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Why fibre optic broadband is better

By Editorial
Tuesday, May 25th 2010
Get up to speed with the latest information about fibre optic, or fibre broadband as it's now known.

The future's looking bright and many are enjoying internet access at the speed of light. Read our informative fibre optic broadband guide to find out why you should too.

There are several types of broadband out there, with most people getting online using their landline telephone connection. Fibre optic cable broadband is the future, so it's time to do away with the telephone wires which have served us so well over the years in favour of a much faster, modern alternative.

In the UK, Virgin Media is the largest fibre optic internet service provider, although BT is catching up with its own fibre optic network being gradually rolled out to replace the older network.

Fibre optic broadband is better than its main rivals for a number of key reasons, the most important of which is speed!

How does fibre optic broadband work?

Fibre optic broadband reaches homes and businesses via an extensive network of underground cables rather than the overhead wires that provide older dial-up and broadband internet connections.

Because the cabling is laid underground is that there is no chance of damage being caused by wind, rain, sleet, stray tree branches or any other factors that can affect telephone wires and leave you without an internet connection for hours or days. You can always rely on a fibre optic broadband connection to provide you with unbroken internet access.

How fast is fibre optic broadband?

Fibre optic broadband is the best choice for anyone who wants the fastest possible internet connection. Current download speeds available from fibre optic providers can reach up to 50Mbps and in the future this will be ramped up to 200Mbps or more as the technology continues to improve.

Rather than electrical signals sent via copper wire, a technology which dates back to the invention of the telephone, fibre optic networks send digital information via glass fibre cables. Much faster and far more reliable!

Fibre optic broadband is also more consistent than alternatives and no matter where you are on the network you'll be able to get online at close to the advertised speed.

This is because the fibre optic signal doesn't become weaker over distances. In other words, whether you live next door to your local telephone exchange or miles away, you'll probably get the internet at close to the speeds your fibre optic provider advertises, not at a fraction of the speed, which is a real problem for people relying on telephone line-based broadband.

How much does fibre optic broadband cost?

Many people will be more concerned with the monthly cost of their broadband connection, rather than the speed and consistency that it offers. The good news is that fibre optic broadband is competitively priced and will usually cost the same as or even less than an equivalent connection from a traditional provider.

In most cases this will make the choice easier, because you'll be able to compare two connections on their own merits rather than just on how much you are going to save by choosing one provider over another. It'll also be easier for people who value performance above all else to get the kind of broadband connection that they've always dreamed of. High speed broadband is no longer a high cost service.

Is faster broadband always better?

Talking about fibre optic broadband in relation to its speed and connection consistency is all well and good if you know what they can be used for, but you may be in the dark as to why any of these features are actually better and worth having. Getting access to a high speed broadband connection opens up all that the internet has to offer.

Entertainment and information of all kinds are available online, from high definition movies to online gaming, social networking to voice calls over your internet connection. If you have a sluggish service provider then you'll only be able to enjoy a fraction of this next generation of content, but with fibre optic broadband there should be far fewer restrictions.

It also means that you could save hours of your life that you might spend waiting for a website to refresh or a file to download on a broadband connection that doesn't use fibre optic technology.

Who can get fibre optic broadband?

At the moment there are two major UK firms offering fibre optic broadband. Virgin Media has the most fibre optic broadband customers because it has the biggest network, covering over half of all UK households.

BT is the second main provider. However, at the moment it has fibre optic services available in a fairly small number of locations around the country but it's investing over a billion pounds in making sure that many more people can get its fibre optic broadband in the future.

For the moment the people who happen to live in the largest towns and cities will be getting fibre optic broadband first, because it only makes sense to install the networks if there is enough demand and the providers can make a profit.

People who live in rural areas are not very high on the list of areas that will get fibre optic broadband, because it will be expensive to run cables all the way into the countryside and then only have a small number of additional people connected.

Having said that, there are actually some initiatives around the UK that are attempting to get fibre optic broadband to isolated communities and there has already been some success.

If you can get a fibre optic broadband connection in your area now, it's a good to sign up. Fibre optic broadband is going to become the standard in the coming years. If you can access it now, you'll start enjoying the internet at a speed you'd never have thought possible.

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