BT has made fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband available in Northern Ireland for the first time, providing download speeds of up to 330Mb - a record for the island of Ireland and over 17 time faster than the average actual UK broadband speed.
Most BT fibre optic broadband is fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband, where a section of the traditional copper wire telephone line used to connect you to the internet is replaced with fibre optic cable, which can carry more information and is less prone to interference.
However, copper wire is still used from the cabinet on your road to your home. FTTP broadband goes one step further and connects you directly to the internet using fibre optic cable, making it even faster. With a download speed of 330Mb you can download a film in around 20 seconds.
Rowen Sheridan, who lives in Mallusk near Belfast and had previously had to make do with a download speed of 0.5Mb, was the first person in Northern Ireland to be connected to BT FTTP broadband, which also offers upload speeds of up to 40Mb.
"Previously if I had to upload a large file it would kill my internet connection for a day. Now I can upload files and continue working as normal and at the same time my partner has been able to watch Netflix without any interference. It has gotten to the stage that superfast internet has become a utility which we now all rely on," he said.
Frank McManus (above, left), head of wholesale sales and services at BT Ireland, said: "At BT we are always innovating, and continuously trying to raise the bar on what we've done before…It's an exciting development for Northern Ireland and the results speak for themselves."
Northern Ireland is now one of the best connected regions in Europe, with more than 90% of home and businesses able to get fibre optic broadband. Competition is healthy too, with people able to choose from up to 27 providers.
To find out if you can get fibre optic broadband where you live and who does it, pop your postcode into a price comparison website. Use one accredited by UK communications regulator Ofcom to be sure the information is complete and up to date - the one you're looking at now wouldn't be a bad place to start…
Source: Belfast Newsletter, Superfast Broadband NI