Fibre optic broadband is becoming increasingly common since its launch. Fibre optic or cable broadband has been around for a while but has not been commonplace amongst suppliers until relatively recently. Cable broadband was introduced in the UK by Telewest who were bought out by Virgin Media in 2007. For a long time, Vrgin media were the only company capable of installing fibre broadband to you home, and they had a monopoly on the service. Now it is possible to get fibre from nearly all broadband providers in the UK. The question is, what are the benefits of fibre broadband and does it suit everyone?
The most obvious benefit to fibre optic broadband is the increased speeds a user is likely to get. Some providers can boast speeds over 100mbs depending on locations with 72mbps being a more common speed. This is often up to ten times more than standard ADSL Broadband. These high speeds can be brilliant for time sensitive tasks, especially those tasks that require a large amount of data to be transferred.
Many households will have more than one access point for their Internet connection, and this continues to grow as more and more device are “connected” devices, meaning they are capable of accessing the Internet or require an Internet connection to operate. Many households now have smart devices throughout the home, including Television sets, Amazon Echo devices and smart burglar systems. Some families are reliant on the Internet to utilise a lot of their equipment and the more devices that are connected to the Internet the more speed and bandwidth a household will require.
If you have a family with two computers three mobiles games consoles and smart TV’s in which different family members require access at any one time, you will find that before long you will all be fighting for a piece of that valuable broadband connection. Standard ADSL broadband may be sufficient if you are using a couple of devices at a time and are doing some low usage tasks. However let’s say your son is playing his Xbox in his room, your wife is watching the latest ITV drama on demand in the living room and you are trying to download an important file of over 10gb to meet a deadline. A common scenario here is that the internet connection will slow down as a result of high usage across multiple devices, this, in turn, can start a family row about who’s access is more important. I know, I’ve been there many times before.
With Fibre optic broadband the chances are that these arguments are less likely to occur, with its increased speeds comes more available bandwidth per device. Broadband connections will work in a shared manner. This means that if you have only one computer downloading files, it will likely be using close to maximum speeds. If another device connects to the internet and starts streaming a film, you will see a drop of close to half the amount. The more devices that connect, the more that is split across the devices. So you can see that standard ADSL broadband can sometimes be insufficient when sharing a connection in your home.
Fibre optic Broadband becomes more imperative when it comes to businesses. While a lot of business may have their own dedicated connection which can boast huge data transfer speeds, the majority still rely on purchasing an ADSL or Fibre Broadband package from a supplier such as EE Broadband or Plusnet. Business Broadband is a separate package to home broadband and is often more expensive, this is because business broadband requires more bandwidth and higher speeds due to the fact there is likely to be more than one device connected to the Internet at one time.
Having Fibre broadband in business allows them to operate more effectively due to the fact that the higher speeds can be shared across the devices more effectively than a standard ADSL connection. This can be very important to business as being able to communicate effectively across sites, and download files quickly helps the business be more effective. Having a slow Internet connection can really damage a business who relies on connectivity. Tasks that should take a few seconds can take a few minutes and this added up over time across several staff members can cause delays of days, weeks or months.
It is becoming more common to see high definition TV sets, computer screens, and mobile phones. The resolutions on smartphones and tablets continue to grow and it’s rare to purchase a TV that has a resolution less than 1080p. A lot of TV’s nowadays are 4k resolutions or UHD as it’s often called. This gives suppliers the scope to be able to offer 4k resolutions broadcasts. Devices such as Amazon Fire TV have the option to show 4k shows, and this is a draw to people looking to view their favourite shows in crystal-clear quality. Sky and BT Sports also have the option to watch some live football games in 4k resolution. With increase resolution comes larger file sizes and streaming, in particular, requires that your broadband speeds can match the amount of data needs to be downloaded per second to view the show uninterrupted.
One thing that is clear is that TV’s tablets and phones are only going to get higher resolution screens and with that comes an increasing need for households to have a fibre optic line installed.
Fibre optic broadband is still being rolled out across the country, and it’s worth using a broadband postcode checker to see if it’s available in your area. We would also recommend that you take a look at BT Openreach’s website to see what the status of your local exchange is and if you can take advantage of the incredible speeds that fibre broadband currently offers.