While most broadband connections use telephone lines or mobile networks, fibre-optic or cable broadband is delivered through special underground cables separate from the telephone network. This allows the signals to travel much faster than through traditional copper cables, with the result that UK broadband providers can offer super-fast connection speeds as high as 900Mbps.
The main broadband provider in the UK who offers cable broadband is Virgin Media. Find out about Virgin Media at our dedicated Virgin Media page.
Cable broadband is not currently available everywhere in the UK though there are plans to roll it out across the country. Fibre broadband, however, is more readily available.
Virgin Media's top-end cable broadband service provides average speeds of 362Mbps. BT's Superfast fibre service features an average speed of 67Mbps, but this rises much higher if you're lucky enough to live in an area where BT offers a special so-called 'pure fibre/pure cable' broadband service.
BT rents its fibre-optic network to other broadband providers such as TalkTalk, Plusnet and Sky, so you can also get cable broadband from them, too.
A pure cable broadband service is when the fibre-optic cable runs from your provider directly to your house. That's in contrast to other, so-called fibre-to-the-exchange fibre services where the cable runs as far as the network box outside your home. Standard copper cables are then used for the last bit of the journey that brings broadband to your home. Pure fibre broadband can offer average speeds as high as 900Mbps.
For example, with a 100Mbps connection, you can:
For more information about speeds and download times, read the uSwitch guide to broadband download times.
The speed of a cable broadband connection can lie anywhere between 50Mbps and 362Mbps. The different types of fibre-optic connection available are:
FTTH (fibre to the home): With FTTH connections, cables run directly into your house, providing the fastest connection available.
FTTB (fibre to the building/basement): With FTTB connections, cables run into your building but not directly into individual flats or houses.
FTTC (fibre to the cabinet): With FTTC connections, cables run to the local junction box and then use traditional copper cables to connect to your home.
FTTN (fibre to the node): FTTN connections are similar to FTTC connections except that the junction box can be much further away, up to several kilometres.
Compare all our fibre deals at our dedicated fibre-optic broadband page.
Find out more about broadband-only deals on our broadband-only comparison site.
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