Who offers the best broadband in Swansea?

Last updated: 3 February 2021   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Broadband services in Swansea comes from the major nationwide networks along with full fibre specialist Giganet.

Full fibre coverage in Swansea and the surrounding areas is improving constantly thanks to the expansion of Openreach's network.

BT are therefore our top pick for speed, with Virgin Media only offering speeds of up to 500Mb in the Swansea area.

Customers looking at superfast services should consider Plusnet or even Now TV if they want inclusive calls as standard.

swansea

Best providers in Swansea

Swansea residents have many broadband options to choose from. These are our top picks across various different categories:

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

Who can get the fastest broadband in the Swansea area?

Openreach began rolling out their fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband to Swansea customers in 2019. Customers signing up to deals on that network can access gigabit-capable speeds from the likes of BT and EE.

So far, they have a substantial presence in the following parts of the city:

Brynmill Uplands Mount Pleasant Townhill Mayhill
Cwnfelin Waun Wen Hafod St. Thomas Port Tennant
Bonymaen Manselton Brynhyfryd

There are pockets elsewhere and the rollout is expanding all the time, so it's worth checking individual postcodes, but this map gives a broadband idea of the rollout success:

The fastest broadband packages available to Openreach FTTP customers are:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
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 500 500Mb average £34.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £15/mth and free setup (was £31.99) (Ends 06/06/2024)
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)

Customers searching for the fastest broadband in Swansea will need to sign up with Openreach-based providers or, alternatively, opt for Giganet if they are operational in their area.

Who are Giganet?

Giganet are a full fibre specialist active in a few cities and towns across the UK - Swansea is one of the lucky ones, but coverage is patchy.

These are Giganet's different packages:

Package Broadband Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
Giganet Full Fibre 80 80Mb average 12 months £45 £45
Giganet Full Fibre 200 200Mb average 12 months £45 £59
Giganet Full Fibre 500 500Mb average 12 months £45 £64
Giganet Full Fibre 1000 900Mb average 12 months £45 £79

While they definitely aren't a cheap option (their Full Fibre 200 is around the same price as BT's 900Mb package), they have brought a level of competition to Swansea, potentially giving customers more options when choosing between providers.

They offer guaranteed speeds of at least half what the customer signed up to, and their services include a lifetime price promise. They also allow customers to downgrade and upgrade their contracts mid-term.

Spectrum Internet and ResQNet

There are two other minor ISPs to mention, although they aren't widely known as yet.

Spectrum Internet secured enough investment in October 2020 to expand their FTTP network to 150,000 homes in South Wales, some of which are expected to be in Swansea areas other networks aren't focusing much on.

This is definitely one for the future, as all those homes aren't expected to be connected to the network until the end of 2025.

ResQNet, on the other hand, are a wireless ISP pledging to help customers beat the postcode lottery.

Yet thanks to the wireless technology required, they aren't the cheapest option around, and their Standard broadband (up to 10Mb) starts from £30 per month. Bundles with speeds above 20Mb aren't listed, with customers instead encouraged to fill in an enquiry form.

Still, ResQNet may well be a vital option for customers in rural areas struggling to get decent broadband speeds.

What about Virgin Media in Swansea?

Thanks to Virgin Media's presence, many customers in the Swansea area have access to speeds of up to 600Mb - although they're not yet connected to Virgin's fastest Gig1 network. This is expected to happen before the end of 2021.

Here's an overview of the fastest Virgin broadband and phone packages currently available in Swansea:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M250 Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter 264Mb average £40 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35)
M350 Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter 362Mb average £46 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35)
M500 Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter 516Mb average £52 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35)

For customers willing to take TV services as well, Virgin's Ultimate Oomph bundle comes with speeds of 600Mb. Read our full review of Virgin Media broadband.

As things stand, these are Virgin's coverage levels across the different constituencies in the Swansea area:

Constituency Virgin Media coverage level
Gower 44.02%
Swansea East 83.21%
Swansea West 86.35%

The coverage in urban parts of Swansea is almost double that of the rural areas covered by the Gower constituency, reflecting Virgin's focus on busy residential areas. As the screenshot below shows, the city and outskirts are well served:

While this coverage is good news for customers in those areas, it's worth pointing out that, when Virgin do switch on their Gig1 broadband, it covers the same ground as the Openreach FTTP network and expands on it rather than breaking completely new ground.

One criticism of the gigabit broadband rollout is that ISPs are focusing on the same lucrative areas and leaving others behind.

If the trends continue in Swansea, some customers could have plenty of choice while others are stuck with superfast speeds at best.

Overall broadband coverage around Swansea

Further to that point, it's worth pausing to look at the coverage split across the three area constituencies.

Looking at constituency level figures from Think Broadband, we can see superfast coverage in the two Swansea constituencies and the surrounding Gower constituency is almost universal while ultrafast coverage is good. In contrast, gigabit-capable broadband has only reached around a third of properties so far.

Constituency Superfast Ultrafast Gigabit
Gower 97.27% 61.62% 23.61%
Swansea East 98.96% 89.67% 28.16%
Swansea West 99.77% 93.80% 34.30%

If we look more closely at the breakdown of gigabit-capable broadband, we can also see how dominated it is by Openreach's FTTP network:

Gower Swansea East Swansea West
Openreach FTTP 19.51% 28.16% 34.30%
Other FTTP 4.0% 0.17% 0.36%

For most customers, then, Openreach FTTP is the only option, at least until Virgin Media switch on their Gig1 service.

Digital infrastructure scheme

In November 2020, it was announced funding had been confirmed for a multi-million-pound investment that will improve the digital infrastructure around the Swansea Bay City Region.

There are three elements to the plans:

  • Connected Places - Ensuring world class, full fibre digital infrastructure for the region's towns, cities and development zones.
  • Rural - Ensuring equality of access to broadband services.
  • Next Generation Wireless - Ensuring the region is at the forefront of 5G investment and innovation.

Details are thin on the ground at the moment, but this scheme could potentially fill some of the gaps we mentioned above which risk missing out on commercial FTTP and cable rollouts.


Finding the cheapest superfast fibre broadband in Swansea

As we saw in the coverage tables above, the vast majority of customers across the Swansea area will be able to access superfast broadband services.

There's often huge competition between the budget broadband providers, and we can see this by looking at the current superfast deals in the Swansea area:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fibre 35 38Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
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)
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

Although Plusnet are the cheapest provider, it's worth highlighting that they still operate geographical pricing for hard-to-reach locations (they say less than 1% of premises). In rural areas, this means their pricing could be higher than listed above, and that could affect some customers in the Gower constituency particularly.

Even so, other budget providers are vying for customers, pitching their prices low for the length of the fixed term contracts.

As well as the broadband companies listed above, others including BT, Sky, EE, John Lewis and Zen offer deals under £30 per month at the time of writing.

Customers looking at taking TV services alongside their broadband may want to look more closely at Sky - we cover broadband and TV bundles below.


What are the best broadband bundles in Swansea?

Bundling services together can often save customers money, although it's worth remembering that it might not always work out that way - compare multiple options to see if the deals are worth snapping up.

Let's take a look at some of the best bundle deals, starting with options for inclusive calls for customers in Swansea.

Broadband and call bundles

While landlines are less important than they used to be, many broadband customers still want some call options.

Fewer broadband providers than ever are offering inclusive calls, but these are some of the major options in Swansea:

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)
Fibre 36Mb average £26 Free 24 months
offer Offer: 10% off for EE pay monthly mobile customers + 5GB extra data for EE pay monthly mobile customers + Free setup
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)
Superfast Fibre 35Mb 35Mb average £31.95 £8.95 12 months
offer Offer: Loyalty Discount Club (worth £49.95)

Of course, inclusive calls as standard are only one way of ensuring your household gets the landline call package they're looking for.

Most broadband providers offer competitive call plans which can be added to a broadband deal, sometimes on a monthly rolling basis.

These are some of the options from major providers including their entry-level fibre:

Provider Broadband package Call plan Monthly price
Direct Save Telecom Superfast Fibre 35Mb Anytime Calls £29.95
Vodafone Superfast 1 Anytime Landline & Mobile Calls £31
BT Fibre Essential 700 minutes to UK landlines and mobiles £31.99
Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Unlimited UK + mobile calls £31.99
TalkTalk Faster Fibre Unlimited UK £32
SSE Unlimited Fibre Anytime £33

As we can see, many providers offer broadband plus landline calls for similar prices. While these deals aren't as cheap as Now TV's inclusive calls offer, they show it's straightforward to bundle home calls with broadband.

One final point related to Giganet as they're active in Swansea: their full fibre broadband options don't require a landline. For customers looking to add home phone services, then, these are the options for a landline:

Provider Call plan Features Monthly price
Giganet PAYG 10p per min to most UK landlines and mobiles £4.90
Giganet Call Saver Calls to UK landlines included, 10p to most UK mobiles £9.95
Giganet Call Saver Mobile Calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles included £14.90
Giganet Call Saver Europe Calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles included, 10p per min to European countries £16.90
Giganet Call Saver World Calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles included, 10p per min to Europe, from 35p to rest of world £19.90

Given that Giganet's broadband pricing is far higher than BT's (as discussed above), adding landline services alongside could be financially prohibitive for many.

TV and broadband bundles in Swansea

Both major pay TV providers are available in Swansea, along with BT TV and several smaller options from other ISPs.

These are the base TV packages from the main providers combined with their cheapest fibre package:

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Big bundle 117 264Mb average £33 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35)
Entertainment + Fibre 2 96 67Mb average £51.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £5/mth on BT Entertainment TV with free setup (was £30) (Ends 06/06/2024)
Sky TV + Broadband Superfast 400 61Mb average £40 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee

Virgin's entry-level TV bundle might be the cheapest, but it only includes about a third of the number of channels Sky offers in their base package.

However, it's worth remembering the broadband speeds available with Virgin Media are much faster, and the coverage levels we mentioned earlier mean plenty of customers have access to them. 500Mb broadband alongside a comprehensive TV bundle is a tempting offer, albeit a pricey one.

Customers wavering between Virgin and Sky should read our full comparison of their broadband, TV and landline services.

BT reworked their TV offering in February 2020, switching to a service primarily based on Now TV passes. There's more detail in this guide.

It's also possible to get Now TV passes with no contract, so that's another option for customers looking for premium TV content with no commitment.


Customer service for Swansea broadband deals

If prices and features between providers are similar, one way to make a choice is by looking at a provider's customer service record.

With Plusnet offering the cheapest standard and fibre broadband in Swansea, it's worth asking whether their customer service is up to scratch.

It's true Plusnet have had a tumultuous few years with their customer service and satisfaction levels, mainly due to switching their billing system in September 2018.

An avalanche of complaints followed, although the most recent Ofcom figures for Q2 2020 show steady progress has been made to reduce them every quarter:

Quarter Plusnet complaint figures per 100,000 customers
Q4 2018 43
Q1 2019 31
Q2 2019 26
Q3 2019 22
Q4 2019 20
Q1 2020 16
Q2 2020 9

Another tick for Plusnet's customer service comes from their satisfaction ratings in Ofcom's Comparing Service Quality report.

Overall satisfaction with service was 93%, compared with the 85% industry average. Plus, 85% were satisfied with the reliability of Plusnet's service (average 83%) and 82% were satisfied with the speed of service (average 82%).

So, despite the well-publicised issues, it seems Plusnet have recovered and their customers are some of the most satisfied of all the major providers.

These are the rankings in the Comparing Service Quality report:

Rank Broadband provider Satisfaction with overall service
1 Plusnet 93%
2 EE 88%
3 BT 86%
4 Sky 86%
5 Virgin Media 85%
6 TalkTalk 78%
Industry average 85%

TalkTalk is the provider struggling most, and their complaint figures in 2019 were third worst behind Vodafone and Plusnet.

Virgin Media were also singled out as having concerning figures by Ofcom, something to bear in mind given they are often the fastest broadband option in an area.

Smaller ISPs like Giganet aren't covered in Ofcom's rankings, so we need to look elsewhere to examine what their customer service is like. One of the ways to do this is to look at their Trustpilot page and other review sites.

Giganet's rating on Trustpilot is 4.8 out of 5, albeit from only 73 reviews. Even so, there are positive comments about their setup and installation services in the reviews on there.


Verdict: who's best for broadband in Swansea?

For the speed factor, customers in Swansea's Openreach FTTP areas will often find themselves having to opt for BT or EE.

However, more providers are coming onto the Openreach network, and this could bring extra competition to the Swansea area. Plus, if Virgin switch on their Gig1 service before the end of 2021 as expected, the gigabit-capable offer in Swansea will be hugely expanded.

As a provider combining fast broadband with a good pay TV service, Virgin Media are an excellent option - we've got more about Virgin Media's TV service.

If we move further down the speed packages, our top pick for superfast broadband has to be Plusnet, although we recommend looking closely at Sky if superfast speeds combined with plenty of premium TV content fits your ideal package.

Plusnet have the following positives as a broadband provider:

  • Cheap provider for superfast and standard broadband
  • No-frills service will appeal to many
  • Call add-on makes adding calling fairly cheap

However, customers looking for a comprehensive TV service with broadband might want to look elsewhere - perhaps BT TV, Virgin Media or Sky TV combined with broadband.

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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