How to compare and buy fibre optic broadband
How do I compare different packages?
If you’re after the best fibre optic broadband deal, you can use our comparison tool to find the perfect package for you. By finding out what is available in your area and listing those packages according to your desired attributes, such as price, usage limit or download speed, you should be able to single out the best fibre optic broadband deal for you.
If you don’t know whether you can get fibre optic broadband in your area, you can type your postcode into the availability checker and quickly find out what the options are in your area.
Check the detail
Before you begin switching providers, it’s worth making sure that you’re absolutely certain about your decision. The annual cost, the download limit, whether the service in question has a fair usage policy or is unlimited, whether it comes with a router, and even the length of the contract are all issues to consider when you start to compare fibre optic broadband deals.
Why choose fibre optic broadband
Fibre optic broadband is fast. The speeds range from up to 38Mb all the way up to 152Mb, so there should be a speed that’s suitable for you. Most providers offer either up to 38Mb or up to 76Mb, which should be more than sufficient for the majority of internet users.
Unlimited downloads are not exclusive to fibre optic broadband, but they are more prevalent due to the nature of the service. Running into your data cap would be a real downer in the middle of an HD Game of Thrones marathon, so a fast, unlimited fibre service is a must if you are a box-set binger.
Connect lots of devices via wi-fi
Increasingly, the devices we use are web-enabled and, to cater for this, we connect them via a wireless router to our home broadband connection. You can successfully connect more devices to a fibre optic line than you can to a standard broadband line (also known as an ADSL line), so if you live in a household that consumes data on tablet, console, phone, laptop and desktop, then a fast fibre connection is the answer.
Pros & cons
- High speeds of up to 152Mb
- Most fibre optic packages are uncapped
- Offers more wi-fi capacity
- More expensive than standard broadband
- Not as widely available as standard broadband
- Some fibre services have set-up fees
Which broadband providers offer fibre optic broadband?
Most internet providers offer a fibre optic service
Internet service providers are in a constant race to provide a faster internet connection to their customers, and many of them have made the leap to fibre optic cable. The comparison list above shows all the providers that currently offer the service and which speeds they can offer. If you don’t know what your current broadband speed is, you can use our speed checker to find out.
Which fibre optic speed is right for me?
Up to 152Mb
Virgin Media offers the fastest widely available fibre optic broadband connection. The up to 152Mbps package is available as part of a bundle or as a standalone service and, at that speed, you should be able to do whatever you want for as long as you want. At this speed you should be able to download an entire album in two seconds, an HD movie in five minutes and a large videogame in 35 minutes. As you may imagine, being the fastest available, Virgin’s up to 152Mbps package is not exactly cheap fibre optic broadband, but it should easily cope with even the most demanding households.
Up to 100Mb
Virgin also offers an up to 100Mbps speed, which is still faster than the rest of the pack, and can be purchased as part of a bundle or by itself. At this speed you can download an album in three seconds, an HD movie in eight minutes, or a large videogame in just under an hour.
Up to 76Mb
Up to 76Mbps is the fastest speed available from the majority of fibre optic providers. At this speed, you should be able to download an HD movie in just over ten minutes, an album in four seconds and a large videogame in just over an hour.
Up to 50Mb
Up to 50Mbps is the slowest fibre optic service from Virgin Media, but is still quick enough to download an album in around 6.4 seconds and an HD movie in just over 15 minutes.
Up to 38Mb
While it is the slowest fibre optic speed offered by most companies, up to 38Mbps is also one of the cheapest fibre optic broadband connections available, and is still a great speed to be getting on with, and should comfortably support the needs of most families. With an up to 38Mb connection, you’ll be able to download an album in eight seconds, an HD movie in 20 minutes, and a large videogame in just over two hours.
What will I need?
You will need a fibre optic line
Fibre optic services are provided down a fibre optic line, as opposed to the copper wire that standard broadband connections travel along and, if there is not already a fibre optic line running to your house, a technician will be required to fit one. This can be arranged through your provider and usually costs a small fee.
You will need a wireless router to make the most of a fibre optic connection
If you have a fibre connection with a fast download speed, you’ll need a way to share the signal, and that’s where a decent wireless router comes in. Most providers will include one when you take out a fibre optic deal, so it shouldn’t be too much of a concern.
How do I switch?
If you’ve spotted a deal that is perfect for you, and checked that it’s available in your area, then it’s time to visit the provider. You can do this by clicking on the blue ‘See Deal’ button on the comparison tool and you’ll be directed straight to that offer.
Six essential questions before you buy
- Is fibre optic broadband available in my area?
- What speed do I currently receive?
- What speed do I need?
- Do I have a fibre optic line already installed?
- Am I comfortable with switching my broadband supplier?
- What is my budget for broadband?
Choose wisely and don’t get carried away
It’s so easy to get carried away with fibre optic speeds, but unless your household are very heavy internet users, the chances are you won’t need the very top package. Make sure you get all the information about the package you want before you make your decision, and then you can click the blue ‘See Deal’ button to visit the provider’s site.