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fibre optics used in superfast broadbandDespite the costlier monthly packages and additional initial cost, fibre optic broadband continues to see huge uptake by many homes and businesses for the promise of its superfast speeds and reliable connectivity.

Compared to copper based ADSL 2+ broadband which offers maximum speeds of up to 17Mbps, fibre broadband can offer 5 – 10 times faster speeds and also ensures that you can get speeds much closer to the advertised speeds.

With the currently available 38Mbps/76Mbps/100Mbps/200Mbps connection speeds over fibre lines, you can enjoy the real-time, bandwidth-demanding applications like online HD TV and online gaming much better.

Fibre broadband is so much needed for homes with multiple users as each user can get faster speeds for their specific needs, whether it is for streaming or making downloads or social networking.

Fibre Broadband Availability

After a decade of fibre rollouts by government schemes and private investments, the UK has reached 96% of fibre broadband availability in 2017.

BT’s fibre to the cabinet (fttc) network is the main supplier of fibre broadband which has 95+ UK coverage which includes the fibre services offered by BT based ISPs like Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet and EE.

The best way to find the availability of fibre broadband providers and packages is to use our postcode checker.

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More than half of the premises in the UK can now access ultra-fast speeds (100Mbps+) after a nation-wide speed boost by BT and Virgin Media.

Virgin Media which offers cable based fibre broadband has upgraded its network to 200Mbps and 300Mbps services for residential users.  Its £3bn Projection Lightning rollouts is all set to increase Virgin Media fibre broadband from 13m to 17m UK homes by 2019. The cable operator would connect 2m premises in major cities to its ultra-fast, FTTP networks which can offer 350Mbps+ speeds.

Featured Deals

Package Broadband Calls Offer Cost More
Details
Plusnet Fibre Unlimited
Plusnet Broadband
up to 38Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
PAYG
calls
Free connection £23.99 p/m
18 month contract
Total contract cost £431.82
Check
BT Infinity Unlimited & Calls
BT
up to 52Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
Weekend
calls
Ends 25 Jan £29.99 p/m
18 month contract
Total contract cost £569.81
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TalkTalk Faster Fibre
TalkTalk broadband
up to 38Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
PAYG
calls
Free connection £25 p/m
18 month contract
Total contract cost £450
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Virgin Media VIVID 50 & Calls
Virgin Media
up to 50Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
Weekend
calls
£32 p/m
12 month contract
Total contract cost £404
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EE Fibre & Calls
EE
up to 38Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
PAYG
calls
EE broadband offer £25 p/m
18 month contract
Total contract cost £485
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Virgin Media VIVID 100 & Calls
Virgin Media
up to 100Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
Weekend
calls
£37 p/m
12 month contract
Total contract cost £464
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Post Office Fibre
Post Office broadband
up to 38Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
Weekend
calls
Unlimited Broadband £28 p/m
18 month contract
Total contract cost: £504
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Sky Fibre
Sky broadband and TV
up to 38Mb speed
25GB p/m
PAYG
calls
Unlimited Broadband
Ends  8 Feb
£22 p/m
18 month contract
Total contract cost £455.95
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Plusnet Fibre Unlimited Extra
Plusnet Broadband
up to 76Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
PAYG
calls
£29.99 p/m
12 month contract
Total contract cost £384.88
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TalkTalk Faster Fibre upto 76Mb
TalkTalk broadband
up to 76Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
PAYG
calls
Free connection £30 p/m
18 month contract
Total contract cost £540
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Fibre Broadband & Calls
John Lewis Broadband
up to 38Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
Evening & weekend
calls
Unlimited usage £32.50 p/m
12 month contract
Total contract cost: £390
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BT Infinity 2 & Calls
BT
up to 76Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
Weekend
calls
Ends 25 Jan £39.99 p/m
18 month contract
Total contract cost £729.81
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Sky Fibre Unlimited
Sky broadband and TV
up to 38Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
PAYG
calls
Unlimited Broadband
Ends  8 Feb
£32 p/m
18 month contract
Total contract cost £635.95
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Virgin Media VIVID 200 & Calls
Virgin Media
up to 200Mb speed
Unlimited downloads
Weekend
calls
£42 p/m
12 month contract
Total contract cost £524
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Fibre optic broadband explained

Fibre broadband uses the next generation technology of connecting homes to exchanges with optical fibre cables which are ideal for faster transmission of data over long distances.

Due to the expensive nature of the technology, service providers often use fibre optic cables only up to street cabinets from where the connections come to homes via copper wires. This type of installation is called Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) which is mostly used for residential connections in the UK. You can get maxium download speed of 80Mbps and upload speed of 20Mbps over FTTC lines.

Both BT and Virgin Media use FTTC, however, Virgin cable broadband uses coaxial cable between the cabinet and homes, instead of copper which BT uses. The better quality of coaxial enables Virgin Media to deliver faster speeds than what BT offers over its FTTC lines.

The second type, Fibre to the Home / Premises (FTTH or FTTP) use fibre for the entire installation of the line, right from the exchange up to the users’ premises. BT’s FTTP service which is currently available in selected areas offer download speed of 100Mbps/110mbps/330Mbps. The service also requires you to pay one-off installation fee.

Fibre Optic Broadband Vs ADSL Broadband

Maximum speed that you can theoretically expect from fibre broadband is 1Gbps or 1000Mbps or even more. However, headline speed over ADSL broadband lines is limited to just 24Mbps which can reduce to 7 to 10Mbps at homes as the speeds of copper networks (ADSL) generally degrade with the distance between users and the exchange. Distance, the quality of wire, number of users and interference have biggest impacts on ADSL which becomes unreliable at times, at some locations.

Fibre broadband is not affected by these factors so its headline speeds, whether 30Mbps or 76Mbps or 100Mbps, only marginally decrease at the premises. Upstream traffic over fibre optic lines is also 15 times+ faster when compared to upload speeds via standard, ADSL 2+ lines.

Package Advertised speed Actual Speed
(average during 24 hours)
BT Infinity 1
up to 52Mbps
up to 52Mbps 48Mbps
Plusnet up to 38Mbps up to 38Mbps 33Mbps
Sky up to 38Mbps up to 38Mbps 34Mbps
EE up to 38Mbps up to 38Mbps 35Mbps
BT Infinity 2
up to 76Mbps
up to 76Mbps 60Mbps
Plusnet up to 76Mbps up to 76Mbps 57Mbps
Virgin Media VIVID 100
up to 100Mbps
up to 100Mbps 95Mbps
Virgin Media VIVID 200
up to 200Mbps
up to 200Mbps 175Mbps

Source: Ofcom broadband speed report April 2017

This ensures the reliability of fibre broadband while its five times faster speeds also decrease the download time of files, music tracks and DVD films in the same ratio.

Fibre broadband is better option when your internet activities include watching online videos & TV shows, downloading large files and playing online games. It is ideal to have fibre connection rather than ADSL at your home when there is heavy use of internet or multiple users go online simultaneously.

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