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Everything you need to know about fibre broadband

Tamires Criscio
Tamires Criscio
  | Edited by Tom Church
Updated 8th January 2021

Are you not sure what fibre broadband is and why you need it? Latest Deals has created a full guide on everything you need to know about fibre broadband. Understanding some important topics about fibre broadband and how you can get it today!

In this guide

What is fibre broadband? 

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Fibre broadband is a type of broadband that uses fibre optic cables. This is a modern internet connection resulting in more speed and stability. You can get this type of broadband easily around the UK. This will allow you to access the internet daily without hassle. Most broadband providers are offering fibre broadband at the moment at an accessible price. 

How fast can fibre broadband speed be? 

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At the moment, in the UK, you can find fibre broadband ranging from an average of 35Mbps to 500Mbps. Fibre broadband speeds can be faster than that, reaching speeds of 1Gbps and sometimes more. It’s important to keep in mind that this speed of 1Gbps is not available everywhere and to everyone. An average speed of 200Mbps is good enough for domestic use, even for gamers. 

For domestic use, you can find 1Gbps Fibre Broadband at Virgin Media and at Hyperoptic. We will talk more about them below. 

How does fibre broadband work? 

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Fibre broadband works by connecting the BT exchange to your address with a fibre optic cable. The BT exchange can be connected to the street cabinet with a fibre optic cable in two ways. 

The first way connects the street cabinet to your address with a copper cable. This will require a rental line. All providers, except Virgin Media, work with this type of technology, depending 100% on BT landline infrastructure. This makes them pretty similar in speed and stability. This is a Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) type of connection. 

The second way connects the street cabinet to your address with a coaxial cable. This will not require a rental line. Only Virgin Media can provide this, which is why it is the best and most accessible provider for fibre broadband in the UK. This is also a Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) type of connection. 

Do I need to have a phone line installed to get fibre broadband?

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Depending on the type of fibre broadband, you might need a phone line. If you are getting your fibre broadband package with Virgin Media, you don’t need to have a phone line installed. If you are getting your fibre broadband package with any other provider, you need to have a phone line installed or get one installed. Usually, these providers give you the phone line rental for free for the entire time or for the first year of the contract. If you don’t have a phone line installed, they usually charge you £50 to install one. 

Understanding the difference between fibre broadband and full fibre broadband

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Full fibre broadband is a term that has been growing recently. More people are becoming aware that having broadband fully connected by fibre cables is better than those that combine fibre with copper cables or with coaxial cables. 

Full fibre broadband is a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) type of connection. This is not largely available at the moment for domestic use. 

Even though Virgin Media uses a better type of cable, the coaxial, it can’t be considered a full-fibre broadband provider yet. 

The UK's landline infrastructure still uses copper in most of its extensions and it will take some time for this to change. The government has a project called the UK's Gigabit Broadband Program to get the whole of the UK connected by full-fibre broadband by 2025.

Hyperoptic: the only broadband provider that can offer full-fibre broadband packages

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Hyperoptic is the only broadband provider that can offer full-fibre broadband packages. Unlike Virgin Media, which uses a coaxial cable, Hyperoptic uses only fibre cables. This makes them the fastest internet provider in the UK. Unfortunately, their availability is still very restricted to certain areas. Make sure you check out their website to see if you can get a fast and affordable fibre broadband plan with them. 

Advantages of fibre broadband: going beyond speed and stability

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Fibre broadband is well-known for its better quality of speed and stability. You can also find other advantages when choosing this type of broadband.

  • Data transfer ‚ÄĒ Fibre cables can transmit different types of data, while copper cables were developed to only transfer voice signals. Please know that with fibre, you will be able to download content from the internet and upload content to the internet with more ease.¬†
  • Distance ‚ÄĒ Fibre cables can carry signals for much longer distances. Compared to copper cables, fibre cables are much better to carry signals for longer.
  • Interference ‚ÄĒ Fibre cables are totally protected against interference. Copper cables carry physical electrical signals and fibre cables don‚Äôt, making them interference-free.
  • Safety ‚ÄĒ Fibre cables are much safer than copper cables. They are thinner and lighter but stronger. Fibre cables are not affected by water or changes in temperature like copper cables are, making them safer.¬†

How do I get fibre broadband?

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To get fibre broadband, you will need to pick a fibre broadband deal and a provider. We have a full guide on how to choose the best broadband deal for you and how to get cheap broadband: 10 tips to haggle broadband. Make sure you read both articles before making your decision.

The most important thing to keep in mind is if fibre broadband is available in your area. The question you should ask is ‚ÄúCan I get fibre broadband where I live‚ÄĚ? Nowadays, Fibre broadband is available to over 95% of the UK. It‚Äôs very likely that you will be able to get a fibre broadband deal in your area.¬†

Sometimes you want a deal, but the infrastructure in your area does not allow the cables to get there. Every year, BT is working to expand its landline network. The same applies to Virgin Media, which is constantly working to reach further areas. Maybe you can’t get a better speed today, but tomorrow it could be available. 

You can use all the websites below to check if you can get fibre broadband in your area: 

How do I switch to fibre broadband?

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If you want to switch to fibre broadband, the first step is to check if it’s available at your address. Use the links above to find out. 

Once you have confirmed you can get fibre broadband, you just need to pick a deal and sign-up. Your new provider will help you with the switch. 

In some cases they will do everything for you, so you don’t need to worry even about cancelling your old plan.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you need to reach out to your old provider to cancel your old broadband plan, you can do so online or by phone. Keep in mind that you will only be able to leave your old provider if you have spent more than one year within your contract or your contract has already expired. If you want to leave early, you might need to pay an exit fee. 

Do I need fibre broadband?

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How do you know if you need fibre broadband? Well, if you are planning to do more than basic internet activities like sending and receiving emails, sharing content on social media, doing transactions on your online bank, buying stuff online or reading the news, you will need fibre broadband. Click here to understand more if you can get a cheaper type of broadband. 

This is the best home internet service you can get at the moment, which will allow you to do all the basics and much more. With your fibre broadband, you will be able to work from home without worrying about delays or unexpected issues, stream any type of content online in HD, UHD and 4K, attend video conferences and even play games online. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Fibre Broadband is also essential for households with more than two people that are likely to be online at the same time. Put into the account all the devices that will be connected: smartphones, smart TVs, computers, laptops, games consoles or any other device that uses the internet to function.

How do I compare fibre broadband?

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To compare fibre broadband you will need to take into account some important factors such as:

  • Type: What type do you prefer? Is it the one provided by Virgin Media with coaxial cable or the one from all other providers with copper cable?¬†
  • Speed: What speed do you need?¬†
  • Price: How much will it cost per month and per year with all fees included?¬†
  • Contract: For how long is the contract?¬†
  • Phone Line: Does it include a free line rental?¬†
  • Usage: Can you get unlimited broadband?
  • Extras: Are there any extras that you can take advantage of?¬†
  • Bundle: If you want, can you easily add cable TV and phone plan?¬†
  • Customer Service: What is the provider customer service rating?¬†
  • Cable installed inside the address: Do I already have a cable to access or do I need to get one and pay an installation fee?¬†

When you lay out all the deals you have as options and put these factors to the test you can see which one is best for you. Usually, the winner is cheaper with better speed and more free perks. Keep in mind what works best for you, so make sure you have a clear idea of what you want, then you will know exactly which deal is right for you. Always compare fibre broadband deals before getting a new contract.

You can also learn how to compare fibre broadband by reading our guides on how to choose the best broadband deal for you and how to get cheap broadband: 10 tips to haggle broadband. 

Best Fibre Broadband Deals Available in the UK at the moment: fastest and slowest fibre broadband speeds you can get 

BT 

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Best BT Fibre Broadband Deal (Lower Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 36 Mbps
  • Price: ¬£26.99 per month
  • Contract: 24 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

Best BT Fibre Broadband Deal (Faster Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 73Mbps
  • Price: ¬£31.99 per month
  • Contract: 24 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

This deal is a good option if you are looking for average broadband speed for a good monthly price. 

Sky

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Best Sky Fibre Broadband Deal (Lower Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 59 Mbps
  • Price: ¬£27 per month
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

You can find better deals than this one. 

Best Sky Fibre Broadband Deal (Faster Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 145Mbps
  • Price: ¬£35 per month
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

This is a really good deal, because it comes with 27Mbps for upload speed, which is good for content creators. 

Virgin Media 

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Best Virgin Media Fibre Broadband Deal (Lower Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Coaxial Cable (The only one with this technology)
  • Speed: 108Mbps
  • Price: ¬£44 per month
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Phone Line: Doesn‚Äôt need a phone line
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

Best Virgin Media Fibre Broadband Deal (Faster Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Coaxial Cable (The only one with this technology)
  • Speed: 1Gbps
  • Price: ¬£62 per month
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Phone Line: Doesn‚Äôt need a phone line
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

Virgin Media can be more expensive than other providers, but its service is better. 

Plusnet 

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Best Plusnet Fibre Broadband Deal (Lower Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 36Mbps
  • Price: ¬£23.99 per month
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

Best Plusnet Fibre Broadband Deal (Faster Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 66Mbps
  • Price: ¬£26.99 per month
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

It’s better to get the faster broadband speed with Plusnet. You will get more for only £3 more per month. 

EE Broadband

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Best EE Fibre Broadband Deal (Lower Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 36Mbps
  • Price: ¬£26 per month
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

Best EE Fibre Broadband Deal (Faster Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 900Mbps
  • Price: ¬£54 per month
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

This plan also includes 20GB of mobile data. 

Talk Talk 

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Best Talk Talk Fibre Broadband Deal (Lower Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 38Mbps
  • Price: ¬£21 per month
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

TalkTalk is cheaper when compared to Vodafone and Post Office for a 38Mbps broadband speed. 

Best Talk Talk Fibre Broadband Deal (Faster Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 145Mbps
  • Price: ¬£32 per month
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

Vodafone 

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Best Vodafone Fibre Broadband Deal (Lower Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 35Mbps
  • Price: ¬£22 per month
  • Contract: 24months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

Best Vodafone Fibre Broadband Deal (Faster Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 900Mbps
  • Price: ¬£50 per month
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

Vodafone is giving its fastest broadband service for free for the first six months. 

Post Office 

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Best Post Office Fibre Broadband Deal (Lower Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 38Mbps
  • Price: ¬£24 per month
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

Best Post Office Fibre Broadband Deal (Faster Speed)

  • Type: Fibre - Copper Cable¬†
  • Speed: 63Mbps
  • Price: ¬£28 per month
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Phone Line: Includes line rental¬†
  • Usage: Unlimited Broadband

Post Office advantage is the 12-month contracts, which gives you more flexibility. 

Which Fibre Broadband provider is cheaper?

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We have compared the providers above to see which one is the cheapest. The broadband speed selected is around 60Mbps. Some of them offer slightly higher speeds and some of them slightly lower. 

This is the type of comparison you will need to do when you are looking for your fibre broadband provider. We have taken into account only a few points, when you are making your decision, use some of the bullet points appointed in the section: How do I compare fibre broadband? 

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Virgin Media has the most expensive fibre broadband. You can get a download speed of 108Mbps and an upload speed of 10Mbps. Although their quality is better, you can find other providers for cheaper. 

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Talk Talk has the best fibre broadband price. For £385 per year, you take home a download speed of 145 Mbps. Unfortunately, they don’t inform their upload speed. 

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Plusnet is the cheapest fibre broadband available at the moment. For a good average speed of download and upload, you only spend £323.88. If you are on a budget this can be an excellent option. 

FAQ 

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