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What’s The Difference Between Standard And Fibre Broadband?

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If you’re looking for a new broadband package, but scratching your head about which one to get, this article is for you. Find out what the difference is between standard (or ADSL) broadband and fibre broadband right here.

What is standard broadband? 

Standard broadband is known as ADSL or DSL, which stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line or just Digital Subscriber Line. This type of broadband is the most common internet connection in the UK.  

Copper telephone wires transmit data to your house using the Openreach nationwide network. ADSL broadband is available to most UK properties, and could be your only option if you live in a remote area. 

This is what standard broadband cables look like, with copper wiring.

How fast is standard broadband? 

The downside to standard broadband is that the speeds aren’t as fast as fibre optic broadband. ADSL has a maximum download speed of 24Mbps. Now, this isn’t bad by any means, in fact 24 Mbps is more than fast enough for UK households.  

You only need 3Mbps to stream a Netflix movie in non-HD, or 5Mbps for HD; and you only need 2.5Mbps to watch YouTube videos in non-HD, or 4Mbps in HD. 

However, these are the speeds needed for one device.  

 So, if there are multiple devices being used at the same time (such as phones, TVs, tablets etc), that’ll increase the broadband speed required.  

What is fibre broadband? 

Instead of copper wires like standard broadband uses, fibre broadband uses glass or plastic cables. This allows data to be transferred a lot faster, which is why fibre optic broadband is popular with internet fanatics.  

There are two types of fibre broadband: FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) and FTTP (Fibre to the Premises). The first uses fibre optic cables to the green street cabinet near your house and then copper cables to your property… and the latter uses fibre optic cables all the way to your property.  

This is what fibre optic wires look like.

How fast is fibre broadband? 

Fibre is one of the fastest types of broadband out there. While both FTTC and FTTP broadband promise high speeds, FTTP will deliver the fastest connection as fibre optic cables go all the way to your property.   

Some providers promise fibre optic speeds of up to 300+Mbps, which isn’t usually needed in most homes but it’s appealing to people who send much of their lives online.   

If you have a large household of people all using multiple devices to stream movies, play online games, download large files and video call etc, you might want to consider a faster broadband package.   

Which type of broadband can I get in my area?  

Even though standard or ADSL broadband is available to nearly every household in the UK, not everyone can get fibre broadband. Ofcom states that up to 94% of homes can get superfast broadband.  

It depends on two things: where you live and if fibre optic broadband has been installed in your area. This is why broadband providers usually ask for your postcode before showing you which deals are available. You can start your search for a new broadband package right here

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