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Broadband in Manchester

Getting fast internet can be a postcode lottery. See how broadband in Manchester fares for speed and how fibre broadband could help your household stream, game and browse with ease.

Which are the best internet providers in Manchester?

There’s no one best internet provider in Manchester that suits everyone. It’s likely to depend on what matters most to you – like how fast you want your broadband to be and how much you’re willing to pay.

Availability of WiFi in Manchester will also depend on where you live and whether the area has access to high-speed services. Another decision to make is whether you want a broadband-only service or a bundle. A package that includes your home phone, mobile and TV services could be the best option for you.

Greater Manchester is served by all the main broadband providers, including:

Virgin Media

Virgin Media runs on its own cable network and is one of the few providers to offer broadband, TV, home phone and mobile bundles.

It delivers some of the fastest broadband speeds in Manchester, ranging from 54 Mbps (megabits per second) to 1,130 Mbps. It’s not the cheapest provider, though.

Compare Virgin Media broadband deals

BT

As the UK’s largest broadband provider, BT offers a wide range of packages to people who live in Manchester. Average download speeds range from 36 Mbps to 900 Mbps for full-fibre broadband.

You can also bundle your broadband with your home phone plan and add flexible TV packages to your deal that include BT Sport.

Sky

Sky offers full-fibre broadband speeds up to 900 Mbps, while its TV packages make a huge range of entertainment, film and sports channels available to subscribers.

If you’re a Sky Mobile customer, you could benefit from data-free streaming to watch Sky channels on the go.

TalkTalk

TalkTalk is known for its reasonably priced broadband, with speeds ranging from 38 Mbps to 944 Mbps. An award-winning Amazon eero router is included in its fastest full-fibre plans.

You can get broadband-only deals or add call plans and a TV subscription to your package with over 170 channels and 30 streaming apps.

Vodafone

Vodafone’s plans include full-fibre broadband with speeds of up to 910 Mbps, plus a landline and no set-up fees.

If you’re already a Vodafone mobile customer, you can enjoy a discount on the monthly cost of your broadband.

Other providers

Some smaller providers also operate in and around Manchester. These include Hyperoptic, which has been running in the city since 2014. It provides some of the fastest speeds around and rates very highly for customer service. Rochdale-based Zen Internet is a popular local provider that also scores well for customer service.

How do broadband speeds in Manchester compare?

The average fixed broadband download speed in Manchester is 75 Mbps, according to Speedtest.net. This compares with a national average of 74 Mbps.

Here’s how some other areas in Greater Manchester compare:

  • Bolton – 93 Mbps
  • Bury – 85 Mbps
  • Oldham – 79 Mbps
  • Rochdale – 72 Mbps
  • Salford – 92 Mbps
  • Stockport – 114 Mbps.

(Correct as of March 2023)

Connection speeds continue to improve in Greater Manchester. Salford is one of the areas that has benefited the most from investment in the region. This is largely thanks to MediaCityUK being located here. It’s home to the BBC, ITV, Ericsson and Kellogg’s, plus more than 250 smaller media and digital businesses.

Stockport has the fastest broadband in the area, being one of the first locations to benefit from the Get Digital Faster programme. This has delivered superfast broadband to the area through fibre-enabled street cabinets. It has also increased access to gigabit speeds.

Can I get the fastest broadband in Manchester?

Potentially, but the speed of internet in Manchester you could get will depend on a few factors, including:

  • The area you live in – the differences in broadband speed can vary from block to block and even street to street.
  • Your internet provider – some providers promise speeds up to 1 Gbps, but most places can’t get these yet.
  • 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:

  • 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. Many fibre deals currently use this technology, so it’s worth checking 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, also known as cable broadband)  – Virgin Media’s network is delivered into your home using coaxial cable. It offers some of the fastest speeds available.

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

Did you know? 

The speed of 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.

Frequently asked questions

Is fibre broadband available in Greater Manchester?

Yes, fibre broadband is widely available in Greater Manchester. More than 97% of UK homes can access superfast fibre broadband, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get this if you live in Manchester or the surrounding towns and villages.

Just pop your postcode into our broadband comparison tool and see what type of fibre deals you can get.

Can I get full-fibre broadband where I live in Greater Manchester?

If fibre cables run all the way to your home, it’s likely you can get full-fibre broadband where you live. This gives you the fastest speeds available, up to 1 Gbps.

Check Openreach’s Full Fibre Build Plans map to see if ultrafast full fibre broadband is available in your area or if there are any planned upgrades.

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

You can register your interest with relevant providers. When they have enough willing subscribers, they’re more likely to bring it to your area.

There are also some community-based options, where a joint funding arrangement is put in place. The provider contributes some of the costs and your community funds the rest. Openreach has guidance on how to start this kind of community project if you’re interested.

If you live in a housing association property or council property, you could try persuading your local authority to push for broadband upgrades faster.

Can I stay with my current provider if I’m moving to Manchester?

This should be possible, as long as your broadband provider covers your new address in Manchester.  
 
You’ll need to give your provider at least two weeks’ notice of your move, and they’ll do the switchover for you. Some providers will charge a fee to transfer your services or install a new line if you need one. 

What broadband speed do I need?

The ideal speed for you depends on what you use your broadband for. Here are examples of the speeds you’ll probably need for some of the most popular internet activities:

  • Web browsing – 1-5 Mbps
  • Watching movies and streaming non-HD TV – 1.5-2.5 Mbps
  • Watching movies and streaming HD TV – 2.8-4 Mbps
  • Streaming audio and music videos – 0.32-0.5 Mbps
  • Online gaming – 3 Mbps.

If there are several people in your household online at the same time, you’ll need a connection that’s fast enough to handle all these tasks at once.

See more in our guide to speeds needed for streaming.

What else should I consider when comparing broadband deals in Manchester?

Apart from speed, here are a few factors to bear in mind when comparing broadband deals:

  • Could you get a better deal by choosing to package your broadband together with your home phone and TV?
  • Are there any freebies on offer that could make a deal worth your while?
  • How long is the contract? If you’re locked into a long-term contract, it could stop you from taking advantage of better deals in the future.

How much does broadband in Manchester cost?

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

The type of broadband you choose – 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 the best broadband in Manchester?

To find the right broadband deal for your household, simply enter your postcode into our comparison tool and choose your current provider (if you have one) from the dropdown list.

We’ll show you what deals are available for where you live and list all the essential package details you need, including:

  • Length of contract
  • Monthly charges
  • Line rental
  • Average speeds
  • Connection costs
  • Any extras or freebies on offer.

It’s a good idea to start checking out possibilities before your current deal comes to an end so you’re ready to switch if you can get a better deal.

Author image Sajni Shah

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.

- Sajni Shah, Utilities comparison expert

Why use Compare the Market?

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[1] As of January 2024, Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 38,330 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’.

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