Don’t want to sign up for BT or Virgin Media? Here are the alternatives This article contains affiliate links, we may receive a commission on all sales we generate from it. Learn more
If you’re looking to upgrade your broadband connection at home, it may be worth looking beyond the usual big brands like BT, Virgin Media, and Sky. While these big national players have some fast speeds and great packages of pay TV and free calling, you might get a better deal with a smaller brand.
A number of newer companies have been able to adopt next-generation gigabit fiber faster than more established companies. While BT hopes to bring the improved infrastructure to 25 million buildings by the end of 2026, it has only managed 5.5 million homes so far. Virgin Media has managed to connect 12.8 million households to its faster cables, which can achieve download speeds in excess of 1,000 Mbps (the UK average is 70 Mbps).
If you’re not fortunate enough to be in an area with gigabit capabilities, it might be worth checking out to see if a smaller, more local broadband company has beaten BT and Virgin Media. And even if you’re not just looking for blazing speeds, a number of these brands have other benefits, including mesh WiFi systems, fast upload speeds, and ongoing monthly contracts.
If you’re looking to switch, Express.co.uk has picked four of these new competitors to give an idea of some of the fiber broadband plans. Of course, none of these are available nationwide, although, in fairness, neither are BT and Virgin Media’s 1Gbps plans. You will need to enter your zip code to ensure the service is available on your street before canceling your existing internet plan.
First YouFibre. This company recently began delivering gigabit-enabled fiber broadband in County Durham. Like a number of these newer challengers, YouFibre needs to stand out from ISPs (Internet Service Providers) with better brand recognition and bulging purses for dazzling advertising campaigns during prime time television.
To do this, YouFibre appears to be using price to attract customers.
YouFibre offers subscribers the option to bag its gigabit speeds for £ 50. For comparison, Virgin Media is charging over £ 62 per month for its Gig1 package and BT is charging £ 59.99 per month. Of course, these two brands have regular promotions to keep those costs down, but YouFibre is considerably cheaper – a savings of £ 216 over your 18 month contract.
YouFibre claims that its top-end fiber speeds are around 900 Mbps. Granted, that’s slower than the Gig1s available from Virgin Media, which offer an average download speed of 1,104Mbps. However, YouFibre is much cheaper. Your mileage may vary, but for our money that’s more than the extra 200 Mbps or so.
And YouFibre includes a mesh broadband system as standard in its bundles. The broadband provider sends you Amazon’s excellent Eero mesh network. Instead of relying on a single Wi-Fi router hidden behind a closet that manages the internet connection of every device in your home, you have several smaller nodes spread out throughout the house.
Although it still looks like a single Wi-Fi network in the Settings app on your phone, behind the scenes these nodes mix devices around as you move around your house so you’re always connected to the node that is closest to you is for the strongest WiFi signal. It also means devices are evenly distributed across the network, so you can connect more devices to the WiFi without sacrificing reliability or speed. Each Eero node can support more than 100 separate devices. So if you have some scattered around your home, you won’t have any problems connecting an incredible 350 devices to your home Wi-Fi network.
Of course, both Virgin Media and BT offer similar mesh-style gadgets … but none of these come standard with your monthly subscription fee.
Next up, Swish Fiber is another company that is trying to get you to sit up and listen. Swish Fiber is all about speed. Swish Fiber State plans from 400Mbps – about six times faster than the UK average download speed. When you’re buying for a business, Swish Fiber delivers up to 8,000 Mbps – about 114 times faster than most UK households.
But what really sets Swish Fiber apart from its competitors is the Wi-Fi router. By default, the Wi-Fi router bundled with its fast plans includes software that automatically optimizes wireless performance behind the scenes to optimize it for the devices in your home. You can also access information about your fast WiFi network to get the most out of your connections. The router, which offers both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, has six internal antennas with beamforming technology.
The all-glass Internet provider also offers its customers the option of keeping their current landline number and automatically redirecting calls to their mobile phones.
If you’re struggling with black holes in your Wi-Fi signal, Swish Fiber offers an optional mesh system to amplify the Wi-Fi throughout your home.
Swish Fiber is pretty confident that you will like this offer. In fact, it is so confident that any customer can leave with just 8 business days notice before the next monthly billing date. For comparison: Virgin Media contracts start at 18 months. And BT will keep you committed to its monthly plans for two years by default.
If you decide to stay close, Swish Fiber will ramp up your connection with an additional 100Mbps boost after 12 consecutive months with Swish Fiber – and you’ll either get 500Mbps (for those who are for the 400 Mbit / s plan) or 1,000 Mbit / s (in comparison). to the 900Mbps standard plan).
Hyperoptic is one of the better known providers on this list. This relatively new Internet Service Provider (ISP) offers speeds between 50 Mbit / s and 1 Gbit / s. The latter costs £ 60, although HyperOptic often runs promotions. In the past we’ve seen the 1 Gbps plan drop to £ 35 per month on a 24 month contract. There’s also no setup fee, so you don’t have to worry about additional costs.
But one of the real benefits of choosing Hyperoptic is the company’s commitment not to express any praise for the duration of the contract.
In comparison, BT warns customers who sign up for their broadband plans that customers can expect CPI-based price increases every March. So the price at which you sign up may not be the price you have in your contract after about 18 months. Those CPI hikes aren’t huge – this year, for example, prices rose 3%. However, that’s still extra money that you can’t cough up.
Hyperoptic also has a price adjustment feature that will lower your broadband costs if you can find a similar offer elsewhere.
There is also automatic compensation for missed engineering appointments (£ 25 invoice credit) and late activation (£ 5 credit each day it is late). Hyperoptic also says, “If you lose service completely, please let us know as soon as possible. If we can’t get you back online within 2 working days of being notified of the outage, we’ll give you £ 8. Invoice credit for each subsequent day that you are without service. “
Last but not least, CommunityFibre. Like Swish Fiber, this provider offers both home and business broadband, so it’s more flexible if you want to keep the family happy with streaming, downloading, and video calling and making sure your business is always online.
CommunityFibre’s monthly plans start at 50Mbps and end at 3Gbps (3,000Mbps – more than 42 times faster than the UK average broadband speed), which should be more than enough bandwidth to keep up with online multiplayer – Play games, 4K streaming and group video to keep up with calls, back up your photo library … all at the same time!
So what does CommunityFibre offer that other traditional broadband companies can’t? First of all, the company does not charge any setup fees or line rental. While Virgin Media and BT occasionally cut setup fees as part of seasonal promotions, for the most part these are fees you’ll have to live with if you choose one of their broadband plans. The line rental shouldn’t apply to every full fiber connection, so that’s not particularly unique – but still nice to enjoy.
But Community Fiber’s biggest pull is the free mesh-compatible router with all of its plans.
If you’re having problems with video calls or streaming from certain rooms in the house, it might not be because of poor speeds in your house – it could simply be because the Wi-Fi signal is struggling to reach every corner of the house. Walls, floors, aquariums, and microwaves are just a few things that can seriously reduce your signal … Mesh networks work with small nodes all over your home to amplify the signal.
This means that you always stream with the maximum signal bar – whether in the attic, in the basement or behind the garden.
By default, CommunityFibre includes the Linksys Tri-Band Intelligent Mesh in all of our packages. Or, if you choose the 1 Gbps package, the company provides two routers for free to ensure you get better coverage over long distances.
Like Hyperoptic, CommunityFibre does not promise any surprising increases over the life of your contract.