This table has been sorted to display the fastest average* speed deals first.
This table has been limited to display a maximum of 10 deals, sorted by the highest download speed first.
*The average download speed displayed in Mb is the speed available to 50% of customers with this product during peak time (between 8pm and 10pm). The actual speed you will get depends on a variety of factors such as your cabling, your area, how far you are from the telephone exchange as well as time of day. The majority of providers will tell you the speed you will likely receive when you begin your online sign up — this may differ from the average speed displayed on our table.
The deals available at your postcode are subject to local availability. The provider will confirm availability for your line.
Money services are provided at no cost to you, but we may receive a commission from the companies we refer you to.
The world is pretty good for gamers right now. New consoles are being released, 4K display technologies are making games look great, and the roll-out of fibre broadband in the UK is driving up speeds.
However, that doesn’t mean all household broadband services are suitable for gamers. Before they sign up for a broadband contract, everyone who enjoys playing video games should consider a few points. For example, will those games be played on mobile, a console, a PC, or across various platforms? How many people in the household are likely to be gaming, and might they all be playing at once? Are games streamed or downloaded? All of these issues will affect the speed and form of gaming broadband required by that household.
Before considering what’s required from an internet service provider (ISP), it’s important to know what players can do to make the best of their broadband connection. For example, closing other browser windows when playing improves the efficiency of in-game data performance.
After that, it becomes a question of the speed and type of broadband required. This will depend a great deal on the type(s) of game being played. Another point to bear in mind is that some games use lots of data, so customers should make sure any broadband deal includes unlimited data with no data caps – and no traffic management.
There are many types of online game, and they vary in terms of the speed and type of connection required. Any household that plays more than one type of game should pick a broadband package best suited to the most data-hungry, lag-affected game played.
Lag can be an issue in fighting games (such as Street Fighter 5), or first-person shooter (FPS) games such as Call of Duty. If the data connection is not fast enough, characters appear shaky and their movements suffer. The same applies to multiplayer racing games, where lag can make the difference between overtaking just before the finish line or losing the race.
Strategy games and card games require much less data, and reaction speed is rarely crucial. Therefore, lag is less of a concern, but a stable connection of decent speed is ideal.
These games have thousands of people playing at once, and lots of data has to be processed. Lag can be significant – for example, when playing MMO role-playing games (MMORPG) like World of Warcraft. A reasonably fast and reliable connection is best for this type of game.
Any game with significant online gameplay that requires its players to interact with each other via the internet will necessitate a reliable and speedy broadband connection.
For most types of modern online game, a fibre broadband connection is the best choice. There are lots of fibre deals out there, but keen gamers will need to consider the aspects described above when choosing a deal, ensuring the package they go for includes unlimited data.
Examples of broadband deals that might suit gamers include:
BT broadband: BT pitches three of its fibre packages directly at gamers, but it also offers even faster broadband of up to 300Mbps for downloads and 47Mbps for uploads. However, BT uses the Openreach network, which is currently rolling out fibre connections across the country, so not everybody can get these ultrafast broadband services just yet. The BT website has a postcode checker that lets prospective customers find out what services are available to them.
Hyperoptic broadband: Anyone lucky enough to be in Hyperoptic’s service area can get Fibre to the Premises (FTTP, also known as ‘full fibre’) connections, which deliver internet speeds up to 1Gbps.
Virgin Media broadband: Virgin doesn’t serve all UK addresses, but for those who can get it, Virgin’s proprietary DOCSIS3 cable fibre broadband now delivers ultrafast speeds up to 516Mbps download, 36Mbps upload, with a claimed 99.95% connection reliability. For gaming, that means fast transmission and virtually no lag. For households that don’t need quite that speed, other packages are available at various speeds.
ADSL is a type of broadband that connects users to the internet by sending data over existing copper telephone lines. It is widely available, and often referred to as ‘standard broadband’. In some places, ADSL is the only type of broadband obtainable (i.e. in areas that don’t have fibre).
Unfortunately, gamers may have issues with ADSL. This is because ADSL connections are slower than fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) or FTTP connections, and generally less stable. Standard ADSL only reaches speeds of around 11 Mbps, so it’s not ideal.
For players willing to stick with very low-data games, then ADSL can be a decent option. But anyone looking to play a first-person shooter will find ADSL far too laggy.
Fibre broadband is much faster and more reliable than ADSL, keeping players in the heart of the action. While some claim the minimum internet speed for gaming is 15–30Mbps, that doesn’t consider other demands on the connection, such as people being online at the same time. In any case, faster internet speeds will enhance download and loading times.
FTTP broadband is the best for hardcore online gamers, due to the stability of its connection and those lightning-fast data transfer speeds. However, few providers currently offer FTTP for domestic use, and those that do are only available in selected areas.
FTTC broadband, which runs fibre to the nearest on-street cabinet with copper wires completing data’s journey to individual premises, is more widely available. Many ISPs offer quick speeds via FTTC, making it perfectly suitable for the vast majority of gamers.
There is a large variety of games to choose from, and most of them will need to use the internet to some extent. There are significant benefits to using fibre broadband, whatever game you choose to play.
Fibre broadband for MMO games: As mentioned, MMO games have hundreds or thousands of players all on the same server and interacting in real time. All of them want to stay connected to that server via a reliable source. In some games, if a player’s unreliable connection leads them to disrupt gameplay, others can have them removed. A reliable and speedy connection is a must-have in this scenario.
Fibre broadband for console games: many gamers play exclusively on consoles such as an Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo Switch. These consoles allow players to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. The games console is not processing any data, but it’s constantly receiving game data from a central server. In this case, a good fibre broadband connection is a necessity because the game relies on a strong and reliable connection to perform in real time.
A national roll-out of ‘gigabit-capable’ broadband is currently underway, but at the time of writing (November 2020) there are still places that can only get an ADSL connection. Gamers living in such areas may consider mobile broadband, which runs off 4G/5G networks. This will not be suitable for all types of game, but may work better than ADSL for some.
Game streaming is rising in popularity. Increasingly familiar with streaming films, TV and music, people are now happy to do the same with games. Streaming takes place entirely online, so it relies on a high-quality connection.