Fibre optic is a term you'll hear a lot when looking around at different broadband deals but what does it actually mean and, more importantly, is it something you really need?
In this short guide we'll cover the basics of how fibre optic works, what its various benefits are, and how you can go about getting a great fibre optic plan if you decide you want one.
Fibre optic is essentially the fastest type of internet connection on the market. It works by replacing the old copper cables with thin strands of glass or plastic, that light passes through to send information. This allows for much more efficient transfer of larger amounts of data and, as a result, a much faster broadband experience – other than that, there’s no difference between fibre optic and basic copper connections.
Fibre optic is usable with all existing computers, phones and other hardware.
Different providers will obviously be able to offer different speeds, the consensus is that fibre optic can reach speeds of up to 300Mpbs, but advertised speeds tend to sit between 38mbps and 100mbps. Considering the fact that the average speed in the UK is 28Mbps it’s not difficult to see what all the fuss is about.
There are even some companies that are offering speeds of over 1Gbps, although it’s important to note that these will probably be price dependent and not necessarily available to the general public.
If you’re someone who uses the internet a lot then fibre optic is without a doubt something that you should consider. Whether its downloading movies, speaking to people on Skype or playing online games, fibre optic broadband will make the entire process easier and more seamless.
In recent years, the number of appliances that need internet access in the home has skyrocketed. We have a situation where an increasing number of appliances are competing for the same bandwidth and basic broadband is often no longer able to cope. Fibre connections will generally take the strain a lot better than their copper counterparts.
More and more services such as amazon and Netflix are coming into play to allow you more flexibility with your leisure time. With fibre optic, you can watch whatever you want whenever you want and never worry about whether your current internet will be able to support it.
A recent survey carried out by ISP Review found out that 68% of people would be put off buying a home if it didn’t have high speed internet. So even if you don’t consider something particularly important, most people would take it into consideration when buying a new home. .
As with any (relatively) new or upgraded technology you are going to be paying more money than you would have previously have been. Fibre optic isn’t as expensive as it once was as it has now been out for a few years but it will undoubtedly be costing you a little more than a more basic connection.
This is will probably be the main problem for a lot of people wanting to get connected to fibre optic. If you live in a major town or city then you will be able to get connected, however the rollout is taking longer than expected to reach rural areas, so if you live in a less populated area you may still be waiting a while.
This one shouldn’t be too much of an issue and could only cause a problem for people living in older homes. Most new builds are already built with glass or plastic cables so installing fibre optic won’t be a problem. Some properties, however, will need to have everything installed but this shouldn’t cause too much stress - you will be looking at an overall set up time of hours rather than minutes and potentially a small upfront cost.
The search for the perfect fibre optic deal starts with identifying what exactly it is you want from your broadband beyond just super high speeds. We've got some handy tips for you on our best broadband deals that should help you make that decision.