Fibre broadband explained
Fibre broadband is a new type of broadband that is currently being deployed in the UK by BT, Virgin Media and other operators which uses fibre optic cables to help increase the speed of your broadband connection. It is often referred to as ‘super-fast broadband’ or ‘next-generation broadband’ as it offers faster speeds than have been available to date using older generation networks. It is available to both home and business users.
There are generally two types of fibre broadband connections
Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC)
Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) involves running fibre optic cables from the telephone exchange or distribution point to the street cabinets which then connect to a standard phone line to provide broadband.
This is combined with a copper cable from the cabinet to the home or business which uses VDSL or similar technology that can deliver much faster speeds over shorter distances.
Fibre to the home / premises (FTTH or FTTP)
Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), also often referred to as Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) provides and end-to-end fibre optic connection the full distance from the exchange to the building and can deliver faster speeds than FTTC as there is no copper leg at all.
While the image showns the fibre going underground which is the most common method, fibre can be run between telephone poles and the splitter node can be mounted onto a pole too.
How fast is (FTTC) fibre broadband?
Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) broadband comes in three main variants which offer a downstream line connection speed of 80 meg (80 Mbps), 55 meg (55 Mbps) or 40 meg (40 Mbps), but the actual maximum throughput speed of the service will be slightly lower than this at around 76 / 52 / 38 Mbps. Different upstream speeds are available at either 2Mbps or 10Mbps on the 40 Mbps variant, with 10 Mbps on the 55 Mbps version and finally 20 Mbps up on the 80 Mbps.
Not everyone will receive the maximum speed as it depends on the length of your phone line to the cabinet which is providing your broadband service, it should be noted that since all the FTTC services rely on the same VDSL2 technology that unless you are getting the maximum speed from a 40 Mbps product upgrading to a 55 or 80 Mbps product will not boost your speeds.
What can I expect from FTTP broadband?
If you are lucky enough to live in an area that will receive Fibre to the Premises (FTTP full fibre), download speeds of 330Mbps and upstream speeds of 30Mbps are available. The FTTP products offer the same speed options as on FTTC (at the same price) and also faster versions at 100meg down /15 meg up, 110/15meg, 100/30meg, 330/20meg, and 330/30meg. The massive advantage FTTP has is that the connection speed is not affected by distance.