Broadband in Greater Manchester

Getting fast broadband can be a postcode lottery. See how Greater Manchester fares for speed and how fibre broadband might help in the future. 

How do broadband speeds in Manchester compare?

Average broadband download speeds in Greater Manchester can vary. Compare the Market’s 2019 UK Broadband Index showed the average download speeds for the following Greater Manchester areas:

  • Bolton, 70.4 Mbps
  • Manchester, 59.6 Mbps
  • Oldham, 66.8 Mbps
  • Rochdale, 59.5 Mbps
  • Salford, 68.6 Mbps
  • Stockport, 76.7 Mbps
  • Tameside, 55.8 Mbps
  • Trafford, 69.7 Mbps

We found that Salford was the area with the most improved speed on 2018 – up from 54.3 Mbps the previous year.

With ‘Media City’ in Salford being home to the likes of the BBC, ITV, Ericsson and Kellogg’s, plus more than 250 smaller media and digital businesses, internet service providers (ISPs) definitely have a reason for improving connectivity across the board in the area.

Which are the best internet providers in Manchester?

There’s no one best internet provider that suits everyone. Especially given that Greater Manchester is home to more than 2.8 million people.

It’s likely to depend on what matters most to you and how much you’re happy to pay. It could be that keeping monthly costs low is the most important thing for you, or you might want the fastest broadband available.

Also, it depends on whether you want a plain-old broadband service, or you’d prefer to package it up with another service for the convenience of receiving just one bill each month. For example, one that includes your home phone or your mobile. You can even bundle in TV services too.

What’s on offer varies between providers, so what’s right for you may depend on whether you want to watch the latest documentaries and dramas, or you’d rather spend your evenings battling it out via online gaming. Or it might be that you have a large family who want to be entertained in a multi-screen format. The length of the deal you sign up for will also affect prices and available choices.

Availability could also depend on where you live and whether the area has access to high-speed services. The differences in broadband speed can vary not just from area to area, but block by block and street by street.

Can I get the fastest broadband available in Greater Manchester?

Potentially you could because the fastest broadband currently possible is available in Greater Manchester – but unfortunately not in every home. The speed of broadband you could get will depend on how your home is connected. While fibre broadband is being rolled out in the region, copper wire still prevails in some places, which is slower than fibre.

You can get broadband in a few ways:

  • ADSL – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line – uses the copper wires that deliver a phone service into your home. It’s the most common form of broadband.
  • FTTC – Fibre to the cabinet – here speedy fibre is cabled up to your nearest street cabinet, but the last part of the system is still copper wire. This option should give you faster speeds, but it still isn’t quite as fast as full fibre. Lots of fibre deals currently use this technology so it’s worth checking out if it’s available to you.
  • FTTP – Fibre to the premises – this offers you an even faster option with fibre running all the way into your home.
  • HFC – Hybrid fibre coaxial – Virgin Media’s network in the UK is fibre to the cabinet, but broadband is then delivered into your home using coaxial cable rather than copper wire, and is typically faster.

To see what options are available for your home, just pop in your postcode and select your current provider.

Did you know? 
Even though you might have fast broadband coming into your home, the speed you’ll experience on your devices will also depend on what your WiFi equipment can deliver.

How up to date it is, where your router is positioned and whether there’s any interference can all have an impact on your broadband speed.

Which internet providers are in Manchester?

Greater Manchester is served by all the main broadband providers, including (but not limited to):

You’ll get broadband, broadband and phone, and broadband and TV options depending on which provider you choose.

There are other suppliers, including John Lewis, SSE, Post Office, Zen and Hyperoptic that you can also choose in Manchester.

Frequently asked questions

Is fibre broadband available in Greater Manchester?

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 might include fibre to the cabinet and fibre to the premises which can be much faster than copper broadband. And you may be able to get Virgin broadband, which has already wired up a lot of places and premises in London. 
 
Unfortunately fibre, whether to the cabinet or your premises, isn’t available everywhere yet. But high-speed internet is being rolled out all the time.  
 
Openreach, the UK’s digital infrastructure company, has said its First Build programme, updated in September 2020, plans to roll out full fibre in the next 10 years, adding two exchanges in Tameside to its list. 
 
Virgin Media, which currently reaches just over 44% of homes in the UK, is rolling out Project Lightning to deliver ultrafast broadband into homes across the country, including some parts of Manchester. Virgin has made available Gig1 Fibre Broadband with download speeds averaging over 1Gbps (gigabits per second) to approximately 500,000 homes around the Greater Manchester area. 

CityFibre, a digital infrastructure provider, is also cabling up parts of Bolton for a full fibre network for its consumer service providers. 

Whether full fibre is available to you may depend on how far you are from the exchange and it’s not a guarantee that full fibre will be run into every premises.  
 
Other fibre installers may have plans for Greater Manchester, so it’s worth checking to see what options are available. 

Can I get fibre where I live in Greater Manchester?

If your local exchange is set up for fibre, you’re more likely to be able to get it, but it’ll depend on whether the cables run to the cabinet nearest your home. This list shows the fibre-enabled exchanges in Greater Manchester currently taking orders for fibre connections, according to Openreach.

Local authority

Exchange

Type of fibre available

Bolton District

Astley Bridge

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Bolton

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Daubhill

FTTC

 

Farnworth

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Higher Bolton

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Horwich

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Westhoughton

FTTC/P & FOD

Bury District

Bury

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Prestwich

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Radcliffe

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Ramsbottom

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Tottington

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Whitefield

FTTC/P & FOD

Manchester District

Ardwick

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Central

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Chorlton

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Collyhurst

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Didsbury

FTTC/P & FOD

 

East

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Mercury

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Moss Side

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Rusholme

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Wythenshawe

FTTC/P & FOD

Oldham District

Failsworth

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Oldham

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Saddleworth

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Shaw

FTTC/P & FOD

Rochdale District

Heywood

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Littleborough

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Middleton

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Rochdale

FTTC/P & FOD

Salford District

Blackfriars

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Broughton

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Cheetham Hill

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Eccles

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Irlam

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Pendleton

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Swinton

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Walkden

FTTC/P & FOD

Stockport District

Bramhall

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Gatley

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Heaton Moor

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Hulme Hall

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Marple

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Stepping Hill

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Stockport

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Woodley

FTTC/P & FOD

Tameside District

Ashton

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Denton

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Droylsden

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Hyde

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Mossley

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Mottram

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Stalybridge

FTTC/P & FOD

Trafford District

Altrincham

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Longford

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Ringway

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Sale

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Trafford

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Urmston

FTTC/P & FOD

Wigan District

Ashton-in-Makerfield

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Aspull

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Atherton

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Hindley

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Leigh

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Orrell

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Platt Bridge

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Standish

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Wigan

FTTC/P & FOD

 

Key:

FTTC – Fibre to the cabinet

FTTP – Fibre to the premises

FOD – Fibre on demand

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

If where you live isn’t on the Openreach list, there are still ways to encourage providers to consider getting fibre to your address. You’ll need to register your interest with relevant providers. When they have enough willing subscribers, they’re more likely to bring it to your area.

Also, there are some community-based options. Here a joint funding arrangement is put in place, which means the provider, Openreach for example, contributes some of the costs and your community funds the rest. An affordable solution is then put in place 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 – a good place to start is by talking to your local council. If you live in a housing association property or council property, you could try persuading them to push for getting your estate or development cabled up faster.

What broadband speed do I need?

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

Streaming – You’ve just reached a gripping moment in your favourite boxset and the drama is ruined by endless buffering. If this is happening to you, check out the minimum download speeds you need for happy viewing. Netflix needs higher rates than iPlayer or even YouTube, at 3Mbps (megabits per second) for non HD and 5Mbps for HD. If you love catching up with friends and family on Zoom or other video calling services, you’ll need at least 3Mbps for group calls. See more in our guide to speeds needed for streaming.

Online gaming – Whether it’s a first-person shooter or a point and click puzzler, having good connectivity can make a difference. Fast speeds offer a better experience both when playing and downloading new titles. Take a look at the minimum download speeds needed in our guide for gamers.

Working from home – A combination of more flexible working arrangements and the coronavirus pandemic have meant more people than ever are working from home, including in Manchester. For web browsing you’ll need between 1 Mbps and 5 Mbps. If there’s more than one of you trying to work at home, it might help to ramp up your download speed to 16Mbps or more to help get things done when working online.

Get more information on broadband for working from home.

How much does broadband cost?

Broadband costs vary from provider to provider and are based on a few things, including: 

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

To find a deal for broadband, enter your postcode into our comparison tool, choose your current provider – if you have one - from the drop-down list, and we’ll show you what deals are available for where you live.

If you’re just checking out possibilities and not ready to switch yet, it’s easy to set a reminder and we’ll alert you when the time comes.

It’s a good idea to start checking out possibilities before your current deal comes to an end, especially if the price is due to go up at the end of the deal, so you’ve got a switch ready to action as soon as possible.

Holly Niblett

From the Digital team

What our expert says

“If you’re looking for the best internet service in Manchester, it’s worth comparing deals regularly to see what’s available. With special deals, new fibre options and things changing fast, it’s worth checking to see if you can get a cheaper deal.”

Why use Compare the Market?

Compare broadband deals within 1 minute^^ 92.4% of users would recommend Compare the Market to friends or family^^^ Compare a range of deals from large and small providers

^^On average it can take less than 1 minute to find and compare broadband deals through Compare the Market based on data in November 2020.

^^^For the period 1st March to 31st May 2021, 9,781 people responded to the recommend question. 9,033 responded with a score of 6 or above, therefore 92.4% are likely to recommend.

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