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United Kingdom (UK) - Internet

The Internet is available in the United Kingdom through a variety of connection options including cable, DSL, wireless, and dial-up. The vast majority of UK houses will have broadband available, however some rural areas still use dial-up connections. In 2012, the UK government stated that the broadband service, including 4G wireless options, would be significantly improved by 2015.

The original broadband Internet system was built on cable television and telephone companies. These companies merged to create larger groups in order to offer better DSL and wireless broadband services. As of 2007, it was determined that about half of UK homes operated on broadband at a speed of 4.6Mbit/s.

For cable broadband connections, the United Kingdom has Virgin Media and Smallworld Cable. Most of the cable broadband services used are in Scotland, the Isle of Wight, and northwest England.

DSL or digital subscriber line is gaining in popularity so much so that ADSL, or asymmetric digital subscriber line, has now been introduced. This is generally considered to be the best choice for commercial users or heavy Internet users.

Internet Controversy

In 2010-2012, several complaints prompted a UK-wide enquiry into internet service providers. Some companies were advertising unrealistic speeds and the 4G wireless network was at times unavailable. Apple in particular was criticised for selling a 4G product that would only work on 3G networks.

Given the trouble in recent years regarding improper media coverage and confusing policy details, the regulatory authority now requires more transparency from internet providers. It is now known that for speeds can significantly decrease during times of heavy usage. Should someone stream a lot of data they may be slowed down or cut off during the periods when others who use less data are more likely to be online. Information regarding maximum level of speed is now clearer, and companies are required to explain that maximum speeds may not always be seen.

Despite the request for more transparency being a government-level regulation, there are few other government restrictions on UK internet usage. The UK also has websites set up to help individuals navigate the web safely and protect their banking information.

Websites are not limited or censored by the UK government. There are certain sites that have stricter regulations such as online casinos, but they are still available to UK residents. Some file sharing sites and streaming services are blocked by individual ISPs.

Free Wireless Internet

The United Kingdom has a few hotspot locations for Internet access, not all of them free. Many cafés and restaurants have started offering Internet hotspots and they have the prerogative of charging if they wish. A dongle can be used to set up a mobile hotspot that is personal to the individual. London has many free hotspot locations; across the United Kingdom, hotspots are not as widespread as they are in the USA, however this is changing fast.

Setting up your Connection

Since a modem is required to hook up your internet connection, most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will require a home visit for installation. However, there is also the option of purchasing all the equipment for the connection and only having the provider come out to check the outdoor connection that leads into the house. The provider will need to start the connection from their headquarters, ensuring the proper installation is made for service into the house, and then the modem or other connector like a dongle or modem/wireless device will need to be hooked to all the computers you intend to use.

Internet Providers

Many of the names listed here are also TV and telephone providers enabling a UK resident to bundle their home services for convenience of billing.




+44(0) 345 304 0030

Talk Talk

+44(0) 800 049 7834


+44(0) 808 168 9140


+44(0) 800 954 0306


+44(0) 808 168 7119


+44(0) 800 036 0170



Post Office


Expat Health Insurance Partners


Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

AXA - Global Healthcare

As the global healthcare specialists for AXA, the world’s number one insurance brand, we can help you get fast access to expert medical care, whenever and wherever you need it. All our plans include evacuation and repatriation, a second medical opinion service and extra support from a dedicated case manager if you’re diagnosed with cancer. You’ll also have 24/7 support from our caring multilingual team - we’ll always remember you’re a person, not a case number.

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.