Fibre differs from standard broadband in various ways, from the technology behind it to the fast speeds and availability. A fibre connection also tends to be more reliable and so is ideal for busy households where everyone is trying to connect at once.

What is fibre broadband and how does it work?

Most of the fibre broadband in the UK is currently provided as Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC). Where fibre is available it means that Openreach has laid a fibre cable from the exchange to the cabinet nearest your premises.

FTTC differs from standard broadband because most of your connection uses fibre connections from your green roadside cabinet to the rest of the Openreach network. The only part of the network to use copper (or sometimes aluminium) is the local-loop from the cabinet to your home or office.

A fibre optic cable is able to handle a much larger volume of data than a copper cable without degrading. Fibre optic is therefore quicker than standard broadband, as the signal strength is less likely to fail with distance from the exchange, and speeds are maintained over greater distances.

How is fibre broadband different from standard broadband?

Standard broadband uses an older technology called Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL).

This is different from fibre because the connection uses copper wire all the way back to the exchange. As this infrastructure was originally designed for voice calls, it is not all that efficient for data transfer, meaning as distance from the exchange increases, the amount of bandwidth available reduces (as the signal strength degrades). To find out more, we also invite you to read our guide about what is the internet?

Fibre broadband is perfect for homes with high Internet use, where multiple devices may be downloading or streaming data at the same time.

What are the benefits of fibre broadband over standard broadband?


Fibre broadband is much quicker, meaning it is able to support high bandwidth applications such as HD/UHD TV streams and online gaming for multiple people at the same time.


It is also much more stable than standard broadband and less likely to drop connection because of the distance between the roadside cabinet and the home.

Why is fibre broadband only available in some areas?

For fibre to be available, fibre optic cable must have been laid from the exchange to the cabinet nearest your home. Whilst Openreach are continually rolling out fibre across the UK, the most densely populated areas of the country have been serviced first.

To check which services are available in your area, enter your postcode and landline number into our on-site checker.

How long does fibre broadband take to install?

New customers can expect their fibre broadband service to be set up and running in 5–10 working days. If you're switching over from another provider, there's a 10-working-day minimum period and you'll be able to select a setup date if you wish.

On your setup day, your broadband and telephone services will be disrupted for a short time while an engineer connects your service at the roadside cabinet. You will then be notified that your service is live so that you can set up your router.

What fibre broadband packages does Plusnet provide?

We offer two packages of fibre broadband – Unlimited Fibre and Unlimited Fibre Extra – both of which are available as broadband only packages or coupled with phone call plans.


  • 36Mb average download speed
  • Great for streaming & online gaming
  • Unlimited usage


  • 66Mb average download speed
  • Ideal for households with multiple device
  • Unlimited usage

How can I increase my broadband speed?

For the first few days after your broadband package has been installed, you may find speeds occasionally becoming faster or slower, or that you are sometimes disconnected. This is not a problem, as we test your telephone exchange to find the best balance between speed and reliability for your broadband.

If you believe your broadband speed is slower than expected, we advise stopping any applications on your computer that may strain your internet connection (such as high definition streaming or large file downloads) before testing your speed again. You can test your broadband speed at My Broadband Speed by following a few quick steps.

If you find your connection to be slower than normal, try our problem solving tips to identify the issue with your connection.

Based on speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time (8-10pm). Speeds vary by location. Check your speed via ‘check availability’ on our home page.

Check what's available where you live

If you'd like to transfer your number this is required.