Traditional broadband connections in the UK use telephone lines (constructed from copper wire) or mobile networks to transfer data to and from your home computer. Fibre optic broadband differs in that it uses a separate set of underground cables which are capable of carrying data at far higher speeds than traditional copper cables. Because fibre optic broadband requires new cabling,not everywhere in the UK can currently receive this service, which tends to be restricted to urban areas.
There are several key benefits to fibre optic broadband for the home internet user:
Faster connection speed
Internet connection speeds are described in megabits per second (Mbps). A traditional broadband connection may achieve speeds of up to5mpbs, whereas fibre optic broadband has the capacity to achieve 100mbps (although few internet users can receive this at present). However,if you’re downloading films, music or other large files, send large attachments to family (such as high-resolution photographs) or enjoy multi-player gaming, then the faster speed is clearly advantageous.
Traditional copper cables tend to be affected by electromagnetic interference which can lead to slow speeds and dropped connections, which are extremely frustrating for the consumer. Fibre optic cables are not affected in the same ways theoretically should provide a more reliable service, with a more consistent connection and less interruptions to service.
The advent of fibre optic broadband has many positive outcomes for the environment, particularly in the long term. Home working will become a more realistic option for many as large files can be easily transmitted via e-mail, while the network is more suited to handle videoconferencing. Consequently, paper wastage and unnecessary travel will be reduced. For the domestic internet user, superfast broadband means less time spent online as browsing becomes quicker, while families living hundreds or thousands of miles away can share pictures and video calls with simplicity and speed.