Fast reliable broadband is an ever more important need for residents. On this page you will find some useful information based on residents' experiences:
Ultrafast broadband is generally considered to be a connection which provides speeds of over 100Mbps, although these days a more common expectation might be speeds in the range 300Mbps to 1Gbps.
These connection speeds require some element of optical fibre in the connection. Whether the fibre runs only as far as a nearby street cabinet, or it actually connects into your home, will determine the ultimate speed which can be delivered.
At the time of writing (Spring 2023), the following full fibre providers are able to supply Penn Road:
Virgin Media (max 1Gb)
G.Network (max 1Gb)
Both providers are currently (as of May 2023) offering 3 or 6 months free on 1 or 2 year deals, which equates to a 12.5% discount on list price.
Virgin Media also offer TV and telephone (landline & mobile) bundles. In particular if you wish to be able to record shows and watch them later (especially live sports events), their TV box is really the only viable approach. Various streaming services offer the ability to watch shows after broadcast (e.g. BBC iPlayer, Sky Stream) but availability depends on various rights issues and shows are sometimes either not available for later watching, or taken out of the catalogue at a later date.
Residents on the street have reported some reliability issues with Virgin Media connections, particularly with older superfast broadband.
G.Network is a relatively new provider, having been offering services for a couple of years after recently installing their fibre cable in the local area. Therefore it's not yet known what their long term reliability will be like.
Other providers, such as BT, Hyperoptic and Community Fibre, are rolling out Ultrafast networks and are looking for sufficient interest in the area before installing the infrastructure required.
Superfast Broadband deals are still available which offer lower-than-ultimate speeds at a *theoretically* less expensive cost. Depending on your needs, a 40, 50, or 70Mb connection may be perfectly adequate.
However the new fibre providers are competing hard for subscribers so at the time of writing, it is hard to find any superfast deals which are more competitive than the lower-end ultrafast ones, e.g. 150Mbps. So do not assume that these slower connections are necessarily cheaper!
Staying on the best deal
It is very important to remember your contract duration after signing up. This is the period for which you are locked in to your provider. However, once the contract term ends, you will automatically move onto a rolling 30-day arrangement.
In this competitive market, providers will come up with new (better) prices and bundle deals during the time you are locked in. Therefore it's vitally important you speak to your provider about the best deal available for your needs* when your contract lock-in period comes to an end.
The regulator Ofcom requires that providers notify you of the approaching end to your contract. When you get the email from your provider about your contract ending, there is a very high chance that if you speak to them, you will be offered a more attractive deal (and in return, if you take it, you will start a new lock-in contract period).
When you are out of contract, it is also an easy time to switch provider too, although this can include one-off installation charges, and new cable entry to your home etc. which may be unappealing. However, if you see a good deal elsewhere, it is worth talking to your current provider and asking if they can match it, or else you will consider leaving.
* Remember to be clear what your needs are. If you watch a bit of Netflix, mostly browse the internet and do email, then you may not need all the sweeteners (SIM cards, free or discounted subscriptions to other services) which may be offered you. And a 150Mb speed-limited fibre connection may be all you need rather than paying more for a 500Mb or 1Gb one which would not give you any additional benefit.