Fibre Broadband: A Guide | National Business Communications

Fibre broadband: Everything you need to know

October 25, 2021

In the digital age, where conferencing via video and doing the weekly shop online have become the norm, there’s one thing that everybody wants: a fast and reliable internet connection. 

One of the best connections currently available on the market is fibre broadband. However, a lot of people are unsure what it is, or how it’s different from the standard broadband that most people have in their homes.

In the article below, we hope to share everything you ever wanted to know about fibre broadband — including how it works, what the benefits are, and whether it might be right for you.

What is fibre broadband?

Fibre broadband is a type of high-speed internet connection, which uses fibre-optic technology to transmit information. 

With fibre broadband, data is transmitted as beams of light along glass or plastic cables — as opposed to the traditional copper wires used for telephone lines and standard broadband. 

Fibre broadband was first made available to internet users in 2008 and since then, it has continued to grow in popularity because of the fast connection speeds and better online experience that it can offer.

How fast is fibre broadband?

Fibre broadband uses light as a means of transmitting data, rather than electricity. Therefore, users have often compared the download and performance speed of fibre broadband to ‘the speed of light’.

Fibre broadband may not be quite this fast, but it’s also difficult to compare the two. The speed of light has been determined by scientists to be approximately 186,000 miles per second. However, internet speed isn’t determined by the distance that the data travels per second, but the amount of data that can be downloaded per second.

We measure broadband or internet speed in Mbps, which stands for Megabits per second. A bit is the smallest measure of data storage, whilst a megabit (Mb) is equal to one million bits. This unit of measurement is what we use to measure and compare download speeds.

The average internet speed in the UK, according to an Ofcom report made in May 2020, was 71.8Mbps. However, a household using fibre broadband can enjoy download speeds between 30Mbps and 299Mbps, depending on their package and provider. 

You may not be able to say that your broadband travels at the speed of light, but fibre users have reported significantly better performance from their broadband after making the switch from standard broadband to fibre.

What other types of broadband are there?

There are 3 main types of broadband commonly used in the UK. These are:

Is fibre broadband better?

There is little debate that fibre broadband is significantly faster than standard ADSL broadband. In practical terms, this means that your webpages will load faster, you’ll experience less buffering time for videos and streams, and you will be able to download more content, faster. 

Fibre broadband can be particularly beneficial to the market segment known as ‘heavy users’. This encompasses a wide range of individuals who either make a living online, enjoy PC gaming, or use software which requires a lot of bandwidth. 

It’s true that fibre broadband currently costs more on average than standard broadband, but for many people, a fast connection is worth the investment. Businesses can often offset the cost of fibre by the increased efficiency it can provide, whereas residential users feel that no longer having to deal with slow internet is worth the slight increase in their monthly payments.

Will fibre broadband replace regular broadband?

If you are in the market for a new broadband package, it may also be worth noting that copper phone wires will actually be phased out by the end of 2025 — and ADSL broadband with it. 

You can read more about this in our WLR Withdrawal guide. Although many broadband providers are working to put a replacement service in place, there are concerns from industry professionals that some households or small businesses may have their internet access disrupted by the rollout.

Whilst there are no firm plans for what service will replace ADSL, there is a strong likelihood that fibre will become the new norm. If you’d like to be an early adopter of the future of broadband, as well as preventing any disruptions to your service during the 2025 withdrawal, you could consider upgrading to fibre broadband now. If you’d like to make the switch to fibre broadband, you can visit our website and see what packages and deals are available in your area.

What are the benefits of fibre broadband?

Although we have already discussed some benefits of fibre broadband, we will summarise them below. These are the perks that any user will be able to enjoy when they upgrade to fibre.

Benefits of fibre broadband for businesses

If you are a small business owner, or an employee who works from home, fibre broadband could be the secret ingredient which makes your working day run more smoothly. You could enjoy:

Benefits of fibre broadband for home use

With the recent adoption of smart devices for the home as well as the part that mobile devices have come to play in our lives, better internet could also have a positive impact on your home life.

Can I get fibre broadband?

Whether you will be able to get fibre broadband, either for your home or business premises, will depend on where in the country you are and if there’s a fibre-optic network available.

There are two types of fibre broadband connection that you may be able to use.

FTTC broadband

FTTC stands for Fibre-to-the-Cabinet and is used to describe a connection where a shared fibre cabinet is installed in the street, and data is then transmitted directly to the home or business via the existing copper telephone lines. This is the most common way of making fibre broadband available, using a nationwide framework that already exists.

If you already have a fibre cabinet installed nearby, you should be able to switch to FTTC fibre broadband quite easily. You will still benefit from superfast download speeds, despite the copper telephone wires still being involved in the process.

FTTP broadband

FTTP broadband refers to Fibre-to-the-Premises broadband and, as the name suggests, this type of connection involves connecting a fibre-optic cable directly to your property.

This may depend on where your home or business is situated in relation to other fibre-optic broadband cables, and there can be higher costs involved when adding cables to link your premises up to the network. 

However, for small to medium businesses, the investment can be a valuable one, and they are sure to benefit from the use of fibre-optic cables right up to their property. Superfast internet, which will be unaffected by the WLR withdrawal, can be worth it’s weight in gold.

How can I get fibre broadband for my business?

If you’re eager to step into the future with a faster internet connection, your next steps will be to decide which fibre broadband package will suit the needs of your business. 

Consider the number of employees who will be using it on a daily basis, and where the majority of your bandwidth is currently spent. Do you rely on video conferencing, download a lot of data or have high-spec software that needs to run alongside other programmes?

At National Business Communications, our fibre broadband packages start from just £27.99 a month and are developed with small to medium-sized businesses in mind. We offer download speeds between 40Mbps to 330Mbps or higher — as well as a bespoke service if you’d like to invest in a FTTP line for your business.

To see all the options available to you, simply enter your postcode to get started and find the best fibre broadband deals available to you in your area. 

We hope this guide has been helpful, and you feel more informed about your options when it comes to fibre broadband. If you have any other questions, feel free to check our FAQ page or learn more about National Business Communications and the services we offer to businesses in the UK.

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