What is Full Fibre?

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More and more areas of the UK are having full-fibre introduced - but what's so good about it? What even is it? Let's take a look.

What is Full-Fibre?

The best way to explain what Full-Fibre is to explain what the "Fibre" part means and to put it in context with the nature of phone and internet lines as they exist today.

Copper Lines

Historically, (since 1876) phone lines, and then internet lines which have connected us have consisted entirely of copper.

Like the pair of headphones or earbuds you have, copper phone wires transmit sound signals electronically.

Your home would be (or still could be) connected to a street cabinet via a copper line, and from that street cabinet, your phone line will be connected to a local exchange which connects to the other nationwide exchanges.

The whole interconnected web of copper lines is collectively called the "PSTN" (Public Switched Telephone Network).

Average download speeds of a completely copper internet connection average around 24Mps and upload speeds of 10Mps

But as you may have heard, the copper network is being switched off and made antiquated in the coming years to make way for faster internet connectivity and as you may have guessed, Fibre is the technology to replace it.

Learn more about the copper wire switch-off

What is Fibre-Optic?

Rather than transmitting electronic sound signals like copper wires, fibre optic cables transmit their data via light signals. This allows for much faster speeds (as fast as the speed of light) and much higher bandwidth (the amount of data that can be transferred at once).

Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC)

Although FTTC is being Switched-Off in 2025 and replaced with SoGEA, it's a good name for demonstrating what's happening under the bonnet of the technology. (SoGEA uses the same technology and has the same speeds, but there's no analogue lines at all converting the copper wire into digital only.)

Fibre to the cabinet converts the majority of the cable which transports your data into fibre, in particular between the cabinet and the exchange.

Because the longer of the two sections is now fibre, the speed of your broadband will increase significantly. The last leg of the connection between you and the exchange is still copper, so the potential for higher speeds exist.

The speeds you can expect from FTTC are 80Mbps download and 20Mbps upload.

Full-Fibre/ FTTP

With Full-Fibre, there is no exchange, and your premises are directly connected to the exchanges. FTTP doesn't have any analogue lines whatsoever and is a digital-only connection. Your phone calls will be taking place over VoIP entirely.

As you might expect, an internet connection which is carried at the speed of light isn't as affected by distances from exchanges as copper is, so even the most remote places can potentially have blazing fast broadband.

Maximum speeds of Fibre are currently being researched and new technological innovations are pushing current world records higher, with the current fastest being a blazing 319Tbps. However, this is largely contained to academia and the speeds you can expect to see from home use are around 1000Mbps download and... 1000Mbps upload.

It couldn't be clearer, Fibre-Optic is fast. Humans haven't yet been able to create anything that travels at the speed of light, but you don't need to to harness it's speed.

Embrace Full Fibre

Get in touch with our experienced engineers at BTT, so we can ensure you have a blazing fast connection

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