With many homes now making use of superfast broadband regularly, it’s no surprise that providers have been working to deliver even better speeds and services for their customers. Ultrafast broadband offers a step up from typical fibre broadband or ADSL internet, offering faster downloads and more capacity than the average standard broadband contract.
Want to know more about ultrafast broadband? We’ve covered everything you need to know, from what ultrafast is, how it compares, and how much you’re likely to pay for an ultrafast broadband service. Read on now to find out more:
What is ultrafast broadband?
Ultrafast broadband is a step up over the typical superfast broadband that many families and individuals have in their homes. As the name implies, it’s all about speed when it comes to this upgraded broadband option. Designed to scale higher than superfast broadband can, ultrafast uses FTTP – or fibre to the property – technology to greatly enhance speeds.
While FFTC – or fibre to the cabinet – is common for many households, the use of copper wires throttles the speed you can get with your broadband connection. Ultrafast broadband removes that barrier between your home and speedy internet, offering greatly improved speeds in many cases that’s well-suited for heavy daily usage.
What is the difference between superfast, gigabit and ultrafast broadband?
When it comes to the best broadband to use, the buzzword names of each type of broadband can be confusing to navigate. But when you look at broadband as a tiered system, it’s easier than you might think. Here are the significant differences between superfast, ultrafast, and gigabit broadband.
One step above standard ADSL broadband, superfast broadband uses FTTC technology to offer good average speeds. Superfast broadband is a middling option for many households, and a wide range of different providers offer this level of broadband across the UK. It’s also the most widely available option of the three, with a high percentage of the UK supported for superfast broadband services.
Ultrafast broadband takes your internet up a notch with faster speeds and greater capacity. Utilising FTTP technology to enhance speeds, ultrafast offers exceptional speeds to suit even the most internet-heavy households. To give you some perspective, the average ultrafast connection can easily accommodate multiple 4K streams, online video games, work from home access and more all at the same time. Ultrafast broadband is becoming wider spread over time, with availability across the UK increasing regularly.
Gigabit internet is the newest, fastest option on the market. With currently limited availability, this high-speed internet broadband option requires an upgraded fibre network for use. Currently, only a few providers in the UK offer Gigabit internet – Virgin Media, Toob, Vodafone Gigafast, Zzoomm – and their reach is limited to cities. Gigabit internet offers the fastest speeds, but for many typical households, Ultrafast broadband can more than live up to everyday requirements.
What speeds can I expect with ultrafast broadband?
With ultrafast broadband, you can expect speeds of between 362 and 1,000Mbps. Anything over that number is considered gigabit broadband, while anything under would be superfast broadband. With a huge capacity and fast download speed, ultrafast broadband provides seamless access for even multiple household members for high-intensity internet use.
How fast is ultrafast broadband?
So, how fast is ultrafast broadband beyond the statistics? If you were to stream HD movies, you could stream up to 150 at once on separate devices and still have no buffering or reduction in quality. How fast your ultrafast broadband is will depend on the contract you choose. Providers offer a range of options at different price points to suit your individual needs.
Which providers offer ultrafast broadband?
The significant providers for ultrafast broadband in the UK are currently limited to Virgin Media and BT, as these are the companies that own the fibre networks. There are several other alternative networks, or altnets also building full-fibre networks – Cityfibre, Jurassic Fibre, Toob, Hyperoptic, Zzoomm are just a few. You will also find that brands like Sky
or Vodafone offer ultrafast broadband options, and these networks are well worth considering too. In addition, Hyperoptic is a new provider for specifically fibre broadband that’s rolling out across the UK with limited reach and includes ultrafast as well gigabit broadband as part of their services.
Where is ultrafast broadband being rolled out?
Ultrafast broadband is already well underway when it comes to rolling out their services across the UK. As ultrafast and gigabit broadband both require FTTP connections, this means overhauling existing infrastructure to make way for a completely fibre-based system. Most major cities now have an option for ultrafast broadband, and the plan is for most of the UK to be covered by 2025.
How much is ultrafast broadband?
Ultrafast broadband comes with a higher monthly cost than superfast broadband, but the cost itself may depend on the provider you opt for. If you want an idea of how much you’re likely to pay for ultrafast broadband from some of the UK’s top broadband providers, here are some of the current prices advertised:
Virgin Media is probably the best-known brand for ultrafast broadband. Advertising a wide range of different speeds, Virgin Media often bundles its broadband as part of a TV and phone package. While they often aren’t the most cost-effective, their network infrastructure is probably the most comprehensive across the UK if you’re considering ultrafast broadband.
For £44.99 per month, you can access Virgin Media ultrafast broadband with speeds of up to 516Mbps. If you’re looking to go beyond ultrafast, Virgin Media is also working on the 1Gig network, offering gigabit broadband to an increasing number of properties and households across the UK.
While BT advertises their broadband as ‘ultrafast’, their service doesn’t quite meet the specific threshold. With top speeds of 300Mbps for £39.99 per month, the service doesn’t quite match Virgin Media’s speeds. However, BT Openreach is a major player when it comes to the UK’s fibre infrastructure, and it’s likely we’ll see improved speeds soon.
Hyperoptic is a fibre-only broadband company that rivals Virgin fibre
in terms of FTTP broadband. While currently highly limited to specific cities, Hyperoptic is already showing promise and rolling out their services to a more diverse proportion of the UK. With prices up to £40 for 12-month contracts, you can expect speeds up to 900Mbps with hyperfast internet, or slightly less with their ultrafast tier.
How do I check if I can get ultrafast broadband?
The best way to check if ultrafast broadband is available near you is to look directly at ultrafast broadband providers’ websites. Most platforms will offer a postcode search, allowing you to see quickly and easily if ultrafast broadband is available to your household. You may also want to check any upcoming rollouts, to see if your town or city will have FTTP shortly.
Do I need special equipment for ultrafast broadband?
Because ultrafast broadband uses a router that connects directly to a fibre network, you will need specific technology for your ultrafast broadband to work in your home. Your provider will offer a specific hub as a part of your contract. Depending on the provider, you may need to pay up-front for your new hub or be included in your contract’s price.
What are the limits of ultrafast broadband?
The only limit to ultrafast broadband is the top speed that providers can offer. For any broadband with download speeds that go beyond 1Gbps, that broadband will be categorised as gigabit broadband. But outside that limit, ultrafast broadband has plenty of flexibility for the average household.
Do I need ultrafast broadband for my home?
That all depends on your internet usage, and what you’d like to do with ultrafast broadband. Find yourself annoyed with the slower speeds and reduced capacity of superfast broadband, or you have many devices accessing the internet at once. Upgrading to ultrafast broadband might be the right choice for you. Whatever fits your household best is what will work best for your broadband package.
Want to upgrade to ultrafast broadband today? Comparing provider prices is the best place to start. Please take a look at our comparisons today to find ultrafast broadband that suits you. From online gaming to working from home, we’ve got a wide range of ultrafast broadband packages to fit just about any home and lifestyle. Why not have a browse?