Fibre optic broadband is growing in coverage and popularity, making our connection to the internet faster than ever. Read our fibre optic broadband guide to find out what this is, how it works and discover whether it's right for you.
If you’re after as fast an internet connection as possible it’s likely that you’ve probably heard of fibre optic broadband. But what is it exactly? Is it even worth having?
Lucky for you we’ve got this guide to help guide you through this latest internet minefield. So if you’re struggling to figure out if fibre optic broadband is right for you, you might be better off taking a look here.
What is Fibre Optic Broadband?
The latest advancement in broadband technology, fibre optic broadband is promising super-fast speeds for all of your daily internet needs. Its name comes from the use of plastic or glass cables, which allow for faster data transfer compared to the standard copper wires which are used in regular broadband connections.
Other than this detail, it’s practically the same as standard broadband connections you’ll find across the country, only offering higher speeds. It won’t require a fancy computer to use and doesn’t ask you to use any specific software, making it incredibly easy to use.
How fast is fibre optic broadband?
The obvious advantage of fibre optic broadband is the increase in speed, letting you watch videos, browse pages and play games faster than ever. But just how quick is the service?
BT currently leads the mainstream market for fibre optic broadband speeds, offering up to 300MB/s, scores ahead of the average broadband speed here in the UK. Virgin Media also touts a high download speed as well, topping 150MB/s, more than enough to keep even the most web-hungry household happy.
Some lesser-known companies however are offering speeds closer to 1GB/s using fibre optic technology, over 3x faster than BT’s paciest package. Of course, speeds like this won’t be coming very cheaply, but if you’re after the fastest speeds possible you won’t be caught moaning with this kind of service.
Do I need it?
Depending on how many people you have using your internet connection and what they happen to use it for you may or may not need to spend your cash on fibre optic broadband. Of course, this can also come down to budget as well, so if you’re looking to save cash you could look at different services instead.
If you confess to being an internet addict of sorts, downloading large quantities of data, streaming films, playing online games and using multiple devices, a fibre optic connection would make sense. Also, if you work from home and rely on your internet connection for a living, a fibre optic connection is a no-brainer.
But, if you only occasionally use the net for emails and the odd bit of online shopping, then a fibre optic connection could prove a rather expensive novelty. So, it really comes down to whether you use your home internet connection enough to warrant paying a higher price for a higher speed.
Where can I get it?
Unfortunately fibre optic broadband isn’t covering the UK as a whole just yet. Whilst many major cities and towns do boast connectivity with the technology, less populated areas are still being left out in the cold.
This can obviously be a major issue if you work or live in one of these areas, but thankfully the catchment area for the service is growing. So if you don’t have the service available just yet, you should be getting it sometime in the future, obviously depending on how fast internet service providers decide to act.
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Disadvantages of Fibre Optic Broadband
No service is perfect, so it’s no surprise to discover that even fibre optic broadband has some downsides.
As we mentioned just, fibre optic broadband is still considered a bit of a luxury for now, with some areas still lagging behind without the ultra-fast speeds it promises. This means that you should always check if you’re able to have the service before paying for a service.
Most providers will double check that you are able to receive the service and will refund you if you can’t get it for some reason, but it saves a lot of hassle in the long run if you double check first. It’s worth noting however that if you don’t have it yet in your area, you could receive it in the near future, so you’re always best off checking every now and then to see if you can get the service.
Can be Expensive
As is the case with any product, for a higher quality service, you’re likely to shell out a larger amount of cash. Lucky for us, the price of fibre optic broadband has dropped since it first hit the market, but it’s still more expensive than your regular broadband service.
Of course, prices vary depending on the speeds you are getting, so BT’s fastest deal will likely cost a lot more than its less speedy version of the service. You can however get some good package deals with the likes of Virgin Media and BT, which merge your phone, TV and internet bill into one monthly payment.
Installing fibre optic cables isn’t the easiest of tasks, taking fairly longer than your standard broadband connection, mainly because per-installed copper cables have to be replaced. This means that installation can be a matter of hours to sort out, rather than a few minutes.
Some new build homes are already fitted with the glass or plastic cables, but the vast majority of homes will have to have the service installed. It shouldn’t be too costly to go through, but it can take a fair while.
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As with any service, these disadvantages can be overcome in most circumstances, and as the popularity of the service grows, it’s also likely that prices will drop. So, if you fancy getting online through this fibre optic service, why not check out our array of deals here?
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