What is the Difference Between Superfast and Ultrafast Broadband?

With so many providers and packages available, it can be difficult to work out what kind of broadband you need. To make things worse, the packages seem to be trying to confuse you, using terms without explaining them! Superfast, ultrafast or even ‘hyperfast’. So, what’s the difference between superfast and ultrafast broadband? And why do you need to know? Read on as we take a closer look…

Superfast FTTC broadband

When it comes to superfast and ultrafast broadband, it might be easier to think of them by their technical acronyms rather than the marketing terms attached to them. Superfast broadband is also called FTTC, or ‘Fibre to the Cabinet’.

This is because superfast is a combination of fibre and cable technology. Fibres go to the ‘cabinet’ on your street, and from there, copper cables (as used in cable broadband) go to your house. This makes superfast broadband vastly more accessible, as the copper cables are mostly already installed to provide landlines. Currently, 90% of UK households can access superfast broadband.

According to Ofcom, superfast broadband will have download speeds of 30mbps or higher. To put that in context, it has around the same megabits per second as the 4G on your phone. For streaming, you only need about 1.5mbps or 2.8 for HD quality. Most everyday tasks only need a maximum of about 20mbps. Superfast broadband is also a more affordable option than ultrafast in most situations – unless you find a really good deal.

Ultrafast FTTP broadband

FTTP stands for ‘fibre to the premises’. This is because the fibres come directly to your house, which makes the connection much quicker. Ultrafast broadband has download speeds of more than 300mbps. 5G would come under this banner too, reaching up to 1gbps! This also means that if you don’t have a phone line, or if it stops working for some reason, your internet access will not be affected.

Typically, FTTP will have the same upload and download speeds. If you use a cloud-based storage system, where lots of data is regularly uploaded, this could be beneficial. As opposed to FTTC, which can have a much slower upload speed than its download capabilities – but even that is more reliable than satellite.

Suppose you’re accessing the internet a lot, and lots of people are trying to do lots of things at once. In that case, you may be better off with ultrafast broadband, as it can handle more simultaneous uploads and downloads.

What about hyperfast?

Sometimes, it can feel like companies want to confuse you. While looking at broadband, you may come across other terms such as ‘hyperfast’ and ‘gigafast’ – but these are just marketing terms and don’t really mean anything.

But that’s not the only marketing term you need to look out for – before 2015, Ofcom classified ultrafast as beginning at 100mbps, so some companies still market their services as ultrafast broadband despite offering speeds of less than 300mbps.

What’s best for you?

The difference between superfast and ultrafast broadband comes down to the way it’s installed and the speeds it can reach. While ultrafast is admittedly faster than superfast, it’s unnecessary for many organisations, where superfast broadband will provide ample bandwidth and speed.

As dedicated broadband providers for the voluntary and small business sector, VS Group will only ever recommend the solution that’s best for you. If you’re looking to switch broadband providers, don’t hesitate to contact our team at [email protected].


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