Fibre optic broadband


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Compare Fibre Optic Broadband Deals

Depending on how old you are, you may not even remember the days before broadband when you had to ‘dial up’ a connection. The introduction of broadband has certainly revolutionised the speed of our connections.

 

Its latest – and fastest – incarnation is called ‘fibre optic broadband’. If your household is a serious user of the internet, you may well see big benefits of converting. But what is fibre optic broadband? How is it different from other types of internet connection? And is it for you? Read on and we’ll find out.

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Frequently thought questions

These days it seems that choosing a broadband package has got very complicated – particularly if you’re not familiar with all the latest lingo. That’s why we’ve put together some answers to some of those questions that might be in your head – but that you don’t like to ask.

What are the different broadband options in the UK?

There are basically three types of broadband available:

 

• ADSL

ADSL delivers internet connectivity down the copper wires used by your existing phone line. ADSL speeds therefore vary according to how far you live from your local telephone exchange.

 

• Cable

Cable uses a mix of fibre optic and coaxial cables. It’s faster than ADSL, but not yet available everywhere in Britain.

 

• Fibre Optic

With fibre optic broadband, information is carried as pulses of light down microscopically thin ‘pipes’ of glass or plastic, before being turned into internet data that your computer can relay to you.

Are there different types of fibre optic broadband?

Yes – there are two: ‘fibre-to-the-cabinet’ (FTTC) and ‘fibre-to-the-premises’ (FTTP).

 

• FTTC
FTTC is the most common, with fibre optic cables running to a ‘cabinet’ – that’s a fancy name for those green boxes on street corners that house the telecoms connections to each home. From the cabinet, your copper telephone wires take over to get the information to your home. FTTC can be fast, with providers like Sky and Talk Talk 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.

 

• FTTP
Also known as FTTH, or ‘fibre-to-the-home’, this is usually faster, because it uses fibre optic cables all the way to your property. This gets around the limitations of copper wires completely.

How fast is fibre optic broadband?

Advertised speeds usually start at 38 Mbps, but in some packages, may be much quicker. 

What does ‘up to’ mean on the speed quoted?

The ‘up to’ speed is usually the maximum speed you’ll be able to achieve. With ADSL speeds along copper wire, the speed can vary very dramatically depending on how far from the telephone exchange you live. With fibre optic broadband the speed shouldn’t deviate so much, particularly if you have FTTP broadband. FTTC may be slower than the ‘up to’ speed as you’ll still be using copper from the cabinet to your house.

How do I know if I need fibre optic broadband?

Essentially, if you have multiple internet users, devices or you wish to use any sort of streaming service such as movies, music or television, or you play games online, fibre optic broadband can help the quality. 

Is fibre optic more reliable?

In 2014, Ofcom looked into how many internet ‘outages’ of 30 seconds or more broadband customers experienced in a day. ADSL users averaged one every other day; for fibre and cable users, it was one every ten days. 

Can I get fibre optic broadband?

Not all homes and businesses in the UK can get fibre optic broadband just yet. In August 2015, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport claimed four out of five UK homes now have access to superfast broadband. As a rule, fibre is more readily available in urban than rural areas. 

I live in the country, can I get fibre optic broadband?

The government and local authorities are currently investing £1.7 billion to make superfast broadband more widely accessible. The government’s Broadband Delivery UK initiative aims to achieve close to 100% coverage by 2018. In November 2015, the government announced its intention to make speeds of 10 Mbps a legal right, putting broadband up there with water, gas and electricity as an essential utility.

Is there a way I can find out if I can get fibre optic broadband?

A simple online broadband checker can tell you if fibre broadband has reached your street. These tools also tend to feature a fibre optic speed checker – just type ‘can I get fibre optic broadband?’ into your search engine. You can also find out about fibre availability where you are by doing a broadband comparison on comparethemarket.com. 

How do I find the right fibre optic broadband option for me?

When you compare broadband offers, think carefully about what you want from your superfast connection. You might want to look for the cheapest fibre broadband you can find, but there are other things to watch out for too: download and upload speeds, data limits, installation and connection fees, charges for wireless routers and line rental, and contract tie-in periods.

Should I get unlimited data or a data limit?

The advantage of a limit on a ‘capped’ deal, is that it will usually be cheaper. However, only opt for this if you are sure that you will stay within it. Exceeding your limit could see you hit with additional charges or your speed reduced to a crawl. 

Can I cancel my package at any time?

Whichever fibre broadband package you opt for, make sure you’re comfortable with the overall cost for the whole contract period. Cancellation fees usually apply if you want to switch early, and they can be high.

Comparing fibre optic broadband deals

One of the best ways to decide which fibre optic broadband deal to go for is to compare deals right here, right now. We’ve broadband deals as well as telephone and pay TV options from most of the leading providers. That means you can do a lot of research with very little effort. Try it today and get online faster, faster.