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What is fibre-optic cable broadband?

Cable broadband uses special fibre-optic cables to deliver internet connections far faster than traditional copper phone line cables.

The signals travel significantly faster and so internet connections can reach super-fast speeds of 300Mbps in some areas.

The nation’s cable broadband infrastructure is jointly owned between Virgin Media and BT; the UK’s largest telecoms providers. However, other companies, including EE, Sky and TalkTalk, have launched their own networks using the BT infrastructure.

Find out about Virgin Media at our dedicated Virgin Media page

Find out about BT Infinity at our dedicated BT Infinity page

Cable broadband is currently unavailable across large parts of the UK but the majority of large towns and cities now have super-fast internet options. Virgin Media currently offers over 12 million UK homes with cable broadband at speeds of up to 152Mbps. The majority of homes can achieve a still super-fast 60Mbps.

BT’s fibre-optic network currently offers speeds of up to 300Mbps in select areas (speeds of 38Mbps and 76Mbps are more widely available) and will soon have the majority of the UK upgraded to fibre optic broadband.

Fibre-optic cable speeds

Most cable connections can provide a speed of up to 76mbps. These connections are known as fibre to the exchange connections as they offer fibre-optic connections to your local junction box. Standard copper cabling then connects your home to the fibre-optic network.

In some areas you may be fortunate to receive a direct Fibre to the Home (FTTH) which means cable broadband runs directly into your home – providing speeds of up to 300Mbps.

To find out more about internet connection speeds and download times you can visit our in-depth guide to broadband download times

Types of fibre-optic cable connections

The speed of your fibre broadband connection can vary depending on the technology used to connect your home.

FTTH (fibre to the home) – With FTTH connections, the cables run directly into your home – providing the fastest possible connection speeds.

FTTB (fibre to the building/basement) – With FTTB connections the cables run to your building but not directly to your living space. This provides a very fast connection and is most common in flats.

FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) – With FTTC connections cables run to the local junction box which can be a few hundred metres away. This is currently the most widely available connection.

FTTN (fibre to the node) – With FTTN connections the cables run to a junction box further from your home. This can be up to a few kilometres away which slows the connection speed significantly.

fibre optic cable

The benefits of cable broadband

  • Cable broadband is incredibly fast thanks to fibre-optic cable technology.
  • You can receive fantastic packages including cable TV, phone and internet ready technology.
  • Super-fast connection speeds of up to 300Mbps.

Compare all our fibre deals at our dedicated fibre-optic broadband page.