Do you wonder which cities have the fastest internet speed in the UK and what are the fastest broadband providers available? In this article you will find all answers to your questions. There are many factors that affect the speed and quality of your internet connection. The technology used, your location, the number of people in your household you share the connection with and the device you use are only some of these factors. Every household has access to the oldest broadband, which uses the outdated copper-wire telephone network Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), while fibre broadband is available to 96% of the population.
Last update: November 2021
However, the actual internet speed you can get also depends on where you live. Bigger cities and urban locations have access to the fastest fibre broadband due to the more modern technology, which is already in place. Smaller and ruler locations are still on the waiting list to get access to ultrafast speeds.
Where can you find the fastest internet?
A report from mobile benchmarking company RootMetrics has used the data they gathered for their previous H2 2020 study to rank 16 of UK’s biggest cities with the fastest internet measured by their aggregate download speed on 4G and 5G networks. Aggregate median download speeds is the overall median download speeds recorded on all network technologies, such as 5G and 4G for each operator in a city.
- Based on their research, Liverpool came to the first place with an average speed of 43.6Mbps.
- In 2019, Birmingham held the top place, while now it moved down to the second place with an average speed of 40.2Mbps. The difference between the aggregate speeds of the 4 fastest cities in the UK is minor.
- That gap becomes much larger when comparing Liverpool’s speed to those of some much bigger cities. Although London is the biggest city, it is about 10Mbps slower compared to Liverpool.
- The gap between the cities extends to 20Mbps when comparing the top and bottom ranked cities. Overall the UK is positioned on the 28th place in the world fastest internet speed ranking.
How is internet speed measured?
Internet speed refers to the speed at which data or content gets transferred to your device. The speed of this data is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). One megabit is equal to 1,024 kilobits. This conversion means 1.0 Mbps is more than 1,000 times faster than 1.0 kilobits per second (Kbps). High-speed internet connection, known as broadband, is defined by download speeds of at least 768 Kbps and upload speeds of at least 200 Kbps. The difference between download speeds and upload speeds is that download speed refers to the rate that data is transferred from the internet to your device, while upload speed is the rate that online data is transferred from your device to the internet.
|Speed Rank||City||Population||Population Rank||Aggregate median download speed (Mbps)|
|16||Leeds and Bradford||2,393,300||3||22.0|
Which broadband providers have the fastest internet speed?
Now that you know which cities have the fastest internet, you are probably wondering which providers are able to deliver it. There are over 150 broadband providers in the UK and many of them offer fast internet and good deals. However, if you are looking for the top 3 fastest broadband packages available on the market, you can find them below!
|Provider||Broadband plan||Speed||Term||Monthly price||Set up fee|
|Virgin Media||Gig1 Fiber Broadband||1104Mb average unlimited||18 months||£60||£35|
|Hyperoptic||Hyperfast 1Gb broadband||900Mb average unlimited||24-month minimum||£35 for 24 months, then £60||£0|
|Vodafone||Pro Gigafast 900 broadband||910Mb average unlimited||24-month minimum||£60||£0|
Virgin Media has many packages available that you can choose from. You can access broadband speeds of up to 514Mb on their most widely available package, but if you want the fastest internet speed available in the UK, their Gig1 fibre broadband plan can offer it.
Virgin Media provides internet speed of more than 1Gb to users located primarily in cities with their own cable network, which allows them to be the fastest broadband provider in many locations around the UK. With the expansion of the Gig1 fibre broadband, they are able to offer the fastest possible speed for 10 million households.
The main obstacle is that Virgin Media is still not available in many rural areas. They have already reached about 60% of the population with the goal of expanding their connection in many more areas. If you live in a bigger city you might be able to get their ultrafast package! For £62 you can get their fastest Gig1 fibre broadband plan and if you want to add a phone to it, you only have to pay £2 on top.
The fastest tariff is available in almost 7 million sites in the following cities:
- Northern Ireland
You can find the Gig1 package in most of the big sites, but if you are living in an area that you cannot get this, you can benefit from Virgin’s media most widely available package – the M500 broadband, which offers a speed of up to 516Mb for £62 a month.
|Broadband plan||Speed||Term||Monthly price||Set up fee|
|Gig1 Fiber Broadband||1104Mb average unlimited||18 months||£60||£35|
|M500 Fiber Broadband||516Mb average unlimited||18 months||£62||£35|
Hyperoptic is another very fast internet provider that offers speeds of up to 900Mb to over 400,000 households around the UK. Currently, they are available in around 40 locations, including the biggest cities.
Instead of using the Openreach network, like most providers, the company has its own fibre network. This makes it possible for them to offer their iconic 1Gb package, which they claim to be over 11x faster than the UK’s average broadband internet.
If you cannot find their fastest package, you can check if you have access to their Ultrafast broadband deal, which offers very fast internet speeds of 500Mb.
What is different with Hyperoptic is that they expand on a building-by-building basis rather than moving wholesale into an area. This means that even if the provider is available in your town, it does not mean that it is available in your building. Therefore, if you are interested in getting one of their deals, you will need to check if they are available specifically in your building! They plan to reach 2 million households by the end of 2021 and 5 million by 2025.
Hyperoptic is currently available in parts of the following locations:
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- Milton Keynes
- Bury St. Edmunds
|Broadband plan||Speed||Term||Monthly price||Set up fee|
|Hyperfast 1Gb broadband||900Mb average unlimited||24-month||£35 for 24 months, then £60||£0|
|Ultrafast 500 broadband||500 Mb average unlimited||24-month||£35 for 21 months, then £50||£0|
Vodafone is one of the most popular telecom companies globally. Vodafone Ultrafast and Vodafone Gigafast broadband plans offer speeds of up to 910Mb, while their Pro Gigafast 900 package is the fastest available. This is possible because they use the CityFibre and Openreach full fibre broadband networks available in select locations across the UK. Vodafone’s Gigafast Broadband is now available in 15 towns and cities across the UK, with rollout expected to reach 3 million households and businesses by the end of autumn 2021. With their Gigafast internet, they claim to provide 14x faster internet than the average broadband service in the UK.
You can find Vodafone’s full-fibre Gigafast broadband service in the following locations through the agreement with CityFibre:
- Milton Keynes
If you live in a different location and you still want to use Vodafone as your broadband provider, you should check for their Superfast 2 package that is more widely available. With it, you can benefit from 67Mb average speeds for the reasonable price of £20.
|Broadband plan||Speed||Term||Monthly price||Set up fee|
|Pro Gigafast 900 broadband||910Mb average unlimited||24-month minimum||£60||£0|
|Superfast 2||67Mb average unlimited||24-month minimum||£20||£0|
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What is the difference between standard, fibre and full fibre broadband?
The difference between the standard broadband and the fibre broadband is in the speed! Fibre broadband is faster and can offer a speed of up to 1 Gbps, while the standard broadband has a maxim of 11 Mbps speed. The difference is very big. This is possible because of the technology used to deliver fibre broadband.
Standard broadband is delivered through the copper-wire telephone network called Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), which is already very old and cannot support very fast internet speed. In fact, copper ADSL lines will be removed by 2025. To deliver fast internet, fibre broadband uses fibre-optic network systems.
As we already explained, standard broadband uses the outdated copper-wire telephone network Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), which is why you will not get the best internet out there. Due to this, the signal cannot travel as fast as it can through a fibre optic network system.Your download speed will be up to 11 Mbps and upload speed reaches a peak of 1 Mbps. Therefore, if you are looking for a faster internet connection and maximum speed, you should consider a fibre broadband plan!
Fibre broadband is available to 96% of households in the UK, and most of the internet users prefer it due to its fast internet speed delivery thanks to the modern fibre optic network. There are two different types of fibre broadband – Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). In the table below you can find the difference between the download and upload speeds.
Full Fibre broadband
Full fibre broadband is currently available to around 4.5 million homes in the UK. It uses fibre optic cables to deliver the internet. New cables need to be laid from the local cabinet to each individual home in the network. This means that you will not share your bandwidth with other households and you will be plugged straight into the data source. This will ensure ultrafast speeds of up to 1Gbs. The UK government has planned to complete the rollout of full fibre broadband around the country by 2025.
What is the difference between Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)?
Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) uses a combination of fibre and copper cables to get your household internet connection. This is the most commonly available form of fibre broadband. The speeds and reliability that you experience will be based on your proximity to the cabinet and with how many people you share this connection. With FTTC broadband you will be able to have download speeds up to 200Mbps, which should be enough for a normal household that does not require extremely fast internet. However, if you get FTTC broadband you
that you will still require a phone line, whether you use it or not.
Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) is the newer and fastest form of broadband available. With it you get a direct fibre connection to your home, which ensures much faster speeds and the most reliable connection possible. With FTTP broadband you can use ultrafast speeds of up to 1Gbps. However, it is not available in all areas or from all suppliers. Only around 14% of households can currently get FTTP.
|Connection Type||Speed Range|
|Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line||10-11 Mbps download 1 Mbps upload|
|Fibre To The Cabinet||30-80 Mbps download 10-20 Mbps upload|
|Fibre To The Premises||100 Mbps-1Gbps download Symmetrical upload|
What internet speed should you look for?
Choosing the broadband package and internet speed for you depends on your personal lifestyle, needs and what you usually use the internet for. If you are only using internet for simple activities, you might be good with a cheaper deal that doesn’t offer super fast internet. However, if you are working from home or you are a hardcore gamer, you might need to look into superfast or ultrafast internet packages to satisfy your needs.There are so many options to choose from on the market, which can sometimes be overwhelming. If you are not sure what internet speed to look for when choosing your next deal, we have some recommendations for you below!
Fast broadband speed is delivered by the copper-wire telephone network ADSL and is a good choice if your online activity is more simple. It is a good choice if you live alone or if you have a family with small children.
- Simple online browsing
- Online shopping
- Streaming HD videos
- Light games
Superfast fibre speed will give you better internet speed and it is a great choice for bigger households, where more people will use the WiFi network at the same time. It is also a great option if you are working from home and you need good internet connection all day.
- Downloading large files
- Moderate gaming
- Working from home
Ultrafast (300 Mbps- 3Gbps)
With ultrafast connection is great choice for if you require special internet speed to perform your work tasks or you are a big fan of online gaming. It is also good big households with many family members.
- Playing heavy games
- Working with heavy programs
- Download large files
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My city doesn't have ultrafast technologies, what can I do?
If the fastest internet packages are not available in your area, you should check for other deals available. Most households do not really need ultrafast internet. There are many packages available that provide good internet and reliable connection. If you still want to have a very fast internet connection, you can look for speeds between 35-300 Mbps.
Is 5G going to outspeed traditional broadband?
5G is not yet widely available, with only 30% of the UK covered. If you use fibre broadband, you are already having a very fast internet connection. However, as 5G will cover more locations, it is possible that it can outspeed traditional broadband.
Updated on 18 Nov, 2021
Consumer Broadband Expert