What is fibre broadband?
Fibre broadband is a type of high-speed broadband. It uses flexible fibre optic cables made from drawn glass (silica) or plastic that are about the thickness of a human hair. These cables are better at transferring data at higher speeds and over longer distances than standard copper cables, as they are immune to electromagnetic interference.
Fibre broadband lets you upload and download information faster - if you’re a keen gamer or you love streaming films or TV shows, it’s a much better experience with vastly-reduced lag.
There are two other types of broadband technology available in the UK - ADSL and cable.
ADSL is a very common connection – it’s cheaper, but also slower, and uses the same line as your landline. Cable isn’t widely available in the UK and uses the coaxial cable infrastructure belonging to Virgin Media.
How does fibre broadband work?
Fibre broadband uses fibre optic cables to transmit data via a light signal.
The main difference between copper and fibre cables is signal reduces over distance with copper cables, meaning your speed will decrease the further from the cabinet you are. Because of its technology, copper is also limited by bandwidth.
These are two main types of fibre broadband:
FTTC: This stands for ‘fibre to the cabinet’. FTTC uses fibre cables to your local broadband cabinet, and from there copper wires connect it to your home.
FTTP: This stands for ‘fibre to the premises’. It’s also known at FTTH, or ‘fibre to the home’. The fibre cable is connected directly to the home, and it’s the fastest broadband available as no copper wires are used.
The benefits of fibre broadband
- Stronger connections: Fibre optic cables transmit data using beams of light, and they’re more resistant to electrical interference and cold weather.
- Stronger signal strength: If your home is a long way away from the phone exchange, your signal strength can drop if you’re using ADSL. As fibre optic cables transmit data almost-instantly using light and they're not impacted by electromagnetic interference like copper and coaxial cables are, your signal remains strong.
- Better bandwidth: As fibre broadband with an FTTC connection only uses copper cabling from the street cabinet to your home, it loses less bandwidth. FTTP is fibre directly from the exchange into your home - it's even faster, and does not have any copper-associated speed losses.