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Compare broadband for gaming

Whether you’re using a computer, console or phone to play your favourite games, you’re sure to want fast and reliable internet. Here are some things to consider when choosing the best broadband for gaming.

This table has been sorted to display the fastest "average" speed deals first.

Virgin Media M350 Ultrafast Fibre Broadband Only (No phone line required)

18 months discounted Broadband
Virgin Media
Contract length
18 months
Download limit
Unlimited
*average speed
316Mb
£35 setup cost
£40 /month
View deal
18 months discounted Broadband

Virgin Media M200 Ultrafast Fibre Broadband Only (no phone line required)

18 months discounted Broadband
Virgin Media
Contract length
18 months
Download limit
Unlimited
*average speed
213Mb
£35 setup cost
£34 /month
18 months discounted Broadband

Virgin Media M100 Ultrafast Fibre Broadband Only (no phone line required)

18 months discounted Broadband
Virgin Media
Contract length
18 months
Download limit
Unlimited
*average speed
108Mb
£35 setup cost
£28 /month
18 months discounted Broadband

BT Fibre 2 Broadband

24 months discounted Broadband
£110 Reward Card
BT
Contract length
24 months
Download limit
Unlimited
*average speed
67Mb
£9.99 setup cost
£31.99 /month
24 months discounted Broadband
£110 Reward Card

EE Unlimited Superfast Fibre Plus

18 months discounted Broadband
£25 broadband activation fee discount
EE
Contract length
18 months
Download limit
Unlimited
*average speed
67Mb
No setup cost
£27 /month
18 months discounted Broadband
£25 broadband activation fee discount
Exclusive

TalkTalk Fixed Price Unlimited Superfast Fibre

18 months discounted Broadband
£30 installation fee discount
TalkTalk
Contract length
18 months
Download limit
Unlimited
*average speed
67Mb
No setup cost
£22.95 /month
18 months discounted Broadband
£30 installation fee discount

Zen Internet Superfast Unlimited Fibre 2

Zen Internet
Contract length
12 months
Download limit
Unlimited
*average speed
66Mb
£19.99 setup cost
£34.99 /month

Plusnet Fixed Price Unlimited Fibre Extra & Phone Line

18 months discounted Broadband
£50 Reward Card
Plusnet
Contract length
18 months
Download limit
Unlimited
*average speed
66Mb
No setup cost
£25.99 /month
18 months discounted Broadband
£50 Reward Card

Vodafone Superfast 2 Broadband and Phone Line

24 months discounted Broadband
£9.99 postage fee discount
Vodafone
Contract length
24 months
Download limit
Unlimited
*average speed
63Mb
No setup cost
£25 /month
24 months discounted Broadband
£9.99 postage fee discount

SSE Unlimited Fibre Plus and Line Rental Only

18 months line rental discount
SSE
Contract length
18 months
Download limit
Unlimited
*average speed
63Mb
£10 setup cost
£26 /month
18 months line rental discount

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.

What is the best internet for gaming?

There are a few things to consider when deciding what is the best internet for gaming. Are you playing on a computer, a mobile device or connecting to the internet via a game console? Are you interested in streaming games? It might be that you live with fellow gamers, and you all want to use the internet to play and download at the same time. No matter your situation or game of choice, you can be sure to find the right fit for you. 

What matters for online gaming? 

So, what should you consider before connecting to the internet for some much-needed gameplay?

Measuring the ping

In the gaming community, you might have heard the word “ping” being used. Ping is a test of how fast your internet connection is but in an actual game. It is measuring specifically how your data is working within the game. 

If there are other pages open or applications running, then your gameplay will be affected. This is due to how data is being sent and received. No matter how fast your internet is, if you are using other programs in the background, you will see negative effects. 

The danger of lagging

Lag is how gameplay is affected and is commonly understood as a delay between the player’s actions and the server’s reaction. The importance of lag will depend on the type of game you choose to play.

Types of online games 

There is a large variety of online games, and the internet connection will vary depending on the type you decide to play. 

First-person shooter (FPS) and fighter games

In fighting games such as Street Fighter 5, or first-person shooter (FPS) games such as Call of Duty, lag is a major concern. If data connection is not fast enough then characters can appear shaky.

Other times you may be unable to follow your character’s movements, so it looks as if they are teleporting short distances. In these types of games, your timing is crucial, so having this type of interruption can ruin any playing experience. 

Strategy and card games

Strategy games and card games need to send and receive much less data, and your reactions are much less important than they would be in a FPS or fighter game. You can be less concerned about lagging with this genre. 

Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games

Commonly referred to as MMO, these games have hundreds of people playing at once. You can take your character on a quest, or have them roleplay in MMO role playing games (MMORPG). These types of games have more people playing on a server therefore more data needs to be processed. For this, a reliable internet connection is key. 

Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games

MOBA games are where each player controls one character on a team competing against another team of players. They centre around matches in battle arenas, rather than questing and open worlds. Similar to MMO, you are playing with large groups of people and need a reliable connection.

In short, any game with significant online gameplay that requires you to interact with other players via the internet will require a reliable, speedy broadband connection.

Who is the best internet service provider for gaming in the UK?

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to fibre broadband providers. In terms of online gaming, there are certain aspects to consider when choosing a provider. Here are some examples of ISP for gaming in the UK.

  • Virgin Media broadband: Virgin’s 350 Mbps download and 36 Mbps upload speeds mean you can rely on fast transmission and little to no lagging. While the provider offers ultrafast internet speeds, they are not currently available in all areas of the UK.  

  • BT broadband: BT offers speeds of up to 300 Mbps for downloads and 47 Mbps for uploads. Its BT Superfast Fibre boasts speeds great for streaming and downloading in high definition, and for online gaming. Like Virgin Media, its fastest deals are only offered in certain locations across the UK, so be sure to check if you can get it installed in your home.

  • Hyperoptic broadband: If you are fortunate enough to be in Hyperoptic’s service area, you can enjoy access to FTTP, or full fibre,  making sure you are getting the fastest internet connection around. While this sounds ideal, most of Hyperoptic’s FTTP connections are to multi-level, new-builds and business properties, so if you are a homeowner you may not be able to benefit. That said, a future residential roll-out plan is in the works.

  • Sky broadband: If you are streaming games on Twitch or Youtube, Sky Superfast is a good choice for fibre broadband. Its broadband packages do not have traffic management, so your speeds will not be reduced. You will no longer have to worry about your internet slowing down during peak times, no matter how much you download or upload. 

Gaming with asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) internet

You might have heard of or still use standard ADSL. ADSL is a type of broadband that connects users to the internet by sending data over existing copper telephone lines. 

Unfortunately, with ADSL you may experience some problems when gaming. As an online gamer, you know how important it is to consider the speed and stability of your internet connection. Standard ADSL only reaches speeds of 11 megabytes per second (Mbps), so it’s not ideal by any means.

If you are interested in a very low-data game then ADSL is right for you. These games rely much less on reaction time and do not need a fast internet connection. But if you are looking to play a first-person shooter game, then ADSL will most likely cause too much lag in the gameplay.

Why is fibre broadband better for online gaming?  

Fibre broadband internet speeds will make sure you can stay in the heart of the action. While it is said that the minimum internet speed for gaming is 15-30 Mbps, faster internet speeds will increase your download and loading times. By having a higher internet speed you will be able to transmit more data, which will also have you worrying less about constraints that could impact your gaming.

When choosing the type of broadband you want to use, fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband is the best for the most hardcore of online gamers. Because of how fast speed travels in fibre optic cables, gamers can worry less about lagging.

By having FTTP you are guaranteeing that data is being transmitted through high-quality cables and avoiding any obstruction to internet traffic. Currently, Virgin Media is the only provider that offers this on a wide scale, and even then, its reach is not yet nationwide.

There is also fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband. FTTC is a combination of fibre optic cables and copper cables, and is the most common type of fibre connection. The fibre optic cable is wired in a local telephone exchange, known as a street cabinet, then the standard phone line is used to deliver broadband connectivity to the house. Widely available and still boasting superfast broadband speeds, FTTC can support most gamers’ needs.

What types of games benefit from fibre broadband?

There is a large variety of games to choose from, and most of them will need to use the internet to some capacity. There are significant benefits to using fibre broadband for whatever game you choose to play. 

  • Fibre broadband for MMO games: As mentioned, MMO games have hundreds to thousands of players, all on the same server. You want to be able to stay connected to the server with a reliable source. If you are disrupting gameplay, other players can have you taken out of the game so that they can continue without disruption. So if you want to make sure you continue your adventure, steady and reliable internet connection is a necessity.

  • Fibre broadband for console games: It might be that you enjoy playing on your Xbox, Playstation or Nintendo Switch. With these game consoles you can connect to the internet. This can be both via Wi-Fi or cable. Your game console is not processing what is happening, just receiving the data from a central server. In this case, having a good fibre broadband connection is a necessity. You can have a low-level device as long as you invest in a strong, reliable internet connection, as that is what the game’s data is relying on. 

What if I can’t get fibre broadband in my home? 

While there are goals to make the UK completely fibre-connected in the next few years, there are remote locations and certain populated areas that need to use ADSL. If you are using ADSL, it’d probably make sense look into strategy and card games that do not need fibre broadband speeds.

Broadband and the future of game streaming 

Game streaming is rising in popularity. We stream our movies and programmes, so why not games? Unlike downloaded (or even hard-disk) video games, game streaming takes place entirely online.

Like with game consoles, game streaming does not require a top-of-the-line device, it just needs solid and secure internet connection. Everything you do is based on this, so investing in a reliable internet connection will have you joining in on the fun for hours.

Compare deals from the best ISPs for gaming and streaming

You can compare current broadband deals with our broadband comparison tool.

Ready to get gaming? Find the best deal to get even more out of your gaming experience, and set off on that long and treacherous quest without fear of lagging behind.