Contact us Customer service: 0800 1388 388
0800 840 4949’s rough guide to super-fast broadband

Super-fast broadband is like high definition TV - once you have experienced it, there's no going back.

By on February 02, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Broadband’s rough guide to super-fast broadband

As speeds increase and prices fall, we make a lightning quick review of the UK market
Lightning quick loading of web pages, much faster downloads of songs and movies; and more reliable streaming of content make a huge difference to your web experience.

And for households with more than one user, there is the huge advantage of multiple users able to go online simultaneously without the broadband connection becoming painfully slow.

Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of the Ofcom accredited broadband comparison service, Simplifydigital comments:

"Just like HD TV, with super-fast broadband - seeing really is believing.  The difference in user experience is remarkable.  Even basic web surfing seems very different - with pages loading instantaneously - but the real difference jumps out when you try more data hungry stuff like watching high definition TV content, which you can do flawlessly even at peak times and with more than one user online at the same time at home."

Super-fast broadband used to be prohibitively expensive, but not anymore as Virgin Media and BT slug it out for the super-fast broadband high ground.

Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of Ofcom accredited broadband comparison service notes:

"Bearing in mind that broadband speed is such a hot topic, it is amazing how slow some customers have been to move to faster broadband services.  But user behaviour is changing very fast and as a result, more and more families are moving to faster packages - and this migration is set to accelerate with Virgin Media's latest speed push."

Two types of broadband

So what choices do customers have when looking for faster broadband?  There are two types of broadband - standard "DSL" broadband delivered via copper phone lines; and fibre-optic broadband delivered as the name suggests via fibre-optic cable.

Fibre-optic broadband offers far faster speeds (up to 120Mbps is now offered by Virgin Media for example, following this month's announcement) and importantly if delivers much closer to the advertised "up to" speeds.  So the latest Ofcom data shows that whilst DSL broadband services on average deliver just 30% of the speed advertised, Virgin Media's fibre-optic broadband service delivers about 96% of the advertised speed and BT Infinity (BT's fibre-optic service) delivers 85% of the speed advertised.

The availability of super-fast broadband is growing all the time, so customers should regularly check to see if it is now available at their postcode.

Charlie Ponsonby explains:  "Fibre-optic broadband keeps on getting cheaper now that Virgin Media, BT and Plusnet all offer great value packages.  What's more the fibre-optic footprint grows all the time, so we strongly recommend that consumers check with an impartial advisory service such as Simplifydigital, to see if deals are now available in their area".

The new Virgin Media super-fast broadband packages

Last month, Virgin Media announced a significant increase in speed for all four of its fibre optic broadband packages. 

The speed upgrade will take place over the next 18 months, so many customers will have a considerable wait before receiving the increased speeds.  For those interested in the estimated date of their upgrade, Virgin Media have put together a micro-site to check this information:

Charlie Ponsonby comments:  "The commitment by Virgin Media to significantly increase their broadband speeds over the next 18 months, is very good news for UK broadband customers who are increasingly waking up to the benefits of genuinely super-fast broadband."

The Virgin Media changes are as follows:

The Virgin Media changes are as follows:
Virgin Media Package Current New speeds (post Feb 2012)

Virgin Media Broadband (L) • Advertised "up to" speed

• Likely delivered speed*

10 Mbps

9.6 Mbps

20 Mbps

18 Mbps

Virgin Media Broadband (XL) • Advertised "up to" speed

• Likely delivered speed*

30 Mbps


60 Mbps

55.8 Mbps

Virgin Media Broadband (XXL) • Advertised "up to" speed

• Likely delivered speed*


46 Mbps

100 Mbps

92 Mbps

Virgin Media Broadband (XXXL) • Advertised "up to" speed

• Likely delivered speed*

100 Mbps

92 Mbps

120 Mbps

108 Mbps

*Based on latest Ofcom broadband speed estimates March 2011

These speeds compare to the current UK average broadband speed of just 6.2 Mbps (source Ofcom March 2011), with copper based DSL broadband packages delivering an average of only 29% of the advertised up to speed (Source Ofcom March 2011)

Where to look for independent advice

If you want to see what super-fast broadband deals are now available at your address and to discuss the relative benefits of the various deals, a free and impartial service like Simplifydigital can be a big help.

Their experts are available for free seven days a week to check which deals are available in your area and their Lowest Price Guarantee means that if you find a cheaper deal elsewhere, they will refund the difference. 

What's more Simplifydigital offers a free Switching Support service so the experts will be on hand to help you right up until the day of install of your news service.  Simplifydigital's London based, independent experts are available free on 0800 840 5362 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday; 9am to 5:30pm on Saturday and 10am until 5pm on Sunday.  Alternatively, you can find them online at

Table Virgin media

Information correct from Simplifydigital as of 24/01/2012

*From 1st March 2012 the price of O2's Home Phone line rental is increasing to £10.50 a month and there won't be a Pay for what you use line rental only option. If you join Home Phone before 1st March 2012, O2 will give you a £1.50 discount on your line rental, so you'll pay £9 a month from 1st March 2012 until your first bill in March 2013.

Call for free advice and to switch providers

0800 840 4949

Calls are free from a landline

On a mobile? Call 0203 092 5174 for standard rates

Our call centre is now closed, we'll reopen tomorrow at 8am

You can: