Broadband in Aberdeen: Which provider is the best?

Last updated: 16 November 2020   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Most major broadband providers are active in Aberdeen, offering speeds of up to 900Mb in some areas.

For customers looking at superfast broadband packages, Plusnet is the cheapest option and they have a good customer service record to back up their credentials.

Vodafone Gigafast are the best ultrafast option, covering far more ground than the Openreach fibre network.

Yet with Virgin Media absent from the city and the surrounding area, customers looking for pay TV options alongside their broadband are limited to Sky, BT, TalkTalk and Plusnet.

aberdeen scotland city view


Best broadband packages in Aberdeen

Choosing the best broadband in Aberdeen depends on a household's requirements and how much they're willing to spend.

Here are the headlines:

Category Best broadband provider
Cheapest fibre broadband Plusnet
Cheapest standard broadband Plusnet
Fastest broadband Vodafone
Best broadband with home phone Now TV
Best broadband with TV Sky

Vodafone Gigafast: the fastest broadband available in Aberdeen

Aberdeen is one of only 15 cities in the UK to have access to Vodafone Gigafast.

The full fibre network was announced for the city back in 2018, and the rollout now covers pockets of the city centre and surrounding areas.

Customers can access the following full fibre packages:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Full Fibre 150 150Mb average £29 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Full Fibre 200 200Mb average £30 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Full Fibre 500 500Mb average £33 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Full Fibre 910 910Mb average £39 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers + Up to £100 of your leaving fees covered when switching to Vodafone Broadband

There's a major caveat for customers looking at the fastest broadband option in Aberdeen though - it's not as widely available as we might like.

Here's the most up-to-date coverage map provided by Think Broadband:

aberdeen broadband coverage

As the map shows, while there are many postcodes with Gigafast capability, there are still some significant swathes of the city and outskirts that aren't on the network.

Parts of these areas are connected, although not every street or property is hooked up:

Hilton Rosehill Middlefield Kincorth
Cove Bay Airyhill Braeside Garthdee
Ruthrieston Broomhill Ferryhill Torry
Balnagask Bridge of Don Woodside Craigiebuckler
Kaimhill Leggart Seaton Redmoss

The rollout is also underway in:

Hazlehead Seafield Albyn Woodend
Heathryfold Summerhill

So, while the speeds of Vodafone Gigafast are available to some homes in Aberdeen, it's worth remembering the network isn't universal by any means.

We've got some facts and figures about coverage levels later in this guide, but first let's consider some of the other options if we're focused on getting the fastest available broadband.


Other fastest broadband options in Aberdeen

Since Openreach only began their rollout of fibre to the premises (FTTP) in mid-2020, the number of properties able to access the service is very low.

According to reports, the Openreach rollout is underway in the following areas:

Sheddocksley Mastrick Northfield Stockethill Middlefield

They're hoping to bring fibre to the doors of households in those areas by March 2021, although customers may be able to register their interest already.

This map shows the current postcode areas active at the time of writing with the black dots showing Openreach's native FTTP:

aberdeen broadband coverage

Compared to the Vodafone Gigafast rollout detailed above, we can see from the black dots in this map that the Openreach FTTP rollout is still in its infancy.

This is obviously frustrating news for many Aberdeen broadband customers, but the technology is gradually being rolled out across the city, so there's every chance it will reach many front doors at some point.

As it does, these are two of the fastest broadband options available on the Openreach FTTP network in Aberdeen:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Full Fibre 900 900Mb average £59.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Reduced price for 24 months (Ends 06/06/2024)
Full Fibre Max Gigabit 900Mb average £49 Free 24 months
offer Offer: 12 month free Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 10% off for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 20GB extra data for EE pay monthly mobile customers + Free setup

We've also included the green dots on the map above to illustrate where Openreach's G.fast services have been switched on.

G.fast was once touted as the future of ultrafast broadband, but it has generally been superseded by FTTP (we explain more in this guide to ultrafast broadband).

However, in the areas where it is available, it's a useful way of getting ultrafast speeds without the need for a full fibre connection.

In the map above, we can see clusters of availability in more central areas of Aberdeen which aren't covered by the FTTP rollouts yet. The darker green dots are postcode areas with speeds of more than 200Mb while lighter green denotes speeds of between 100Mb and 199Mb.

These are the cheapest ultrafast broadband deals in Aberdeen:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Ultrafast Fibre 145Mb average £41.99 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Money off for 18 months
Fibre 150 145Mb average £35 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
Ultrafast Broadband 145Mb average £28 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Full Fibre 100 150Mb average £29.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £1/mth and free setup (was £31.99) (Ends 06/06/2024)
Full Fibre Max 100 100Mb average £31 Free 24 months
offer Offer: 10% off for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 20GB extra data for EE pay monthly mobile customers + Free setup

As we can see, there are huge differences between the speeds and pricing on offer from different providers. This gives customers more choice, but always be wary of choosing a broadband company based solely on price alone - check their customer service records and provider-specific reviews from Choose.

Notable absences

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed there is one major absence from the list of broadband providers in Aberdeen: Virgin Media.

That's because Virgin Media have no presence in Aberdeen at all. It hasn't featured as part of their ultrafast rollout yet, and it isn't clear whether it's in their plans.

This means customers miss out on some of the fastest broadband options around.

Along with the absence of Virgin Media, Hyperoptic have yet to make any inroads in Aberdeen centre.

They expand on a building by building basis and, while they are registering interest at various apartment blocks in the city centre and beyond, it doesn't seem they've received enough interest to move forward with installations yet.

Gigaclear dispute

In August 2020, a dispute between the Scottish Government and Gigaclear over future deployment in the Government's R100 (Reaching 100%) strategy was finally settled.

R100 aims to plug the final gaps across Scotland, ensuring everyone has access to broadband of at least 30Mb, but the area covering North Scotland and the Highlands had been part of a legal dispute over the procurement process.

Now the technical issue has been settled, BT are set to move forward with the contract, which should mean more remote areas of Aberdeenshire will receive better broadband in the future.

Yet this could take some time - one Conservative MSP has suggested the plans mean rural communities in his constituency of Aberdeenshire West won't receive faster speeds until 2027.

Broadband coverage in Aberdeen

Before we move on, it's worth taking a quick look at the overall broadband coverage in Aberdeen and the surrounding areas.

Superfast and full fibre broadband coverage in Aberdeen is slightly above the national average, although it varies in different locations.

The five constituencies in Aberdeen and the surrounding areas have the following coverage levels according to Think Broadband:

Constituency Superfast Ultrafast Gigabit
Aberdeen North 97.84% 33.16% 15.80%
Aberdeen South 96.51% 52.30% 49.75%
Banff & Buchan 84.83% 2.62% 2.62%
Gordon 87.95% 11.64% 10.22%
West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine 83.27% 4.99% 4.41%

Aberdeen South, which has some of the most affluent areas in the county, has the highest ultrafast and gigabit coverage.

What's interesting about these figures is that Openreach's FTTP and G.fast only account for 1.71% and 3.20% of that coverage respectively. So, it seems to be Vodafone and CityFibre's network accounting reaching almost half of properties in Aberdeen South.

This is direct contrast to Banff & Buchan (covering areas further afield than the city) which has 2.62% gigabit coverage, all provided by Openreach FTTP.

Depending on their area then, most customers should be able to access superfast fibre deals, but areas outside the affluent areas of the city are yet to benefit as much from ultrafast and gigabit speeds.

So, let's look at the broadband packages the vast majority of Aberdeen residents will be able to get.


What are the cheapest superfast broadband packages in Aberdeen?

Superfast broadband speeds of 35Mb and up are available from various providers across Aberdeen, with the cheapest options coming from budget broadband suppliers specialising in low-cost, no-frills packages.

At the time of writing, these are the cheapest superfast broadband deals:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Unlimited Fibre 66Mb average £24.99 Free 24 months
Fibre 1 35Mb average £26 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Unlimited Fibre + Line Only 35Mb average £23 Free 18 months
offer Offer: £75 Bill Credit (existing SSE energy customers only) + 60-day Happiness Guarantee
Fab Fibre 36Mb average £21 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth until 4 July 2024 then £24/mth + NOW TV membership available reduced for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)

Offering the cheapest fibre broadband deals is a fierce battle between broadband providers, especially those hoping to encourage customers to move up from standard copper broadband to fibre.

However, the cheapest superfast broadband might not be exactly what a customer is looking for. The highest tier of superfast packages usually offer speeds of around 66Mb, and these may be better options for busy households with multiple devices running at once:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fibre 2 65Mb average £26 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Unlimited Fibre Extra 66Mb average £26.99 Free 24 months
Unlimited Fibre Plus + Line Only 63Mb average £26 Free 18 months
offer Offer: £75 Bill Credit (existing SSE energy customers only) + 60-day Happiness Guarantee
Fibre 65 67Mb average £26 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P

Again, we can see the same providers offering the cheapest deals, and these will be available to any customers in Aberdeen capable of receiving a superfast connection.

If in doubt, search with your postcode for the deals local to your area.

Cheapest standard broadband in Aberdeen

As those constituency coverage maps above show, however, there are still significant numbers of households unable to receive superfast broadband.

Up to 17% of customers in Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine are unable to receive anything faster than standard copper broadband, while over 2% of properties in even the most widely covered Aberdeen North constituency are in the same predicament.

For those customers, broadband of around 10Mb is the best they can hope for at the moment. These are some of the cheapest standard broadband deals at the time of writing:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Unlimited + Line only 10Mb average £25.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Reduced price + No setup fee + Exclusive offers and discounts for Plusnet customers
Brilliant Broadband 11Mb average £20 £10 12 months
offer Offer: Save £3/mth until 4 July 2024 then £23/mth + NOW TV membership available reduced for 12 months (Ends 04/07/2024)
Unlimited Broadband 11Mb average £22.95 £8.95 12 months
offer Offer: Loyalty Discount Club (worth £49.95)

Bundling TV services with broadband in Aberdeen

Customers who prefer taking multiple services from the same provider have various options, ranging from traditional pay TV packages from Sky through to streaming-capable boxes like Apple TV 4K.

Let's look at Sky's packages first:

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Sky TV + Broadband Superfast 400 61Mb average £40 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee
Sky Ultimate TV + Broadband Ultrafast 401 145Mb average £52 £29.95 18 months

It's important to note the broadband speed for Sky deals is 59Mb rather than the 36Mb or 63Mb deals typically offered by other providers. Sky don't offer a lower superfast fibre option - they jump from 11Mb copper broadband up to 59Mb.

However, alongside this extra speed, customers receive 300 TV channels on the most basic Sky TV package including many unavailable elsewhere as Virgin Media aren't active in Aberdeen.

Remember Sky TV is offered without customers needing to take broadband so, theoretically, it can be paired with any of the broadband providers on this list if you're happy taking the services from different suppliers (and possibly paying more overall).

To find out more about Sky TV deals, visit this guide or read our review of Sky broadband.

TalkTalk, Plusnet, BT and Now TV also offer TV options to bundle with broadband, although the terms of each are different.

So, while TalkTalk offer a TV Lite option, it's little more than Freeview. To get more premium channels, customers need to opt for TalkTalk TV Plus with a Boost:

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
TV Hub + Full Fibre 500 70 525Mb average £44 Free 18 months
offer Offer: NOW Cinema just £4.99 for 12 months (was £9.99) + NOW Boost free + Free setup and P&P

Learn more about TalkTalk TV.

TV from Plusnet operates in a similar way, with customers having to pay an upfront fee of either £6.99 for the standard YouView box or £57.99 for the YouView+ box which offers recording functions.

For £5 per month, customers can access 70 Freeview channels plus 20 premium channels and BT Sport Lite. For an extra £10 per month, customers can upgrade to the full BT Sport package.

If access to BT Sport is important, it's available through several providers.

Both EE and Vodafone offer Apple TV 4K with some plans - learn more in their dedicated broadband guides.

What's worth pointing out for customers in Aberdeen is that Vodafone's Apple TV 4K deal is available alongside their fastest Gigafast package, while EE keep changing the terms of their deal and switching the packages it's available with.

BT, whose broadband deals are on the pricier side, offer a range of Now TV passes with flexible options (albeit on an underlying 24-month contract) as part of their current TV offer.

Finally, Now TV offer their range of TV passes on a no-contract basis. You don't have to be a Now TV broadband customer to add Now TV to your broadband either.

The same goes for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, so we've compared all three streaming services.

Ultimately, customers interested in a traditional pay TV service in Aberdeen will look to Sky while those satisfied with fewer channels or flexible streaming services will look elsewhere.


Aberdeen broadband: the customer service factor

For Aberdeen residents looking at Vodafone Gigafast, it's worth mentioning Vodafone's recent complaints record isn't the best.

During 2019, they registered 115 complaints per 100,000 customers and their figures have remained stubbornly high in 2020 too.

There's no split in the complaints data between those taking Vodafone's superfast services (likely the majority of customers) and those taking Vodafone Gigafast. With the Gigafast network operating on the CityFibre network, it's likely there's a difference between the service provision (although complaints handling etc all goes through to the same call centres).

Of the other major broadband providers available in Aberdeen:

  • Shell Energy Broadband aren't covered in the official Ofcom figures, so it's difficult to make assumptions about their customer service - they have an overall TrustScore of 3.8 on Trustpilot, but this covers both their broadband services and their energy business.
  • EE and Sky have very low complaint levels overall.
  • Plusnet triumphed in Ofcom's most recent Comparing Service Quality (CSQ) report with an overall satisfaction rating of 93%, eight points higher than the average.
  • TalkTalk were highlighted as one of the poorest performers in that report, plus their complaint levels are high.

Ultimately, official customer service metrics can only tell us so much about a provider, and we'd caution customers about relying too much on services like Trustpilot as well - they tend to attract customers who are either really happy with their broadband or are looking for somewhere to vent their frustrations.


Conclusion: who's best for broadband in Aberdeen?

Customers in Aberdeen looking for ultrafast and gigabit-capable broadband have a few options, but it's true Vodafone Gigafast is the most widely available as things stand.

If those speeds are unavailable (or a customer simply doesn't want them), there are numerous superfast broadband packages available, ranging from the budget Plusnet deals up to more premium services like BT.

It also depends whether customers are looking to bundle other services in with their broadband deal, and what type of service they're looking for.

Traditional pay TV in Aberdeen is only offered by Sky, although it's one of the only TV options that doesn't need to be taken in conjunction with a broadband package.

So, customers could theoretically choose Vodafone Gigafast or Plusnet's superfast broadband and then separately contract with Sky for their TV services.

Bear in mind, this may work out more expensive, yet customers in Aberdeen who can't get Sky's ultrafast broadband but still want ultrafast broadband alongside traditional pay TV don't have another option right now.

One final reminder: Openreach FTTP coverage is still in its infancy in Aberdeen. Over the next few years, this is likely to increase massively, meaning there will be more options for speed hungry broadband customers in Aberdeen than ever before. If you're unable to get ultrafast or gigabit-capable broadband yet, waiting a little longer might bring it to your door.

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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