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What is fibre optic broadband?
Fibre optic broadband is a type of broadband technology that offers a faster 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.
What are the benefits of fibre broadband?
We’ve put together some of the reasons why fibre broadband can change the way you browse, stream and work:
Why is fibre better than standard broadband?
- Fibre broadband can handle multiple devices using the internet at the same time
- It provides sufficient speeds for you to easily stream and download content
- It’s now almost the same price as basic broadband
- It tends to be more reliable than conventional broadband
- Fast speeds should normally enable home working
Can I get fibre broadband?
The majority of UK towns and cities are now receiving fibre broadband. To check if your area is covered, simply enter your postcode below, and you’ll be able to see which speeds are available to you.
Compare with us and see what fibre broadband deals are out there with the speeds you need, at the right price.
What are my broadband options?
There are three types of broadband available. You could narrow down your choice by finding out what speeds you need and what connection you have. This can be tricky, so the easiest way to do it is to select a package and see if it’s available in your area.
- ADSL broadband: 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 up to 24Mbps, and the top speeds for uploads are usually up to 2Mbps. 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. 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 the corner of your street, or a tech box at home that holds your broadband connections.
Types of fibre broadband
- Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) is the most common, with fibre optic cables running to green boxes (also known as cabinets) on street corners that house the telecoms connections to each house. From the cabinet, copper telephone wires send 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. This means 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 the fibre cables travel all the way to your property. Gigaclear, an internet service provider, uses FTTP and can provide speeds of up to 900 Mbps in certain locations.
How can I find the best fibre broadband deal 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
Compare fibre optic broadband deals
Comparing fibre optic broadband deals with us couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is tell us your postcode and we’ll show you which deals you can take advantage of. Try it today to see if you could save.Compare fibre deals
Frequently asked questions
How fast is fibre broadband?
It depends whether you’re using FTTC or FTTP. Advertised speeds for FTTC (which is much more widely available) typically start at 60 Mbps, for the larger providers. FTTP is advertised as the pinnacle of fast broadband, with providers boasting speeds of up to 900 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 experience. But bear in mind that your internet may be slower than this.
As of 23 May 2018, broadband providers can no longer advertise ‘up to’ speeds because those very high speeds may only be available to 10% of customers. They must now give average speed claims, based on the download speed available to at least half of customers at peak times.
As ADSL is delivered along copper wire, the speed can vary dramatically depending on how far from the telephone exchange you live. With fibre-optic broadband the speed shouldn’t fluctuate so much, particularly if you have FTTP broadband.
Do I need fibre broadband?
If you have multiple internet users or devices, or you play games online or want to use any kind of streaming service for films, music or TV, fibre broadband can improve the quality.
Here are examples of the speeds you’d probably need for some of the most popular internet activities:
- Web browsing: 1 - 5 Mbps
- Watching movies and streaming TV non-HD: 1.5 - 2.5 Mbps
- Watching movies and streaming TV HD: 2.8 Mbps - 4 Mbps
- Streaming audio and music videos: 0.5 Mbps – 0.320 Mbps
- Online gaming: 3Mbps
Consider the typical internet usage for your family or household. Fibre optic broadband could be a good option if you:
- download films on a regular basis
- play video games online
- use video-calling apps - Skype for example
- use catch-up TV from more than one device
- use the internet at the same time as others in your household
- live in an area that has low broadband speed
Not only is fibre broadband faster, it’s also more reliable. That’s why it could be worth upgrading to a fibre deal if your standard connection keeps dropping out.
Why is fibre broadband more reliable?
Because fibre optic 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 doesn’t corrode.
This means 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 introduce a new Universal Service Obligation (USO). In theory, since March 2020, everyone should be able to request a broadband download speed of at least 10 Mbps.
Should I get unlimited data or a data limit?
Unlimited broadband data means 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’s usually cheaper. However, only opt for this if you’re sure you’ll stay within the limit. Exceeding it could see you having to pay additional charges.
To work out how much data you might need, take a look at a few things you can do online (downloading a movie or a document, for example) and see how much data each of those internet activities typically uses.
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.
What do I need to compare fibre deals?
We’ve made comparing fibre deals quick and easy. Simply type in your postcode, tell us the name of your current provider and what type of broadband service you want.
You’ll then be able to scroll down a results page with a list of deals.
From the Digital team
“Bundling your broadband with a phone and TV package can often work out cheaper than separate bills. If you’re considering a package deal, check what costs are involved, such as monthly line rental and data allowance limits, and what features different packages offer. Then you can compare deals and packages to see what’s a better option for you."
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