What is superfast broadband?

Fast broadband services can be great if you’re looking for smoother streaming services and quicker downloads. But what is superfast broadband, and how is it different from standard or even ultrafast broadband? Let’s take a closer look at what superfast broadband is and the benefits that come along with it.

What’s the superfast broadband definition?

Superfast broadband, fibre broadband or superfast fibre broadband – whatever you want to call it – is named after the fibre-optic cables used to deliver internet service (fibre) and its connection speed (superfast). The cables have been especially designed to handle data transmission and fast speeds. 

In recent years fibre broadband has been replacing asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) broadband, also known as standard broadband. Unlike superfast broadband, standard broadband uses existing copper telephone wires to transfer data. While this works well and is generally available in areas that do not have superfast broadband, the copper wires are not made to handle fast broadband speeds. This will lead to comparatively slower internet services.

In the past, fibre broadband was much more expensive than standard broadband. But with coverage growing and provider prices dropping, superfast fibre broadband is becoming the norm. 

What are the types of superfast broadband?

There are two types of superfast broadband: fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).

What is fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) superfast broadband?

FTTC superfast broadband is when fibre optic cables run from the local telephone exchange to the street cabinets (those green boxes you can spot on your street) before using a standard copper telephone wire to connect to your home. This means that anyone else in the area that is using superfast broadband is getting their connection from this cabinet.

What is fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP/FTTH) superfast broadband?

FTTP (Fibre to the Premises/Home) superfast broadband is when fibre optic cables from the local exchange are connected to the router in your home. Unlike FTTC where the fibre optic cables from the local exchange stop at the street cabinet and the connection continues on a standard copper telephone wire, FTTP ensures that the fibre optic cables are used for the entire journey to your home. This will guarantee that you are getting the fastest broadband speeds.

How fast is superfast broadband?

Superfast broadband offers speeds of 24 megabytes per second (Mbps) to 300Mbps. Standard broadband only offers speeds up to 24Mbps. If more than one person in your home needs to stream or download at the same time, then it might be worth looking into superfast broadband.

What are the benefits of having superfast broadband?

Whether it is faster internet speeds or having everyone in your home streaming videos at once, superfast broadband has its perks.  

Faster internet speeds

With superfast broadband, you can stream and download music and video faster than ever before. You no longer have to wait for someone else in your home to finish using the internet to have access to high-quality service.

Reliable internet connection

Since superfast broadband uses fibre-optic cables, it is less likely that your internet connection will stall or time out. This will allow you to download files quickly in one sitting. 

Quantity with the same quality

You can have multiple people in your house connect their smartphones, PCs, and tablets to superfast broadband internet all at the same time with no slowdowns. With smart TVs rising in popularity, superfast broadband will let you watch high-definition TV or movies while you use your phone to post on social media.  

Does superfast fibre broadband cost more than standard broadband? 

Not anymore! There are plenty of superfast broadband providers with great entry-level deals. You can get superfast fibre broadband in bundles, including telephone service, entertainment packages, and calling plans. If you are thinking about upgrading your internet service you can find affordable superfast broadband deals with Money.co.uk

Can I get superfast broadband without a landline? 

Yes, it is possible but unfortunately, that means your options are limited. Virgin Media is the only provider to not need a traditional copper phone line to provide you with internet as it uses an exclusive cable network. However, this means there are limitations on its coverage compared to nationwide phone lines. 

If you want to know if you can get broadband even if you don’t actively use a phone on a daily basis, yes you can. The presence and/or use of a landline phone will not impact your ability to get broadband, so long as you do have a phone line.

Superfast broadband providers

Currently, there are many superfast broadband providers to choose from. If you need help comparing superfast broadband providers you can enter your postcode and current provider in the Money.co.uk fibre broadband deals checker, and see who is offering the best deals in your area. Some superfast broadband providers are: 

  • Sky

  • TalkTalk 

  • Virgin Media

  • BT

  • Vodafone

  • NOW Broadband

How can I get superfast broadband?

According to Ofcom, since 2019 95% of the UK can get access to superfast broadband. If you are thinking of purchasing superfast broadband have a look to see if it is already available in your area

Why is superfast broadband not available in my area? 

It might be the case that you are currently unable to get superfast broadband. This could be for a number of reasons. If superfast broadband is not offered in your area do not fear, standard broadband is still a great option for fast internet. 

Superfast broadband may not reach you if you are in a remote area with no fibre optic cables or if your home is too far from the nearest street cabinet. But in recent years there has been a move towards getting superfast broadband to all locations. The UK government has committed to bringing superfast broadband to 96% of the UK by 2026. Soon enough most areas will be equipped for superfast broadband.

What is ultrafast broadband?

You might have also heard of ultrafast broadband. Ultrafast broadband provides internet at speeds more than 300Mbps, but less than 1000Mbps, or 1 gigabit per second (Gbps). It is similar to superfast broadband, but has its own benefits.

What is the difference between superfast broadband and ultrafast broadband? 

The main difference between superfast broadband and ultrafast broadband is the internet speeds. Superfast broadband can be between the speeds of 24Mbps and 300Mbps, while ultrafast broadband can be between the speeds of 300Mbps and 1000Mbps. 

Is ultrafast broadband worth it? 

You may be thinking, why do I need internet speeds between 300Mbps and 1000Mbps? What does this mean? Is it worth paying the extra money for ultrafast broadband? Ultrafast broadband is not necessary for everyone, but certain homes would benefit from the increased internet speeds. For instance, if more than one person in your home is a gamer then ultrafast broadband is a great alternative to superfast broadband. It allows you to download more than one game in less time with a faster connection, so you do not have to wait to play.

Additionally, superfast broadband is great for homes where multiple people are streaming at the same time, but ultrafast broadband is better if all those people want to stream in high definition. If you are considering buying multiple smart TVs for your home ultrafast broadband guarantees all viewers can watch their favourite movies and programmes in high definition. 

Ultrafast broadband providers

Just like superfast broadband, there are several ultrafast broadband providers:

  • Virgin Media

  • BT

  • Hyperoptic

How can I get ultrafast broadband?

You can check if your postcode has access to ultrafast broadband with a postcode checker

There is much to consider when choosing an internet service. With so many options available you are sure to find the one that fits your lifestyle best. Whether it is superfast broadband or ultrafast broadband, there is a perfect fit for any home.