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Best broadband provider 2024: The top internet suppliers for speed, reliability and value

Want a faster, more reliable connection? We've tested the best broadband providers to find the right option for you

Choosing the best broadband provider is one of the most critical decisions a household will make. When work, kids’ homework, TV, music and gaming are dependent on fast, reliable broadband, it’s vital you pick a provider that can be counted on.

Every year, we survey thousands of customers as part of the Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards to help point you in the right direction. We’ve got plenty of first-hand feedback on the speed, reliability, customer service and value on offer from 11 of the country’s leading broadband providers to help you narrow down your shortlist.

It’s easy to be swayed by the promise of “ultrafast” speeds at bargain prices, but there are many factors you should take into consideration when choosing a broadband provider. So we’ve provided a buyer’s guide at the bottom of the page to run through the chief considerations, along with a dedicated roundup of the best broadband deals to save you money.

Deal: Get a mega mobile broadband offer from Three | 150Mbits/sec for £11/mth for 6 months | 24-month plan

If you live in an area with a consistently good 5G signal, you’ll get an average download speed of around 150Mbits/sec for just £11/mth for the first six months of a two-year contract, with nothing to pay upfront. The price will then rise to £22/mth, which is still very reasonable. Note that the price will increase each April.

Best broadband provider: At a glance

Best all-roundZen InternetCheck prices at Zen Internet
Best for speedHyperopticCheck prices at Hyperoptic
Best valueThreeCheck prices at Three
Best customer servicePlusnetCheck prices at Plusnet
Best for a cheap,
fixed-line connection
Now BroadbandCheck prices at Now Broadband

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The best broadband providers in 2024

1. Zen Internet: The best all-round broadband provider

Price: From £32/mth | Check prices at Zen Internet

Zen Internet has built a hard-earned reputation for excellence, especially when it comes to customer service. Indeed, it’s the customer service scores in our survey that set it miles apart from the competition, meaning we gave it a perfect five stars in our full Zen Internet review.

More than eight out of ten Zen Internet customers are satisfied with the company’s customer service. To put that in context, the industry average is just over half. The Rochdale-based company is a perennial award-winner, and now it adds the overall Expert Reviews Best Broadband Award to its trophy cabinet.

It’s not only customer service in which Zen excels. Reliability is another strong hand for Zen, with a staggering 88% of its customers praising its reliability. Performance doesn’t suffer at the expense of steadiness either, with Zen claiming a highly commended award for the speed of its connections too.

Read our full Zen Internet review

Zen Internet broadband plans

Unlimited Fibre 1: 36Mbits/sec for £32/mth
Unlimited Fibre 2: 73Mbits/sec for £36/mth
Full Fibre 100: 100Mbits/sec for £35/mth
Full Fibre 300: 300Mbits/sec for £40/mth
Full Fibre 500: 500Mbits/sec for £45/mth
Full Fibre 900: 900Mbits/sec for £55/mth
All plans last 18 months, with £15 to pay upfront
Check prices at Zen Internet

2. Hyperoptic: The best broadband provider for speed

Price: From £25/mth | Check prices at Hyperoptic

Hyperoptic operates a full-fibre network that is built for speed. At the very top end, it can deliver gigabit (1,000Mbits/sec) downloads and uploads, something that none of the ten other providers in this year’s roundup could match. Consequently, we gave it four out of five stars and an Expert Reviews Recommended award in our full Hyperoptic broadband review.

No wonder, then, that Hyperoptic’s customers rate it so highly for sheer speed. A whopping 86% of customers are happy with the speed they’re receiving, with almost two-thirds declaring themselves “very satisfied” in this year’s Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards survey. And when things go wrong, Hyperoptic’s contact centre does better than any other provider’s at sorting out problems, according to our survey.

Hyperoptic’s biggest weakness is coverage. Only 1.4 million premises in the UK are within reach of Hyperoptic’s network. If you’re not lucky enough to be among them, Zen Internet is your next best bet for speed.

Read our full Hyperoptic broadband review

Hyperoptic broadband plans

Fast: 57Mbits/sec for £26/mth
Superfast: 158Mbits/sec for £35/mth
Ultrafast: 522Mbits/sec for £38/mth
Hyperfast: 900Mbits/sec for £40/mth
All plans last 24 months, with £19 to pay upfront
Check prices at Hyperoptic

3. Three: The best-value broadband provider

Price: From £22/mth | Check prices at Three

Three does things differently to every other home broadband provider in this year’s survey. Instead of using a wired connection into the home, it relies on its 4G and 5G mobile networks. And it does so at a price that simply can’t be beaten.

Three’s home broadband costs only £22/mth. Better still, there’s no installation, no digging up gardens, no waiting for an engineer. Three can have you up and running within a couple of days and it offers flexibility on contract lengths too, with a one-month rolling contract costing only £25/mth.

For those on a tight budget, who are living in short-term (such as student) accommodation, or for those who simply can’t get conventional fixed-line broadband installed, Three’s offering is extremely compelling. Just be sure to check coverage before signing up.

Read our full Three broadband review

Three broadband plans

4G: 600Mbits/sec for £22/mth
5G: 3,800Mbits/sec for £22/mth
1. All plans last 24 months, with nothing to pay upfront
2. Speeds are theoretical maximums, but unlikely to be achieved in a real-world scenario
3. The prices shown will increase each April by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation plus 3.9%
Check prices at Three

4. Plusnet: The best broadband provider for strong customer service

Price: From £26/mth | Check prices at Plusnet

Plusnet picked up two highly commended awards in the latest Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards 2024 survey, both connected to the way it treats customers. We also gave it four stars out of five and an Expert Reviews Recommended award in our in-depth Plusnet broadband review.

It was the runner-up in the customer service award, with two-thirds of its customers claiming to be satisfied with the service on offer – a score bettered only by Zen Internet. Plusnet has a good record of dealing with problems too, with 80% of customers satisfied after reaching out to the contact centre for support.

A strong all-round showing put BT-owned Plusnet in third place overall, following on from last year’s success in a much smaller field.

Read our full Plusnet broadband review

Plusnet broadband plans

Fibre: 72Mbits/sec for £26/mth
Full Fibre 74: 158Mbits/sec for £27/mth
Full Fibre 145: 145Mbits/sec for £27/mth
Full Fibre 300: 300Mbits/sec for £31/mth
Full Fibre 500: 500Mbits/sec for £35/mth
Full Fibre 900: 900Mbits/sec for £44/mth
1. All plans last 24 months, with nothing to pay upfront
2. The price shown will increase every March by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation plus 3.9%
Check prices at Plusnet

5. Now Broadband: The best broadband provider for a cheap fixed-line connection

Price: From £20/mth | Check prices at Now Broadband

Now Broadband is Sky’s budget offering. It doesn’t yet offer full-fibre connections, restricting itself to slower fibre-to-the-cabinet connections. That helps explain why its tariffs are so cheap.

£24/mth is about as cheap as it gets for fixed-line broadband (the £20/mth tariff is on very slow ADSL connections, which are dying out in most areas of the country). Contract lengths are pegged at 12 months too, which is shorter than the 18 or 24 months most providers want you tied down for.

Now Broadband customers rated it highly for value, with 77% claiming to be satisfied with the value for money they were receiving. Not surprisingly, it didn’t score highly for speed, though.

Read our full Now Broadband review

Now Broadband plans

Brilliant Broadband: 11Mbits/sec for £20/mth
Fab Fibre: 36Mbits/sec for £24/mth
Super Fibre: 63Mbits/sec for £24/mth
1. All plans last 12 months, with nothing to pay upfront
2. The price shown will increase every March by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation plus 3.9%
Check prices at Now Broadband

How to choose the best broadband provider for you

Can you get full fibre?

This is a real boom time for Britain’s broadband. There are literally hundreds of networks popping up all over the country offering full-fibre connections that don’t rely on speed-sapping copper cables. Openreach and Virgin Media are rapidly extending their fibre networks, alongside dozens and dozens of smaller providers. That’s driving up the speed of connections and driving down the prices. A win-win, if ever there was.

Full fibre is most likely to be found in the major towns and cities, but there are many smaller and rural areas that can get full fibre too. Don’t rely on the comparison sites, as they don’t always list the full breadth of providers in an area. It’s also worth checking your coverage with companies such as our award-winning Zen Internet and Vodafone, who work with multiple full-fibre providers, not only Openreach.

What’s the right speed for you?

For those in a full-fibre area, you now have an embarrassment of riches. Connection speeds can now hit 1Gbits/sec (1,000Mbits/sec) and beyond, but before you sign up, consider how much speed you actually need.

Even the most internet-hungry family would do well to saturate a 1Gbit/sec connection – 300 or 500Mbits/sec will be more than adequate for most busy households.

For smaller dwellings with only one or two occupants, it’s debatable whether you really need more than 100Mbits/sec. It’s only the downloading of huge files (such as game updates) where a faster connection will make a significant difference to your day-to-day internet activity, but for activities such as web surfing, Netflix or email there will be little to no difference between a 100Mbits/sec connection and a 1Gbit/sec connection – except the price.

Do you need a backup?

Many broadband providers now offer 4G/5G backup, so that if your main broadband line goes down, it can fall back on the mobile connection.

This can come at a significant extra cost (normally an extra £5-£10/mth), but if you’re working from home and can’t be without a connection for a day or two while a line is being repaired, that might be a cost you’re prepared to wear.

Note, the mobile broadband backup will likely be much slower than your regular fixed line connection.

Should you replace your supplied router?

All broadband providers will supply a router with a new connection, but as you’ll see from our reviews, some of these are starting to get very long in the tooth.

Some providers are still supplying Wi-Fi 5 routers to new customers on ultrafast lines, even though we now have Wi-Fi 7 routers appearing on the market. These older Wi-Fi standards are less reliable and less likely to get the full speed of your connection to the four corners of your home.

Many providers will try and sell you extenders (for an additional monthly fee) to ensure a stronger Wi-Fi connection around the home, but it’s often more cost effective to buy your own routers/extenders. However, be aware that many broadband providers won’t officially support third-party routers, so if something goes wrong, you might be on your own.

READ NEXT: Best Wi-Fi 6 router

Should you go for a broadband bundle?

Bundles of TV, phone and broadband were once all the rage. Now, not so much.

Landline phone connections are dying out, especially with BT switching off its PSTN network in the next couple of years, so think hard about whether you really need a landline. When it comes to TV, it’s often cheaper to buy broadband and TV packages separately, especially as most are delivered over the internet these days anyway.

Read more

Best Buys