50-£70. This makes a gigabit connection the most expensive form of fibre broadband – but it’s also the fastest.
*Note that broadband, TV, and phone bundles are likely to cost more than broadband alone.

Which providers offer fibre broadband?

Most UK telecoms providers offer fibre broadband deals. FTTC broadband is especially common, and you can access it from the following major providers:

  1. BT
  2. EE
  3. Virgin Media
  4. NOW Broadband
  5. Plusnet
  6. Sky
  7. TalkTalk
  8. Vodafone


 
FTTP broadband is gradually becoming more widely available, but not all providers offer full fibre yet. Major FTTP providers include:

  1. BT
  2. EE
  3. Virgin Media
  4. Sky
  5. TalkTalk
  6. Vodafone

*Please note that these providers may not offer full fibre coverage in your area just yet.

Compare fibre broadband deals

Here are the best FTTC broadband deals offered by each major provider.


FTTC Broadband Deals
Provider Deal Monthly cost Overall cost Contract length in months Average download speed Phone line included? Notes/Bonuses
BT Fibre Only £27.99 £671.76 24 50Mbps No £70 reward card
EE Fibre Broadband £26 £624 24 36Mbps No
Virgin Media M100 Fibre Broadband £24 £432 18 108Mbps No
NOW Broadband Super Fibre Broadband £21 £257..00 12 63Mbps Yes
Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra £24.99 £449.82 18 66Mbps Yes £75 reward card
Sky Superfast 35 £25 £450 18 36Mbps Yes
TalkTalk Fibre 65 £23.50 £423 18 67Mbps Yes £60 reward card
Vodafone Superfast 2 £22 £528 24 67Mbps Yes £75 reward card


Compare full fibre broadband deals

Here are the best FTTP broadband deals offered by each major provider. Note that their availability may be limited by your location.


Best FTTP Broadband Deals
Provider Deal Monthly cost Overall cost Contract length in months Average download speed Phone line included? Notes/Bonuses
BT Full Fibre 100 £35.99 £863.76 24 150Mbps No £50 reward card
EE Full Fibre Max 500 £40.50 £972 24 500Mbps No Free Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Virgin Media M350 Ultrafast Fibre £28 £576 18 362Mbps No Access to Priority perks
Sky Broadband Ultrafast £34.00 £612 18 145Mbps Yes
TalkTalk Fibre 150 £29.95 £539.10 18 145Mbps No £60 voucher
Vodafone Pro Ultrafast 200 £38.00 £912 24 200Mbps No £75 voucher


Which is the best fibre broadband provider?

What defines the ‘best’ provider depends on what you look for when you compare fibre broadband deals.


Best Broadband Provider
Factor Best fibre broadband provider
Lowest prices NOW Broadband and Vodafone
Fastest speeds Virgin Media
Customer support EE
Free bonuses BT and Sky


Can I bundle fibre broadband offers?

You can access fibre broadband as part of a bundle including TV or landline phone services. This usually works out cheaper than buying these services separately. It’s worth noting that not all providers offer fibre broadband deals as part of landline or TV bundles.

Fibre broadband and TV deals

Here is a comparison of the cheapest fibre broadband and TV deals available from each provider.


Cheapest Fibre Broadband and TV Deals
Provider Deal Monthly cost Overall cost Contract length in months Broadband type Average download speed Phone line included? Channels included Notes/bonuses
BT Entertainment + Fibre 2 £48.99 £1,175.76 24 FTTC 67Mbps No 136+ and NOW TV membership £100 reward card
Virgin Media Big Bundle £33 £629 18 FTTC 54Mbps Yes 100+ Inclusive weekend calls
NOW Broadband Fab Fibre + Entertainment £26.99 £328.88 12 FTTC 36Mbps Yes 20+ and NOW TV membership Inclusive anytime calls
Sky Sky TV, Superfast Broadband & Netflix £42 £756 18 FTTC 59Mbps Yes 145+ and Netflix membership N/A
TalkTalk Fibre 65 + TV £27.50 £495 18 FTTC 67Mbps Yes 110+ £60 voucher
Vodafone Pro Xtra Superfast 2 £38 £912 24 FTTC 67Mbps Yes Apple TV 4K membership £75 voucher


What fibre broadband contract length should I go for?

This depends on your budget and circumstances. If you’re looking to save money, going for a longer (e.g. 24-month) contract may entail a cheaper monthly rate. However, you’ll need to factor early cancellation fees into your decision, as you may be charged if you leave your contract early. Typically, the earlier you cancel after signing a contract, the more you’ll be charged – possibly resulting in expensive exit fees for long contracts.

Fibre broadband tower

Can I get fibre broadband in my area?

Fibre broadband is widely available across the UK, as 96% of the population can access a superfast connection. However, ultrafast connections aren’t available everywhere, as the rollout of full fibre broadband is still underway.
You can check the availability of full fibre broadband with Openreach’s checker.

Why can’t I get fibre broadband deals?

Fibre broadband deals are widely accessible – but you can’t access fibre speeds everywhere. There are a few reasons why you might be unable to get fibre broadband:

  1. Your property is too remote for fibre cables to reach
  2. You’re too far from the nearest street cabinet
  3. The local cabinet has reached its full capacity
  4. The wiring in your property is too outdated
  5. Nearby terrain (e.g. mountains) stops fibre reaching you

If you can’t access fibre broadband, you could consider a wireless mobile broadband deal instead.

Can I get fibre without phone line rental?

Despite the dwindling popularity of landlines, many providers still include them in fibre broadband deals. This means that line rental fees will likely be included in your monthly bill. However, you can purchase fibre broadband-only deals from some providers, including Virgin Media and BT. You can also get fibre without a phone line with a FTTP connection, which avoids phone lines entirely.

When will fibre come to my area?

Superfast fibre is available to 96% of the UK – meaning a few areas still don’t have fibre broadband. If your area still lacks fibre of any kind, you can ask your preferred provider to install fibre to your property. Full fibre isn’t as widely accessible, but its rollout is ongoing. Most providers allow you to see when and where they offer FTTP services using the postcode checkers on their websites, or via Openreach’s Ultrafast checker.

What fibre broadband speed do I need?

If you use the Internet frequently or for anything more than browsing the web, you’ll likely find that superfast speeds will meet your needs. It can support multiple devices and users at once, as 30-100Mbps can comfortably support high-bandwidth activities, such as online gaming or streaming. However, if you need the very best speeds or you’re sharing your broadband connection with other users, an ultrafast or gigabit connection is best. Even if you are a student you might need more than your average internet speed giving the emergence of hybrid student. Thanfuly there are student broadband deals that can help you out.

What else affects the speed of my broadband?

Besides your household’s online activities and usage, there are other factors that might affect your broadband speed:


Factors that Affect Broadband Speed
Factor Why it matters
Type of connection Different connection types (namely FTTC and FTTP) offer different maximum broadband speeds.
Location of router Wi-Fi signal strength may decrease due to obstructions (e.g. walls) between your router and device.
Time of day During peak times of Internet usage, you may experience reduced speeds.
Distance from cabinet With an FTTC connection, broadband speeds will decrease the further you live from your nearest street cabinet.


How to switch to fibre broadband

Fibre broadband is widely accessible across the UK, and most providers offer fibre broadband deals. This makes it simple to switch between an ADSL and fibre connection.

Is it worth switching to fibre?

If you’re still using an ADSL connection, it’s definitely worth switching to fibre broadband. You’ll enjoy much faster speeds and improved reliability at a cost that’s usually the same or cheaper than a basic connection.

How can I switch to fibre broadband?

The first step of switching to fibre broadband is checking whether you can access a fibre connection where you are. You can do this by looking at your chosen provider’s postcode checker. You may need an engineer to install your connection. Once you know you can get fibre, you can start to compare fibre broadband deals. If you’d like to switch without any hassle, get in touch with Papernest Broadband Plans – we’ll handle all your paperwork for free.

Are there any hidden fees when switching broadband providers?

When you compare fibre broadband deals, be wary of these hidden charges:


Fibre Broadband Deals – Hidden Charges
Hidden fee Why it matters
Cancellation fees You’ll likely face a cancellation fee when ending your existing contract. This may increase if you end your contract early.
Set-up/installation fees Some providers require you to pay a setup or activation fee to get you connected.
Temporary monthly prices There are fibre broadband deals which offer reduced costs for the first few months – after which, they’ll increase.
Download limits Some fibre broadband deals include download limits. Exceeding these limits can result in extra charges.


Do I need an engineer to install fibre?

You’re unlikely to need an engineer to install a superfast (FTTC) fibre broadband connection, which uses your existing home phone lines. If you’re switching to full fibre (FTTP) for the first time, you’ll need an engineer. They’ll be able to connect a fibre optic cable directly to your property.

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FAQ

💰 Is fibre broadband affordable?

Superfast fibre broadband deals are very affordable, thanks to a wide market of providers and prices. You can get a fibre broadband package for around £20 per month.

🤔 Is full-fibre better than optic fibre?

Both full fibre and standard fibre use optic fibre cables. However, as full fibre broadband uses only optic fibre cables – no copper lines – you’ll get much faster speeds than a standard FTTC connection offers.

🏡 Can I get fibre broadband at my house/postcode?

Yes, you probably can, as fibre broadband is available to 96% of the UK population. You can check if standard or full fibre broadband is available at your home with Openreach’s checker.

🕠 Will fibre broadband stop buffering?

When compared with an ADSL connection, you’re much less likely to experience buffering with fibre broadband. When you compare fibre broadband deals, look for highest upload speeds, which will minimise buffering.

Updated on 16 Jun, 2022

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kathryn

Broadband Specialist & Copywriter