This is a common question I hear from people I talk to every day. Fibre broadband can probably be considered a luxury for most of the country and while the benefits of fibre broadband are clear, it may not always make sense to take the plunge and pay the extra money for the increased speeds. Whether you should upgrade or not is down to specific requirements and availability, I’ll look into these below.
The main reason for switching to fibre broadband is obviously the increased speeds that come with it. Currently ADSL broadband goes as high as 17mb per second whereas fibre broadband can achieve speeds of 200mb per second in some areas. This is nearly ten times the speed of standard ADSL broadband and can make many tasks a breeze, streaming, for example, would have no problem.
200mb per second fibre broadband is not very common in the United Kingdom at the moment however Virgin Media are looking to expand as far as they can go with these speeds as it gives them an obvious advantage over normal fibre connections which can go up to 76mb per second. These speeds aren’t exactly the massive speeds that Virgin can offer, but they are still more than four times quicker than standard ADSL Broadband.
If you find yourself watching shows and films on services like Netflix and Amazon Prime often, you will notice a massive benefit when using fibre optic broadband. The problem with streaming videos and especially high definition videos is that in order to stream without any interruption, you need a broadband speed that can keep up with the bitrate required to stream the show. It is often the case with ADSL broadband that there will be a delay in starting the show or periods of buffering throughout the show which is one of my all-time hates.
If you are a keen gamer, then you will probably already be aware of the needs for a fibre broadband connection to play to the best of your ability online. The latency that comes with fibre broadband is often so low that you don’t notice any difference with delays in reaction times. Latency is a common problem for online gamers, especially those who play shoot em up style games like Halo or Call of Duty. The main issue here is that the server that is hosting the game will connect to your screen with a delay depending on your broadband speeds. For those with higher speeds on fibre broadband, you will experience much smoother gameplay and will probably perform better as a result.
With modern gaming, it is also quite common to download games as opposed to purchasing the disc version in a store or online. File sizes for console games can be over 50GB at a time and to download that on a standard ADSL line at 15mb per second would take 8 hours. Contrast that with the Virgin Media Vivid 200 service which has speeds of 200mb per second, it would take just 30 minutes. Updates can also be between 5gb and 10gb at times and so on a 200mb connection it would take a maximum of 7 minutes as opposed to 1h30 on an ADSL line. It’s clear then, that if you love gaming and can’t wait to play, you need a fibre broadband line.
Fibre broadband comes at various speeds around the country and sometimes the fibre speeds available in your area can be so low that it’s not even worth the extra money to upgrade. It is common to see 38mb fibre broadband in a large portion of the UK, and this is just over twice the speed of most ADSL connections.
Depending on your usage you may find that twice the speed can be quite a big difference in your household, especially if you have a few devices competing for bandwidth at the same time. However, twice the speed at much higher costs may not make it worth it for some, and so it is important to consider your usage beforehand. If possible wait until the speeds are 76mb or higher to upgrade.
Understanding your usage is always important before making the upgrade to fibre broadband. If you are the sort of person who is away from home a lot or only uses the Internet for an hour or so a day, is fibre optic broadband really a worthwhile expense?
On the other hand, if you have a large family with lots of gaming consoles, laptops, and streaming devices it is likely that you will need enough juice to power these devices without interruption.
Use our broadband postcode checker tool to see what is available in your area and what fibre speeds you can get.