What is fibre broadband?
Fibre broadband is a type of broadband technology that offers a quicker speed and more reliable internet connection than standard broadband. Its name is based on its plastic or glass cables, which allow for faster data transfer than copper wires.
Frequently asked questions
What are my broadband options?
There are three types of broadband available. You can narrow down your decision by finding out what speeds you need and what connection you have. As this can be tricky, an easy way to do it is to select a package and see if it’s available in your area.
- ADSL – Delivers internet connectivity down the copper wires used by your existing phone line. ADSL speeds vary according to how far you live from your local telephone exchange. The top speeds for downloads are usually 8Mb, and the top speeds for uploads are usually below 1Mb. ADSL broadband is widely available in the UK, with coverage available for more than 99% of the UK population. As such, the majority of homes in the UK have ADSL connections.
- Cable – Uses a mix of fibre optic and coaxial cables. It’s faster than ADSL, but not yet available everywhere in Britain. For this reason, the decision to get cable or not may be out of your hands.
- Fibre – Information is carried as pulses of light down microscopically thin ‘pipes’ of glass or plastic, before being turned into internet data. You’ll generally know if you have this because of a green box on street corners or a cabinet at home that holds your broadband connections.
There are two types of fibre broadband connections – fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP):
- Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) – is the most common, with fibre optic cables running to a ‘cabinet’ – the green boxes on street corners that house the telecoms connections to each home. From the cabinet, copper telephone wires take over to get the information to your home. FTTC can be fast, with providers like BT and Sky delivering up to 76 Mbps. But that last leg from the cabinet to the home can slow things up. As such, speeds will vary based on how far you live from the cabinet, and on the quality of your copper wires.
- Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) - is faster than FTTC because it uses fibre cables all the way to your property. This gets around the limitations of copper wires completely. Gigaclear uses FTTP and can provide speeds of up to 900 Mbps in certain locations
How fast is fibre broadband?
Advertised speeds usually start at 38 Mbps, but some broadband providers now offer packages with much faster download speeds, up to 350 Mbps.
Take a look at some of the fastest broadband deals available at the moment.
What do ‘up to’ speeds mean on broadband packages?
The ‘up to’ speed is usually the maximum speed you’ll be able to achieve. But bear in mind that sometimes your internet will be slower than this.
From May 23 2018, broadband providers can no longer advertise ‘up to speeds’, which may only be available to 10% of customers. They must now ensure speed claims are based on the download speed available to at least half of customers at peak times and describe them as ‘average’.
As ADSL is delivered along copper wire, the speed can vary dramatically depending on how far from the telephone exchange you live.
With fibre broadband the speed shouldn’t deviate so much, particularly if you have FTTP broadband.
How do I know if I need fibre broadband?
If you have multiple internet users or devices, or you want to use any sort of streaming service, such as movies, music or TV, or you play games online, fibre broadband can improve the quality.
What are the benefits of fibre broadband?
- It can handle multiple devices all using the internet at once
- It provides sufficient speeds for you to easily stream and download content
- It’s now almost the same price as basic broadband
- It’s more reliable than conventional broadband
- Fast speeds enable home-working
Why is fibre broadband more reliable?
Because fibre broadband is made of ‘glass’, there’s no electricity involved.
This means it’s protected against interference from power lines or high-voltage electrical equipment, plus it’s immune to corrosion.
As a result, you can expect clearer and more reliable communications.
When will fibre broadband be available across the UK?
Most areas of the UK already have access to super-fast fibre broadband. The government and BT have proposed a deal that could see a new Universal Service Obligation (USO), with the aim of ensuring that everyone can request a broadband download speed of at least 10 Mbps by 2020.
Can I get fibre broadband?
There are only two ways to be sure. You can check directly with the provider you’re interested in, or you can select a deal on our site and, when you fill out your full address, you can find out what broadband service is available from that provider.
An online broadband checker where you type in your postcode will only compare packages so isn’t accurate.
How can I find the right fibre broadband option for me?
When you compare broadband offers, think carefully about what you want from your superfast connection.
You might want to consider:
- Download and upload speeds
- Data limits
- Installation and connection fees
- Charges for WiFi routers and line rental
- Contract length
Should I get unlimited data or a data limit?
Unlimited broadband data means that you can use as much data as you like each month without being charged extra.
The advantage of a limit on a capped deal is that it will usually be cheaper. However, only opt for this if you’re sure that you will stay within the limit. Exceeding it could see you hit with additional charges or your speed reduced to a crawl.
To help work out how much data you need, take a look at a few things you might do online and how much data they use.
Can I cancel my fibre broadband package at any time?
Cancellation fees usually apply if you want to switch early – and they can be high. When choosing a broadband package it’s important to be comfortable with the overall contract period.
Ready to compare fibre broadband deals?
There’s a really simple way to compare deals and the good news is, you’re in the right place. Start a quote with us and we’ll help to make comparing fibre broadband deals easy. All you need to do is tell us your postcode and we’ll show you all the deals you can take advantage of. Try it today to see what you could save.