How quick is Fibre-Optic?

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When it comes to broadband, speed is measured in Megabits, abbreviated to Mbps. Don't confuse this with MBps (note the capitalised B), which are Megabytes per second, one Megabit is equivalent to 8 Megabytes so a mix-up can leave your speed estimations incredibly off-base.

When we think of non-digital units of measurement, we generally have objects in the real world to compare them to. A kilogram is a bag of sugar, an inch is the size of the last bone on your thumb, and a foot is one of those rulers we used in school. But what can we compare computer data to in the real world? On its own, nothing, we have to look at what the data constitutes, like music, movies, images or games.

Let's go through some common downloads in today's world, and how long they'll take you to complete with different broadband technologies.

(A complete table will be at the bottom for reference)

Learn more about the different broadband technologies


45 minutes of high-quality audio is about 476.28 MB (Megabytes) we can use this as a proxy for the length of an album. So how long does it take to download?

Copper/ ADSL FTTC Full-Fibre
5.35 mins 47.6s 12.6s

(Speed of copper, FTTC and Full-Fibre are estimated as 11Mbps, 80Mbps and 300Mbps respectively)

12 seconds? How's that for fast?


Although Films and TV shows are more in the remit of streaming services these days, there is a large portion of us who work with video content are constantly in the habit of uploading and downloading files.

The huge lull in productivity that occurs when time is spent just sending and retrieving video files is the bane of anyone who works with film.

We'll do two comparisons here, one for Blu-ray quality video, that an editor might be working with, and another for 1080p full HD that you'd download for your devices. The blue ray is a whopping 24.62GB and the full HD (Using Youtube HD compression) brings it down to 5.18GB, quite big still, but a lot less.

For Blu-Ray Quality:

Copper/ ADSL FTTC Full-Fibre
4:58hrs 41mins 10mins

Youtube HD Quality:

Copper/ ADSL FTTC Full-Fibre
1.2hrs 8mins 2mins

You don't have to think very hard to realise that anyone who works with video files is going to be massively benefitted from the increase in internet speeds.


Games are notoriously hungry for space on your hard drive, there are even memes about downloading Grand Theft Auto and it taking ages.

Due to the popularity of the game, we'll be using that as our benchmark, so how long does one copy of GTA V (72 GB) take to download with different web technologies?

Copper/ ADSL FTTC Full-Fibre
14.5 hrs (yikes!)
2 hrs 32 mins

As the files get larger, the difference becomes more pronounced, just over half the day with copper, or just over half an hour with fibre

For reference, here are the above measurements put into a single table:

Copper/ ADS FTTC Full-Fibre
Music Album
5.35 mins 47.6s 12.6s
Movie (HD) 1.2hrs 8mins 2mins
Movie (Blu-Ray) 4:58hrs 41mins 10mins
Large Computer Game 14.5 hrs (yikes!) 2 hrs 32 mins

This is without getting into the benefits of fibre-optic when it comes to reliability of the signal, streaming video/ live video feeds and transmitting live video feeds (video meetings for example) which are numerous.

So now you know: How fast is Full-Fibre? Blazing Fast.

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