Superfast broadband sounds appealing but is it something that you need?

Speed is a crucial consideration when deciding which broadband package is right for you. If it’s too slow you’ll struggle to do the things you need to do; too fast, and you may be paying for a service you don’t need.

What is a good internet speed?

The speed of your home broadband is important. If it isn’t fast enough for the number of people you live with, and the things you do online, you’re likely to experience irritating delays and connection issues. These will be worse when everyone tries to get online at the same time.

Broadband speed is measured in ‘megabits’, and most of us understand that the higher the speed, the faster you can download files and the higher quality your streaming content will be. What many people struggle with is how to apply average broadband speeds to the needs of their household, so they can choose a broadband deal with an internet speed that is right for their requirements.

As a rule, you’ll need 10Mbps per broadband user. Double this to 20Mbps for each user they’re streaming 4K content or gaming.

A good internet speed matches your personal needs the best. Common broadband speeds in the UK start from as little as 10Mbps and can go faster than 1Gbps which is 100 times faster. A ‘good’ internet speed is fast enough to handle everything your household does online but isn’t so fast that you end up paying for speeds you don’t need.

Nowadays the best guidance that we can give when looking for a broadband provider is that you should probably look for a fibre broadband deal first. Some providers still offer 10Mbps copper internet, but often at prices that are either similar or more expensive, than the cheapest fibre deals.

What can affect broadband speed?

Several factors can affect your broadband speed. Things like the number of people trying to connect to the internet, what time of day you’re trying to get online and where your router is located can all influence the speed of your broadband.

There are 5 main things to consider when looking at the speed of your internet.

  • Device speed and connection – If your Wi-Fi is feeling slow it could be due to the device you are using. Typically, the newer your equipment the faster the wireless speed it will support. A smartphone from 2013 can handle around half the Wi-Fi speed of a modern smartphone.
  • How you use your broadband – Broadband speed is shared with every single device connected to your router. So, if five devices are all using the internet at the same time, they will each get roughly a fifth of the available speed. Streaming and gaming also use more of your bandwidth, so if anyone in your household is doing this it could make the broadband slower for everyone else.
  • If your router is switched off – It is important to make sure that you leave your router on and always connected. This will mean that your internet service provider can give you the fastest and most reliable service and ensure your router is kept up to date.
  • Time of day – Like rush-hour traffic, the speed you’ll get depends partly on how many people are using the network. During peak periods, usually 8 pm to 10 pm, you may sometimes notice slightly slower speeds.
  • Viruses and online threats – If your computer or laptop has picked up a virus this can slow everything down.

What internet speeds do you need for your usage?

If you live alone or with one other person who also uses the internet, and the most bandwidth-intensive things you do online are internet shopping and browsing social media, your needs will likely be met by ADSL / standard broadband.

ASDL or standard broadband is offered by most UK providers and is often the cheapest broadband deal as it’s typically slower and a little less reliable than fibre and mobile broadband. It uses pre-existing BT copper phone lines to send and receive data, with a typical speed of around 10Mbps. Despite being the cheapest option, standard broadband is perfectly adequate for a couple of light internet users, so there’s no need to pay over the odds for your connection.

In a large household, while you may sit down and enjoy streaming movies and TV together on occasion, it’s likely that at least some of the time, you’ll be in different parts of the house doing your own thing online. The more people that use your broadband connection at any one time, the more bandwidth you’ll need, especially if you’re streaming movies or downloading and using apps and games separately.

For a household of 3-4 people, an entry-level fibre-optic broadband package is usually a sensible choice if nobody owns a 4K TV and streams in 4K UHD resolution, works regularly from home, or downloads games or large documents. This type of broadband deal will typically offer a speed between 30-60Mbps. You could however choose a faster speed which could help future proof your broadband usage, particularly if you have growing kids who are spending more and more time online.

If you have a larger than average family or live in shared student accommodation, there’ll likely be times each day when everyone wants to get online separately. In a busy household, you’ll want to make sure you have a reliable connection to avoid issues like buffering or slow-downloading games and documents, so aim for a fast fibre optic broadband deal with an average speed of at least 63Mbps. Some fibre optic deals now offer speeds of up to 900 or 1000Mbps (now available from

What are the benefits of having faster broadband?

There are many advantages to having access to the fastest high-speed internet. From improving casual Internet browsing to faster video streaming, the benefits of having the fastest internet are worth the investment. Consider the following rewards for investing in high-speed Internet:

  • With high-speed Internet, pages will load at a faster than average speed and will require less page reloading.
  • As many people enjoy browsing the Internet with many tabs open, without a high-speed connection this becomes an issue.
  • If you invest in high-speed Internet, you can have many pages open at one time, even with video and photos present on each page.

High-speed Internet service is worth the investment for those with families looking for entertainment, and those who need a strong network for their careers. Not only will you be able to browse the Internet without having to reload pages, but you will also be able to open multiple pages at the same time with lightning-fast speed.