Fibre optic broadband is a high-speed type of internet connection.

It means you can do all the things you love on the internet faster. So if you download movies or music, stream catch-up TV or play online games, it’s worth looking into.

You’ll find a guide below that explains how fibre optic broadband works. We’ll also explain the advantages of a faster connection.

How does fibre broadband work?

The speed of fibre optic broadband is down to the type of cables used to connect you to the internet.

Most broadband connections in the UK use copper phone lines. These send data via an ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) connection.

But fibre optic broadband cables are tiny tubes, each about as thick as a human hair. They transfer data by sending light rays down the tubes. This gives much better speeds than traditional connections.

That means with fibre optic broadband you can do everything faster, including:

  • Stream catch-up TV
  • Download music or movies
  • Play online games
  • Browse websites
  • Shop online
  • Use social media
  • Work from home and keep in touch with colleagues

Fibre optic cables also give you more bandwidth. This is the amount of data that can be sent in a certain amount of time. So with fibre broadband your household can use several devices online at once.

Diagram showing copper phone cable: up to 5 km or more between a telephone exchange and a roadside cabinet, and 50 metres to 1 km from there to the user

What is fibre to the cabinet (FTTC)?

This is the most common way of receiving fibre optic broadband. It’s the way SSE delivers your fibre broadband.

Fibre optic cables run from the telephone exchange to a cabinet on your street. From there, a normal copper cable phone line connects to your home.

That means the data is sent at high speed from the exchange to your street. As the data travels most of the way on fibre optic cables, it’s much faster than ADSL connections.

How fast is fibre optic broadband?

SSE fibre optic broadband speeds vary according to the package you buy.

We've made it easy to compare our broadband packages and sign up for the one that suits you best.

Remember, the speed of your fibre broadband will depend on the distance of your home to the cabinet. Other things can also affect fibre optic broadband speed.

These include the speed of your device and internal wiring in your home. The number of people using the network and the time of day can also affect speed.

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