Hyperoptic broadband - worth the hype?

hyperoptic© Hyperoptic

THOSE people reading this over a standard broadband connection at peak time, wondering if they'll ever get anywhere near "up to 17Mb" should probably stop reading now.

samantha smith
By Samantha Smith

For a lucky few, Hyperoptic can offer connection speeds of up to 1Gb.

Quick jump menu
Superfast broadband for everyone
Fibre without a contract
Why offer 20Mb fibre?
Comparing them with Virgin
The Hyperoptic hyperhub
Building by building

Since they connected their first building in 2011, they've gradually been rolling out their fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) - also known as fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) - service in the biggest cities around the UK.

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Being able to connect to the Hyperoptic network isn't the only factor - speeds of up to 1Gb don't come that cheap.

Special offers

That said, Hyperoptic are actually very competitively price compared to their big rivals - there's more on that below - and to further encourage potential customers, they usually have some kind of introductory deal available.

At the time of writing, those offers include the following:

What's on offer? When you join online for: Need to know:
hyperoptic 1Gb fibre broadband + phone just £39.50/mth for 6 months (then £63/mth).
Hurry! Offer ends 2 January 2017
1Gb fibre broadband and phone.12 month minimum term. Free setup.
hyperoptic 100Mb fibre broadband + phone just £27/mth for 6 months (then £38/mth).
Hurry! Offer ends 2 January 2017
100Mb fibre broadband and phone.12 month minimum term. Free setup.
hyperoptic 20Mb fibre broadband + phone just £20.50/mth for 6 months (then £25/mth).
Hurry! Offer ends 2 January 2017
20Mb fibre broadband and phone.12 month minimum term. Free setup.

Something for everyone?

So as well as offering seriously ultrafast broadband with download speeds of up to 1Gb per second, they have a couple of slightly more affordable, "standard fibre" connections available as well, of 20Mb and 100Mb.

Here's a quick summary of their main packages, including Hyperoptic's phone service with evening and weekends calls:

Package Usage Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
hyperoptic 20Mb Fibre Broadband + Evening and Weekend calls Unlimited 12 months Free £21
for 9 mths,
then £25
hyperoptic100Mb Fibre Broadband + Evening and Weekend calls Unlimited 12 months Free £26
for 9 mths,
then £38
hyperoptic 1Gb Fibre Broadband + Evening and Weekend calls Unlimited 12 months Free £31
for 9 mths,
then £63

Note the price of the 20Mb deal. Just as the more widely available ISPs have taken to offering their standard broadband at a discount or even free to tempt new customers, so too do Hyperoptic.

Also, while the prices above include line rental, as the service is fibre-optic, going phone free is a real option.

There's no connection fee for people choosing to take Hyperoptic broadband with phone; anyone thinking of going phone-free should factor in a one-off £40 charge.

Bearing that in mind, here's how losing the phone affects prices:

Package Usage Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
hyperoptic 20Mb Fibre Broadband Unlimited 12 months £40 £15
for 9 mths,
then £22
hyperoptic 100Mb Fibre Broadband Unlimited 12 months £40 £30
for 9 mths,
then £35
hyperoptic 1Gb Fibre Broadband Unlimited 12 months £40 £50
for 9 mths,
then £60

Unusually for fibre broadband, the standard contract for all packages is just 12 months.

There is another option available for those who aren't sure which of the deals above is for them: a 30-day, "no contract", contract.

I beg your pardon?

Getting any kind of broadband without being tied into at least a year long contract is unusual enough - only a few providers do it, as we cover here, and most only offer ADSL.

But for Hyperoptic to offer ultrafast connections without the 12 month commitment makes sense in a way.

As with all their packages, it's only available to people in enabled buildings. The technology's already there - it just needs connecting.

Compare that to the likes of BT's (currently stalled) FTTP service, where each order is for an individual building, and the effort and cost involved tend to be greater.

Even so, we don't see this kind of thing being offered in the pockets of more rural FTTP provision being created under Broadband Delivery UK - and it's unlikely to happen in York where Sky and TalkTalk are selling their FTTP 1Gb services.

As with other ISPs offering a month by month service, Hyperoptic charge more for the privilege of having that flexibility. The difference is between £2 and £4 a month - before taking introductory offers into account.

Whether choosing to have a phone or not, going contract free will incur a £40 connection fee.

Those prices then; first with a phone line:

Package Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
hyperoptic 20Mb Fibre Broadband + Evening and Weekend calls 30 days £40 £27
hyperoptic 100Mb Fibre Broadband + Evening and Weekend calls 30 days £40 £41
hyperoptic 1Gb Fibre Broadband + Evening and Weekend calls 30 days £40 £67

...And here's what it'll cost to be both phone and contract free:

Package Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
hyperoptic 20Mb Fibre Broadband 30 days £40 £24
hyperoptic 100Mb Fibre Broadband 30 days £40 £38
hyperoptic 1Gb Fibre Broadband 30 days £40 £64

It may be more expensive, but for the commitment shy and those wondering whether to take the plunge - and which package is right for them - it's a real boon.

Superfast competition

Nationally, there's only one other provider that offers anything like Hyperoptic - Virgin Media. Let's see how they stack up against each other. First, taking the phone line:

Package Broadband Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
hyperoptic 20Mb Fibre Broadband + Evening and Weekend calls Unlimited 12 months £40 £21
for 9 mths,
then £25
Virgin Media SuperFibre 50 + Talk Weekends Unlimited 18 months £14.99 £32
for 12 mths,
then £40
hyperoptic100Mb Fibre Broadband + Evening and Weekend calls Unlimited 12 months £40 £26
for 9 mths,
then £38
Virgin Media Vivid 100 + Talk Weekends Unlimited 18 months £14.99 £37
for 12 mths,
then £45
Virgin Media Vivid 200 + Talk Weekends Unlimited 18 months £14.99 £45
for 12 mths,
then £53
hyperoptic 1Gb Fibre Broadband + Evening and Weekend calls Unlimited 12 months £40 £31
for 9 mths
then £63

And then without the phone:

Package Broadband Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
hyperoptic 20Mb Fibre Broadband Unlimited 12 months £40 £15
for 9 mths,
then £22
Virgin Media SuperFibre 50 Unlimited 12 months £14.99 £18
for 12 mths,
then £32.25
Virgin Media Vivid 100 Unlimited 12 months £14.99 £32
for 12 mths,
then £37.25
hyperoptic 100Mb Fibre Broadband Unlimited 12 months £40 £20
for 9 mths,
then £35
Virgin Media Vivid 200 Unlimited 12 months £14.99 £40
for 12 mths,
then £45.25
hyperoptic 1Gb Fibre Broadband Unlimited 12 months £40 £30
for 9 mths,
then £60

This is one of those times when we have to point out that it's really not a fair fight. Yes, Virgin Media's most expensive broadband is cheaper than Hyperoptic's, but Hyperoptic offer top speeds of almost seven times faster.

If, however, we look at the 100Mb packages, it's a really close fight - and there's another comparison it's quite telling to make.

'Standard' fibre

Hyperoptic's 20Mb package is the closest thing they offer to standard broadband.

That said, the fact that it comes via the fibre optic line straight into the building, it'll put even the best "up to 17Mb" connections to shame.

Here's the package as it stands:

Package Broadband Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
hyperoptic 20Mb Fibre Broadband + Evening and Weekend calls Unlimited 12 months £40 £21
for 9 mths,
then £25

Compare those costs, broken down, with those of the standard broadband packages offered by the four biggest providers:

Package Broadband Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
BT Unlimited Broadband + Weekend calls Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
12 months £9.99 £27.99
for 12 mths,
then £32.99
Plusnet Unlimited + Line Only Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
12 months £6.99 £25
for 12 mths,
then £27.98
Sky Broadband Unlimited + Talk Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
12 months £9.95 £22.40
for 12 mths,
then £27.40
talktalk Fast Broadband Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
18 months Free £22.95
for 18 mths,
then £25.50

Hyperoptic don't offer sweeteners like upfront line rental - possibly it's not quite as much of an issue for their target audience - but paying month by month it's still quite competitive.

Where their budget option does fall down is in the upload speed.

Hyperoptic customers with the faster packages will have matching headline upload and download speeds - that is the 100Mb customers will get uploads of 100Mb, and the 1Gb customers risk blinking and missing their 1Gb uploads.

But 20Mb Hyperoptic customers will find their uploads limited to 1Mb. That's not much faster than many ADSL broadband providers manage - Ofcom's March 2016 figures show 0.8Mb to 1.0Mb is pretty standard.

Hyperhub

The Hyperoptic Hyperhub continues the trend for routers that wouldn't look out of place in an Ikea catalogue.

hyperoptic hyperhub

A sleek white box boasting 4 x 1Gb Ethernet connections, it only supports 2.5Ghz wireless connections - so devices like cordless phones, baby monitors and any other wireless AV equipment could interfere with the signal.

This seems a little odd given that the hubs offered by most other providers now have dual-band wireless capability, but it makes much more sense when we consider the speeds Hyperoptic offer.

They say their hub is theoretically capable of wireless speeds of up to 130Mb, but "current wireless technology will struggle to create a throughput of over 70Mb".

With a top speed of up to 76Mb, standard fibre providers don't really have to worry about the slight loss caused by going wireless - but they do need to think about the interference from other devices.

In contrast, anyone with Hyperoptic's 100Mb or 1Gb connections will only get the speeds they're paying for by using an Ethernet cable to connect directly to the hub - which instantly negates any issues about interference from other wireless devices.

Hyper limited

As mentioned, Hyperoptic is a "pure fibre" network. The closest thing to it nationwide is Virgin Media's network, although there are pockets of ultrafast broadband from other providers being trialled around the UK.

In York, CityFibre are building a 1Gb fibre network, which is being sold through Sky and TalkTalk.

Despite an extension of the area covered by Phase One of the project, and big talk from TalkTalk, who say they're going to make FTTP accessible to 10 million homes, it's only available to around 20,000 homes, leaving roughly 60,000 households in the cold.

The reason Virgin Media can service whole streets and cities with superfast broadband relatively cheaply is because they use short stretches of much cheaper - but still very efficient - coaxial cable for the final few metres of the connection.

Ultrafast broadband
Who offers it, and where

Hyperoptic and CityFibre take the fibre all the way into the building - and to individual flats and offices.

So rather than connecting whole streets at a time, Hyperoptic connect single buildings at a time - and that's more likely to happen in blocks of flats or offices where there are lots of potential connections to balance the cost of installation.

Hyperoptic is therefore a strictly urban affair - available at present in just 12 cities and 1,000 buildings across the UK. The more urban and affluent the area, the more chance people have of being able to get it.

Anyone who thinks their area fits the Hyperoptic bill can register their interest online - somewhat like Virgin's Cable My Street service, giving them a good idea of where next to expand the network.

Likewise, it's also possible to see online where Hyperoptic is available already, or where there's been a significant level of interest.

That said, in February this year, they announced a partnership with the Hyde Group housing association, in which they're connecting six existing developments in south London to their network.

The buildings are mixed tenure, with some shared ownership, some privately sold, and some social tenants. Everyone who lives in those buildings will be able to take their pick from the full range of Hyperoptic's deals.

But the real headline here is that social tenants will be given "basic" 2Mb broadband free of charge, as well as the option to sign up to Hyperoptic's 30-day contracts without facing a credit check.

We were so impressed with the details of the joint venture that we named them winner of the category for Inclusion and Accessibility in our ISP Awards earlier this year.

Depending on how the pilot scheme goes - and the Hyde Group tell us that Hyperoptic have had at least twice the level of interest they usually get when considering a development for connection - the programme may well be extended.

choose isp awards 2016 inclusion and accessibility

All in all

Hyperoptic are among a very few companies offering the fastest possible connections in the UK at present - but as we've seen, for the speeds on offer they're pretty competitively priced.

That's not just in comparison with their closest mainstream rival, Virgin. The 20Mb package stacks up fairly well against standard broadband deals, as long as users can live with the limited upload speed.

The fact that they also offer a no contract option is pretty noteworthy too.

But until the network is expanded much more widely, that building-by-building roll out means that for now at least, Hyperoptic is only for the lucky few.

Comments

1
26 November 2015
KB

I would be very wary of the hype and exaggerated claims by Hyperoptic. I have had this for 6 weeks and am in constant battle with them because the highest speed I can get is 700MB upload and download. This, however, is by no means consistent, in spite of it being 'fibre'. Although the call centre staff are generally very polite and helpful, in the end, Hyperoptic told me that residential connections can never get above 700MB. Instead, only lease cable for business can get anywhere near the proclaimed 1GB speed. This is very disappointing and I am going to complain to the advertising standard authority because this is clearly a form of misrepresentation. Hyperoptic also says the speed of any block of flats is influenced by the number of uptakes in the block. In other words, if the uptake is not great then the speed is likely going to be much lower than the 700MB. This is because Hyperoptic will only 'upgrade' the speed to a higher one if there is a demand from more users. Even then, the maximum speed one can get is still 700MB. I find this deliberate misrepresentation extremely disappointing.

31 December 2015
JoshSugarman

Very interesting - I was just connected to their 1gbps service and, guess what? 700mbps cap it seems.

The cap doesn't look to be 100% set in stone though. I have seen the upload speed fluctuate up to around 800mbps max, but the majority of the time I see about 695mbps download and upload which is strangely consistent.

I've emailed Hyperoptic's support to get confirmation of the limit for residential as I'll also be complaining to the ASA if so. I don't mind a 700mbps connection at all, but when you think you're paying for 1gbps when in reality, you can never get that, it is indeed mis-leading.

Thanks!

6 March 2016
George Brown

Check out YouTube - there are customers on there who are getting 900+Mbs ?

2
18 August 2015
james

I work for Hyperoptic it's a world away from the BT copper network. Best in the uk fact.

12 September 2016
Seb

I live in the saltra development, your company have recently been offering their services. I'm currently with BT getting speeds around 7-8Mbs. Would I see a marked difference in your up to 20Mbs service?

3
13 July 2015
George Brown

I'm currently having this installed - I've spent two years wading through syrup with an obstructive building management company. The installation has started and I'm looking forward to anything better than the 1-3Mbs we currently get.
Roll-on Hyperoptic.

2 May 2016
pipdig

Any good?

22 September 2016
George Brown

Yes - Its went live about a month back <a href="https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cdf53e260d2dbad4c8aff08819b5fae8a252f2677faf96fde52e6d1e7f2e797c.png" rel="nofollow noopener">https://uploads.disquscdn.com/...</a>

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