What types of home broadband can I get?

The types of broadband available to most UK households can be put into three categories, Standard ADSL Broadband, Superfast Fibre Broadband (FTTC) and Ultrafast Fibre Broadband (FTTP). It is rare for a single household to have availability for all three services, so the type of broadband available at your home will depend on your actual address. For an independent availability check of your address, use the Ofcom availability checker at the bottom of this page.

These three types of broadband are outlined in a simple format below. We’ve omitted the technical details because the majority of readers only really want to know the basics.

Standard ADSL Broadband

ADSL Broadband

ADSL ConnectionsADSL is what most people call ‘standard broadband’ and is still available across most of the UK. It can offer download speeds of up to 20Mbps although most will see lower speeds. In some areas, especially in rural areas or in properties a long distance from the nearest cabinet / exchange, users might be lucky to see 1-2Mbps.

If you get speeds around 10-15 Mbps and there is only one user, you’ll probably find it good enough for most things, but it won’t be suitable for high quality streaming or some online gaming.

It’s worth noting that most suppliers are actively trying to upgrade existing ADSL customers to fibre broadband in line with Government policy, and some suppliers will no longer supply ADSL if Fibre broadband is available at an address.

FTTC Superfast Fibre Broadband

Superfast Fibre Broadband (FTTC)

FTTC ConnectionsMost people who have fibre broadband will have FTTC fibre, which means ‘fibre to the cabinet’. Typically, broadband suppliers offer superfast fibre broadband in two package types.

The most popular packages are referred to as 40:10 fibre and offer download speeds capped at 40Mbps (average 35 Mbps) and upload speeds capped at 10Mbps.
The packages above this are generally referred to as 80:20 fibre offer and download speeds of up to 80Mbps (average 65-70 Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.

It’s worth noting that with FTTC fibre broadband, the fibre network extends as far as your local ‘cabinet’ (the green boxes you see all around town) and standard copper cables are used between the cabinet and your home.

FTTP Ultrafast Fibre Broadband

Ultrafast Fibre Broadband (FTTP)

FTTP ConnectionsUltrafast fibre broadband or FTTP (Fibre-to-the-Premises) broadband is the most recent and most capable form of fibre broadband. This system provides a full start to finish fibre optic connection, right into your property (hence the name). Many new properties are being fitted with FTTP as standard now by BT, Virgin and other specialist suppliers.

With no copper cables to slow speeds down, FTTP offers higher speeds than conventional fibre broadband – typically with average download speeds around 100Mbps, but in some areas (and at significant cost) speeds of up to 1000Mbps are possible.

Aside from speeds, the biggest difference is that your home is directly connected to the fibre network. Unfortunately, FTTP broadband is only available in selected areas at present, and where it’s available it can be quite expensive.

Check what’s available

For an independent check, you can use Openreach’s and Ofcom’s availability checkers to see what broadband services are available at your home. Click either of the buttons below to open the availability checker in a new tab.

Openreach Availability
Ofcom Availability
Openreach Availability
Ofcom Availability

Decided what you want?

If you know what you want and you’re interested in changing your home broadband supplier or want to get online at a new address, click here to read about the excellent value fibre broadband packages available from Onestream.