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Do I really need 200Mb broadband?

Do I need 200Mb broadband?
(Image credit: frantic00)

You may have already worked through the best broadband deals only to find that you want that superfast 200Mb line, but perhaps are unsure if you need it. If that spending guilt is on your mind right now then this guide should help to clarify what you actually need, so you can spend the perfect amount on your broadband.

A fibre broadband connection is a great idea as that gives you a line which can be improved in future with faster speeds as you need. But it also means there is a wide spectrum of options now. So which is the best for you?

Why do I need fast broadband for streaming?

Fast broadband is a relative term. If you're trying to stream a 4K movie and have a really weak line then you'll want faster broadband. But if you're trying to send an email and have a 300Mb line, that might be overkill.

So first up, it's a good idea to take a broadband speed test so you know what you've currently got. Then you need to think about what you want. A good measure is video streaming.

The 3Mb line is a good mark as when you go below this you're going to struggle to get high-definition video with streaming services downgrading the quality in favour of keeping the video going.

A good example is Netflix. It says that for 4K and HDR quality streaming you'll need a connection of 25Mb. So why go higher?

Do I need a 200Mb line?

While Netflix might say you need a minimum of a 25Mb line for UHD streaming, that's a minimum. It doesn't take into account busy times of day when your line might be getting less speed as others sharing the same feed line use up bandwidth.

More importantly, this doesn't take into account all the data used in your home. There might be more than one person trying to stream high-definition video at once. Or you could have devices streaming music, video doorbells, smart speakers and a host of other Wi-Fi enabled devices all using up that bandwidth.

So by going for a 200Mb line you have a lot of wiggle room, essentially. Also, real world speeds are rarely the amount you pay for, so a 200Mb line might actually be delivering nearer the 100Mb mark once it's reached your home and gone through the Wi-Fi. 

What broadband is fast?

If you have decided that you want decent speeds then a 200Mb line or more could be for you. 

There are lots of options out there for you to check out, with hard wired superfast BT broadband or Virgin Media broadband offering maximum speeds where available. 

There are plenty more options to pick from. If you're not too sure which is best and want to get the cheapest but fastest in your area, we've taken the work out of searching for you in our fibre broadband deals feature.

Read more:

Today's best broadband deals

Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.