In this guide we explain what full fibre is, how it is different from ‘fibre broadband,’ ‘ultrafast broadband’ and ‘superfast broadband,’ why you need it, and most importantly, how you get it.
In this guide:
- What is ‘full fibre’?
- How does full fibre work?
- How fast is full fibre?
- History of fibre
- Benefits of full fibre
- Do I need full fibre broadband?
- Can I use full fibre broadband?
What is full fibre
Full fibre broadband (also known as ‘hyperfast broadband’) is the next generation of broadband that can bring hyperfast internet speeds to both homes and businesses.
Full fibre broadband offers a more consistent, reliable, and often cheaper, internet connection compared to the more common broadband connections available to households and businesses in the UK.
It brings an end to slow internet speeds and common frustrations like video buffering when streaming and working from home, and high ping while playing video games. Full fibre allows you to stream data-intensive video like 4K films, stream video games at 4K without latency or lag, and effortlessly support multiple devices being used at the same time.
‘Full fibre’ describes a broadband service that only uses fibre optic cables, end-to-end. In a standard fibre broadband service where the advertised speeds are usually between 25Mb/s and 65Mb/s, the fibre part of the cable only goes as far as your local cabinet which can be multiple streets away. The distance from the local cabinet to your home is then connected by copper wires. Copper wires, depending on the distance they travel, will begin to slow your connection down.
Copper cables were first used in the Victorian era when it was designed for phone calls. The cables use electrical signals to pass data from one place to another. These signals can become weaker the further they travel. As a basic explanation, that weaker signal results in a slower broadband connection for you.
In comparison, full fibre removes the need for these legacy copper wires altogether. Your connection from the local exchange to the local cabinet on the street and all the way to your home is fibre optic cable. This means your connection normally will not lose the promised speeds you were advertised.
How does full fibre work?
Full fibre broadband is a fibre optic broadband connection that goes directly to your property.
It is not to be confused with the more common fibre that is full fibre to the nearest junction box at the side of the road. As of 2022, fibre to the premises (FTTP) is now becoming more common across the UK with providers including Giganet offering high speed FTTP options.
Fibre to the premises has become easier and more affordable over the past couple of years, which has allowed the rollout of the full fibre solution to residential areas to be more feasible.
With full fibre connectivity, you can receive speeds of up to 3Gb/s which is almost 60x quicker than standard ADSL copper broadband connections widely available to homes and businesses across the UK.
Full fibre is simple compared to other types of fixed broadband solutions. With no street cabinet required, it is a straightforward case of fibre cables connecting directly from your providers exchange to your property.
A brief explanation on how fibre optic connectivity works:
- Internet data is received by your provider at the nearest exchange
- The data is sent at lightspeed using your provider’s fibre optic cable network
- The data arrives at your home/business where your router rapidly sends it to and from your devices
How fast is full fibre?
Full fibre connections offer greater speeds at a similar, or better price than normal broadband types.
Full fibre broadband’s infrastructure is primarily fibre optic cabling, the speeds can reach as high as 10Gb/s and this speed is constantly being improved as demand increases.
As a rule of thumb, full fibre connections range from 500Mb/s to 900Mb/s for both residential and commercial properties and are widely advertised by most full fibre broadband providers. Your chosen broadband provider will give you an estimated speed that you can expect to receive before you sign up.
A full fibre broadband connection provides you with hyperfast connectivity capable of incredibly fast download speeds and upload speeds. For example, if you were to download a high-definition movie using a full fibre connection, it would take, on average, 8 seconds. In comparison, with standard fibre broadband, superfast or ultrafast broadband connections it could take up to an hour to download a high-definition movie, if your download speed were between 25Mb/s and 65Mb/s.
Full fibre download speed comparison
Below shows a comparison between the download speeds of the most popular broadband connections.
When you compare full fibre broadband to its competition, the main benefits include greater reliability and speed.
These benefits are thanks to the utilisation of fibre optic technology and allows your broadband provider to send more data at a much faster rate. That results in better speed and reliability for you.
You can learn more about the different types of broadband connections in our superfast, ultrafast, and hyperfast comparison article.
|Broadband connection||Time to download 4Gb file|
|Superfast (30Mb/s – 100Mb/s)||10-20 minutes on average|
|Ultrafast (300Mb/s – 500Mb/s)||2-4 minutes on average|
|Full Fibre / Hyperfast (500Mb/s – 900Mb/s)||1-2 minutes on average|
History of fibre connectivity
Unbelievably, the concept of fibre has been around as early as 3000BC.
The earliest known making of glass was in the bronze age. Skip forward to the 1960s and people are testing concepts of sending light through fibre. This included sending sound and data through fibre.
- In 1975, Dorset Police installed the first non-experimental fibre optic link
- In 1977, the first live telephone traffic through fibre occurs in Long Beach
- In 1980, fibre carried video signal over 9.5km for Lake Placid Winter Olympics
- In 1981, Canada trials fibre optics to homes in Manitoba
- In 1986, the first fibre optic cable laid to Isle of Wight by BT
- In 1996, one trillion bits per second transmitted over single mode fibre
- In 2000, Z+ PLUS Fibre was introduced with lower attenuation of 0.0168 dB
- In 2008, Virgin Media rolls out fibre optic broadband offering 50Mb/s
- In 2011, first Gigabit service launched using fibre directly to UK homes
- In 2011, CityFibre set a new fibre connectivity standard in the industry
- In 2018, BT starts launch of ultrafast fibre broadband
- In 2021, Giganet launches full fibre to residential customers
The benefits of full fibre
The benefits of using full fibre vs a normal broadband connection is massive! Full fibre brings greater speed and reliability which can vastly improve your experience while working from home, surfing the web, streaming 4K video and video gaming.
Full fibre broadband gives you faster upload and download speeds. In fact, with Giganet they are symmetrical meaning your upload speed and download speed are the same. This means you can upload data as fast as you can download data on all your devices. However, not all providers offer symmetrical speeds, and your upload speed will be slightly less than your download speed – but still significantly faster than standard broadband.
These faster speeds also mean you can have more people using the broadband at the same time. For example, you may struggle to play video games and stream 4K video at the same time on normal ADSL broadband. However, with full fibre, depending on your provided speeds, you can do all that and more at the same time without buffering or lag.
There are very few disadvantages to using full fibre over its older rivals like fibre broadband and the widely used copper connections. In fact, our team here at Giganet cannot think of a single disadvantage! Full fibre broadband, simply put, brings speeds often 10x more than what many households and businesses currently receive.
Do I need full fibre broadband?
Full fibre broadband is the future of connectivity for both homes and businesses across the UK.
With a rise in the need for higher bandwidth, standard copper broadband and phone connections that have been around for decades are no longer viable for most.
In addition to the need for higher bandwidth, copper connections are expected to be switched off by around 2027 and superseded by its far better alternative fibre optic connectivity. Openreach started the copper switch off when they began rolling out fibre connectivity in major cities around 2014.
Your home or business would benefit from switching to full fibre broadband. If your home streams 4K video, plays video games online or downloads lots of data, quite simply, you would benefit from the increased speeds and reliability that full fibre brings.
With the days of normal(copper-based) broadband becoming almost obsolete, making the switch to full fibre now might be beneficial to you.
Can I use full fibre broadband?
Your home most likely has the option to get full fibre broadband.
Your full fibre broadband provider will install a fibre cable up to your property which is connected to the other end of the fibre infrastructure.
Currently, full fibre is being rolled about across the UK. Giganet, are rolling out full fibre broadband to thousands of homes and adding new addresses, towns, and cities every week.
Depending on your location, you may have options available to you.
You can use our postcode checker to see whether you can get hyperfast full fibre broadband.
Future of fibre connectivity
The future of full fibre is glowing.
Currently, full fibre connectivity is offered at up to 10Gb/s for some businesses. However, most of the full fibre connectivity for homes and businesses is offered at between 500Mb/s and 900Mb/s.
Fibre optic connectivity has the potential to reach terabits per second worth of data transfer, but restrictions imposed by hardware and software at each end of the fibre optic cable can limit this. Replacing equipment at either end of the cables without having to lay new cables could eventually bring even higher speeds.
Full fibre broadband is the next generation of broadband connectivity for both households and businesses.
The technology brings greater speeds and the ability to provide symmetrical download and upload speeds at the same time. This allows you to complete more demanding tasks at the same time such as 4K video streaming, gaming and video calling without annoying interruptions.
Now is the best time to switch to full fibre broadband if it is available in your area. You can use our postcode checker, to see if you can get full fibre broadband.