Fibre to the premises – can I get it and what’s involved?

February 28th, 2023
Fibre to the premises – can I get it and what’s involved?

When it comes to getting internet for your home or business, it stands to reason that you’d want the very best experience possible. And right now that means opting for a connection known as FTTP or fibre to the premises.

What Is fibre to the premises?

Also commonly known as fibre to the home, the name tells you more or less what this type of internet connection involves – simply, that you will have a fibre-optic cable that reaches right into your home or business premises. And in terms of internet performance, that means that you can therefore expect a superior standard of broadband with the fastest download speeds currently available. If you have seen the adverts for 1 gigabit broadband, then fibre to the premises will be the means with which this superb performance is delivered.

And when it comes to fibre to the (workplace) premises, this type of connection also offers some impressive additional benefits. For example, when you choose this type of broadband connection, you can often opt to receive hardware that has been specially optimised for business users although this may come at a price. This means that it will be easier to get the performance that you need for your workplace, where internet usage may vary in nature from how it is used in the home. For example, you may require more connectivity to smart IoT (internet of things) devices and continual access to online cloud platforms for workflows, rather than content streaming or gaming.

What makes broadband fibre to the premises so fast?

If you are wondering why this type of broadband internet connection is so powerful, the answer lies in the fact that the data you send and receive on line will be spending the maximum possible time travelling on state-of-the-art fibre-optic cables. This kind of cabling allows for better, faster transferral of data, without the signal being disrupted or fading away. Compare this to other types of internet connection, and the difference speaks for itself. For example, another popular option, FTTS (fibre to the street) will see your internet data travel along a fibre-optic network until it reaches a cabinet in your neighbourhood, at which point it will travel the remainder of the distance by the old type of copper cabling. If you consider that your home or business could be located several hundred metres away from such a street cabinet, then you could lose a great deal of speed and performance at this final stage.

Can I get fibre to the premises?

It’s little wonder, then, that FTTP is a very appealing option for anyone looking for the very best broadband internet connection for their home or workplace. Yet getting to enjoy this cutting-edge experience may not be as straightforward as you might hope. At present, not all homes will be able to have such a connection, as the UK upgrade of the broadband delivery network is not yet completed. This means that not all areas of the UK are connected by fibre-optic cables, and instead, are still relying on the old copper cabling network.

This means that if you want to find out if your chosen location will be able to have a fibre to the premises connection, the first step will be to use a FTTP checker. An FTTP checker is a simple and free online tool, which will require some information about your address such as your postcode. It will then be able to show you if there is the potential to have a fibre to the premises connection installed. You can find these free fibre to the premises checker tools on the websites of the major broadband providers, as well as some local broadband companies operating in areas such as London.

If FTTP is available in your area, then you can expect installation to take approximately two hours and to be carried out by an engineer working inside and outside your property.

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Who offers fibre to the premises?

The list of broadband providers that offer fibre to the premises is long, and growing longer as more and more new companies enter the sector. There are the most famous household names, known as the "Big Three", or BT, Virgin, and Sky. These three broadband companies made up a whopping 64% of the total broadband market in 2022 [1] with BT holding 25% of the UK market, Sky following closely behind with 22%, and Virgin holding 17%. These big names are all able to offer good deals for fibre to the premises, with their services covering an impressive portion of the UK. BT fibre to the premises is advertised as being 25% faster than their standard fibre broadband internet connection. It also promises better streaming experiences along with enough bandwidth to cope with the demands of even the busiest of households. Sky, similarly, highlights that their fibre to the premises service is able to offer exceptional reliability for streaming, ultra-fast download speeds (including a speed guarantee), and enough bandwidth to power both home working and leisure activities with ease. Virgin may be in third place in terms of the broadband market share, but its claim that it can deliver speeds that beat its rivals BT and Sky by 13% could make it a very appealing contender for those who want the very best broadband internet experience for their business or home. Other big-name broadband providers offering an ultra-fast service include TalkTalk, EE, Vodafone, and PlusNet.

Other fibre to the premises providers

As mentioned already, you don’t have to limit yourself to the best-known names when it comes to choosing your broadband provider, and this is also true for those looking specifically for fibre to the premises connections. If you are seeking to connect your business in a major urban location then you could be in luck, as newer "disruptor" broadband providers can provide a highly competitive service at an excellent price point. Companies such as G Network, Toob, Air, or Neos (who only offer their service to business customers) can make a great-value alternative to bigger names, and if you live near a major urban hub you could have a good chance of being covered by their services. Smaller broadband providers can also offer benefits such as customer service teams based locally, and often have similar money-saving offers to their bigger rivals such as free installation or bonuses for referring their service to a friend.

Using a free fibre to the premises comparison tool is a great next step. An FTTP comparison tool will let you quickly see all of the essential details of the offers available to you, including a range options from broadband providers. This means that you can easily compare average download speeds alongside monthly cost, length of contract, and whether there is an installation fee to pay or any extras bundled into the contract price such as TV, mobile phone or landline.

Remember, however, that signing up to a lengthier contract may be a good way to cut costs each month but will make it expensive to switch should you be unhappy with the service. This means that it’s also a good idea to check customer satisfaction reviews before signing up. In terms of being the most likely to be recommended to a friend, PlusNet came out on top in 2022 [2], with a 73% recommendation rating, and 71% of customers reporting that they were satisfied with their service. Meanwhile, BT came away with the highest rating for reliability, so be clear about your priorities when you look for the best broadband FTTP provider for your business or household.

When will I get fibre to the premises?

Right now, around a third of homes in the UK are able to enjoy a fibre to the premises connection, but this figure is set to increase over the next few years. This is because the Government has a £5 billion plan in progress which will see a major upgrade of the whole of the country’s internet infrastructure network, and will see the old style copper cabling replaced with the latest fibre-optic cabling. The intention is that this will allow 85% of UK residents to be able to enjoy ultra-fast broadband to the home, with download speeds of up to 1 Gb. It is seen as a priority for helping underserved communities to be able to make more of life online, as well as making it possible for people to work more efficiently online, wherever they may be. This important work is due to be completed by December 2026, although you can keep an eye on how the roll-out of fibre to the premises is coming along by visiting the Government’s website [3], or via Openreach [4], their partner in carrying out the work, who will keep you informed of progress in your area if you sign up to their notifications.

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