What is fibre optic broadband?

It’s quick, slick and does the trick – but what is it?

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What is fibre optic broadband and do I need it?

 With growing demand for faster internet, many consumers are turning to fibre optic as an option, but what is it and is it really necessary?

The facts

There are two main types of broadband: Fibre optic and ADSL.

Fibre Optic is the faster of the two, offering speeds upwards of thirty megabits per second, as it is delivered over super-fast fibre optic cables.

ADSL on the other hand, is delivered by BT’s aging copper telephone network and as such your speed is dependent on your location. You are likely to get around eight to twelve mega-bits but this could vary greatly, depending on your distance from the exchange.

So what does that really mean?

Well, if you’re looking to download a high definition movie of around seven hundred megabytes, with ADSL it should take around 20 minutes. With fibre optic however, it will take just five to six minutes.

There are two main suppliers of fibre broadband- Virgin media and BT. Other suppliers such as Sky, Plusnet and EE offer it too, but predominantly use BT’s Openreach network. Virgin on the other hand has its own cabling not run on the aging telephone network and so is usually much faster.

Sounds great, right?

There are two limitations with fibre optic broadband, the first being that it is not available everywhere just yet. It’s currently only available to around 60% of the UK. The other is that it is noticeably more expensive than ADSL.

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