Our Guide to Fibre Optic Broadband

A deep dive into fibre optic broadband that covers the key benefits, how it works, and why data and light particles are so important
April 15, 2021

Fibre optic broadband has become increasingly popular, providing greater reliability, ultrafast speeds and is prepped and ready for all your future online needs.

What is Fibre Optic Broadband?

Fibre optic broadband is a transmission of information that uses pulses of light to transmit data over long distances using strands of fibre. As fibre relies on light rather than electricity, it produces a much faster internet connection as it’s able to handle significantly more bandwidth.

How does Fibre Optic broadband work?

Fibre optics transmit data in light particles. The light pulses through the glass or plastic fibre optic cable. Although the data is sent in light particles, they are not as fast as the speed of light. In fact, fibre optic travel is around 30% slower than light. But even if it’s 30% slower than the speed of light, that’s still pretty impressive, right?

What are Fibre Optic Strands?

Optical fibre strands are made out of glass or plastic and are about the same size as a human hair follicle. This makes them very delicate and without protecting them property could lead to damage. Thankfully fibre optic is largely protected by an insulated casing. As they are made out of delicate strands of glass it’s essential they are protected. The fibre optic cables are surrounded by cladding, which is then coated in plastic to protect it from damage. Due to it’s levels of protection, fibre rarely causes any problems. This is why fibre optics are some of the most resilient broadband networks around

What is a Fibre Optic Network?

A fibre optic network is used to deliver an internet connection from the exchange to your home. Two examples of fibre optic networks are Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC). Both are used to transmit information through fibre optic strands over a long distance, but we’ll delve into them more later.

Types of Fibre Optic Cables

There are two main types of fibre optic cables, single-mode fibre and multimode fibre. To transfer data at longer distances single-mode fibre would be used. This is because the diameter of the glass fibre is smaller than multimode fibre. Due to the smaller diameter the light is isolated into a single beam, offering a faster and more direct route.

If data is being transferred over a short distance multimode fibre would be used. The diameter of the multimode fibre is much larger than single-mode fibre, so more data can be transferred at one time. As multimode fibre transmits multiple light pulses at once, there’s a higher possibility of data interference, which can sometimes cause loss of signal.

What is the fastest type of Fibre Optic Network?

The fastest type of fibre optic network is FTTP, also known as Fibre-To-The-Premises. It uses full fibre optic cable to directly connect the internet from the exchange to the router in your house. This is the fibre Truespeed uses to connect our customers. FTTP doesn’t use any copper wires so it doesn’t drop out at peak times.

The other type of fibre optic network is FTTC, also known as Fibre-To-The-Cabinet. FTTC is not as fast as FTTP as it only uses part fibre. Instead of delivering the connection from the exchange directly to a house using full fibre optic, FTTC delivers the network using fibre optic to the exchange outside people’s homes and then uses copper cables to carry the connection to houses.

FTTP provides a much better service than FTTC as it carries faster, reliable speeds 24/7.

Is Fibre Optic the same as Wi-Fi?

Fibre optic is not Wi-Fi. Fibre optic is wired into your property and produces high speeds when connected directly to your router via an ethernet connection.

Wi-Fi is a form of wireless connection that allows you to use the internet on devices without having to be hard wired into your router. Wi-Fi is like having an invisible wire connected to your devices at all times. This invisible wire allows you to roam through your house on your devices without losing internet connection. Wi-Fi is a wireless connection so you will not necessarily get the same speeds and reliability using Wi-Fi than if you were to use an ethernet cable.

There are a number of factors that may affect your Wi-Fi such as the size of your property, where you put your router and the thickness of your walls. If you want to find out more about how to improve the Wi-Fi in your home, head over to our Wi-Fi guide.

Benefits of Fibre Optic Broadband


Fibre optic internet is wired into your property and offers reliable, high-speed internet. Due to the nature of Fibre optic cables, signals stay consistent and reliable as they move from one destination to the other. Fibre also has a much better resistance to interferences such as electromagnetic and radio-frequencies, so there is even less chance of your signal dropping out.

Easy Installation

Fibre optic cables are much smaller than copper wires, making them much easier to install. It also means that upgrading to higher packages can be done quickly and simply. There are a number of ways that fibre can be installed and it depends on your property.

There is no settling down period after installation where you may not get the speeds you expect. With fibre, you get the speeds you expect to get instantly. Whereas copper cables have a settling-in period in which you may not get the speeds you are expecting straight away.

With Truespeed another benefit is that most of the build can be done overhead using existing WPD poles. This causes less disruption such as road closures, which is always beneficial for the area we are building to.

Built For The Future

Fibre is built for the future, making it far more desirable than copper wired connection. Some fibre allows for Gigabit connectivity but this needs a gigabit bearer. Fibre bearer circuits come in 10Mb, 100Mb and 1000Mb (1Gbps). The largest bearer will allow for easy growth as online demands and needs continue to grow. As this happens Gigabit connectivity will become more desired. 1Gbps is normally only available under FTTP connections, something that Truespeed offers. Truespeed uses a combination of existing overhead poles and underground infrastructure which limits the amount of engineering work that might need to be done in the future. There are occasions where we do need to dig underground. But once the infrastructure is in place, there would be very minimal work needed to be done in the future to keep up with ever changing online trends and growth.

Fast speeds

The speed increase that fibre optic offers is far higher than copper wires. The upload and download speeds available are a breath of fresh air.  With fibre optic cables you will see a minimum speed of around 75Mbps and can reach over 1Gbps. Whereas copped based cables have a maximum speed of around 45Mbps. This is because fibre optic cables use pulses of light to transmit signals, rather than electrical signals which are used with copper broadband. Waiting around for something to download or the frustrating buffering when streaming is a thing of the past.

Value for money

In the short term, fibre optic broadband can be a little bit more expensive than copper based networks. However, investing in fibre optic broadband is hugely beneficial long term and delivers the best value for money.

Although copper is cheaper, it is less durable and more prone to damage. Full fibre offers a lifetime of durability and comes with unlimited options when looking towards the future. Once you have fibre broadband, you can upgrade your speeds at ease as technology continues to grow.