Four Virgin Media and BT broadband rivals you can't afford to ignore

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Four Virgin Media and BT broadband rivals you can't afford to ignore

Virgin Media and BT users should be aware of up-and-coming new internet firms (Image: GETTY • VIRGIN MEDIA • BT)Following the £5 billion pledge f

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BT Virgin Media Fibre Broadband Internet Hyperoptic YouFibre CommunityFibre Home Internet WiFi

Virgin Media and BT users should be aware of up-and-coming new internet firms (Image: GETTY • VIRGIN MEDIA • BT)

Following the £5 billion pledge from the UK Government to bring “gigabit-capable” fibre broadband networks across the UK by the end of 2025, a number of smaller firms have sprung-up to challenge familiar faces like BT, Sky and Virgin Media. As these colossuses pivot to bring full-fibre to more customers, the new kids on the block are working fast to be first out of the gate in a number of locations, or – failing that – offer perks not available from more established brands.

If you’re looking to upgrade the internet speeds in your home, then it might be worth checking if some of these less known competitors are available in your area as there are some unbeatable deals to be had. Express.co.uk has picked out four of these new rivals to give an idea about some of the fibre broadband plans out there.

None of these are available nationwide, although in fairness, neither are BT and Virgin Media’s 1Gbps plans. You’ll need to enter your postcode to make sure the service is available in your street before cancelling your existing internet package.

BT Virgin Media Fibre Broadband Internet Hyperoptic YouFibre CommunityFibre Home Internet WiFi

YouFibre wants to trump more-established players with an unbelievable price tag (Image: YOUFIBRE)

YouFibre

First up, YouFibre. This company recently started to deploy gigabit-capable fibre 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 wallets for glitzy advertising campaigns during prime-time television.

To do that, YouFibre seems to be using price to attract customers.

YouFibre is offering subscribers the chance to bag its gigabit speeds for £30 for the next 12-months. For comparison, Virgin Media charges upwards of £62 for its Gig1 package with a £35 one-off set-up fee (although this is sometimes dropped as part of seasonal promotions) and BT will charge £59.99 per month (rising to £67.99 after 24 months) and a £9.99 upfront cost for similar speeds.

YouFibre claims its top-end fibre speeds are around 900Mbps. Admittedly, that’s slower than those available from Virgin Media’s Gig1, which offer on 1,104Mbps average download speeds. YouFibre is, however, half the price. Your mileage may vary, but for our money, that’s worth more than the extra 200Mbps or so.

After 12 months, YouFibre says its fastest broadband plan will rise to £50 a month, which is a substantial increase on your monthly bills. But it’s still a substantial saving compared to old favourites like BT and Virgin Media.

And that’s assuming there’s no way to renegotiate a better deal with YouFibre provided that you sign-up for another full 12-month (or longer) broadband contract.

That’s something that almost all ISPs currently offer, so it would be surprising if YouFibre forced customers who could walk away at a month’s notice to continue to cough-up £50 a month rather than lock them in for another year.

BT Virgin Media Fibre Broadband Internet Hyperoptic YouFibre CommunityFibre Home Internet WiFi

Each one of these companies offers something different, for Swish Fibre – it’s speed (Image: SWISH FIBRE)

Swish Fibre

Next, Swish Fibre is another company trying to get you to sit-up and listen. And unlike the other newbies, Swish Fibre is all about speed. Unfettered, eye-watering speed. According to Swish Fibre, it’s bringing a ludicrously fast 10Gbps full-fibre broadband network to over 250,000 homes and businesses over the coming months.

That speed is 10 times faster than the maximum speeds currently on offer from Virgin Media and BT – which are already 1,462% faster than the UK average broadband speed of 64Mbps. By comparison, Swish Fibre’s 10Gbps speeds are 15,525% faster than the average. If you’re struggling to make video calls with friends and family without the connection stuttering and buffering… that’s not going to happen with Swish Fibre speeds. Downloading 4K films will take seconds – barely enough time to pop your popcorn in the microwave.

According to Swish Fibre, it is bringing a ludicrously fast 10Gbps full-fibre broadband network to over 250,000 homes and businesses in the coming months.

Swish says that Marlow will be the first to benefit from its 10Gbps network, quickly followed by Gerrards Cross, and Beaconsfield. According to the latest report, surveying and planning is complete for these towns and work is now underway in Gerrards Cross, with Beaconsfield due to start in Autumn 2020.

Swish Fibre is then confident that it be active in at least ten of the towns in its roadmap by June 2021. Speaking about the upgrade, Swish Fibre CEO Brice Yharrassarry said: “We’re thrilled to announce our wider rollout plans today, which brings the first phase of full fibre rollout up to a quarter of a million properties covered in the Home Counties.

“Construction works on the ground are progressing extremely well and the early signs of interest within Marlow has exceeded our expectations. We’re excited to have started civils work in Gerrards Cross and are on track to be active in at least ten towns by June 2021.”

There’s no word on price for this service, but we wouldn’t expect it to be a bargain. As an example, both BT and Virgin Media currently charge around £60 per month for their fastest broadband speeds which is over double the price of a standard connection.

BT Virgin Media Fibre Broadband Internet Hyperoptic YouFibre CommunityFibre Home Internet WiFi

Hyperoptic offers a number of bundles ranging from 50Mbps to 1Gbps (Image: HYPEROPTIC)

Hyperoptic

Unlike some of the options listed here, Hyperoptic is already up-and-running and available to switch now. This relatively-new ISP offers speeds between 50Mbps and 1Gbps. The latter costs £60, although HyperOptic is running a promotion at the moment that brings that price down to £49 – comfortably beating the likes of BT and Virgin Media by some £10 a month.

But one of the real benefits of picking Hyperoptic is the firm’s pledge to not raise praises throughout the duration of the contract.

By comparison, BT warns customers signing-up to its broadband plans that customers can expect CPI-linked price rises each March. So, the price that you sign-up to might not be the one you end-up with some 18-months into your contract. These CPI rises aren’t huge – this year saw prices rise 1.3%, for example. However, that’s still extra cash to spend that you could avoid coughing up.

Hyperoptic also has a price match feature that will lower your broadband cost if you find a comparable offer elsewhere. There’s also Automatic Compensation for missed engineer appointments (£25 in bill credit) and delayed activation (£5 credit each day it’s delayed). Hyperoptic also says, “If you lose service completely, please let us know as soon as you can. If we’re unable to get you back online within 2 working days of the outage being reported to us, we’ll give you  £8 bill credit for each following day you’re without service. ”

BT Virgin Media Fibre Broadband Internet Hyperoptic YouFibre CommunityFibre Home Internet WiFi

Unfortunately, CommunityFibre is London-only at the moment, but those in the catchment will find some great deals (Image: COMMUNITYFIBRE)

CommunityFibre

Last – but definitely not least, CommunityFibre. Like Swish Fibre, this supplier offers both home and business broadband, so more flexible if you’re looking to keep the family happily streaming, downloading and video calling as well as ensuring your business is always online.

Like the other suppliers, this relatively new company uses full-fibre only, which means it can offer much, much faster speeds than traditional copper cables. Like Hyperoptic, CommunityFibre packages start at 50 Mbps and race up to 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps), so there’s options for all budgets – and those who don’t use their home Wi-Fi for the most taxing tasks, like online multiplayer gaming, for example.

So, what does CommunityFibre offer that other traditional broadband firms cannot match? Well, for a start, the firm doesn’t charge any set-up fees or line rental. While Virgin Media and BT occasionally drop set-up fees as part of seasonal promotions, for the most part, these are charges you’ll have to live with if you decide to opt for one of their broadband plans. Line rental shouldn’t apply to any full-fibre connection, so that’s not particularly unique – but still nice to enjoy.

But the biggest pull of Community Fibre is the free mesh-compatible router with all of its plans.

If you’re struggling to video call or stream from certain rooms of the house, it might not because of poor speeds coming into your house – it could simply be because the Wi-Fi signal is struggling to reach every corner of the home. Walls, floors, fish tanks and microwaves are just a few things that can seriously reduce your signal… mesh networks work by using small nodes across the house to boost the signal.

That should mean you’re always streaming with the maximum bars of signal – whether you’re in the attic, basement or back of the garden.

As standard, CommunityFibre includes the Velop Tri-Band Intelligent Mesh with all our packages. This piece of kit is worth £200 when bought from your local gadget emporium. For £3 a month, you can add extra nodes to boost the signal around your home. Or, if you opt for the 1Gbps package, the firm will throw two nodes in for free to ensure you get better coverage over big distances.

Like Hyperoptic, CommunityFibre promises no surprises increases over the duration of your contract.



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