Nowadays, everything is measured by speed; the quicker a task is finished, or an item delivered, the happier we are. This is especially true when it comes to broadband, and why more and more people choose a fibre optic package.
What is fibre broadband?
Fibre optic is the fastest type of broadband you can get in the UK. Unlike standard broadband, which is delivered to your home via BT's ageing copper wire telephone network, fibre broadband is delivered, entirely or in part, by fibre optic cables.
What's the difference between fibre and copper broadband?
Fibre broadband is faster because fibre optic cables are better than copper wires at delivering data over long distances. The upshot for you is a speedier connection that means smoother streaming, faster downloads. So you can do more with your time.
Just as importantly, fibre service won't slow down even when multiple users in the same home are streaming TV or music, downloading content and playing online video games simultaneously.
How does fibre optic broadband get to my house?
Put simply, the cables that deliver fibre optic broadband - and stream your movies and games - use fibre optics. Each cable has within it small tubes that are reflective on the inside. Information is sent through the tube by sparks of light, which bounce off the inner walls of the cable.
This allows fibre optic broadband to quite literally travel at the speed of light and give you superfast speeds.
What’s the difference between standard broadband and fibre?
The main difference between standard broadband and fibre optic broadband is, of course, speed - fibre optic broadband gives you a lot more speed for your buck.
ADSL broadband, on the other hand, relies on standard copper tubes to transfer data from the exchange. It's old tech that's prone to interference, which is why its top speeds don’t come close to fibre optic.
Which providers offer fibre broadband?
You might want to consider the likes of:
|BT Fibre||Up to 67Mb|
|Virgin Media||Up to 516Mb|
|Sky||Up to 59Mb|
|TalkTalk||Up to 67Mb|
|Plusnet||Up to 66Mb|
|EE||Up to 67Mb|
|SSE Broadband||35Mb on Unlimited and 63Mb on Fibre Plus|
|Post Offcie Broadband||Up to 63Mb|
|John Lewis||36Mb on standard fibre and 66Mb on top package|
|Vodafone Broadband||35Mb average on standard fibre package, up to 63Mb on top package|
|Gigaclear||Up to 900Mb|
To compare fibre optic deals, enter your postcode into the box below to see what you can get in your area.
Compare broadband deals in your area
Can I get fibre broadband in my area?
Fibre broadband isn't available to everyone. If you're in a city or town, you've got a very good chance of being able to get it. But rural areas are less well served.
About 80-90% of the country is covered by BT's fibre network (with average download speeds in the 57-67Mb range), which is also the network used for fibre broadband from the likes of Sky and EE. Meanwhile, Virgin Media's network covers about 60% of the country.
Can I get fibre broadband at my house/postcode?
The best way to check if you can get fibre broadband in your area is to use the postcode box below:
Compare broadband deals in your area
All you need to do is type in your postcode, then remove the 'tick' for standard broadband under the field 'Broadband type'. You'll then see only fibre broadband deals that you can sign up for.
In the event, that there are no fibre broadband products showing, we're afraid fibre broadband isn't available in your area. In which case, your choice is limited to standard broadband or mobile broadband.
When will fibre come to my area?
The government is targeting 97% superfast broadband availability by 2020; To find out if your fibre optic broadband is available in your area, enter your details into our postcode checker.
Compare broadband deals in your area
What’s the difference between FTTH broadband and FTTC
If you’re a tech enthusiast, chances are you’ll know the difference between FTTH and FTTC broadband. But if you're not, don’t worry, it’s simple to tell the two apart:
This is the most common way providers get broadband to your home. In short, the fibre cable runs from the telephone exchange to the green cabinet on your street. From there, it travels directly to your home.
With FTTH broadband, the entire line - all the way from the exchange to your building - is made of fibre optic cable. That said, although speeds are much higher, availability is not. FTTH packages are only available in some areas.
Virgin Media is the one mainstream provider whose fibre broadband runs through fibre optic cables to your home, which is why it can offer speeds of up to 360Mb.
Niche provider Gigaclear use similar cables, and can reach max speeds as high as an eye-popping 1Gb. But before you get too excited about the prospect of this ultrafast broadband in your home, their packages aren’t available in many areas - make sure you check the deals in youe area to see if you can get it.
How do I install fibre optic broadband?
Some providers, like BT, TalkTalk and Plusnet will send you all the equipment you need to get going with fibre. You simply connect your router (they supply clear instructions), and you're good to go.
In some cases, you may need a visit from an engineer to install a new line, or set up the connection in the home. In those cases, you'll be able to arrange a mutually convenient time for him or her to visit.
Do I need fibre optic broadband?
Just because fibre optic broadband is faster than ADSL, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone.
But before you buy fibre optic broadband, think about whether you really need it. After all, there’s no point in paying extra for speeds you don't need.
We recommend fibre optic if you…
- Live in a large household with lots of web-connected gadgets
- Share accommodation with more than one person
- Watch a lot of movies online via Netflix and Amazon.
- Regularly use catch up services like BBC iPlayer or ITV Player.
- Play and download console or PC videogames
- Use services like YouView to stream content from the web
- Download or upload large files
- Regularly use video calling services like Skype
If any of these apply to you, then you might want to consider purchasing fibre broadband. If none apply, there’s little point in getting fibre, as a standard broadband package will likely do the job for you.
Will fibre optic broadband improve Wi-Fi speeds?
Absolutely. You see, when you buy a fibre package, you might need a new router. Generally, the provider will supply you with the equipment and, because the router will likely be a newer model made to support faster speeds, you should see a stronger Wi-Fi signal.
Can I get fibre optic without line rental?
Only certain providers can offer fibre optic without line rental. For example, because they use their own cables, Virgin Media and Gigaclear can give you a broadband connection without requiring you to get a landline too.
In some cases, the fibre package you go for might be more expensive because you’re not paying line-rental.
Read our guide for more:
How much does fibre cost?
Naturally, due to its faster speeds, fibre broadband will be more expensive than standard, ADSL broadband. Fortunately, it’s easy to find a deal. Simply check the table at the top of this page to compare deals from the UK’s top fibre optic broadband providers.
Enter your postcode below to see all fibre deals available in your area: