In the fast lane: Analysing the UK’s leading broadband players

In the fast lane: Analysing the UK’s leading broadband players Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (@gadgetry@techhub.social)


Opensignal has conducted an in-depth analysis of the real-world fixed broadband experience across the UK. The study provides a national overview as well as detailed insights into five major cities: Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, and Manchester.

National broadband landscape

The UK’s fixed broadband market is witnessing rapid evolution, with national telecoms regulator Ofcom’s analysis pointing to a potential surge in full fibre (FTTP) coverage from 15.4 million properties in May 2023 to 27 million by May 2026.

This transformation is fueled by Physical Infrastructure Agreements (PIAs) – enabling ISPs to leverage Openreach’s infrastructure – and the UK Government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit, targeting rural and remote areas.

However, providers are grappling with rising costs and heightened competition—posing challenges for new rollouts.

Opensignal’s report emphasises the impact of varying user plans and speed tiers on the overall broadband experience, shedding light on the efforts made by ISPs to transition users from legacy technologies to high-speed offerings.

Fibre-only players dominate

Unsurprisingly, fibre-only providers dominate the national fixed broadband experience. Community Fibre leads across all three speed metrics, while Virgin Media – a cable and FTTP provider – is another strong national contender:

In London, Community Fibre secures the top spot across all analysed metrics, showcasing impressive average download speeds and peak download speeds. The dynamics shift in other cities, with Virgin Media frequently taking the lead in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Manchester.

Community Fibre and Gigaclear statistically tie for first place nationally in Broadband Consistent Quality, while Hyperoptic joins the two former providers for Broadband Video Experience:

Broadband experience in major UK cities

In London, Community Fibre outshines its competitors across all metrics, establishing itself as the top choice for users in the capital. However, in other cities, Virgin Media frequently claims the lead, particularly in Broadband Download Speed and Broadband Consistent Quality.

Notably, Virgin Media faces competition in Broadband Upload Speed. Vodafone users experience the fastest upload speeds in Belfast and Edinburgh, and BT users in Cardiff.

Opensignal’s comprehensive report provides valuable insights into the evolving landscape of the UK’s fixed broadband, highlighting the performance of key players in different regions.

A full copy of OpenSignal’s report can be found here.

(Photo by isaac sloman on Unsplash)

See also: Mobile data traffic in Europe to almost triple within five years

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