Full fibre broadband brings speeds of up to 1Gbps into homes by taking fibre optic cables directly into the property instead of stopping at the cabinet. This technology may also be called fibre to the premises (FTTP) or fibre to the home (FTTH).
Thanks to the fibre optic technology used in full fibre broadband packages, connections are both faster and more reliable. No copper cable is used at all, meaning ultrafast broadband speeds of over 100Mbps can be reached and speeds of over 900Mbps are available too.
The major difficulty with full fibre broadband deals so far is their limited availability. The rollout of full fibre broadband is taking place gradually which means many people who might want to take advantage of faster broadband connections can't yet sign up to full fibre broadband packages.
Compare full fibre broadband deals in your area by searching with your postcode in the table above.
Full fibre broadband uses fibre optic cables installed directly into the home to provide broadband services to customers. While older technology like fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) only took fibre optic cables as far as the street cabinet, full fibre broadband packages take the fibre all the way into the home. This results in a faster broadband connection as well as more reliable broadband.
When you compare full fibre broadband you might see it called fibre to the home (FTTH) or fibre to the premises (FTTP). These different names mean the same thing: fibre optic cables go directly into the home rather than stopping at the street cabinet.
Fibre to the home, also known as FTTH, means fibre optic cables are installed all the way into a broadband customer's property to provide faster and more reliable broadband.
To be marketed as fibre to the home, a broadband connection must use fibre optic cables from the street cabinet into the home. If a fibre connection stops at the cabinet and copper cables run the rest of the way to the home, this is known as fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) broadband instead.
Fibre to the home is gradually going to become the norm for broadband in the UK, with the industry aiming to expand services to 85% of homes over the next few years. This means the faster broadband speeds offered through full fibre broadband deals will be available to many more properties.
Fibre optic cables used in full fibre broadband run all the way into the home whereas older part-fibre broadband connections only used fibre optic cables as far as the street cabinet. These fibre optic cables use pulses of light to transmit data along the connection, making them much faster than old copper cables.
Thanks to full fibre broadband packages taking these cables all the way into a property, the speed of data transmission is maintained along all the connection. This is the major difference to bear in mind when you're looking at part-fibre and full fibre broadband comparison - part-fibre connections use copper cable for the last leg into the home and that slows broadband down to a maximum speed of around 66Mbps. In contrast, full fibre broadband deals can reach speeds of 1Gbps.
Ultrafast broadband is defined by regulator Ofcom as any connection of more than 300Mbps. However, in practice, ultrafast broadband is generally advertised by providers as more than 100Mbps.
Ultrafast broadband may not necessarily be full fibre broadband. There is a technology called G.fast which improves the speeds of copper cables going into the home to give them a maximum speed of around 330Mbps. This is advertised as ultrafast broadband, but it's important to note this is not full fibre broadband.
Equally, full fibre broadband does not have to be ultrafast broadband. A customer can sign up for fibre to the home and opt for speeds under 100Mbps, with providers like BT now offering their top-tier superfast packages as full fibre broadband deals where full fibre connections are available.
The average speeds currently available from top full fibre broadband packages are around 1Gbps or 1,000Mbps.
In practice, we see many broadband providers advertising top average speeds of around 900Mbps to make sure they're meeting their promise to advertise speeds that can be attained by 50% of customers at peak times (8pm to 10pm).
Although the top speeds of full fibre broadband deals are up to 1Gbps, that doesn't mean customers must take these top-tier packages if they don't want those kinds of speeds. Superfast full fibre broadband is available with speeds of around 67Mb, while ultrafast broadband deals of 100Mb, 300Mb and 500Mb are commonplace among full broadband providers.
Up-to-date prices for full fibre broadband deals can be found in the table above.
It's important to remember that full fibre broadband packages are going to be more expensive than part-fibre because they're offering faster broadband speeds to customers. This means the costs of fibre to the home may seem like a big step up from where we are now with copper and part-fibre broadband connections.
However, broadband providers are keen for customers to upgrade to fibre to the premises, so we will likely see plenty of deals emerging as the full fibre broadband model becomes as competitive as the part-fibre model. Plus, more deals will emerge as more homes gain access to full fibre broadband services and providers work hard to encourage take-up.
Compare full fibre broadband deals in your area using the table above.
Full fibre broadband packages offer faster speeds than part-fibre connections, meaning many customers may want to upgrade to full fibre deals to get faster broadband. Yet there are also other reasons to upgrade to the newer technology such as the improved reliability of the broadband connection.
As we explain in our guide to the most reliable broadband, fibre to the home connections are more reliable than FTTC lines thanks to the technology used.
It's also worth pointing out that broadband providers will be encouraging customers to upgrade to full fibre broadband packages in the years ahead, meaning part-fibre deals may be priced uncompetitively in a bid to tempt customers to take full fibre broadband instead. As copper broadband is phased out, signing up to full fibre broadband deals may be increasingly worthwhile.
Many of the big name broadband providers in the UK offer full fibre broadband deals including BT, Sky, EE and TalkTalk. However, these full fibre broadband packages are geographically limited, with some providers only active in a few cities.
The Openreach full fibre broadband network is the most widespread. As BT own Openreach, wherever that network goes, BT full fibre broadband services are available and subsidiary EE generally offers full fibre services there too. The availability of other providers' services varies, so be sure to compare full fibre broadband deals in your area to see more options.
In addition, other full fibre broadband networks are available such as CityFibre and Hyperoptic's networks. CityFibre partners with providers like Vodafone and TalkTalk to provide full fibre broadband services in certain towns and cities, while Hyperoptic expand their services on a building-by-building basis in over 40 towns and cities too.
Note: Virgin Media offer speeds of up to 1Gbps to millions of homes across the UK, although the final leg of their connections come from coaxial cables rather than fibre optic cables.
As full fibre broadband is delivered into the home via fibre optic cables, there is no copper phone line required and therefore a traditional phone line isn't available. Some full fibre broadband providers like Gigaclear therefore do not offer a phone line at all.
More commonly, full broadband deals will allow customers to add a Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service. This is a phone line delivered over the internet connection which is set to be the default option for phone services in the future.
Keep an eye on pricing when looking to add VoIP services to full fibre broadband packages. While some providers will only charge a few pounds, others may charge amounts that make their full fibre broadband deals less competitive when taken with VoIP.
Full fibre availability is the one of the major problems with the technology so far. It is still only available to a minority of homes, although expansions are underway to reach at least 85% of the UK by 2025.
With different full fibre broadband providers active in different areas, the best thing to do is try a postcode full fibre broadband comparison to see which services are available in your specific location. Bear in mind that, with full fibre broadband expanding month by month across the country, this picture may rapidly change.
Unlike regular broadband switches, upgrading to full fibre broadband will require an engineer's visit. This allows the fibre optic cable to be fed directly into the home and will require some drilling.
To install full fibre broadband into your home, an engineer will need to install a new junction box on the exterior wall of your property and run a cable into it from a nearby telegraph pole or via underground cables.
A new socket will also be installed inside the house to receive the fibre optic cable that will be fed through from the junction box outside.
At the beginning of any engineer's visit, they should discuss the placement of the boxes with the householder to check they are happy with the planned work.
Full fibre broadband is connected to the street cabinet or telephone pole via fibre optic cables. This is what makes it so fast since the cable runs directly into the home.
The fibre optic cable itself will be fed into the home from the outside either using underground cables or overhead wires. This will require some drilling, so an adult must be present on the day of installation to ensure safe access to the house and its surroundings.
Overall, installing fibre to the premises is straightforward and customers who choose FTTP for superfast speeds will find it easy to upgrade later (on the same network) if they want ultrafast broadband instead.
The first step to get full fibre broadband is to compare full fibre broadband deals in your area and see if any networks have expanded to your postcode yet.
When signing up for one of the full fibre deals available in your area, remember to check whether it's possible to add a telephone service and, if so, how much extra this will add to your monthly telecoms bill.
In addition, watch out for potentially higher set-up fees for full fibre broadband packages. These generally cover the higher costs of installing full fibre broadband such as engineer visits and extra work ahead of the FTTP switch-on.