What is Full Fibre broadband?

Fibre optics
(Image credit: Daniel Chetroni / Getty Images)

It's becoming increasingly common to see the term 'Full Fibre' being used to describe some of the options we have in today's selections of the best broadband deals

Invariably this also appears to be in reference to the faster packages on offer from different internet service providers (ISPs). But, while there's some truth in the fact they are usually the faster choice, for those of us who aren't familiar with the latest broadband terminology, it can be difficult to know exactly what you 're getting with these deals.

So, in this guide, we've explained all there is to know about Full Fibre broadband. We cover everything from what it is, how it works, where you can get it, and as an added bonus, how to decide if such a deal is the right option for you.

So, what is Full Fibre broadband?

In simple terms, Full Fibre broadband is a type of broadband connection that uses fibre optic cables to deliver your internet. These cables run all way the from a broadband provider's internet exchange to your property - hence the use of 'Full'.

How does Full Fibre broadband work?

You can also see Full Fibre being called 'fibre-to-the-premises' or 'FTTP' broadband, which again is in reference to how it works. 

As we've mentioned earlier, the fibre optic cables run all the way from a broadband exchange to a property and these are capable of sending large amounts of data at light speed. This means that the average download speeds, average upload speeds and overall broadband performance can be much faster and reliable than other types of broadband.

Theoretically, Full Fibre can deliver speeds in excess of 1,000Mbps (or 1Gbps), but ISPs package these up differently and often split out the speeds at different costs. Typically this can be from 100Mbps up to over 1Gbps.

You may also see Full Fibre being referred to as 'ultrafast' broadband, which reflects the quality and size of these speeds.

Business broadband deals

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What can you do online with Full Fibre?

With the faster speeds you can essentially do anything you want to online. This includes:

  • Online gaming
  • Quickly downloading music, software, videos and apps
  • Online calls and meetings
  • Streaming in 4K/UHD
  • Quickly uploading content to the cloud

While it's fair to say you can also do some or all of these with certain other broadband types, the faster Full Fibre speeds (plus the dependable connection), means multiple devices can do all of the above simultaneously. Equally, smaller numbers of users on Full Fibre can enjoy uninterrupted and seamless experiences when online.

What are the other advantages to Full Fibre?

If we look at the bigger picture, Full Fibre can also offer us lots of other benefits. A few examples include:

  • Increased productivity for those working remotely
  • No disruption at peak times
  • Better energy efficiency (thanks to the faster data transfer)
  • Superior quality of video and audio
  • Stronger speed guarantees (subject to the ISP)

download speed checker

(Image credit: Getty Images / Luis Alvarez)

What are the downsides of Full Fibre broadband?

While all of the above seems very positive, there are a couple of notable factors with Full Fibre that can put some consumers off. The main one here is the cost.

As a rule of thumb, you can say that the faster the broadband, the more expensive it will be. In other words, Full Fibre deals often tend to sit at the pricier end of the market - especially those that have speeds up to and above 1,000Mbps. 

Another notable problem some of us face is that Full Fibre simply hasn't been rolled out in our area yet. Or, if it has been, we haven't had our properties connected to it yet. Recent analysis shows that UK-wide the main network operator (Openreach) has connected 53% of homes and businesses, with a target of 85% by December 2026

Can I get Full Fibre?

There are a few ways you can check to see if your property either has a Full Fibre connection, or if it's available for you to connect to if you want to get it.

  • Check directly with your current provider
  • Have a look at the latest Openreach rollout information
  • Ask a neighbour to see what broadband they currently use

The first approach here is probably the most effective as not all ISPs use Openreach to supply their broadband, some have their own independent cable networks, such as Virgin Media. Going direct will also be a good way to learn more about if and when Full Fibre will be available to you.


(Image credit: Openreach)

Which providers offer Full Fibre broadband deals?

It used to be that only a limited selection of ISPs offered Full Fibre, but now you can find that the majority of the UK's most popular broadband providers, as well as independent firms and even newer companies have such connections available. 

If you are looking for the fastest Full Fibre, here are a few examples of the ultrafast and gigabit-capable speeds on offer with some top ISPs:

How is Full Fibre installed?

Each ISP will have their own procedures for connecting your property to its Full Fibre network. But, as an example, an Openreach installation will involve the following steps:

  • You book a suitable installation date
  • You determine where you want to cable to enter your property with your ISP
  • An engineer will visit and run a fibre cable from the nearest cabinet to your property
  • This will connect to a junction on an external wall
  • Another fibre optic cable will then run from this to your chosen internal point 

Is 'Full Fibre' the same as 'fibre' broadband?

This is a commonly asked question and the awkward answer is 'sort of'. 

Full Fibre can be referred to as a 'fibre broadband' product, but really 'Full Fibre' is different to 'fibre' in that fibre refers to the older types of connections - specifically, slower 'fibre-to-the-cabinet' or 'FTTC' connections. As you can guess from the name, this only involves a partial fibre connection.

In our guide to fibre broadband you can learn more about this subject and the core differences. 

Do I need Full Fibre?

Whether it's worth getting Full Fibre is of course down to your specific online needs and requirements for your broadband, as well as how much you can comfortably pay each month.

If you know you can comfortably afford a more expensive Full Fibre package, then it does make sense to get one and receive the best performance levels. 

However, if you're unsure then you should check out our guide to finding the best broadband for your needs. Here we cover all the considerations you should make to help you determine which tariff will best suit your requirements and budget.

It's also worth looking through our rundown of the best broadband deals, as you might find a bargain if you're able to switch right now. 

Wi-Fi modem in home

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What does the future hold for Full Fibre?

As the broadband rollout we mentioned earlier shows, Full Fibre is on course to become the main type of broadband for the majority of buildings in the UK. 

At the same time, we'll also eventually see the end of older broadband connection types that use copper wires - specifically ADSL and FTTC. Openreach has stated it plans to retire the majority of these lines and eventually they will be purely for hard to reach or remote areas.

When Full Fibre is the main option, we then may see the markets becoming more widespread and competitive, which could lead to more tariffs and a bigger choice of more affordable packages. 

Where to find the best Full Fibre broadband deals

In the meantime, if you are looking to switch or upgrade your internet to Full Fibre, our best broadband deals guide is a great place to start. We can even show you what options you have in your location if you enter your postcode into our widget below.

Although, as we mentioned, Full Fibre might not be in your area yet. So again we recommend doing a little research or contacting your provider to see when it will be available and what you need to do to get a connection installed into your property.

Richard Hart

Rich is a freelance copywriter and content strategist with over 10 years' experience. His career has seen him work in-house and in various agencies, producing online and offline content marketing campaigns and copywriting for clients in the energy industry.