What is the highest broadband speed?

The highest broadband speed ever recorded, anywhere in the world is 319 Terabits. That’s 319,000,000 Mbps, and roughly 5 million times faster than the average speed in the UK. Although, this was part of an experiment and is far from being a realistic speed you would need for everyday activities.

What is internet speed?

There’s sometimes a little bit of confusion about what broadband speed really is. It’s easy to think of it in terms of how quickly a web page loads on your smartphone, or how smoothly a game runs on your laptop. And while those activities are speed-dependent, that’s not always a good indicator of actual speed.

Broadband speed refers to the speed of the internet that’s being delivered into your home, either through the old copper cable network, through fibre-optic cables or Virgin Media’s coaxial network. This speed isn’t necessarily the speed you’ll see on your individual devices. That's because there are several things that can affect the speed of the connection between your router and your devices. These include walls, doors, furniture, and frequency interference, which impacts WiFi signal strength.

However, if that WiFi signal strength is good, then the speed you’re seeing on your devices should be very close to the broadband speed quoted by your provider. It may not be exactly the same, as various factors can affect the speed of the internet going into your home. For example, if your property is further away from the exchange, you may notice your speeds are slightly slower than advertised.

What determines speed?

Different internet providers will offer packages that provide different sorts of speeds. The maximum speed they can offer will be determined by the method used to deliver internet into your home.

ADSL delivered over copper cables tends to be slowest. This sort of broadband is usually more cost-effective, and it’s available to 99% of UK premises. Speed-wise, however, it can be much slower than the alternative options. That’s because the copper cables degrade the broadband signal. And the further you are from the exchange – so the more cable that’s needed – the slower your broadband will be.

Fibre internet, whether fibre-to-the-cabinet or fibre-to-the-premises, is typically much speedier. Fibre-optic cables deliver data using pulses of light at higher frequencies, so the signal can travel much further without degrading. It’s much the same with high-frequency coaxial cables, too. So internet providers can often offer faster broadband packages when you choose a fibre service, or when you partner with a provider that uses coaxial cables.


Why does broadband speed matter?

Faster broadband speeds allow web pages to load faster, make video calls go more smoothly without so many interruptions, and let you stream movies and TV at much higher quality.

Device quantity is one of the primary reasons why speed is so important today. The number of connected devices used in the average home is growing all the time. Research from Deloitte shows that here in the UK, each person uses 3.5 different connected devices on average. The more devices that are used, the more they compete for bandwidth, and the slower they’re able to run.

If you find that you’re struggling to carry out your digital work or leisure activities because of slow speeds, you may want to consider upgrading. If you’re unsure what speeds you’re getting, you can run a quick broadband speed test that will tell you your upload and download speeds in Mbps. The test works by downloading and uploading small amounts of data to see how quickly your internet service can complete the tasks.

How is speed measured?

Internet speed is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps). This tells you how fast data moves between your internet service provider’s tower and the device you’re using at home. The higher the Mbps, the speedier your internet, and the faster you should be able to carry out your activities.

It’s important to note that there are two different types of internet speeds. There are upload speeds, which refer to how quickly you can send data, such as forwarding a file to a colleague. And there are download speeds, which refer to how quickly you can receive data, such as streaming a movie. It’s usually possible to find both upload and download speeds when looking at a broadband package. However, when you see just one speed quoted, this will always be the download speed. As most people download more data than they upload, download speeds are considered most important.

What is the fastest home broadband speed in the UK?

Previously, one of the fastest packages available in the UK were superfast internet services. They were defined as having an advertised download speed of up to 30 Mbps or more. These speeds were made possible when partial fibre (fibre to the cabinet) cables started to be used, in comparison to the copper network that was becoming increasingly congested from carrying both voice and internet data. Find out what the average broadband speed is in the UK.

Gigabit internet speeds of 1,000 Mbps and above have been made possible from further advances in UK infrastructure. Today, internet data is being transferred not only through full fibre (fibre to the premises) networks, but also through high efficiency coaxial cables. These networks are continually expanding, and 70% of UK homes now have access to a Gigabit-capable broadband service.

Our Gigabit broadband service has an average download speed of up to 1,130 Mbps. Check is Virgin Media is available in your area with our broadband postcode checker.

What is a fast internet speed?

According to the Speedtest Global Index, the average internet speed around the world is 71 Mbps. As of 2022, Chile, Singapore, China, Thailand, and Hong Kong have some of the highest global internet speeds, ranging from around 186 Mbps to 217 Mbps. This represents these nations’ early investments in fibre broadband. In the UK, the average internet speed is roughly 68 Mbps. However, many providers can offer speeds that are much higher than this. The average speed does, of course, take into account the UK’s rural areas where connectivity is still a notable challenge.

A fast internet speed is, therefore, considered to be anything above average. In the UK, speeds of 500 Mbps to 1Gbps (1000 Mbps) are generally thought of as being excellent for most activities.

What’s the fastest internet speed ever?

The first truly headline-making internet speeds came in 2020, when engineers at University College London achieved a data transfer rate of 178 Terabits per second or 178,000,000 Mbps. To put this into perspective, you’d be able to download every film and TV show on Netflix in less than one second. These impressive speeds beat the previously held record for fast data transmission by one-fifth.

However, just a few months later, engineers in Japan reportedly shared a paper at the International Conference on Optical Fibre Communications reporting how they had used more than 1,864 miles of fibre-optic cable to achieve a transmission rate of 319 Terabits per second or 319,000,000 Mbps.

Technology is continually evolving and advancing. While it’s certainly going to be a long time until you see these sorts of speeds at home, home broadband is definitely becoming faster and faster.

How to get faster internet

If your home broadband speed isn’t quite as quick as you need it to be, there are some things that you can do to help. The first is to check what package you’re currently on, take a look at the number of devices your household uses and determine whether or not your existing broadband package is right for you.

One option may be upgrading your existing package to one which has faster speeds, such as fibre broadband. By upgrading to superfast broadband speeds, your home broadband should deliver faster speeds so you can browse, game and stream online without slowing down. Find out how to decide which broadband speed you need.

The second way to get faster internet speeds is to change providers. You may find that your existing provider cannot offer significantly faster speeds than what you have now, or can’t offer these speeds at a price that suits your budget. In this case, it’s worth exploring options available from other vendors.

A final consideration is to upgrade your hardware. If you already have a speedy internet package, you could explore options such as switching your router to one that supports newer WiFi standards. While this wouldn’t affect the speed of the internet coming into your home, it could help to maintain these high speeds between your router and your devices.

Article Updated: 25th October 2023

Our Products

Gigabit Broadband

Looking to go ultrafast? Our Gigabit broadband can support multiple devices at once and is the perfect option for smart homes.

M500 Broadband

Keep everyone online with our powerful M500 Broadband. Browse, play and stream in 4K with ease!

Related Articles