Choosing the right broadband speed for your student house is essential unless you want to be frustrated by lengthy download speeds and frequent buffering. The broadband speed you need will depend on the number of people living in your shared house and how much streaming and gaming you’ll likely do.

Split The Bills has put together this comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about broadband speeds and how to choose the right speed for your student house.

What is broadband speed?

Broadband or internet speed refers to how quickly you can download or upload data using your internet connection. It’s measured in Megabits per second (Mbps). The higher the Mbps, the faster your internet will be.

Most users spend more time downloading data than uploading data, so most broadband providers offer higher download speeds, and this is the speed that’s usually advertised.

What are good broadband speeds?

The term superfast broadband describes an average internet speed of more than 30Mbps. This is considered a ‘good’ broadband speed, but large student houses might require higher internet speeds. This is because multiple people are likely to be using the internet simultaneously – you might have different people streaming TV, online gaming or downloading large files.

Types of broadband and their average speeds

There are several types of broadband, and which type you can get will depend on where you are in the country.

Here’s a breakdown of the three main different types available:

ADSL broadband

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is widely available but is also the oldest and slowest form of broadband. It uses copper telephone cables to supply internet, resulting in average speeds of around 8Mbps – typically not fast enough for most households.

Fibre broadband

Fibre (also called fibre-to-the-cabinet) is the most popular form of home broadband, with speeds ranging from 30Mbps to over 70Mbps. This broadband uses fibre-optic cables, instead of older, slower copper cables, to run the internet to the street cabinet near your property.

Full Fibre broadband

Full fibre (also called fibre-to-the-premises) offers ultra-high speeds. This broadband uses fibre-optic cable directly to your home to provide speeds from 100Mbps to 1000Mbps. This is the ideal broadband for shared student homes; you just need to check if it’s available in your area.

What can you do with different internet speeds?

Below, we detail what you can do with some of the most common broadband speeds and how many people they’re suitable for.

  • 50 Mbps – This speed is suitable for one-person streaming video or online gaming, or multiple people online shopping or using social media. Most shared houses will need a faster internet speed than this.
  • 100 Mbps – This speed is suitable for Ultra HD streaming, HD streaming, or online gaming for multiple people. This is ideal for a small shared house (with two tenants).
  • 400 – 600 Mbps – This speed is suitable for multiple heavy users, ultrafast downloads and Ultra HD streaming on multiple devices. This is ideal for most shared student houses (with 3-4 tenants).
  • 1000 Mbps – This speed can handle simultaneous UHD streaming, online gaming and large downloads for many users at once. This is the perfect choice for a large student house (with five or more tenants).

What speed broadband do I need in a student house?

Although the above speeds are a good starting point, you’ll need to consider a couple of other factors when choosing your ideal broadband speed.


If several of your housemates are into online gaming, you’ll likely need superfast broadband speeds to handle it (and avoid slowing down the internet for the rest of the house). Online gaming requires high download and upload speeds unless you want to deal with lag constantly. If you’ve got several gamers in the house, you’ll likely need ultrafast broadband speeds (over 300Mbps).


The minimum broadband speed for Netflix and other streaming services is 3 Mbps for standard-definition video quality, 5 Mbps for HD quality and 15 Mbps for Ultra HD quality. These speeds might sound low, but remember this is just enough internet speed for one person watching Netflix at one time – you’ll need significantly higher speeds to cover multiple people streaming Netflix.

In a student house, you’ll typically need at least 100 Mbps if you’re only living with one other person and at least 400 Mbps living in an average student house with three housemates. This means your internet can handle everyone in the housing streaming without frequent buffering while trying to watch your favourite TV show. 

What should you consider when comparing student broadband deals?

When it comes to looking for your ideal student broadband package, there are several factors you’ll need to consider in addition to average download speeds.

Here are a couple of things to consider:


Although you might be tempted to get the highest internet speed available, be conscious that this can sometimes come at more of a premium, especially if you’re only living with a couple of housemates. Instead, use our guidance to choose the best speed for the number of people in your student house and what you’ll be using the internet for.

You should also check if there are any additional charges for installation or set-up costs before signing up for any deal.

Contract length

Broadband is typically offered in contracts ranging from 12 – 24 months, but some providers offer monthly rolling contracts. It’s generally best to choose a 12-month contract (especially if you plan on living in your student house over the summer) or a rolling 1-month contract to give you ultimate flexibility. Be aware that it might cost extra to opt out early, so don’t be tempted to choose a long contract length just because it’s a good deal.

How Split The Bills can help

Choosing the best broadband speed can be tricky, not to mention trying to work out how to split the payment between all your housemates. A helpful bill-splitting service might be the simplest solution to avoid arguments and get your household bills sorted without any hassle.

Split The Bills is trusted by thousands of students nationwide who use us to take care of their utility bills and broadband. We’ll handle the stress of ringing suppliers, setting up accounts and calculating how much everyone needs to pay – you just have to make one neat monthly payment!

Our bill package includes uncapped energy and water, your choice of broadband speed and the option to include a TV licence (if you want to watch live TV). We offer Virgin Media Business Fibre broadband with speeds from 66 Mbps to 1000 Mbps, so choosing the perfect internet speed for your student house is simple.

Get a monthly price for your household bills today. Or reach out to a member of our team if you’re still unsure which internet speed will work best for your shared house – we’ll be happy to help!


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