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Broadband customers are being advised that optical fibres are a far better alternative to aluminium and copper wires when it comes to connection.

A recent study by Webuser and Point Topic, claims that optical fibres are capable of speeds up to 100Mb/s, and Virgin Media are currently trialling speeds up to 50Mb/s, although it is unconfirmed as to when this will be brought into public use.

Virgin Media are the only company who currently offer services through optical fibres having procured them from NTL/Telewest earlier this year. The advantage of optical fibres is that no reduction in speed is caused depending on your location. Those on copper wires will find their speed is reduced the further away they are from their local telephone exchange.

This news comes soon after BT’s 21CN (21st Century Network) rolls into operation having already been trialled in some areas of Wales. BT 21 CN is likely to be a combination of fibre and copper, so again location will determine whether you’ll be able to reach speeds of up to 100Mb/s. However, although BT believe that 21CN will be completed by 2010, some industry experts believe that it will take a lot longer, particularly in rural areas.

Jason Lloyd, at Moneysupermarket, said “It's more than likely the sheer scale of work will create delays and this will mean some places will wait several years until they even see 21CN in their homes, and some rural areas will probably wait as long as 2015”.

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