Finding an Internet Provider in London as a student

There are a number of different courses at CCI with different modes of study, obviously students studying on fully online courses will need a reliable internet connection, however since the pandemic video calling has become a part of every course as it allows students to attend tutorials and access technical support from home.

As a general guide you should anticipate at least 6 Mbps download per person and 2 Mbps upload internet.

So if you live in a house with 4 other people (5 total) then you should be looking to have at least 30Mbps download and 10Mbps upload for a reliable experience.

You should avoid using mobile data (4G/5G) data plans where possible as they're susceptable to massive variation network congstion which can affect your ability to take part in classes (even now with 5G).

As a general rule from our experience you should start your search in this order:

1. FTTH (Fibre to the Home) / FTTP (Fibre to the Premesis) / FTTB (Fibre to the Building)

FTTH/FTTP/FTTB providers are by far the best option for home broadband provision, often offering upwards of 3Gbps for prices that aren't that different to the 2nd and 3rd options on our list, meaning you could aim for a much cheaper 150Mbps package for about £25 a month on a 12 month contract.

Whats more most providers of 'true' fibre are symetrical service whcih means bout 150Mbps download and upload as compared to pretty much all the others on this list where the upload speeds tend to be somewhere between 1/10th and 1/3rd the download speed at best.

A lot of these companies are open to haggling if you want to get the same price but without the 12 month contract you might be able to get a rolling monthly plan.

2. DOCSIS 3 Cable

Virgin Media is the only cable provider in London, and the majority of the UK they offer DOCSIS 3.1 internet connectivity which can be very fast, however the cost of Virgin Media broadband when compared to the above FTTH providers can be pretty high, and there are parts of London where large numbers of customers put strain on the network and it can be very slow at peak times.

3. Copper Phone Line / FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) providers

VDSL and ADSL are the conventional way that that broadband has rolled out in the UK since it's inception, however running over decades old copper phone lines and in some highly congested parts of London a conventional copper telephone lines isn't going to offer you either the best value for money or the best performance, but is preferable to a mobile data plan.

4. MNO (Mobile Network Operator) Mobile Data (4G/5G)

These are the only 4 companies in the UK that operate consumer mobile data and phone networks with EE, Vodafone and O2 tending to be the best (but more expensive) options in London.

Three's unlimited data plans for low cost means they're very popular but they tend to have pretty slow service across the more densely packed parts of London.

5. MVNO (Movile Virtual Network Operator) Mobile Data (4G/5G)

We don't recommend using MVNO type broadband as you primary internet provider.

These and other brands of MVNOs are often cheaper because they have a kind of second class citizen status on the network the operate over, this can make 4G/5G even less reliable, and we wouldn't recommend any of these as your primary internet provision.


Revision #1
Created 2 May 2023 17:23:50 by Tom Lynch
Updated 2 May 2023 17:24:42 by Tom Lynch