While Virgin Media remain the fastest provider, there is increasing choice coming from full fibre providers including TalkTalk, Sky, BT and Vodafone, as well as independent full fibre networks like Community Fibre and Hyperoptic.
Over 76% of the UK can now access gigabit-capable broadband, with 900Mb - 1130Mbps the headline speed for the fastest broadband connections for home users.
The UK is also on target to reach 99% gigabit coverage by 2030, with multiple networks investing over £43 billion into the full fibre rollout.
At a glance: Fastest broadband
Virgin Media has the fastest speed with their Gig1 plan, which is now available across their entire network. TalkTalk holds a steady second place however, with 944Mbps average download speeds across both Openreach and CityFibre networks.
|Download speed (average)||Upload speed (average)||Monthly price||Upfront price||Contract term|
|Offer: No setup fee (was £35)|
|Offer: £75 Reward Card + Free P&P|
|Offer: New Ultra Hub with WiFi 6E + Super WiFi 6E Booster + Automatic 4G Broadband Back-Up|
|Offer: Save over £20/mth + No setup fee + Exclusive offers and discounts for Plusnet customers (Ends 13/12/2023)|
See the fastest broadband available in your area:
Verdict: Which provider is fastest?
The fastest widely available broadband in the UK is offered by Virgin Media on their Gig1 package. It offers average download speeds at peak times of 1.13Gbps, or 1130Mb per second.
Ofcom's latest research into broadband speeds, published March 2023, confirmed Virgin Media's top speeds as 1128Mbps at peak times, so it's holding out in real-world tests too.
Virgin Media Gig1 is 186Mbps faster than the second fastest widely available package, which is offered by TalkTalk on their Full Fibre 900 plan. This offers average download speeds at peak times of 944Mbps, and is provided over both the Openreach and CityFibre full fibre networks.
Overall, our research into broadband speeds found:
- Virgin Media offer the fastest average download speed at peak times
- TalkTalk offer the second fastest average download speed
- Community Fibre offers the fastest upload speeds at 920Mbps
- BT's full fibre to the home network has faster latency rates than Virgin Media's network
- Both Hyperoptic and Plusnet customers were the most satisfied with the speed of their service across two independent surveys of broadband customers
- Virgin Media offer the fastest whole home WiFi guarantee, promising speeds of 20Mbps in every room or money back
While there are pockets of even faster broadband, such as 3Gbps with Community Fibre in London, or even 10Gbps in select locations with YouFibre, these plans are both expensive, costing in excess of £100 per month, and have very limited availability.
Read on to find out more about the fastest broadband in the UK, or find out what the fastest broadband in your area is.
Fastest broadband deals
For those looking for the fastest broadband deal they can afford, here are some of the cheapest prices for fast broadband plans:
|Package||Broadband||Monthly price||Upfront price||Contract term|
|1Gbps Fibre Broadband||920Mb average||£25||Free||24 months|
|Offer: Installed in 48 hours + Free setup|
|Full Fibre 900||900Mb average||£41.99||Free||24 months|
|Offer: Save over £20/mth + No setup fee + Exclusive offers and discounts for Plusnet customers (Ends 13/12/2023)|
|Full Fibre 900||944Mb average||£45.99||Free||12 months|
|Offer: Money off for 12 months|
|Gig1 Fibre Broadband||1.13Gb average||£45||Free||18 months|
|Offer: No setup fee (was £35)|
The cheapest gigabit broadband at the time of writing is offered by Community Fibre at just £25 per month. However, this is limited to areas within London.
Second to that is Plusnet Full Fibre 900, which is priced at just £44.99 per month. With Shell Energy Broadband coming in at £45.99 per month, and Virgin Media's Gig1 plan on costing just £46 per month for new customers.
TalkTalk's Full Fibre 900 is also competitively priced at £49, but around the £50 mark is what most of the gigabit-capable packages cost.
For the latest pricing on the fastest broadband in your area, see our comparison page where you can check your postcode and order by Broadband Speed or Lowest Cost depending on your requirements.
Fastest broadband in your area
The fastest broadband you can get depends upon the networks available in your area, as well as the location of your property, for example how far away it is from the nearest exchange or street cabinet.
While fibre to the home connections mostly mitigate distance, it can still play a part, especially in areas where full fibre has yet to reach and customers are reliant on superfast fibre to the cabinet connections.
Virgin Media completed their network upgrade to gigabit speeds at the end of 2021, making it the most widely available gigabit-capable broadband in the UK. They currently pass 16.1 million premises, around 55% of UK homes, and have plans to further extend their network to a total of 23 million by the end of 2025.
Gigabit broadband overall, considering all networks, has so far reached over 76% of homes, and the Government aims to cover 85% by the end of 2025, and 99% by the end of 2030.
This is being achieved by full fibre networks including Openreach, who have passed over 10 million premises so far, CityFibre who have passed over 2.5 million, and a number of other independent networks including Hyperoptic, Community Fibre, and rural specialists like Gigaclear.
Ultimately the fastest broadband you can get depends on where you live and what's been made available to you so far.
To find out, enter your postcode in our broadband checker tool below to see the fastest broadband packages available for your home.
You can also use our full broadband availability checker, which can order results by speed as well as cost, and filter out what's most important to you.
Fastest broadband in London
People living in London have a little extra choice for their broadband provider thanks to dedicated London providers like Community Fibre and G.Network. As a densely urban area it also has good Virgin Media coverage, as well as Hyperoptic, and there is good Openreach full fibre availability too.
Community Fibre offer the fastest broadband in London achieving 3Gbps average download speeds at peak times on their top-tier plan. The package costs just under £100 a month, so it's not going to be for everyone, but it is the fastest broadband you can get in the capital.
Hyperoptic also have good availability across London, and while their fastest broadband plan, Hyperfast, only achieves 900Mbps on average at peak times. Yet, like Community Fibre, it also offers symmetrical upload speeds, so it's faster for uploading data than Virgin Media Gig1, despite Virgin having a faster download speed.
The fastest broadband in London includes:
|Download speed (average)||Upload speed (average)|
Fastest broadband in the UK
While Virgin Media offer the fastest average download speed, there are multiple factors that go into a fast-broadband experience, including upload speed and latency.
We can also look at jitter rates and existing customer satisfaction to get a more well-rounded look into how broadband providers are performing in terms of speed.
Average download speeds
Broadband providers can now only advertise speeds that at least 50% of their customers are actually receiving during the busiest times of 8pm to 10pm in the evening. As such, advertised average download speeds are now a much better indication of the speeds a broadband provider is delivering.
We can see from this then, that the fastest widely available broadband in the UK is offered by Virgin Media, as at least 50% of their customers achieve a download speed of 1.13Gb during peak times, which is 186Mbps faster than the next fastest provider, TalkTalk.
Here are the fastest broadband providers in the UK based on average download speeds experienced by the majority of their customers between 8pm and 10pm:
|Average download speed between 8pm and 10pm|
TalkTalk and Vodafone all use a combination of Openreach FTTP and CityFibre to deliver their gigabit broadband. While Virgin Media and Hyperoptic have their own dedicated fibre networks.
As well as being the fastest, Virgin Media also have the greatest availability of their gigabit broadband plan, passing 16.1 million premises. In comparison, TalkTalk Full Fibre 900 passes over 12.5 million, while Hyperoptic pass 1.15 million premises so far.
Real-world broadband speed research
Ofcom's latest research into broadband speeds, published March 2023, has reported on Virgin Media's fastest Gig1 package for the second time, as well as several full fibre packages on the Openreach FTTP network.
Only the biggest providers are included in Ofcom's research, which means Virgin Media's Gig1 plan is the only gigabit-capable package reported on. However, while we can't directly compare the results with equivalent packages, we can use the research to confirm whether or not Virgin are delivering their advertised speeds in real-world tests.
Here are the five fastest packages included in the report:
|Average download speed between 8pm and 10pm||Average download speed over 24 hours|
|Virgin Media Gig1||1127.67Mb||1138.79Mb|
|Virgin Media M500||514.59Mb||533.91Mb|
|TalkTalk Full Fibre 500*||451.34Mb||451.64Mb|
|BT Full Fibre 300||300.99Mb||302.34Mb|
*Results from an earlier report where TalkTalk 500Mb was included, for comparison purposes.
Virgin Media's Gig1 plan achieved average download speeds at peak times marginally slower at 1127.67Mbps than their listed average speeds of 1130Mbps, but higher over 24 hours at 1138.79Mbps.
Back in October 2022, when Ofcom first reported on real world speeds for the Gig1 plan, they found average download speeds of 1134.83Mb per second at peak time, so the performance has dropped ever so slightly.
Ofcom's panel base for the Virgin Media Gig1 plan was just 100 customers, yet it's reassuring they reported receiving close to the same average download speeds as the provider advertises.
Virgin Media's other packages, such as M500 and M350 also performed well, both beating their advertised average speeds at peak times. BT's full fibre to the premises plan was much closer to the mark at just over 300Mbps.
Satisfaction with speed of service
Choose carries out independent surveys of broadband customers. We ask customers to rate their provider out of 5 for whether they felt they experienced good broadband speeds, and additionally if they felt their Internet connection was generally stable.
|Speed (4 or above)||Reliability (4 or above)|
Hyperoptic had the most customers who were happy with the speed of their broadband service, with 87% rating them 4 or above out of 5. 77% of their customers also rated them 4 or above for the stability of their Internet connection.
As a full fibre provider, all of Hyperoptic's customers are on fibre to the premises connections, so this stands them in good stead for delivering fast broadband. This is also true for KCOM in Hull and Virgin Media, who also scored well for customer satisfaction with the speed of their broadband service in this survey.
It's worth bearing in mind, many of the other providers surveyed also offer fibre to the cabinet, as well as copper broadband, and so less customers are on ultrafast lines to begin with.
Zen Internet and Plusnet scored the highest out of the providers who also offer FTTC and copper connections. Plusnet have also proven themselves to be one of the most reliable broadband providers, winning our industry award for reliability in 2022.
We can also look at another independent survey of broadband customers, carried out by Ofcom, from May 2023.
|Satisfaction with speed of service||Satisfaction with service overall|
Ofcom found Plusnet had the most customers satisfied with the speed of their broadband service at 83%, with Vodafone, Virgin Media and EE all performing better than the industry average of 80%.
In addition, customers of Plusnet and EE had greater satisfaction with their service overall than the industry average. Although it's worth bearing in mind Sky and EE perform the best for customer service, and satisfaction overall is affected by more than just broadband speed.
Overall, from these two independent surveys we can say Hyperoptic, Zen Internet, KCOM, Virgin Media and Plusnet are all performing well in terms of customer satisfaction with how fast their broadband service is.
While we focus primarily on download speeds to determine the fastest broadband provider, upload speeds can vary much more widely.
Most people won't notice upload speeds too much because the majority of Internet activities retrieve data from the Internet, whereas upload speeds focus on data being sent to the Internet.
Activities that send a lot of data back to the Internet include online gaming, video calling and sending files to the cloud, such as when working on shared projects, or backing up data, like photos and videos, to cloud storage services.
Upload speeds can draw a bigger differential between broadband providers however, as some full fibre providers offer symmetrical upload speeds, which means they match the download speed, whereas other providers offer much slower upload speeds.
Here are the upload speeds for the fastest broadband packages:
|Upload speed (average)||Download speed (average)|
Hyperoptic has the fastest upload speed by a considerable amount, because their network offers symmetrical uploads. Whereas the Openreach FTTP providers offer much slower 110Mbps uploads in comparison to their gigabit download speeds.
Virgin Media have recently doubled the upload speeds on their gigabit plan to 104Mbps, bringing them more in line with their competition.
Ofcom's latest broadband speeds research revealed an interesting snapshot of real-world upload speeds across several of the fastest broadband packages.
The fastest upload speeds included in the report were:
|Average upload speed between 8pm and 10pm||Average upload speed over 24 hours|
|BT Full Fibre 300||51.46Mb||51.46Mb|
|Virgin Media Gig1||50.59Mb||51.22Mb|
|TalkTalk Full Fibre 500*||73.11Mb||73.01Mb|
*Results from an earlier report where TalkTalk 500Mb was included.
Ofcom's previous research in October 2022 found TalkTalk's Full Fibre 500 package offered the fastest upload speeds, with an average at peak times of 73.11Mb. This was over 20Mb faster than uploads on both BT's Full Fibre 300 plan, and Virgin Media's fastest Gig1 plan.
Yet, they didn't appear in the most recent research, which is surprising as the panel base available in the previous report was 264 customers.
BT's latest test was based on just 61 customers, and 100 customers reported on Virgin's Gig1 plan. Overall then, while the panel bases do vary in size, and are likely much smaller than the 50% figure the advertised average upload speeds are based on, they should still provide a fairly accurate insight into real-world experiences.
As mentioned, upload speeds won't be noticed by everyone, but online gamers and people who are looking for a fast broadband speed for uploading to the cloud or sharing data, may want to consider them.
A high latency rate, or ping, indicates that individual packets of data are being delayed and can contribute to a slower broadband experience. As with upload speeds however, latency really only affects a few Internet activities.
Online activities where a very fast response rate is required, such as online gaming, and video calls to some extent, may notice slow latency. For example, where a user inputs a movement to their gaming character, slow latency could mean they get fragged first, even if the user actually reacted first.
For BT's fibre to the premises and Virgin Media, we can compare latency rates from independent research by Ofcom, to get an even more granular look at which providers are actually the fastest.
|Latency (lower is better)||Users tested|
|BT FTTP 300Mb||7.76||61|
|BT FTTP 145Mb||7.73||62|
|TalkTalk Full Fibre 500*||9.10||307|
|Virgin Media M500||14.30||100|
|Virgin Media Gig1||16.18||100|
*Results from an earlier report where TalkTalk 500Mb was included.
Virgin Media customers reported noticeably slower latency figures than those of BT on their full fibre to the premises (FTTP) packages. In fact, Virgin Media's latency rates were slower than all of the Openreach fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) packages in the report too, with BT and Plusnet's FTTC packages reporting latency rates of 10.31 and 10.42 respectively.
In the previous report, TalkTalk's Full Fibre 500 plan reported a latency rate of 9.10 over 307 panellists. BT and Virgin Media had marginally slower latency this time than in the previous report as well.
While data on latency for the fastest providers is limited to just Openreach FTTP and Virgin Media, we can still draw a reasonable conclusion that Virgin Media has slower latency rates than both Openreach FTTP connections and Openreach FTTC connections as well.
So Virgin Media may not be the best choice for dedicated online gamers.
Where latency can indicate a slower broadband experience for some activities, high jitter rates provide more of an indication of a slow or faulty broadband connection.
|Jitter (lower is better)||Users tested|
|BT FTTP 145Mb||0.04||62|
|BT FTTP 300Mb||0.07||61|
|Virgin Media M350||0.18||100|
|Virgin Media M500||0.17||100|
|Virgin Media Gig1||0.40||100|
Openreach full fibre provided by BT had lower jitter rates at just 0.04 to 0.07, compared to Virgin Media who had jitter rates of 0.16 to 0.40 across their M100 to Gig1 packages.
For jitter however, Virgin Media did perform better, or at least in line with Openreach FTTC packages, which reported average jitter rates over 24 hours between 0.25 and 0.37.
Overall then, while Virgin Media offer the fastest widely available broadband in the UK, other factors can contribute to the speeds a user experiences, including both upload speeds and latency, and for these metrics Virgin Media is beaten by BT, TalkTalk, and other Openreach FTTP providers, as well as full fibre specialists Hyperoptic with their symmetrical upload speeds.
Since Ofcom established a voluntary code on broadband speeds in 2020, which sets out a requirement to provide a minimum speed, several broadband providers now commit to minimum speed guarantees, while others go beyond this to offer their own unique guarantees on speed.
Minimum speed guarantees
So far, nine broadband providers have signed up to Ofcom's code, including BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, NOW Broadband, TalkTalk, Utility Warehouse, Virgin Media and Zen Internet.
The code requires providers to give customers a minimum guaranteed download speed at the time of purchase, and if this speed is subsequently unmet, the customer should be free to leave their contract without penalty.
Looking at the providers with the fastest average download speeds, we checked the minimum guaranteed speeds for each of the providers:
|Advertised average download speed||Minimum guaranteed download speed||Expected speed range|
|Virgin Media||1130Mb||565Mb||1073 - 1138Mb|
|TalkTalk||944Mb||725Mb||875 - 948Mb|
|Sky||900Mb||600Mb||780 - 930Mb|
Note that while Vodafone list a minimum speed and say if customers don't get that speed and they can't resolve the issue within 30 days they can leave penalty free, they're not yet signatories of the voluntary code of practice.
To obtain the minimum speeds we used the same location in Brighton. However, note that minimum speeds could vary depending on location.
It's worth bearing in mind each provider may have different policies in terms of how they set minimum guaranteed speeds, although those signed up to the code of practice should personalise them to individual properties.
However, from this, we can see that TalkTalk, BT and Sky provide more generous minimum speeds, while Virgin Media and especially Vodafone are much more conservative, which could indicate increased chances of a slower experience for some customers.
While Virgin Media have a fairly low minimum guaranteed download speed, we also know a larger proportion of their customers receive faster speeds than the UK average.
As of their Q4 2022 financial year, Virgin Media reported the average speed amongst all their customers was 301Mb, which is four times faster than the UK's average download speed of 65Mb according to Ofcom.
In addition, Virgin Media Volt customers receive 452Mb on average, over 150Mb faster than for non-Volt customers.
WiFi speed guarantees
While the fastest broadband speeds will always be experienced over wired connections via ethernet cables directly to the router, most people will use WiFi at home, especially for devices such as mobiles and tablets, but even laptops are likely to be used wirelessly.
Broadband providers have been increasingly offering 'WiFi guarantees' as added extras with their broadband plans, effectively promising minimum download speeds throughout an entire house, or some money-back (sometimes) if the provider fails to deliver.
By making use of mesh technology in newer routers, providers offer these guarantees on the basis they'll provide free mesh extenders that can now seamlessly extend a wireless network around larger homes.
Overall, we know Virgin Media offer the fastest guaranteed WiFi speed of 30Mbps in every room, or customers get a £100 bill credit. They also provide the guarantee for free for customers on their fastest Gig1 plan, as well as Volt customers.
We've more details on each provider's broadband speed guarantee in this guide, which compares the relevant details and what each provider will offer if they fail to deliver minimum WiFi speeds around a customer's home.
Gigabit broadband rollout
As we've seen, the fastest broadband in the UK is primarily based on gigabit broadband deals from various networks, and while coverage is now over 76%, these faster connections are still being rolled out.
However, all of the networks have ambitious roll out plans and targets including Virgin Media, who recently announced a £4.5 billion investment to bring their broadband to an additional 7 million premises and increasing their coverage from 55% to 80% of the UK.
Virgin Media also committed in 2021 to upgrading their entire network to fibre to the premises by the end of 2028, and have now started switching on new sections of network using the latest XGS-PON technology.
Openreach, who provide broadband to BT, TalkTalk, Sky, EE, Plusnet and others, have a much smaller footprint than Virgin Media currently in terms of gigabit broadband. However, they intend to extend their full fibre network to 25 million premises by the end of 2026, which would surpass both Virgin's current and planned coverage.
CityFibre, a full fibre network resold by both TalkTalk and Vodafone has currently reached just over 2.5 million premises, however they too have rapid expansion targets, aiming to reach 8 million by the end of 2025.
There are also impressive coverage plans being announced by the smaller full fibre providers too. Community Fibre, who so far pass 932,000 homes in London, are aiming to pass more than half of all homes in the capital by the end of 2024, expanding to 2.2 million premises.
Hyperoptic, who've now passed 1.15 million premises, also aim to cover 2 million homes by the end of 2023. While Gigaclear, a rural full fibre provider, aim to reach 500,000 premises by the end of 2024, building on their existing footprint of over 380,000 premises.
We can see then there are multiple full fibre networks aiming to achieve the Government's gigabit broadband target of nationwide availability by 2030. Although, as with superfast broadband which has now reached over 97% coverage, it's the final few areas that are the hardest to reach, with 5G mobile broadband likely needed to fill in some gaps.
What broadband speed do you need?
Ofcom's latest Connected Nations 2022 report, they estimated full fibre take-up where it was available was at just 25%. In addition, they said just 9% of those where full fibre was available signed up to gigabit broadband packages.
While the gigabit broadband roll-out is helping to future proof the UK, these low take-up figures do raise the question as to whether or not the majority of broadband customers really need gigafast broadband speeds.
It's true that for most households, fibre broadband connections between 35Mb and 70Mb are more than adequate. And its only really heavy Internet use, where multiple people are using the Internet at the same time where faster speeds are more needed.
Online gamers need responsive broadband connections with low latency and high reliability, but even this could be achieved with full fibre packages from 50Mb to 100Mb
Even 4K Ultra HD streaming is said to only need a minimum broadband speed of 25Mb.
Where these ultrafast and gigafast packages can help however, is when we have a large household where multiple people are using the Internet at the same time for different activities.
Here are some examples of minimum broadband speed requirements:
|Minimum speed requirement|
|Streaming 4K video||30Mb|
|Streaming HD video||5Mb|
|Online gaming (Xbox or Playstation 5)||3Mb minimum|
|Downloading games||50Mb recommended|
|Zoom video calling in HD||3.8Mb for 1080p|
As you can see, you don't need massively fast broadband to carry out most online activities. However, a slow connection can be frustrating and won't support multiple users trying to do anything at the same time.
The 3Mb minimum speed requirements for online gaming and zoom above come from the manufacturers themselves. However, we'd consider these speeds to be absolute minimums, and are unlikely to result in the best experience.
Read more about what broadband you need in this guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the fastest broadband plan in the UK?
Virgin Media offer the fastest widely available broadband in the UK, with average download speeds at peak times of 1.13Gb per second. It's 186Mbps faster than the second fastest package at 944Mbps, offered by TalkTalk.
Where is gigabit broadband available?
Gigabit broadband speeds are now available to over 76% of the UK, with coverage varying between urban and rural areas thanks to funding from the Government under the Project Gigabit scheme, as well as dedicated rural providers like Gigaclear and B4RN.
What is the fastest broadband possible?
YouFibre offer some residential properties on their network speeds of up to 10,000Mbps, or 10Gbps, if they want them. This plan was previously reserved for business customers, and costs from £250 per month + VAT, so it's an expensive option. YouFibre is also only available to 130,000 premises so far. Most households would find 1Gbps packages more than enough and cost from as little as £25 per month.
How fast can Virgin Media's network actually go?
Virgin Media have been upgrading their entire network to fibre to the premises technology that can theoretically achieve symmetrical 10Gbps download and upload speeds. They also previously successfully trialled real-world download speeds of 2.2Gbps, with 214Mbps uploads on average. So far, however their fastest available package offers 1.13Gbps downloads on average at peak times.
What's the fastest router for the best WiFi speeds?
The latest WiFi 6 protocol is capable of delivering speeds of up to 9.6Gbps across multiple wireless channels, although it's unlikely real-world speeds would be this fast. WiFi 6 routers either use dual or tri bands, with more bands offering increased coverage, bandwidth and combined speeds. We look at a range of WiFi 6 routers that can help improve broadband speeds here.
Summary: Who is the fastest provider?
Overall, Virgin Media offer the fastest broadband that's also widely available, with their Gig1 package that delivers 1.13Gbps download speeds to at least 50% of their customers at the busiest times of 8pm to 10pm.
Virgin Media also currently have the greatest coverage of gigabit broadband in the UK reaching over 55% of premises. Although they may be overtaken by Openreach who have ambitious plans for their gigabit broadband to reach 86% by 2026.
On average, Virgin Media customers receive download speeds four times faster than the UK average, achieving 301Mbps in comparison to 65Mb. The provider has also recently boosted their entry-level broadband plans from 108Mbps to 132Mbps and 213Mbps to 264Mbps, so even customers on cheaper deals get to benefit from faster broadband.
However, as we've seen, download speeds aren't the only factor to consider when looking for the fastest broadband.
Hyperoptic's symmetrical upload speeds may offer a better all-round broadband experience for some users, and online gamers may want to ensure their provider has low latency rates, such as Openreach FTTP providers like Plusnet and TalkTalk.
Satisfaction among existing customers relating to the speed of their service is also a worthwhile factor to consider, with Hyperoptic and Plusnet performing the best across two independent surveys.
We've also got more on ultrafast broadband, including how it works and where it's available.