A Guide to Fibre Broadband

Faster fibre connections are becoming cheaper and more widely available. So is it worth upgrading your businesses broadband?

Fibre is increasingly becoming the first choice for people seeking a new broadband connection. It makes sense – fibre broadband is not only faster than standard (ADSL) broadband but more reliable too. But there isn’t just one type of fibre, and the speeds available can vary significantly. 

 With a range of Fibre choices, selecting the right one can be confusing, read on to find out about the different types of fibre. 

Standard Broadband

This is used to describe the old-school ADSL broadband that is provided using the UK’s phone network. It tops out at 24Mbps, although many with standard broadband will find their speed much lower than this, particularly if they’re in a rural area. 

Partial fibre v Full fibre

Most of the connections we currently refer to as ‘fibre’ broadband in the UK are more accurately called ‘partial fibre’ – while fibre optic cables make up most of the network, copper wiring is used from a street cabinet into the home. This is why partial fibre is also called ‘fibre to the cabinet’. The copper section of the network slows the signal down, reducing the maximum speed to 80Mbps.  But more and more ‘full fibre’ connections are becoming available. These rely entirely on fibre optic cables so are sometimes called ‘fibre to the premises’. Full fibre offers the fastest speeds – it’s possible to see speeds exceeding 1,000Mbps (1Gps).

Superfast

This generally refers to any connection that is 24Mbps or faster. Superfast connections are available to 96% of homes in the UK.  Most of the popular providers offer deals with average speeds ranging from 36Mbps to 67Mbps – these are all superfast.

Ultrafast

There are varying definitions for ultrafast broadband. The UK government definition- and the one we use – is broadband that is 100Mbps or faster. 

Ultrafast is speedier than a lot of the widely available ‘fibre’ deals on offer via providers like BT, Sky and TalkTalk that use the Openreach network.

Meanwhile Virgin Media focuses on ultrafast broadband, offering deals with speeds of 108-516Mbps. The Openrach network also offers ultrafast, but only in certain locations

Gigabit or gigabit-capable

This term refers to broadband connections with speeds of over 1,000Mbps or 1Gbps. These speeds are available to nearly one in four properties in Britain, usually via full-fibre networks.

What is gigabit broadband

Gigabit broadband simply refers to connections with speeds of one gigabit per second (1Gbps, ie 1,000Mbps) or faster. They’re the fastest connections out there right now – around fifteen times faster than the average broadband speed in the UK (this was 64Mbps in 2020). Fast download speeds make life a lot easier if you have a lot of people using your connection at the same time. But that’s not the only benefit: gigabit connections are also more reliable. They’re less susceptible to interference than connections that use copper wiring, and they’re resilient over long distances.  Gigabit connections also offer faster upload speeds, making them a strong choice for fans of online gaming and people who work from home, as higher upload speeds make video calls and sharing large files much easier.  Gigabit broadband connections aren’t yet widely available in the UK, however – only just over a quarter of properties have access to a gigabit-capable connection.

Can I get fibre?

Almost certainly, superfast broadband with speeds of at least 30Mbps is available to 96% of premises in the UK. If you are looking to upgrade your businesses broadband talk to our helpful team today who can help create a bespoke package to suit your businesses needs.

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