What is fibre broadband?

There no shame in asking this! Here are our Fibre Broadband FAQ, based on what Google tells us folks are asking..  “Fibre” is broadband arriving at your property by means of fibre optic cable. In the past, this was carried over copper cables, which were never designed to carry broadband, and have restrictions on speed, capacity and stability.

What’s the difference between standard broadband and fibre?

Speed and quality. Think of standard broadband as a garden hosepipe, and the data being carried as water. The longer the pipe, the lesser the flow at the far end. It can get kinked and damaged, and will only flow so fast. Fibre (optic) broadband is like a six-inch diameter water main, a constant, smooth, powerful flow that can be sustained across long distance.

Standard broadband depends on electrical signals to communicate, and these can only go so fast and so far. However, Fibre (Optical) broadband works via pulses of light (the “optical” bit), and can travel great distances with no reduction in speed or quality.

Can I get fibre broadband in my area?

It all depends on the stuff in the ground or up a pole. If the fibre optic cables pass close to your property, then quite likely. If not, then not without a significant cost.

Can I get fibre broadband at my house/postcode?

Most providers will have some kind of postcode-driven checking device. Go on several provider’s sites and see if the results come up the same.

It seems I can’t get it, But boxes on the street say “Fibre Broadband Is Here”. Why?

The optical fibre (“fibre”) cables get as far as the box in the street, then stop. To reach your house, it may cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in digging and burying. Unless there is a clear money-making advantage, the fibre will stay in the street box. However, you may be able to benefit from it. See “FTTH” and “FTTC” below.

When will fibre come to my area?

That depends (on money). The providers need to have a good business case. Government may open their wallet sometime mid-century. Sadly, politician’s promises of everyone having super-fast fibre optic cables to their homes is wishful thinking. It depends on expensive holes in the ground, or at least some serious cable installation.

What’s the difference between FTTH broadband and FTTC?

(I’m ashamed of my industry, and it’s reliance on mysterious terms, by the way.)

FTTH – “Fibre To The Home”. The fibre optic cables come straight into your home (yippee!!)
FTTC – “Fibre To The Cabinet”. The fibre optic cables get as far as your local street cabinet, where a gadget converts the data to travel down traditional copper cables. Back to our “hosepipe” idea – the six-inch main becomes an old hosepipe in a box on the street. (Drat…!!)

How do I install fibre optic broadband?

(This question puzzles me…but Google must be telling the truth, so people must be asking it)

Only Openreach, (or another contractor working for your provider.) can install it. Fibre Optic connection is high up in the level of skills in the telecommunications world. It’s specialised work. You need to order it via your provider. You can’t get a kit at B and Q

Do I need fibre optic broadband?

If you currently have no speed issues with your broadband, then I would dare to say “no”. I have seen FTTC (“fibre to the cabinet”) running high download speeds (58Mb, if you are geeky and need to know). That’s plenty fast enough for browsing, some streaming, and basic internet/mail.

However, if you live in a family of eight Netflix addicts or obsessive game-players, plus you download other massive files for work purposes, then maybe it’s time to consider it.

Can I get fibre optic without line rental?

(Another very odd question from Google’s Fibre Broadband FAQ!) Short answer – I don’t think so.

How much does fibre cost?

That depends. It’s time to take a look at the offerings of various providers. My instinct is that there won’t be much variation. It’s a seller’s market, and changing suppliers is probably highly expensive to the bodies concerned, hence contracts will be long.

Is That All?

Yes, all for now. I hope you have been “de-confused”. Sadly, I can’t act as a help desk on this topic, but if this article on Fibre Broadband FAQ has been useful, kind words in a short review at our Facebook Pages or Google, would be appreciated.  If I’m local to you and need an engineer, please get in touch.