Are you a regular binger of Netflix? Do you want the best quality picture from your 4K device? Do you want to avoid any nasty buffering issues? If the answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes, then you’ll need the right broadband to match.
We’ve sifted through the leading UK providers to find the best internet for streaming to get the best speeds, pictures and quality. If you’d like a more holistic view, we have a buying guide for choosing the right broadband for you, which takes into account other things such as costs and the different types of internet.
What internet speeds are needed for streaming?
The most basic streaming plans don’t necessarily require the fastest internet speeds. However, if you’ve got numerous people in your household who’ll be streaming in 4K every evening, fast broadband is a necessity to ensure that there are no loading issues.
In terms of what each of the streaming providers needs, Netflix recommends a minimum speed of 25Mbps for 4K content, as does Amazon Prime Video. The most demanding recommended downloading speeds comes from YouTube and some live sports broadcasts on BBC iPlayer – both of which require at least 40Mbps to stream for select things in 4K.
We’ve taken a look at all the leading UK providers speeds and compared the best deals below. You can also find all the average download speeds of leading UK broadband providers in Broadband Genie’s survey.
What’s the fastest broadband for streaming?
Virgin offers some of the fastest speeds at the most competitive prices. Packages will vary depending on your location, but take a look at our picks of the best options below:
If you share your home with a small family who tends to use the internet at once – and you’re looking to stream in 4K on several devices simultaneously – you might want to consider opting for this plan, which offers average download speeds of 362Mbps.
At the time of writing, you can get this plan for either £27 per month on an 18-month contact, or opt for a 24-month contract for just £15 per month for the first six months (this then goes up to £30 per month for the remainder of the contract).
If you have a bigger household, or need faster speeds for things such as gaming or livestreaming, then the next package up from Virgin offers average speeds of 516Mbps, which should be enough. Plus its only £6 more per month than the 350Mbps contract.
Best alternatives to Virgin
If Virgin’s packages are just not right for you, there are other decent fibre options that you can consider.
TalkTalk has a great 18-month fibre contract available, with average speeds of around 152Mbps. Whilst it isn’t as fast as Virgin, it should be enough for multiple people to watch Netflix around the house. If that isn’t quite enough, then you could also opt for the 500Mbps package.
Plusnet offers some of the most competitive broadband prices, and its fibre package with download speeds of 70Mbps is no different. You can get this for under £24 on an 18-month contract, plus a £50 reward card.
Vodafone’s package is a good price if you’re happy to look at a 24-month contract. 68Mbps is more than enough to cover the major streaming service requirements for all devices in the household, plus you can get wired speeds of up to 900Mbps.
Streaming service bundles
Whilst speeds are important, you may be searching for an internet bundle that also saves you money on a streaming subscription. Here’s some good options that are on the market right now.
Right now, you can sign up for an 18-month contract of Sky Stream and get a free Netflix Basic subscription, as well as free accounts with Paramount+ and Discovery+. Plus, you get download speeds of 59Mbps, which is plenty enough for streaming on multiple devices.
Virgin’s Ultimate Volt Bundle includes Netflix Standard bundled in, as well as huge download speeds of 1130Mbps. On top of all that, you get over 230 TV channels and an O2 SIM card.
You can also bag a Netflix Standard subscription with TalkTalk Fibre, which has average download speeds of 67Mbps on an 18-month contract There is also a slightly cheaper package available, but you get half the download speeds.
Existing BT customers can apply for the TV classic bundle, which includes Netflix and Now for 24 months, along with the BT TV channels. This plan starts from £8 per month, but this is on top of an existing BT internet contract, so it’s not the cheapest option around.