Fibre broadband is now available to 95% of households in the UK – but only 60% of those with access have signed up. And when we surveyed more than 4,000 broadband customers, a quarter told us they still have standard broadband (also known as ADSL).
So should those of us with slower standard broadband be considering an upgrade? Nearly 3,000 of those we surveyed had a fibre connection and previously had standard broadband – and we asked whether they’d noticed any improvement.
Looking for a new fibre deal? Use our round up of the best (and worst) broadband providers of 2021 to discover which providers you can rely on, or browse the best deals on fibre broadband.
Why it’s worth upgrading to fibre broadband
It’s natural to expect fibre to be faster than a standard broadband connection, but you might have wondered whether you need this extra speed, or even whether you’d notice it.
When we asked people who previously had slower standard broadband whether their connection improved when they upgraded to fibre, 78% said it had. Most noticed faster speeds, but many found fibre more reliable, too.
- Faster speeds: 63% noticed that their fibre connection was much faster than standard broadband
- Quicker downloads and uploads: 50% said that it was quicker to download and upload files when they used fibre
- Fewer dropouts: 45% found their fibre connection more reliable, with fewer dropouts
- Smoother streaming: 43% told us that music and video streaming had become smoother and less glitchy
- Less risk of an outage: 36% told us they’d experienced fewer long outages since moving to a fibre connection
Why is fibre broadband more reliable?
As well as being faster, fibre broadband’s improved reliability is down to the cables that are used to make up the network.
Standard broadband uses the copper phone network which is less reliable thanks to age and can be affected by extreme weather. Fibre broadband relies on light signals that are resilient over long distances.
Not everybody needs the speediest fibre connections – particularly those whose time online is limited to checking emails or reading the news. However, if you’d like to stream music or video, make video calls, play games or share your connection with others, you’re likely to benefit from fibre.
Learn more about the differences in our guide to the benefits of fibre broadband.
How much more does fibre broadband cost?
While you might find fibre to be more expensive than standard broadband, that’s not always the case. If you’ve been with the same provider for some time, there’s a risk you’re paying over the odds for a standard broadband deal.
Customers typically move from a cheaper introductory deal on to a pricier standard tariff once their contract period ends. If you’ve been with your provider for more than 12 months, there’s a chance you’re paying this higher price – and could therefore stand to improve your connection and save money if you switch.
Even based on prices for new customers, fibre may only cost a couple of pounds more – or, in some cases, even less than a standard package.
In our latest pricing analysis, we found that the average monthly cost of standard broadband deals (average speeds of 10-11Mbps) is £25.96, while superfast deals (average speeds from 35 to 67Mbps) costs an average of £28.05.
Use Which? Switch Broadband to check fibre broadband deals that are currently available where you live.