Fibre vs ‘true’ fibre: what’s the difference and why should we care?

In recent years, new home buyers’ priorities have shifted towards the need for smarter, more functional homes. Homes with bright and spacious kitchens, modern bathrooms and intelligent storage solutions are all just the start of it. Now, more and more buyers want to be guaranteed that their new home runs as good as it looks.

You wouldn’t expect to move in to a new home without water, gas or power. Nor would you want to move in without knowing for certain you could connect to fast and reliable broadband. Increasingly, we’re seeing broadband being treated almost like a fourth utility – a non-negotiable for builders and developers to include on their move-in day check-list for home buyers.

What’s more, we’re seeing residents become very aware of what type of broadband connection they want – and how fast they want it – in order to be sure it can keep up with the constantly changing pace of their digital lives. Buyers want fast, efficient, well-connected homes where technology seamlessly works together to make their lives easier.

The issue for developers is how to keep up with this change of pace, while continuing to offer the very best solution for potential buyers, without adding another layer of management and process to getting the job done. Being aware of what providers are offering is another persisting issue, too – knowing what the market wants and knowing for certain what is being delivered is key to customer satisfaction.

While we’re starting to see more and more providers offering fibre broadband – the fastest available internet connection in the UK – chances are ‘true’ fibre broadband may not be what is actually being delivered. Most existing homes in the UK are not fitted with the fibre cables necessary to receive hyperfast – or true fibre – broadband. While many new homes benefit from fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connection, the vast majority of these broadband connections are delivered via old copper cables, which have a lower bandwidth and a limited capacity to deliver high speeds. A true fibre network includes a single – separate – connection to every living room, uncontended by other providers, capable of providing broadband speeds over 1,000Mbs per second. That’s 35 times faster than the current UK average.

Why does this matter? In short, it means home buyers will simply be unable to access the quality and speeds promised. While FTTP broadband is fast – it’s not true fibre fast.

Although Ofcom is considering imposing tighter regulations on what can and can’t be marketed as ‘fibre’ broadband, at the moment this isn’t the case. It is up to builders and homebuyers to know what questions they need to ask to ensure they are getting the very best available product on the market.

As more people start to adopt smart devices and technologies to create the ultimate connected home, the demand – or need – for hyperfast broadband will continue to grow. By installing a true fibre connection to each and every home during the development process, housebuilders can get ahead of the game by offering residents the hyperfast broadband connection they want and need – now, and well into the future.

By Grain managing director Rich Robinson