Going Online in the United Kingdom

Broadband providers in the UK: how to get Internet, how to switch, and how providers compare...

Internet speeds and connections in the UK still lag behind the rest of Europe but they are improving. There are very few places where broadband is unavailable, the majority of which are rural and depopulated areas. In most places across the UK, digital television, Internet and telephone services are available from a single provider in a bundled package. Rates and pricing schemes vary from one provider to another.

Some of the main providers are:

Providers advertise their maximum download speed but like everywhere else this can be misleading as various factors, including the distance from the local exchange, could slow broadband transmission speed down considerably. Both limited and unlimited data packages are available, but unlimited contracts may contain a "fair use" clause that allows the provider to restrict services if certain data volume limits are exceeded.

Many areas of the UK are now covered by "Superfast Broadband" speeds of over 24Mbps. There is a target to have 90% of the UK covered by this service by the end of 2015.

 

It is possible to sign up for an Internet package online. To see a list of all the providers offering broadband packages in a specific area, run a postcode search on Broadband Choices, select a package and click on Go to reach the chosen provider's website. Details that need to be provided include full address, postcode and telephone number.

Mobile Internet

The UK has adopted and implemented 4G technology (also called LTE) across most of the country. As smartphones are usually capable of doubling as a modem, it may be cheaper and more practical for consumers to buy an unlimited mobile data plan and use their phone to share Wi-Fi with their other devices. Although most providers will offer high-data plans (50gig per month), Three is the only provider to date that offers truly unlimited mobile data.