Full Fibre (FTTP) - how fast?

Just perusing the options in anticipation of going to FTTP. I understand the knee jerk reaction is to go for the evil so-and-so, top, super-duper speed BUT in the real world do we really need anything more than 250meg or even more than 150meg? Apart from being able to brag that you can download a rip-off DVD in 10 seconds… do we really need faster than, for example, 250meg (download rip-off DVD in less than a minute)?

We were on 200, now using a 4g EE hybrid broadband which is 50 meg……not that much different, perhaps momentary slower loading a page?

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tbh, if it’s 50meg (and the connection, locally, to your PC/phone/tablet is also really 50meg) then the delay is probably elsewhere e.g. on the PC/phone/tablet. With an average web page being 2MB then even 50meg (which is really 5MB) should be almost instantaneous. The argument for 150 or 250 (or more) is down to high usage processes like IPTV (4K is c. 25meg), VPN (to work) - but the limitation here is the upload speeds for each end, downloading films &c. I suppose if you have half a dozen people in the house watching 4K then perhaps you need faster but, tbh, if that’s over wifi then the wifi infrastructure will start having an effect. For ‘normal’ activities like browsing, email, light streaming then, as you say, even 50meg is okay.

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I recently had fibre to the house installed, after years of very poor and more recently modest copper connection I got greedy and went for 500 Mb/s. It was shortly after ordering that I was chatting with our works IT people who told me that if I have 60 Mb/s then it would be all I would ever need with todays systems.

I have to say my new system is ‘pretty snappy’ and it does come in handy for mass data down loads and uploads for working from home, but in general it is probably quite unnecessary!


I have had FTTC for quite a while and I get >35Mbps.

Just run Speedtest - 37.35Mbps.

Thats plenty for just me… :grimacing:

Not sure I need FFTP.


When I moved in Feb 2020 all I could get was 10Mbps and this was after having 500Mbps at the last place. Now I am happy with 80Mbps after FTTC became available a noticeable upgrade from 10Mbps.
It meets all my needs, 4K streaming is fine, no buffering and having seen the fibre cable going onto the poles locally, I expect FTTP to be available soon but do not think I will bother.

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I have full fibre in both France and Switzerland. Tested now at 462 down 491 up in France. I think that Switzerland is twice that.

When we had the full-fibre installed earlier this year I signed up for 1000 Mbps service. I always have a VPN on to encript all the data, and that was slowing the actual download speed to around 4-500 Mbps. Last month I changed to 500 Mbps service and when I checked the actual download speed with the VPN on, it was still about 500 Mbps. I have no idea why, but it’s great and very consistant.

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In the real world I am sure 100Mbps links speed for unmanaged internet access is more than enough for most house holds- Perhaps if you have several adults / teenager children each living fairly separately - you might appreciate a little more …at certain times. If you are a small household I would have though 40Mbps would be more enough to service most consumer uses. So if your xDSL service is much below 40Mbps then fibre can be a real benefit.

Mind you the thing that you don’t see on consumer marketing is that on most (FTTH or so-called ‘full fibre’ ) fibre using PON (Passive Optical Network technology) setups, there is by design a relatively high level of contention (statistically shared bandwidth) on the local distribution network, typically most apparent on the uplinks - so a higher speed fibre link speed may be preferable to ‘smooth’ out the contention peaks especially if your neighbours on the same PON are also heavily using.
However PON technology does allow mass fibre access to be commercially viable and achievable as well as affordable for consumers and small businesses - at the cost of absolute performance - and so is a real benefit overall…

However the consumer marketing of fibre ‘speeds’ has become a bit like, in my opinion, the marketing of portable stereo tape player soundnesses from the late 70s’early 80s with their Peak Music Output watts… its not really that meaningful as a guide to quality other than for marketing and certain so called bandwidth ‘speed’ testers.

Non PON type fibre or non contended access fibre systems use private fibre accesses - and these can be 10 times or more expensive to run and expensive to install, but the benefit is they are not meaningfully contended, and are generally more reliable - usually only medium or large size businesses, or large local government/schools/hospitals/police stations buildings use such accesses

Although there is in theory contention on FTTC as well - in my experience it is less severe as the effects are averaged out over a larger number of connections, and your limiting factor becomes the xDSL sync speed.

There is a myth in my opinion that fibre PON is a lot more reliable that xDSL. Not in my experience both can be frustrating when there are issues or faults in the infrastructure - but if there is no inherent issue in the the distribution network then I would say both are effectively as reliable as each other. The key thing with fibre is that the link rate is constant and not determined by the distance to the cabinet.

So in short if you are happy with your current xDSL service there is probably not much if any real world benefit to change unless you have specific uses that are data heavy - such as duplicating / syncing very large NAS systems over the internet access as quickly as possible, or regular realtime editing / transferring of very large files in near real time over the internet.

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Indicative of bottle necks further down perhaps. Our office system used to be, ISTR, a 250meg service which used to give, in reality, c. 100meg. We went for the full 1gig service and, guess what!, it’s still 100meg. Apparently our provider says that’s within spec so tough (and we’re in a monopoly location so that’s our only choice - you can probably guess where).

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The most basic BT package at £29.99/month gives 65Mbps minimum. The discs now add nearly £15/month so I have just ordered 2 from BT Shop via Amazon for £184. Always been content with BT and they are adding extra Antivirus. Free 100Mbps when it becomes available.


Hi, yes FullFibre PON is a locally contended fibre network service service, it effectively is a point to multipoint type network - it uses statistical shared bandwidth and passive optical splitters so many users/ONTs share a single fibre source (OLT)… your link speed can differ from your actual throughputs quite at certain times of the day or when neighbours are on the same PON are also heavily using it. However the plus point is that it is a very cheap way of getting fibre access.

However in regular normal use - this is unlikely to be noticeable unless you really need high bandwidth or you are looking for it.

With regard to your VPN - you might find your router or whatever you are terminating the VPN with is the limiting factor


A very naive question: what is “full” fibre? If the last 20 metres are coaxial, I suppose that does not count as “full fibre”? I’m only asking because that is one of the options I’ve been offered.

Where I am for nominally 80Mbps or thereabouts, fibre is a lot more expensive than copper, so doesn’t interest me - however copper rarely achieves anything like, 40 being more common, sometimes 20 or less, by when it starts to choke. Maybe fibre achieves closer to its claimed speed…. Certainly my sons, as gamers and film streamers, want me to sign up for fibre - I’m just not convinced it is worth the extra cost.

Meanwhile, to those who have it, what is involved at the house end? Presumably some sort of box that they install (how much choice do you have as to where and how it us routed, mindful of insulation and draughtsealing?). Does that replace or otherwise have to be close to the main router & wifi access point?

TT offered me Fibre to the house for Free. I’m mid contract, so presumably they have some sort of quotas to fill, and want to pick off the easy ones.

Anyway, was fitted yesterday, but too early to comment if better or worse, as the speed which was 70Mbps before currently wavers from 74Mb to 35Mb - presumably thats part of their early installation testing, and should settle down soon. Surprisingly the Fibre-Hub cable that was supplied was just Cat5e. I wonder if that’s because it fits in the delivery box better as it’s more flexible. Anyway, I used a Cat6 cable I had.

One minor downside is another device that needs powering up, which I haven’t yet had the chance to test its power usage.

Hi Simon. One of the main selling points of Bell Canada’s fibre marketing is single user connection, so, as far as I know (which isn’t all that far …), I’m not on a shared line.
The connection seems very stable and the speed doesn’t seem to fluctuate, but I’m quite positive as you suggest, that I have far more speed/bandwidth than I require. One thing I noticed immediately tho after switching to fibre, is that the upload speed is the same as the download speed. Appaently this is good for gamers, which I am not.

And your thoughts that the router is most likely the limiting factor regarding the fixed speed with the VPN on, sounds right as well.
Thank you for demystifying some of these technical issues that we come across.

Hi… don’t get me wrong, with PON FTTH or Full-Fibre networks, each user has their own ONT (therefore physical network broadband connection) , but the connected head end fibre, OLT, is shared with other users via optical splitters at various points down to the user’s ONT network connection. This is done by carving up slices of time like time division multiplexing. So as far as the user is concerned it’s a single line, however the specific head end fibre capacity at the exchange is shared both on the up and down stream flows… and this time splitting is usually regularly assessed upto many times a second to ensure the network adapts reliably to the current load requirements from the users… kind of (very approximate) like how the channel is split up on wifi. The degree of over subscription on the up and possibly even the down flows will be a carrier implementation decision… and it will be this that drives the variability, but as I say it is unlikely in regular use to be that noticeable if at all for real applications, especially ones designed to run over the internet.

Somewhere in the engineering description (not the consumer marketing description ) your network will be likely described as something like GPON or XG(S)-PON or possibly even 10G-EPON network standards, sort of depending on OLT bandwidth… and I see Bell Canada has been trialling 25G PON networking.

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FTTP brings reliability. Not having to rely on a noisy 22mb copper connection was the main reason I moved to 500mb full fibre. That said, a 300mb or even a 100mb service would almost certainly be adequate for me. I would probably think differently if I had a short cabinet to premises copper line but there is no way I would ever go back.

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Yes, 22Mbps on a VDSL twisted pair connection is not optimal (FTTC fibre), you are too far from the fibre cabinet or have some other issue… from a planning perspective in the UK 30 Mbps has often been used as the lower optimum limit for VDSL… so for your case PON fibre (FTTH, FTTP, full-fibre etc) will be especially ideal

Even 22Mbps sounds stratospheric to me. We ‘enjoy’ a stunning 4.2Mbps with little prospect of fibre for years. Openreach technicians did visit a year or so ago and were unable to locate the junction box in our hamlet, so declared that we’d be pushed to the back of the queue.

At least I can stream Qobuz at 24/96.

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