Fibre Optic Broadband / BT Infinity myths debunked

With BT Openreach digging up roads all over Pembrokeshire (and the UK), let’s examine some of the “sales speak” of the misleading adverts.

Fibre Optic broadband is faster than copper

False, at least in all practical purposes.
Firstly, the fibre optic cables only go as far as the street cabinets, and from the street cabinets to homes is using copper cables.
Secondly, copper is capable of speeds of at least 10 gigabit, i.e 10,000 Meg. BT Infinity is currently running at 80 Meg.
Thirdly, the maximum speed of both copper and fibre optic cables is far quicker than computer hard drives (even solid state) can operate, so any extra speed is irrelevant.

So what IS special about fibre optic?

The key advantage of fibre optic over copper is the preservation of data. Signal to noise ratio of copper degrades over distance, so for traditional broadband, the maximum practical range is around 5.5km from the exchange. With fibre optic, the range is, in practical terms, unlimited.

So, it’s better for people who live a long way from the exchange, who struggle with slow speeds.

Should I get fibre optic broadband?

If you watch a lot of TV online, eg BBC iPlayer, on a single computer/internet enabled TV, and you get good regular broadband speeds, then you don’t need fibre optic. BBC iPlayer HD is streamed at 2800kbps (or 2.73Mbps) so any speed comfortably in excess of this should suffice.

You can check your speed at the BT Wholesale page