What's happening in 2025
FTTP, or full fibre, is being rolled out across the whole of the UK to deliver lightning fast internet speeds and to be ready for the 2025 analogue switch off. It will be expanding to reach more locations across the UK over the next few years and is absolutely central to the government’s plan to get homes and businesses better connected.
It will also help business to decide if they want their employees to be able to work from home better than before. Full Fibre will connect all your smart home devices, and to get the most out of streaming services like Youtube or even iPlayer, Netflix and more and if your into gaming it will even improve that experience as well, or just to smoothly and reliably connect even the largest of households.
It promises much faster and more reliable internet connectivity. But you may ask, what exactly is it, what makes it different to your existing copper line?
Types of broadband available
There are basically three different types of broadband: ADSL usually ADSL2+, FTTC and FTTP. Two of those connections rely on old-fashioned copper wires, which also powers your telephone. So let’s take a look at each.
ADSL usually supplied as ADSL2+(copper broadband) follows the exact same route as your phone line, which you either use a filter to plug your phone and broadband into, unless you have 2 separate sockets on the main box, which does away with a filter.
Your local exchange is connected to your nearest street cabinet by copper lines, and a copper line is also used to connect the cabinet to your home. That means, that your data is carried all the way to and from the exchange over copper wire. And that has a couple of disadvantages.
First, data signals tend to deteriorate rather quickly over copper wires, which means you lose a lot of speed. That’s why the average download speed for ADSL broadband is around 10Mbps (megabits per second), and of course this depends on how far you are away from the exchange.
Copper is also susceptible to interference from electrical signals, such as microwaves or near other electrical mains and can be easily be damaged and is also vulnerable to fire and even extreme weather, cold and extreme heat from the sun. it’s not the most reliable medium for carrying data.
FTTC (Fibre to the cabinet) Here, the exchange connects to your local street cabinet via fibre optic cable, not copper lines. That fibre optic cable is more reliable than copper, and also far less susceptible to signal loss (which means it’s not going to slow down your connection speed to anywhere near the same extent).
The last part of an FTTC connection though is from the cabinet to your house/business, it still uses copper wires, making this ‘last mile’ as it is commonly known susceptible to the same problems as an ADSL connection, the signal will degrade. Given that much less copper wire is used overall however, you can still expect much faster download speeds up to an average of around 67Mbps. For many homes/businesses that’s plenty fast enough, but it still pales in comparison to a full fibre connection.
FTTP (fibre to the premises, also known as ultrafast or full fibre broadband) does exactly what the name would suggest. It completely eliminates the copper wire, providing a fibre optic connection all the way from the exchange to your premises.
With fibre replacing the copper from the ‘last mile’, you’ve now got the fastest, most reliable technology all the way, which means far less signal loss and average download speeds up to 900Mbps dependent on package chosen
The other advantage of a full fibre connection is there’s no longer any need for an old-fashioned phone line, there will be new routers out that you just plug your existing phone into one of the new sockets on the router. This will not only give clear calls, but the charges will be cheaper too.
Come 2025 you will need fibre or full fibre in an case to continue to receive telephone and or internet.
But what if you’re not convinced? What if you’re happy with your current connection, or you just don’t see the benefits in an upgrade?
Well, first of all, that’s fine you can stay on the connection your on now, but if you want to keep having internet or keep a telephone you will have to move to fibre or in December 25, when Openreach switch off analogue lines, all your phones and internet will go off all over the UK.
The other thing to consider is that if most people leave it too late to change over, you may lose services until January or February, as there is not unlimited engineers to cover the whole of the UK. So you have to go into a que of people waiting to have their services changed. It’s not a 5 min job and not at a flick of the switch.
It may mean new cables have to be installed, then work in the exchange before your connected, so as you can see the sooner you upgrade the less hassle and disruption to you it will be. And certainly you should seriously think about moving over by Dec 2022