Take a moment to research broadband today, and you’ll be greeted with a raft of options and a plethora of acronyms and descriptions ranging from fast to ‘super-fast’ to ‘ultra-fast.’ If you’re not a tech guru, or you’re not au fait with fibre optic broadband, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. What is the fibre optic difference and should it be an essential investment for your home or business?
A brief introduction to fibre optic broadband
What is fibre optic broadband and why is it different?
Fibre optic broadband uses a network of high-speed fibre optic cables to deliver faster broadband to homes, public buildings and business premises. According to Ofcom’s 2018 report, fibre optic broadband coverage has increased dramatically in the UK in recent years. In 2018, coverage grew to 94% of homes and businesses. Despite the availability of fibre optic broadband, uptake remains moderate, with the majority of homes accessing the Internet via ADSL broadband. Around 45% of UK households subscribe to fibre optic broadband.
The most significant difference between ADSL and fibre optic broadband is the delivery of data. ADSL broadband is provided using copper phone lines, while fibre optic broadband uses high-speed fibre cables. The difference may seem simple, but it produces significant variations in the quality, speed and capability of a network.
The benefits of fibre optic broadband
Is it really worth upgrading your subscription?
Fibre optic broadband can benefit both homes and businesses, offering a wealth of advantages, including:
Time is of the essence, especially in business. We don’t have the time or the inclination to wait for files to download or pages to load. With fibre optic broadband, you can take advantage of much faster broadband services. Typically, standard broadband is advertised at a speed of up to 17Mbps. A few years ago, this figure was impressive, but today, we live in a very different world. Customers expect instant results, and fibre optic offers solutions for those in a hurry. With average speeds of 35-70 Mbps, and the opportunity to invest in tailored solutions that provide even speedier connections, there’s no comparison.
Value for money
Cost is likely to play a role in the decision-making process for home and business owners. While fibre optic used to cost more than ADSL, competition within the marketplace and the increased availability of fibre optic broadband have driven prices down. There may still be a slight difference in the cost of broadband packages, but fibre optic represents much better value for money.
Cloud applications and connectivity
Over 94% of businesses now use cloud-based systems. To take full advantage of cloud solutions, it pays to invest in fibre optic broadband to facilitate faster access to files and data stored in the cloud. Saving time and effort using cloud-based tools, for example, SaaS (News - Alert) (software-as-a-service) improves customer experience, increases efficiency and maximizes the chances of achieving business objectives.
Bandwidth (News - Alert)
If you run a number of applications or devices in your household, or you manage a business, it’s crucial to explore the impact of fibre optic broadband in terms of bandwidth. With fibre optic, there are virtually no limitations, so you don’t have to worry about your system creaking under the pressure of multiple users or high demands. Today, businesses use the Internet for a diverse range of purposes, and some applications, for example, cloud programs, streaming and interactive conference calling, can cause slower connections to stall.
The term symmetric speed describes the download and upload speeds. Ideally, you should be able to upload and download files at the same rate. For businesses, it’s beneficial for employees to be able to access, view, save and share data without having to wait to either upload or download files.
Reliability and reputation
Downtime is one of the most potent threats to businesses today, and it can also be incredibly inconvenient for homeowners. The cost of downtime is not solely financial. Reputation and brand image can also be affected by unexpected disruptions. In 2018, it is estimated that UK businesses lost 60 million working hours to downtime at a cost of £742 million to the national economy. Fibre optic broadband is more reliable than ADSL connections.
Is fibre optic all it’s cracked up to be?
Fibre optic broadband is becoming more popular, and it’s no surprise given the decrease in prices and the clear advantages over ADSL. Fibre optic provides faster upload and download speeds, it eliminates restrictions and it enables home and business owners to access and utilize the web efficiently and cost-effectively.