Who provides the best broadband in Yorkshire?

Last updated: 24 July 2022   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Numerous broadband providers are active in Yorkshire, with big names like BT and Virgin Media sitting alongside specialist full fibre providers.

The best broadband provider for many households in Yorkshire is going to be Virgin Media thanks to their Gig1 network active in over half the region.

However, customers looking for budget broadband may prefer Now, while their parent company Sky is great for bundled deals and more premium broadband.

The specific packages customers can get will depend on their area, with pockets of Yorkshire seriously underserved by full fibre networks to date.

yorkshire knaresborough
Credit: Nicola Pulham/Shutterstock.com

Which provider is best for broadband in Yorkshire?

Verdict: Now is the best option for those on a budget while Sky is ideal for those looking for bundles and extra features. However, Virgin Media has the best combination of coverage and speed.

Choosing the best broadband provider in Yorkshire depends on a household's needs and location.

As we explore later in this guide, different areas of Yorkshire have different levels of superfast, full fibre and cable coverage, meaning the options will be different for customers across the county.

Now broadband offer a good budget service that should be available to most households in Yorkshire, with Plusnet a good back-up option if customers can only access copper broadband services.

Meanwhile, customers looking for bundles or more premium broadband services should consider Sky broadband and those in Virgin Media areas may opt for the fast speeds offered by that network.

Now

Best for: Budget customers

Now broadband offers speeds of up to 63Mb to customers on the Openreach superfast network. This means it's available to the majority of households in Yorkshire.

While there are plenty of broadband providers offering budget deals around this price point, our top choice is Now for several reasons:

  • Their Super Fibre plan with 63Mb speeds is competitively priced as well as their Fab Fibre plan
  • Their contract is only 12 months long, so customers have flexibility if they want to upgrade to a different provider offering faster speeds in a year's time
  • Customers can access offers on Now TV memberships to combine budget broadband with some TV content
  • Now made a successful entry into the complaint figures in 2022, posting figures lower than the industry average

Overall, Now are a great budget option for customers who can access fibre broadband at their property.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
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)
Super Fibre 63Mb 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)

Customers in Yorkshire who are stuck on copper broadband for now may want to consider Plusnet instead or learn more about the cheapest broadband providers in the UK in our dedicated guide.

Sky

Best for: Bundles

Sky offer both broadband and TV services to customers, meaning households can access some of the best entertainment bundles available featuring Sky Cinema, Sky Sports and other premium channels.

Thanks to their expansion of full fibre broadband packages on the Openreach FTTP network, it's now possible for some homes in Yorkshire to get Sky broadband speeds of up to 900Mb, making them an attractive prospect for customers looking for speed alongside TV bundles.

We also like Sky because:

  • They have a great customer service record
  • Their latest Sky Broadband Hub is a good piece of kit
  • Their TV service can be taken separately from their broadband and so is available even in rural areas of Yorkshire

Here are a couple of Sky broadband packages:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Superfast Broadband 61Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Ultrafast Plus Broadband 500Mb average £32 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

Virgin Media

Best for: Speed

Virgin Media are the best option for broadband customers in Yorkshire looking for speed.

While other providers on the Openreach and other full fibre networks offer speeds of up to 1Gb, Virgin Media has the largest amount of coverage across the region and has significant coverage in many urban areas such as Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield.

If households are able to access Virgin Media broadband, it's also worth considering because:

  • Customers can bundle Virgin TV packages with broadband if they want to
  • There are extra Volt benefits for customers also taking O2 mobile services
  • Virgin's next-generation router is one of the best around (currently for existing customers only)

Here are some of the fastest Virgin broadband packages available:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M500 Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter 516Mb average £52 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35)
Gig1 Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter 1.13Gb average £58 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35)

Broadband rollouts and availability in Yorkshire

Broadband coverage in Yorkshire varies across the four different areas of the county and, within that, it can vary dramatically from city to city.

Overall, the figures for superfast fibre coverage through the fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) network are slightly ahead of the UK as a whole, and the gigabit-capable fibre to the premises (FTTP) network is rolling out more rapidly in Yorkshire than the rest of the country.

This is largely due to some significantly rollouts in urban centres like Leeds from Openreach, but it is also helped by the dominance of KCOM in Hull and their expansion into neighbouring towns and villages.

Virgin Media also has a good footprint in Yorkshire and the Humber, with just above half of premises able to get Virgin Media broadband and TV.

Openreach FTTC Openreach/KCOM FTTP Ultrafast Virgin Media
Yorkshire and the Humber 91.90% 30.51% 74.43% 51.27%
UK 92.91% 25.29% 71.47% 50.22%

Note: These figures are for Yorkshire and the Humber while the individual constituency figures below don't cover areas below the Humber in Lincolnshire.

All data is taken from Think Broadband's coverage analysis and is accurate at the time of publication.

The tables below look at the coverage offered by the Openreach FTTC and FTTP networks as well as the Virgin Media coverage levels in specific areas.

We have included ultrafast coverage as this includes rollouts from other full fibre providers as well as G.fast and Virgin Media coverage. It's more representative of the number of premises that can get 100Mb+ broadband across the county.

North Yorkshire

With many rural areas in North Yorkshire, it's unsurprising that Openreach's FTTC network does not cover as many premises in this county as other parts of Yorkshire.

This situation isn't helped much by Virgin Media only having a decent presence in three constituencies covering York, Harrogate and Knaresborough.

For high numbers of households in those areas, then, the option of Virgin broadband speeds up to 1Gb is a possibility.

The breadth of the Openreach FTTP rollout across North Yorkshire varies, with the highest levels found in the Selby and Ainsty constituency that is closer geographically to West Yorkshire compared to places like Harrogate and Knaresborough.

However, Scarborough and Whitby remains an area of concern for broadband coverage. As well as having no Virgin Media presence, the amount of ultrafast broadband available across the constituency is less than 9%.

This constituency takes in many rural and semi-rural areas, explaining why FTTP has been so slow in getting into the area.

Openreach FTTC Openreach FTTP Ultrafast Virgin Media
Harrogate and Knaresborough 81.72% 6.24% 81.96% 70.85%
Richmond 89.28% 10.17% 22.06% 0%
Scarborough and Whitby 94.69% 6.64% 8.70% 0%
Selby and Ainsty 94.37% 38.79% 40.08% 0.08%
Skipton and Ripon 91.39% 15.46% 25.16% 0%
Thirsk and Malton 90.12% 15.61% 25.75% 0%
York Central 87.19% 14.68% 89.27% 66.12%
York Outer 92.37% 8.07% 68.92% 41.94%

The Openreach FTTP is continuing to expand across North Yorkshire, but they aren't the only FTTP provider active in the county:

  • CityFibre have a presence in York, Harrogate and Knaresborough
  • Hyperoptic have a small presence in York
  • Zzoomm have rollouts in Easingwold, Thirsk and Northallerton

In addition, the Superfast North Yorkshire council-backed project is aiming to get a minimum of superfast broadband into rural homes such as those in Picton, Leyburn and Beckwithshaw upgraded in recent months.

This is in partly in partnership with Quickline Fixed Wireless who offer a rural home broadband solution with no cabling. They have coverage across the outskirts of both York and Selby.

In a similar vein, Voneus Superfast Fixed Wireless is available in areas north of Knaresborough.

East Yorkshire and Hull

Hull is in a different position to much of the UK. Due to a decision to keep the business separate when other areas were selling their phone networks to the Post Office, the incumbent provider in Hull is KCOM and not Openreach.

In terms of having access to ultrafast broadband, this is a good thing for customers in the city since KCOM have upgraded their network to full fibre to provide gigabit-capable speeds to the vast majority of premises.

They have also started expanding their network into other parts of Yorkshire such as Howden, Driffield and Hornsea.

However, for customers in Hull, there are often complaints that KCOM holds a virtual monopoly on the city, despite repeated suggestions that more providers should move into the area.

Across the rest of East Yorkshire, ultrafast and gigabit-capable broadband is more widely available than in other parts of Yorkshire.

Virgin Media are only active in the parts of the Brigg & Goole constituency that are in Lincolnshire. So far, they have shown no signs of wanting to expand their network north of the Humber.

Openreach/KCOM FTTC Openreach/KCOM FTTP Ultrafast Virgin Media
Beverley and Holderness 94.01% 83.19% 87.30% 0%
Brigg and Goole 94.80% 42.36% 45.90% 2.99%
East Yorkshire 92.61% 66.79% 71.51% 0%
Haltemprice and Howden 97.01% 89.05% 90.71% 0%
Kingston upon Hull East 99.79% 99.79% 99.79% 0%
Kingston upon Hull North 99.55% 99.77% 99.77% 0%
Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle 99.67% 99.67% 99.67% 0%

Note: While several other constituencies crossed the borders of what was once Humberside, these have been omitted from this guide to broadband in Yorkshire for clarity.

Future rollouts seem mainly to be dependent on Openreach and KCOM developments, although Air Broadband are launching a project in Hull and East Yorkshire in conjunction with MS3.

South Yorkshire

Much of South Yorkshire is made of up of large urban and suburban centres, so it's no surprise that superfast coverage with the Openreach FTTC network is very good in most constituencies.

Virgin Media also have a strong presence in the county including significant coverage in Barnsley, covering areas like Cudworth and Wombwell along with the town itself. Rotherham and parts of Sheffield also have major Virgin rollouts in place.

Openreach full fibre coverage is mainly concentrated on the cities of Sheffield and Doncaster, with more rural areas not seeing much FTTP just yet.

This is most acute for households in the Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency where there are low levels of both Openreach FTTP and Virgin Media.

Openreach FTTC Openreach FTTP Ultrafast Virgin Media
Barnsley Central 98.45% 8.02% 89.51% 84.45%
Barnsley East 97.22% 8.28% 81.29% 75.63%
Don Valley 97.27% 19.27% 52.83% 36.76%
Doncaster Central 99.11% 66.42% 81.73% 63.84%
Doncaster North 97.54% 30.30% 62.45% 56.27%
Penistone and Stocksbridge 93.20% 9.65% 20.74% 5.69%
Rother Valley 98.20% 15.15% 47.03% 36.94%
Rotherham 95.02% 7.15% 81.78% 74.97%
Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough 94.58% 42.47% 84.70% 76.86%
Sheffield Central 76.54% 31.43% 90.29% 49.21%
Sheffield Hallam 97.52% 18.19% 44.04% 20.05%
Sheffield Heeley 96.82% 38.13% 75.66% 50.50%
Sheffield South East 93.62% 48.18% 75.24% 23.35%
Wentworth and Dearne 97.69% 6.24% 52.99% 42.57%

Other full fibre network operators are active in South Yorkshire including:

  • CityFibre in parts of Doncaster, Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley
  • Hyperoptic have various buildings live in Sheffield and some elsewhere
  • Pine Media have a growing presence in Sheffield and the surrounding areas

According to the Government's Public Review of the South Yorkshire gigabit broadband rollout concluded in June 2022, almost 400,000 premises across the county will be covered by planned commercial rollouts, but that still leaves around 350,000 premises without access.

Of these, it's estimated that almost 57,000 will be uncommercial, so public schemes will need to plug these gaps.

West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire is the most populous county in Yorkshire, home to 2.2 million people and full of large urban areas such as Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford.

As such, there is usually good coverage of the Openreach FTTC network, although there are pockets of poor coverage in rural areas in Bradford West such as around the outskirts of Thornton.

Virgin Media has a presence in all West Yorkshire constituencies, with high levels in Bradford, Huddersfield and parts of Leeds. This presence helps to account for the high levels of ultrafast availability in constituencies like Bradford East and Keighley where the Openreach FTTP network has yet to expand too much.

In fact, the Openreach FTTP rollout is spectacularly successful in most parts of Leeds and middling to poor in many other towns and cities across the region.

Openreach FTTC Openreach FTTP Ultrafast Virgin Media
Batley and Spen 96.71% 3.83% 81.03% 68.58%
Bradford East 92.93% 20.01% 92.54% 86.85%
Bradford South 92.89% 4.98% 89.95% 86.30%
Bradford West 78.37% 5.39% 85.14% 80.97%
Calder Valley 91.15% 4.61% 36.84% 31.45%
Colne Valley 90.88% 19.27% 62.88% 51.48%
Dewsbury 94.04% 19.32% 74.85% 53.17%
Elmet and Rothwell 96.50% 34.87% 78.17% 58.08%
Halifax 93.66% 4.88% 72.60% 69.45%
Hemsworth 96.87% 35.99% 53.06% 16.76%
Huddersfield 93.77% 6.96% 94.15% 89.20%
Keighley 88.42% 5.14% 82.83% 76.46%
Leeds Central 85.01% 34.70% 91.27% 72.78%
Leeds East 96.17% 70.40% 97.19% 91.81%
Leeds North East 95.00% 79.64% 96.81% 91.52%
Leeds North West 91.53% 43.32% 80.42% 68.84%
Leeds West 97.67% 60.20% 96.55% 92.25%
Morley and Outwood 95.87% 54.96% 85.31% 59.02%
Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford 97.91% 47.54% 78.27% 60.48%
Pudsey 98.67% 72.34% 90.98% 78.01%
Shipley 96.48% 31.22% 80.38% 62.03%
Wakefield 92.17% 6.80% 76.37% 71.81%

Once again, other network operators have moved into West Yorkshire and are competing with Openreach and Virgin Media for customers. These include:

  • CityFibre and their significant coverage around Pudsey, Dewsbury, Morley and Huddersfield among other areas
  • Hyperoptic who have covered various premises in Leeds and the outskirts
  • Netomia who retail their products via YouFibre have a rollout in Wakefield
  • brsk have rollouts around Keighley and Bingley

Like South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire has recently been covered by one of the Government's Public Reviews, although this did cover parts of North Yorkshire as well, so the figures below are not entirely related to West Yorkshire.

The review found that commercial rollouts are already planned to reach around 875,000 premises in this area, with 490,000 left out of commercial rollouts so far. In the end, they expect 125,000 premises to be deemed uncommercial.


Verdict: The best broadband in Yorkshire

Winner: Virgin Media is the best broadband option in Yorkshire where it's available, although Sky is a good option for other customers.

Many customers across Yorkshire can access broadband speeds of up to 1Gb thanks to rollouts from Virgin Media, Openreach, CityFibre and others.

Virgin Media's cable network offers a great combination of coverage and speed in Yorkshire, covering around half of the county and providing a great option to customers able to access their services.

For those who can't, Sky offer a good alternative if customers are in an Openreach FTTP area or simply want to bundle TV in with their broadband.

Finally, Now is one of the best budget broadband options around thanks to their low pricing of their higher-tier superfast package.

The best broadband in Yorkshire is a subjective choice and it's worth considering other factors such as customer service and reliability to find the best broadband provider for you.

Comments

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

independent comparison

We are independent of all of the products and services we compare.

fair comparison

We order our comparison tables by price or feature and never by referral revenue.

charity donations

We donate at least 5% of our profits to charity, and we aim to be climate positive.

Get insider tips and the latest offers in our newsletter