Building a full-fibre future

26 April 2018

The way people access the internet in the UK has changed significantly over the years.

Where households previously shared a single-dial-up connection that provided internet access, superfast broadband is now available to more than nine in ten UK homes.

Now things are changing even further, with full-fibre broadband becoming increasingly available.

What we have now

At the moment, most home broadband connections are delivered using a mix of fibre-optic cables and the old copper cables, which have been in place for decades, originally to deliver telephone services.

This system uses a copper connection between your home and the nearest green street cabinet. But some people can have trouble with copper connections. These can be caused by the distance from your home to the cabinet, or by lots of people using the internet at the same time.

These problems can make your broadband connection unreliable and you might not get the broadband speeds your provider advertised.

Full-fibre broadband helps to deal with problems like these.

What is full-fibre broadband?

Full-fibre broadband uses fibre-optic cables to connect your home to the street cabinet, replacing the old copper connections.

Full-fibre connections provide a better service that can deliver much faster speeds – up to one gigabit per second. They are also up to five times more reliable than connections that used the old copper cables.

Full-fibre connections are also less likely to slow down or suffer problems when lots of people use them at the same time.

This means your broadband is more likely to reach the speeds close to those that were advertised.

All of this means there is potential for lots of new, innovative services for consumers and businesses, which use the faster, more reliable connections.

How can I get full-fibre broadband?

At the moment, full-fibre broadband is only available to around 4% of buildings in the UK. However, some providers have said they will invest in building new, full-fibre networks. This means up to six million properties could have access to full-fibre networks in the next few years.

Ofcom is also helping to deliver a full-fibre future for the UK, and we have introduced rules that make it quicker and cheaper for providers to build these networks.

If you’re interested in getting full-fibre broadband for your home, speak to your broadband provider to see if they offer it in your area, or if they are planning to introduce it.

You can also shop around by looking at what other providers offer. Our broadband checker app has information on the broadband services available in your area.