What is Fibre Optic Broadband and Can I Get it in My Home?

Jul 11 10:18 2013 SelJones Print This Article

In this article we discuss how to get the right fibre optic broadband solution in your home for your budget and your family needs.

Many of us are stumped when it comes to choosing broad-band.  We’ve heard about fibre optic broadband and we know it’s probably the best way forward if you want speedy and reliable connectivity in our homes.  But what is fibre optic broad-band and how does it differ from the other offerings on the market?  And more importantly,Guest Posting can you get it in your area? 

This article will look at the answers to these questions and by the end you should have a better idea of the landscape of the broadband market, your choices, and where to look for the best deals.

What is fibre optic broadband?

Fibre optic broad-band is a  technology that’s delivered through a mixed plastic and glass fibre optic cable that goes from the telephone exchange to the street level cabinet or into your home.  There are two primary types:

  • Fibre-to-the-Home- where the cables go all the way into your home
  • Fibre-to-the-Cabinet- where the cables go to the local street level cabinet and then the last leg of the journey is over the copper cables of the BT infrastructure.

Fibre optic is much faster than any other form of broadband.  Businesses can achieve about 1Gb connections and consumers can get around 95Mbps through Virgin Media, up to 80Mbps on BT, and super fast speeds on providers such as Plusnet, Sky, and Zen.  The problem is that the infrastructure for fibre optic broadband has not been laid throughout the whole of the country as yet, so it’s not available to every home. It is probably usable in around 60% of UK homes.

The Other Broad-band Technologies

The main  technology that’s been used for home fixed broadband is ADSL.  ADSL is passed over the BT copper cables of the telephone network and therefore is available to the majority of homes in the UK. 

New technologies have emerged in ADSL, such as ADSL 2 and ADSL 2+.  These top technologies are twice and thrice as fast as ADSL standard respectively.  They mean that you can get ADSL up to around 20+Mbps.  Standard ADSL tends to be below 8Mbps.  The further you are from the telephone exchange, the slower your technology will likely be.  This is because speed degrades over distance on the copper cables of the BT infrastructure.  These cables are not purpose built for carrying internet data and they aren’t the best at it.  This is the main reason for the revolution of fibre optic broadband, which is designed specifically for fast speeds in internet technology.

Mobile Broadband

Mobile broad-band is nowhere near as fast as fibre optic broadband but it is extremely functional.  You can of course take it on the go and get connectivity wherever you can get mobile operator signal.  Traditionally, mobile broadband runs over the 3G connectivity signal, but increasingly, this is going to be converted to 4G.

The fourth generation of mobile broadband provides speeds of up to 14.4Mbps, which is comparable to most fixed line solutions.  With addition of a MiFi device it’s possible to run five devices off the same connection.  This is great for those that want to use mobile broadband in groups out of the home, but also as a home broadband solution.

The challenge is that mobile broad-band is slightly less stable than fixed line , and 4G is at the beginning of its lifetime.  As 4G gets better and better, there will be real possibilities for home owners and tenants to use mobile broadband as their main broadband service.  Only around 50% of the population can currently get 4G and this is through the Everything Everywhere Network.  Vodafone, O2, and Three are rolling out their own services at the moment and by the end of 2013, around 95%+ of the population will be able to get 4G connectivity.  This really will open it up as a solution and more and more people will be able to use their smartphone packages to hotspot their devices.

Can you get fibre optic broadband?

The easiest way to find out if you can get fibre optic broadband is to use one of the many postcode checkers on websites.  Simply, type in to Google “Can I get fibre-optic broadband?” and you’ll be thrown up with a number of solutions.  Choose a solution that is approved by Ofcom, pop in your postcode and you’ll be displayed the connectivity options available to you.

I’ve just done a search personally and I found out that Virgin Media is in my area.  When I moved into this area, I was with a Sky package and could not take my fibre-optic broad band from my last location, and so I’m on ADSL 2+.  The great thing is that I’m only about 400 meters from the telephone exchange so even my ADSL is around 20Mbps.  If I wanted to upgrade, I now know that I can jump on to Virgin Media.

One good service is available on cable.co.uk, but there really are a lot of options around that show you whether you can get fibre optic broadband, and the package options available to you.

Top Tip

 Broadband is not just about speed, it’s also about getting the right solution for your budget and for your needs.  Fibre optic is pricier than most other forms of broad-band, especially if you’re only using this for a few times a day, or even a few times a week for light activities.

Fibre optic  is primarily designed for heavy consumers who are willing to pay a bit more to get faster speeds and higher data allowances.  Broadband is available from £4 or £5 a month with some providers these days and you may not need to go for the top level offering in order to match your requirement.

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About Article Author

SelJones
SelJones

Finding more information on fibre optic broadband was not a difficult task forSam Jones.  He switched on to sites like uSwitch and in seconds had found everything that he needed to know.

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