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Is Cable Broadband the Same As Fibre Broadband?

Last updated: 24. 03. 2020

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Broadband is everywhere nowadays, but not all connections are equal. There are a few different technologies that enable you to get online, each with different benefits and drawbacks.

One of these is cable broadband, but exactly is it? We have put together a quick guide to keep you informed.

What is cable broadband?

Cable broadband is a high-speed alternative to fibre optic, although they are similar in some ways there are a few key differences. The main provider of cable broadband is Virgin Media and if you use them the majority of your connection is still going to be fibre optic. The main difference is the last mile of your connection is going to be made up coaxial cable opposed to fibre optics copper cable. The coaxial cable can carry data quicker than its copper counterpart as it encounters less loss over distances.

So what’s faster, cable or fibre?

Currently cable broadband packages are faster, with Virgin offering speeds up to a whopping 300Mbps, while with fibre optic you will only be able to hit up to 76Mbps. Generally, both Fibre and Cable will be able to provide ample speed internet for your normal household. Different situations will mean you can get different speeds with the two options, so it’s always worth checking things like what building you live in or how far away you live from your closest exchange to get an accurate measurement.

Where can I get cable?

One of the main problems with Cable broadband it that it isn’t as readily available as fibre. BT’s fibre optic packages serve around 85% of the country, whereas cable is only an option in roughly half of the UK.

Where can I get the best deal?

Although Virgin are the most widely available Cable broadband provider, they will generally not be the cheapest broadband option. Companies such as TalkTalk and Plusnet will generally be able to offer you the cheapest options but will be less widely available. If you would like to say what options are available in your area, check out our handy broadband comparison tool.

How to Switch to Cable Broadband

Firstly, enter your postcode into the search engine to see which companies operate in your area. You will then want to identify which ones will offer the service that you are looking for. To make this easy, there will be lists comparing price as well as the maximum available speed that you can get out of a package. Most companies will also be offering bundle packages which may include TV and a phone line as well so make sure you have a browse to see which one suits your needs.

Switch Provider

Once you have found a broadband deal that suits you simply click on the deal that is right for you, you will be directed to the broadband provider's website. From here, simply follow the on-screen instructions and you’ll get to broadband heaven in no time.

Wait for the Switch to Go Through

That’s all there is to it. Prior to June 2015 you needed a Mac code from your old provider to switch broadband. Thanks to Ofgem this is a thing of the past and your new broadband provider will handle the whole process for you.

For an easy and hassle free to compare broadband deals, take a look at our handy comparison tool.
Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

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