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One Utility Bill • 9 mins

How to find the best broadband deal for you

Bills How to broadband
How to find the best broadband deal for you

Here's a rundown of how to find the best broadband deal for you, including a breakdown of key terminology you'll find while searching for a deal and which each one matters. 

Jump to:

Broadband speed links:

Other things to consider:

If you want broadband without the hassle, add it to a bills package.

One Utility Bill will handle the setup with all suppliers (including broadband), and put all of your utility payments into one, fixed monthly payment. 

You don't miss out either, with Sky Broadband and Virgin Media broadband to choose from, you can still get broadband service from the leading suppliers in the UK. Plus router delivery is free!


How to find the best broadband speed

The speed of your broadband can have a huge impact on your online experience, but unless you're super up to speed (no pun intended) it can be difficult to know what to look for. Here's a breakdown of some key broadband speed terms and what they mean. 


Bandwidth (aka broadband speed)

Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data your broadband connection could theoretically handle at one time. This includes average speeds for uploads and downloads. 

If you're a household of heavy internet users you'll need more bandwidth, but not necessarily the most bandwidth. Click here to figure out how much bandwidth you need.


Advertised broadband speed

Advertised broadband deals often refer to speeds as "Up to...", meaning the number advertised is the fastest speed you can get from that particular connection.

The average speed for UK connections is 69.4Mb per second.  

  • The biggest broadband providers are governed by Ofcom standards that dictate how they can advertise their deals.
  • Make sure you check the wording of the advertised speed so you know what you're getting
  • The "up to" speed is the fastest speed you can expect, and your supplier has to guarantee that you'll get at least half that speed at peak times (between 8-10pm).

For example: If you pay for ultrafast broadband with a 1GB download speed, your supplier has to guarantee a a minimum download speed of at least 500MB at peak times.

If you found that this wasn't the case, using a broadband speed test, you'd be entitled to end your contract and change broadband suppliers without paying the usual termination fees, because your supplier broke the rules when they sold you the service. 


Download speed

This is how much data per second you can get from your connection. Busy households using more online services will need more data than someone living alone.

It doesn't just mean downloading files to your hard drive. Streaming services, social media and using your favourite apps all rely on your download speed.


Upload speed 

This is how much data per second you can send to the internet, whether sending large files, posting on social media, video calling, or hosting a live stream.

Most broadband deals have upload speeds far lower than download speeds, because most people download far more data than they upload, so most broadband customers don't need high upload speeds. 



Unlimited Usage vs. Capped

Sometimes a capped data allowance on your broadband deal can mean a lower monthly price, which is great if you're not online (or at home) much.

But if you're a heavy internet user who relies on the internet for a lot of work and leisure, it's probably worth the extra cost to find an unlimited usage deal.

How to figure out the broadband speed you need:

Use the speeds below and piece together an average day in your house and figure out how many devices will be connected and in use at the same time, to get an idea of the bandwidth you'll need.

Bundle the broadband speed you need into a bills package, and let One Utility Bill handle the set up and other bills admin. 


GBps = Gigabytes per second

MBps = Megabits per second

Mbps = Megabytes per second

1 GB =  1000 MB

1MB = 8Mb

How much bandwidth your online activity uses

Here's how much data common online activities use so you can figure out how much your household is likely to need.

  • Streaming services like Netflix and Disney+
    • Use up to 3GB of data an hour at HD, and up to 7GB an hour in Ultra HD.
    • At HD that's about 6.6Mbps, and 15Mbps in Ultra HD
  • Music Streaming
    • Spotify uses about 115MB per hour of listening, if you have the "high quality" setting enabled. 
      • That's about 0.25Mbps.
    • Other music streaming services will differ. Tidal for example has a Master quality setting that uses a lot more data. 
  • Scrolling on social media
    • TikTok uses about 840MB an hour
      • 1.86Mbps
    • Instagram uses between 400-600MB an hour, depending on the content in your feed.
      • 0.88 - 1.3Mbps
  • Watching a Twitch stream
    • Watching a Twitch stream uses about 0.9GB/900MB per hour at 720 resolution.
      • That's 2Mbps in HD.
  • Streaming to Twitch
    • Live streaming to Twitch uses about 1.5GB an hour at 1090 resolution.
    • That's 3.3Mbps at 1090 resolution
    • NOTE: This speed only covers the data used by your Twitch video stream. Add the required upload speed of online games into this equation to find out the total data you'll need.
  • Online gaming
    • This will vary quite dramatically depending on the game you're playing and the amount of people you're playing with.
      • You need to send and receive data to play online, meaning you use more bandwidth than with many online activities.
    • A safe bet is about 5-10Mbps upload speed
    • And 10-25Mbps download speed
  • Group video calling
    • Zoom group call bandwidth requirements:
      • Download speeds for a group call: Between 60MB per hour to 216MB per hour, depending on your video quality
        • That's 1Mbps to 3.6Mbps
      • Upload speeds for a group call: At least 3Mbps.

Bandwidth use example:

In this example, you have access to Sky Broadband in your area, and have two deals to choose from.

  • Cheaper option: 17MB per second: This deal has minimum speeds of 8.5MBps download speed at peak times, with maximim speed of 17MBps. You could get speeds anywhere between at off-peak times.
  • Ultrafast Speed option: 78MB per second This deal has a minimum speed of 39MB per second even at the busiest time of day, which is still considered Ultrafast, and maximum speeds of 78MB per second, with speeds in between.


  • You're working from home, talking with your team on Google Meet.
  • Your partner is off work watching Disney+ in Ultra HD and scrolling on their phone at the same time.
  • Those activities combined would use about 20Mb/s (ish) of your download speed.

The cheaper 17MB option wouldn't be enough bandwidth for a reliable connection at this level of activity, and the Ultrafast option would be more than enough. Even at off-peak times, the cheaper option would give you slower speeds for streaming and video calls.

The 78MB per second option would be able to handle almost twice as much activity, even at peak times, meaning it could be a good option for some of the busiest households.

The average UK download speed is 63Mb per second, so most deals would be fine for that level of usage. You could go for deals calling themselves things like "Gigabit" or "Ultrafast Plus", but you probably wouldn't use it most of the time.

However, busier households with more collective screen time will need more bandwidth. Whether its children or housemates also using the connection, your data usage could easily double or triple at peak times. And a larger bandwidth will complete big downloads at faster speeds, ideal if you regularly download games or movies, the bigger bandwidth deals are definitely for you.


Another thing to consider when choosing your broadband: How many devices will be online?

Every device that connects to your home broadband connection takes a small slice of bandwidth. Lots of devices connected to the same router means you need a higher bandwidth, even if they're all using a small amount. This includes devices using Wi-Fi and a wired connection. 


What average speed download and upload speed do you need for streaming?

The speed you'll need to broadcast your own livestream is different to the one you'll need to watch someone else's livestream, or watch content from streaming services.

To broadcast your own livestream you'll need a good upload speed.

Twitch recommends a minimum upload speed of 6Mbps. That doesn't take into account any online games you might be playing at the same time, which can use a lot of upload speed too. 
Recommendations vary, but most online sources say you'll need at least 3Mbps for most games, and between 5-10Mbps for a good experience. 

To watch someone else's livestream you'll need a good download speed. 


What broadband speeds can I add to a One Utility Bill package?

Create your own custom One Utility Bill package to put all of your chosen utility bills into one, fixed monthly payment. You can add broadband into the mix, with options from Sky and Virgin Media. It's a more convenient option with no compromise on quality. 

Our providers cover most of the UK, and your options include some of the fastest broadband deals in the UK

  • Unlimited Sky Broadband options, with speeds of up to 17MBps or 78MBps. That means there are fibre broadband options for lower-use households, as well as data-hungry families.
  • Virgin Media Broadband options with speeds from just 100Mbps and 1GBps - a huuuuge range, meaning you can get the speed you need. 

FYI: Available packages corrects as of 05.03.24. Available services change all the time, so you could see different services if you get a broadband quote 👍


What is fibre broadband (and why is it better)?

Fibre broadband is one of the broadband connection types currently available in the UK. It's faster than older technologies, and is now available in most of the UK.


Broadband connection types explained:

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)

Copper wires (telephone lines) are used to connect to the internet. This is older technology and can be slower and less reliable than other connections. Rural areas are more likely to have this type of connection.

FTTC Broadband (Fibre to the Cabinet)

The most common type of fibre broadband. This uses a fibre cable rather than the older copper cabling. They can carry much more data at once, meaning a faster connection.

With FTTC broadband, fibre cables connect to the cabinet (the green boxes you see in the street). Copper cables connect your house to the cabinet.

The copper wires mean this connection type is slightly slower than full fibre broadband. These connections are slowly being replaced, and most places will eventually have full fibre broadband.

FTTP Broadband (Fibre to the Property)

Also called full fibre broadband. The fibre cable connects straight to your home, meaning the fastest possible connection the whole way, and the most reliable broadband technology.

This is the fastest type of fibre broadband available, with speeds of up to 1GB (1000MB). 

Broadband connections have a big impact on your speed, but there isn't usually a lot of choice. Availability at your address is usually based on the type of connection that's there already. 

What's the easiest broadband set-up process?

To set up broadband directly with a supplier you need to:

  • Find a deal that meets your needs
  • Check service availability in your area 
    • Most suppliers have a postcode checker on their site ✅
  • Sign up and set up your account
    • Pay for router delivery (sometimes)
  • You might also need an engineer appointment.
    • At peak times this can be a wait of up to three weeks 😨 but can still take about a week even when it's quiet. 

This is pretty simple on its own, but usually sign up needs to happen during a home moving process, whether you've just bought a new home, or you're moving to a new tenancy. One simple process on a long list of simple processes is still a lot of work.


A One Utility Bill package is the easy solution. Set up all your utility bills at once, and let us handle the set up. 

If you include broadband in a One Utility Bill bills package you just need to:

  • Choose the services you want in your bills package
  • Create a password and enter payment details
  • Wait for details of free router delivery, and an engineer appointment if you need one.
  • That's it. Your Energy, broadband, TV and water bills are all sorted. 
    • You can even get Unlimited Energy, but that's a topic for another blog.

The team will check availability, sit on the phone with suppliers and all that boring stuff on your behalf.

Sound good? Get an easy bills quote now to simplify your move, or learn more about how bill packages work

Other things to consider when choosing a broadband provider

Broadband availability in your area

Not all internet providers are available in all areas. Check network availability at your new postcode to make sure you can get your perfect deal at your new place.

(The One Utility Bill team do that for you if you include broadband in your bills package. Just saying.)


Do you want phone services included or broadband-only deal?

A landline is included with many broadband deals, but you can also get broadband-only deals which are a little cheaper and don't include any phone service.

Landline customers pay an extra cost, but it's important to note that it's an optional extra and you don't need to pay for it.

Some people prefer to have a landline for emergency services, but others rely on their mobile. It's up to you, but make sure you look out for this detail when you're shopping around.


Do you want or need any optional extras with your broadband deal?

Some broadband deals come with streaming TV subscriptions, and TV packages included. This comes with an extra cost, but can be a good deal compared to paying for the services separately.


What's the best broadband price you can get?

The monthly cost of your broadband most important thing at the end of the day, but you need to consider it with everything else.

  • Choosing a broadband service based on price alone could leave you without the bandwidth you need to stream, stay in touch or even work from home.
  • A cheap deal is only a good deal if you get what you need from it.
  • If you want a landline for emergency services, you might find that your otherwise perfect deal comes without this optional extra, so it's worth doing your research to get the right price and the right service.

Make sure you factor in any upfront costs, like router delivery, too. One Utility Bill offers free router delivery if you add broadband to your bills package. Just saying.


Check the broadband contract length

Many broadband providers offer long minimum terms, including 18-month contracts, which can be tricky if you're renting with a short term tenancy, or looking to buy a home and don't know when you might be moving. There's an additional charge for ending these contracts early, so make sure you factor that in. Moving is expensive enough as it is!

One Utility Bill will tailor your broadband contract so you're only paying for the months you'll actually use it, which is the perfect solution for anybody moving home soon, or those on a short tenancy. 


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How to sort the bills 

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