Christian M. 7 min read

Full fibre business broadband

Marketing jargon has clouded the true meaning of fibre optic broadband, leaving businesses puzzled over the benefits of the latest telecom technology.

The subject of this article is the only authentic fibre-optic connection: full-fibre broadband. With full-fibre, your entire connection, from the provider’s core server to your router, is powered exclusively by fibre-optic cables.

Not only is full-fibre superior in performance and security, it is often the fastest.

Our guide covers full-fibre business broadband, ensuring you know precisely what you’re getting, whether you’re a multi-million dollar enterprise or a local corner shop.

💡 Key takeaways:

  • Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: Full-fibre is superior in virtually all categories except for its limited availability, portability and seldom inferior speed.
  • Requires bespoke installation: Full-fibre requires engineers to physically lay out a new fibre cable between your business and the local street cabinet.
  • Limited availability: Only around 60% of UK properties have access to full fibre, but this is growing rapidly year-on-year.

What is full-fibre broadband?

Full fibre broadband, also known as FTTP (Fibre-to-the-Premises), is a tethered internet connection where the fibre optic cable reaches from the nearest exchange to your business’s broadband router. No old-fashioned copper cables are slowing down your connection.

In other words, all the data transfer supporting activities like a Zoom meeting, VoIP call, cloud storage upload or even simple internet browsing occur near light speed within the glass fibre-optic tethers. Conversely, data travelling as electrical signals in a copper wire do so with more resistance and thus much slower.

The difference in speed and interference is akin to comparing travel on a bullet train to that in an old 4×4 Land Rover on a flooded dirt road.

💡 Alternative names: Take note when procuring your next broadband deal; full-fibre is also known as “ultrafast” broadband, and FTTH (Fibre-to-the-Home) is the equivalent of FTTP but for residential broadband.

What are the benefits of full-fibre broadband for businesses?

Full-fibre broadband is the most performant type of broadband because it uses the most advanced telecom technology to deliver uninterrupted internet traffic. On the downside, it’s not yet universally available and is more expensive than other technologies.

Advantages of full-fibre broadband

Here is a summary of the advantages:

  • Fast speed: Full-fibre is currently one of the fastest connection types available, with Virgin’s cable broadband its only competition at present. We cover this and more in detail in this section.
  • Scalability: Full-fibre is currently only operating at a fraction of its theoretical capacity, leaving ample room for businesses to scale in the future. More on its scalability here.
  • High reliability and security: Full-fibre is the most reliable and secure type of connection as optical signals are difficult to interrupt and intercept compared to wireless or electrical signals in copper wires. See our reliability and security sections for more details.

Disadvantages of full-fibre broadband

  • Limited availability: Full-fibre remains available to only 60% of properties in the UK, although this number is rapidly rising. We cover this availability in detail here.
  • High costs: Full-fibre is considered the most expensive connection type because of initial installation costs and highest recurring service costs. See details on cost here.
  • Engineering work: A full-fibre connection requires the inconvenience of engineering work. We cover this in detail here.

Broadband providers that offer full-fibre broadband

There are 37 full-fibre business broadband providers in the UK and Northern Ireland. While larger firms like BT operate nationwide, others like Gigaclear specialise in providing bespoke areas. You can find a comprehensive list here.

Is full fibre broadband available in my area?

Use our business broadband comparison service to get quotes from all full-fibre broadband providers available in your area. If you don’t see any, it’s because full-fibre isn’t yet available or hasn’t been installed in your business property.

Alternatively, use the Fibre broadband checker on the Openreach website.

If full-fibre is available, use our broadband speed estimator to choose a full-fibre plan that best suits your business case without overspending.

How can I check if my business location is eligible for full-fibre broadband?

You can use Openreach’s fibre broadband checker to see if fibres have been laid out into your local street cabinet. If so, your business is eligible for FTTP upon request.

What regions in the UK have the best full-fibre broadband coverage?

While there isn’t data specific to each county, here’s the ranking of full-fibre broadband coverage per home nation in the last half of 2023 (% change from the first half of 2023):

  1. Northern Ireland – 93% (+1%)
  2. England – 60% (+8%)
  3. Scotland – 54% (+6%)
  4. Wales – 59% (+10%)

This UK Average is 60% (+8%)


Wales and Scotland have large swathes of rural areas, which explains their low full-fibre coverage (i.e. requires long sections of cable for fewer properties) compared to England. Northern Ireland has the best coverage because of its more compact geography, progressive government initiatives, and large provider investments.

How reliable is full-fibre broadband for business?

Full-fibre business broadband is generally considered the most reliable type of broadband connection, meaning it has the highest uptime, lowest latency and jitter, and the highest overall stability.

This is because glass cables offer little resistance to light, especially when these thin strands are protected by the cable’s casing. Other tethered technologies like fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband, ADSL and Virgin’s Co-axial cables (cable broadband) rely on copper cables that can suffer from signal degradation and interference. This is visually evident in the following graph:

Average 24 hour latency by broadband package (March 2023)
Average 24-hour latency by broadband package based on Ofcom’s 2023 performance report (Credit:

Full-fibre (FTTP) is more reliable than any wireless broadband (5G, 4G, 3G, LTE+) because these rely on radio waves travelling through air and are sensitive to changing weather conditions and physical obstructions.

💡 Critical services: If your business relies on the stability of VoIP or cloud-based services, it is worth investing extra in a full-fibre connection to ensure reliability. For example, a report from ISPreview reported that FTTP “suffered from significantly fewer faults than “copper broadband” (meaning cable, FTTC and ADSL) during recent storm periods”.

Full-fibre speed and performance

In most circumstances, full-fibre provides the fastest internet speeds of any technology. This is because internet data is transferred by light signals travelling by bouncing off the walls of fibre optic cables at speeds that approach that of light in a vacuum.

Although 5G broadband can match these speeds by transferring data through air using high-frequency radio waves, it is less reliable due to its sensitivity to weather and obstacles and the weakening of its signal with distance from the antenna.

We analyse this in detail here: Is 5G faster than fibre broadband?

Other technologies like FTTC and ADSL are slower because electrical signals travelling through copper wires do so more slowly. The exception (at least at present) is Virgin’s cable broadband, which has a similar maximum speed to full-fibre in 2023 because of clever improvements to the cables used.

💡 Scalability: The theoretical max speed of full-fibre is in the 10s of Gbps, but business broadband providers place speed limits in their packages to ensure constant parts of the network can accommodate the promised bandwidth requirements.).

What speeds can I expect with full-fibre broadband?

Your full-fibre broadband speeds can vary between as little as 60-80 Mbps for the cheapest “superfast” deal and upwards of 1Gbps, depending on the speed limits set out in your Service Level Agreement (SLA).

This is evident in the graph below, which compares each full-fibre service ‘tier’ against all other connection types (Note the overperformance of Virgin Business Broadband cable broadband!).

Median average download speeds by connection type
Median average download speeds by connection type, based on Ofcom’s 2023 performance report. (Credit:

This clearly illustrates the ample offer of connection types in the market, which is why we recommend using our broadband speed estimator to tailor your search for a cheap business broadband deal.

💡 Leased lines: These bespoke full-fibre connections are the most expensive type of business broadband. It essentially provides your business with a private fibre connection, reaching speeds of up to 10 Gbps and incomparable latency. See our leased line broadband page for more information.

How much does full fibre business broadband cost?

As of January 2024, the cost of full fibre business broadband in the UK can vary widely depending on the provider, the chosen package, the speeds offered, and other factors such as contract length and additional services like VoIP, enhanced security, VPNs, web hosting and email addresses.

Here are some figures to help you get a feel for full-fibre prices:

Cheapest: ‘Superfast’ 80MB full-fibre by XLN, BT costs £25 per month (limited availability).

Average: While there are no official average figures available, our business broadband experts estimate that, on average, small and medium businesses are paying around £60 a month for full-fibre broadband, while enterprises pay around £500 per month for their bespoke full-fibre, including additional services. See our article on average broadband costs for a wider comparison.

Costliest: ‘Ultrafast’ 900 Mbps full-fibre available to rural areas by Gigaclear costs £200 per month.

💡 Note on prices: The above full-fibre cost figures were obtained by a review in January 2024 but change month on month. To get the latest prices, please visit our business broadband comparison page.

Full-fibre business broadband security and support

Full-fibre broadband is the most secure type of connection because fibre optic cables are harder to intercept, wiretap or interfere with than copper cables because encrypted data travels through light signals instead of electrical pulses.

The latter is more easily detectable and interferable due to its sensitivity to malicious electromagnetic devices that could read or corrupt data transfer.

In terms of software security, it’s the same as any other type of broadband, with businesses always receiving the base level of security that includes software defences such as firewalls. Businesses requiring extra security can add services like VPNs, bespoke routers, in-house servers and secure cloud solutions, although these come at an extra cost.

What kind of customer support is available for businesses?

Every provider has different levels of support depending on the broadband package. Generally, businesses benefit from dedicated teams offering specialised assistance, with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) ensuring uptime, responsiveness and access to custom solutions for their specific needs.

Can full-fibre broadband scale with my business growth?

Full-fibre is the most scalable type of broadband connection because it is the most advanced technology for data transfer and has the potential to reach speeds in the 10s of Gbps in a few years.

In contrast, broadband that relies on copper cables (ADSL, FTTC, cable), wireless cellular networks (5G, 4G, etc) or satellites (Starlink, Oneweb) are inherently inferior. Transferring data via light signals within a protected tether is faster and more reliable than electrical signals travelling via copper wires or electromagnetic waves moving through the air.

Installing a full-fibre connection is a long-term investment, leaving your business infrastructure ready to implement any required bandwidth upgrades seamlessly.

Installing full-fibre business broadband

Full-fibre broadband requires laying fibre optic cables to extend the connection from the nearby street cabinet all the way into your premises. This installation typically goes as follows:

  1. Contract: Sign a contract with a full-fibre business broadband provider.
  2. Survey: Arrange for a site survey and obtain any necessary planning permission.
  3. Installation: Engineers will prepare the pathway (dig trenches, drill holes), install all the necessary infrastructure (cables, connectors, modems, routers) and test the connection. This is typically done within a single day.
  4. Add-ons: Providers may visit again if any extras are included, like staff training, dedicated servers or VoIP phones.

💡 Key considerations: Your business needs to plan for any potential downtime during installation and ensure that any plan meets their performance, security and support considerations.

Will my business need a new router for full-fibre broadband?

If your business is upgrading from an inferior connection, getting a dedicated business broadband router that supports the higher speed and tech stack of full fibre is essential. Even if your existing router can handle high speeds, this doesn’t mean it’s compatible with the technology.

Using your existing router can create a bandwidth bottleneck, resulting in a slower internet connection and invalidating your Service Level Agreement (SLA). Your business broadband provider should provide you with a bespoke router designed for your connection.

Full fibre business broadband – FAQs

Our business broadband experts answer common questions on full-fibre in the UK.

What is the difference between full fibre and fibre optic broadband for businesses?

Full-fibre refers specifically to FTTP, while fibre optic broadband is a generic term that includes inferior, part-fibre connections like FTTC.

For a detailed answer, see our article on FTTP vs FTTC.

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