Broadband in London

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How do broadband speeds compare within London?

The typical home broadband average download speed in London can vary borough by borough, with the fastest average for Richmond upon Thames being nearly three times that of the slowest – the City of London. The kind of broadband service you get really depends on your postcode.

Internet speeds could be slower in places like Westminster, the City of London and Southwark, which are affected by the length of copper lines, the street layout or the height of buildings.

In 2020, the last time Comparethemarket put together our Broadband index, we found that in the capital, each borough saw an improvement in download speeds compared with the previous year.

Richmond upon Thames, which topped the list, had an average speed of 94 megabits per second (Mbps) compared with the City of London at 31.6 Mbps. Fastest in the UK was Kingston on Hull with 163 Mbps followed by York with 147.1 Mbps.

Broadband providers in London

London is served by all the main broadband providers including – but not limited to:

You can get broadband, broadband and phone or broadband and TV options depending on which provider you choose.

But there are also some smaller suppliers too. For instance, some housing providers have set up deals with some of the smaller organisations, like Community Fibre, to bring fibre to their estates. Hyperoptic also offers services in some areas.

Which are the best internet providers in London?

That depends on what’s best for you. Some people may be more concerned about keeping their monthly payment low, while others will be more interested in how fast the broadband is and what the customer service is like if they have a problem.

And while you might be happy to choose an internet service provider (ISP) that just offers broadband, you might want to bundle TV services or home phone in too. What’s on offer will vary between providers.

What’s available will also depend on where you live and whether your area has access to high-speed services. The differences don’t just apply to north London and south London or borough by borough, but can vary house to house, block to block, and even street to street.

Do I need business broadband in London?

If you’re a business in London (or a business anywhere, to be honest), then you’ll almost certainly need broadband. Whether it’s for e-commerce or to simply have access to company emails, you’ll need a business broadband service that will be able to handle what you throw at it.

Business broadband is generally faster than home broadband, with upload speed also significantly improved. This is so your business can post to its website, make video calls for meetings and send emails by their dozens, hundreds or even thousands. Business broadband customers are also often prioritised over home broadband customers, which means your connection won’t be as impacted by heavy usage in your area.

To find the right business broadband package for your business, all you need is the postcode and a few details about your business, so we can help you find the right options to suit your needs.

How can I improve my broadband speed in London?

If you’re looking for ways to get a faster broadband connection, there are a few steps you can try at home first. A good place to start is to run a broadband speed test, so you know what speeds you’re working with now.

If the results from your test show that you’re not getting the speeds you were advertised when you signed up, there are a few measures you can take to try to improve your connection. Before you consider switching:

  • Move your Wi-Fi hub – if your WiFi hub is hidden away in a cupboard, behind furniture or tucked away in a far corner of your home, this could weaken your connection. This is because there’s too much blocking your hub and your devices from maintaining a reliable connection. So, something as simple as moving your hub into a more open space might make for a quick and easy improvement.
  • Turn off any unnecessary devices – if you’re in a home full of connected devices, it’s worth turning some of them off so your bandwidth isn’t spread so thinly. If you have phones, tablets, PCs, games consoles and more, some of these will be running updates in the background, which will be hogging some of your connection. If you don’t need them right now, turn them off and see if it makes a difference.
  • Check who else is using the internet – likewise,if you have many internet users in the home, check how many of them are using the connection at the same time. If someone’s streaming music and another’s downloading a film while a third is gaming online, your connection could be strained and your bandwidth stretched too thinly. If one or two of them can stop what they’re doing, you might have better luck.
  • Use a wired connection – if your wireless broadband still isn’t offering the speeds you were promised, you could try a wired connection. Tethering your device to an ethernet cable can be annoying, but it means you’re plugged into the internet source directly, which usually offers a more stable and, often, faster speed.

If all that fails, you may want to consider switching the type of broadband you’re using. ADSL is the most common type of broadband in the country, as it’s the most easily accessible, and generally the cheapest. But the speeds on offer with fibre optic broadband are far greater. Up to five times greater with a fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) connection, and even up to 100 times faster with a fibre to the premises (FTTP) connection. Check to see which types of broadband are available in your area, and see if you can upgrade.

Did you know?

The broadband speed coming into your house won’t necessarily be the speed your WiFi delivers. It can depend on the position of your router, how up to date it is, the equipment you’re using and any interference with the signal.

How much broadband do I need? 

How much broadband you’ll need depends on a number of factors. Here’s what to consider before you start shopping for a broadband package

  • Internet usage – if you’re a regular gamer, stream many programmes or have a large family using the internet at the same time, a fibre package that offers faster speeds and unlimited downloads might suit you best.
  • Download speeds – if you live alone and only use the internet for shopping and emails, why pay more for a faster package when a standard ADSL connection may be enough for your needs?
  • Availability – the type of broadband you can access depends on which area of London you live in. Use our postcode checker to find out what broadband deals are available where you live.
  • Contract cost – while some providers don’t charge setup costs, it’s important to consider the overall cost. There’s no point in opting for the cheapest deal if the service you get isn’t enough for your needs.
  • Contract length – you can typically choose between a 12-month or 24-month contract, although some providers offer monthly rolling contract deals. Short-term contracts offer greater flexibility, but they could be more expensive than longer length packages.
  • Bundled packages – combining your broadband with a phone and TV package could often work out cheaper than paying for separate services. It also gives you the convenience of a single contract and one bill to deal with.
  • Customer service – while it’s great to have a reliable connection, it’s also important that your service provider is fast, efficient and helpful if any problems occur. Check customer reviews online to get a good idea of your chosen provider’s customer service ratings.

Can I get the fastest broadband available in London?

Potentially you could, because the fastest broadband currently possible is available in London. But what’s not certain is whether it’s available for your home. As well as depending on what you’re willing to pay, what broadband you’ll be able to get depends on the area of the city you live in and how you’re connected. While fibre optic broadband is being rolled out across the capital, there are still places where broadband is still mostly delivered through copper wires, which is slower than fibre.

You can get broadband in a few ways:

  • ADSL – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line – this is the most common form of broadband. It uses the copper wires that deliver a phone service into your home.
  • Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) – here you get speedy fibre up to your nearest street cabinet, but from there it gets to your home on the old copper wire. This is usually faster than ADSL, but not as fast as full fibre. Most fibre deals are currently using this technology.
  • Fibre to the premises (FTTP) – this offers you ultrafast broadband with fibre all the way into your home.
  • Hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) – Virgin Media’s network in the UK uses fibre to the street cabinet. Broadband is then delivered into your home using coaxial cable rather than copper wire and is typically faster.

What is the fastest broadband in London? 

As we mentioned earlier, the average broadband speeds in London can be different from borough to borough. For example, Richmond upon Thames boasted the fastest average speeds in London in 2020, with average speeds of 94 Mbps. This is nearly three times faster than the average of 31.6 Mbps found in the City of London.

However, there are areas where gigabit internet is available. Gigabit internet offers speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps, but it is still being rolled out across the country, so it may not be available in your area just yet. If you’d like to find out, use our broadband area checker to see the fastest speeds available in your postcode.

Frequently asked questions

How can I get fibre broadband in London?

Just pop your postcode into our broadband comparison tool and see what’s available. If you can get fibre, it should be shown in your results. Your fibre options may be fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), which can be much faster than copper broadband. And you might be able to get Virgin, which has already wired up a lot of places and premises in London. 

Unfortunately, fibre, whether it’s to the cabinet or your premises, isn’t available everywhere yet. But high-speed internet is being rolled out all the time. It requires cables to be laid, so typically providers work area by area, rather than for individual premises.

Openreach, the UK’s largest broadband network provider, has said its Fibre First programme plans to roll out full fibre in the next 10 years to areas including: 

  • Barking & Dagenham
  • Bexley
  • Bromley
  • City of London
  • Croydon
  •  Epping Forest
  • Greenwich
  • Harrow
  • Hatch End
  • Hillingdon
  • Hounslow
  • Lambeth
  • Lewisham
  • Merton
  • Redbridge
  • Richmond upon Thames
  • Southwark
  • Waltham Forest 

The ambitious project, which aims to deliver ultrafast, ultra-reliable full-fibre broadband to 25 million premises in the UK by the end of 2026, includes the building of 53 new exchanges in the Greater London region. It’s predicted that around 840,000 homes and businesses in London could benefit from the Openreach upgrade.

Virgin Media, which currently reaches just over 53% of homes in the UK, continues to roll out Project Lightning to deliver ultrafast broadband into homes across the country – including some parts of London not already connected.

Obviously, plans can change, and whether full fibre is available to you might depend on how far you are from the exchange – sadly, it’s not guaranteed that full fibre will be run into every premises.

Other fibre installers may have plans for your area of London, so it’s worth checking out your options.

Can I get fibre where I live?

If your local exchange is set up for fibre, you’re more likely to be able to get it, but it will depend on whether the cables run to the cabinet nearest your home. And while nearly all London exchanges are fibre-enabled, some boroughs are still only able to access FTTC fibre, including: 

  • Grove Park
  • Upminster
  • Streatham
  • Wanstead
  • North Cheam 

One of the simplest ways to check what type of fibre is available where you live, is to enter your postcode below. You’ll be able to see which providers offer FTTC or even full-fibre FTTP deals in your area.

How can I speed up getting fibre broadband to where I live in London?

If you’re not on the list, there are still ways of encouraging speedier fibre to your address. You can register your interest with some providers and when they have enough willing subscribers, they might roll it out faster in the area.

There are also some community-based options. A joint funding arrangement can be put in place, which means a provider, Openreach, for example, contributes some of the costs, with your community funding the rest. An affordable solution is then agreed to meet the community needs.

Openreach has guidance on how to start this kind of community project if you’re interested. If you and enough neighbours are fed up with slow speeds, you might be able to prompt some action. Find out more and register your interest on the Openreach website.

What broadband speed do I need?

The ideal speed for you depends on how you use your broadband. 

Gamers – what speed you need can depend on the type of games you play and the console you’re using. Fast speeds can sometimes give you an edge and a better experience when downloading new title. If you’re a keen gamer, you’ll likely need to aim for speeds between 15 Mbps and 25 Mbps for a smooth gaming experience.

Streamers – if you’re a box-set addict you’ll want to make sure your viewing experience isn’t plagued by endless buffering. Netflix requires higher rates than iPlayer or even YouTube at 3 Mbps for non-HD and 5 Mbps for HD. If you know you’ll be spending a lot of time on Zoom or other video calling services, you’ll need a speed of 3 Mbps for group calls.

Working from home – many Londoners continue to work from home on a full-time or hybrid basis. For web browsing, you’ll need between 1 Mbps and 5 Mbps. If you’re not the only person working from home in your household, then you might want to ramp up your download speed to 16 Mbps or more.

What is the fastest broadband in the UK?

As the UK’s gigabit revolution continues to roll out, more and more areas are connecting to the ultrafast networks, which offer speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps. However, most areas are not connected yet, so you’ll need to check what’s available in your area to be sure.

In our 2020 Broadband Index, we found that the area with the fastest broadband in the UK, on average, was Kingston upon Hull. They boast average speeds of up to 163 Mbps, which is seriously impressive stuff. In second place, Yorkshire continues to shine, as York records average speeds of 147.1 Mbps. In third place, West Dunbartonshire arrives with speeds of 105.3 Mbps.

Towards the bottom of the table, it’s not the best news for people living in the Orkney Islands (33.2 Mbps), the Shetland Islands (34.7 Mbps) or West Devon (36.9 Mbps). It’s probably not a surprise that the island areas are far less likely to be connected to full-fibre services, which leaves them falling behind the rest of the UK.

How much does broadband cost?

What you pay for your broadband will depend on several things:

The type of package you choose – broadband-only or a bundled deal. The type of broadband you choose – ADSL, fast fibre, superfast fibre or ultrafast fibre The length of your contract
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What do I need to find a deal for broadband in London?

It’s simple, just put your postcode in our comparison tool, choose your current provider from the drop-down list, and we’ll show you what deals are available for where you live. If you’re not ready to switch yet, you can set a reminder and we’ll alert you when the time comes.

Author image Sofia Hutson

What our expert says...

“If you’re looking for the best internet service in your area, it’s worth checking regularly to see that you’re still getting the right deal for you. Things are always changing in London, and it may be that there are better deals out there since the last time you looked.”

- Sofia Hutson, Digital expert

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