What is Full Fibre? How does it works & how much does it cost?


What is Full Fibre?

Fibre-optic networks have been around for quite some time now, so what’s the deal with Full Fibre?

As I’m sure you know, fibre-optic cables are far superior to traditional copper wires; they send data using light instead of electrical signals. But what you may not know is that your Fibre Broadband connection hasn’t entirely been fibre-optic, until now. They kept that quiet didn’t they!

You’ve probably noticed the mysterious green cabinets in the street, sometimes there’s a guy poking around in them, that’s where the fibre-optic cables meet your copper phone line wires attached to your home.

And that’s as far as the fibre cables made it when they were first installed (all the way from internet-land). The internet still had to reach your home from that cabinet, and for that they decided to use two plastic cups and a piece of string (Just kidding, I like copper wires!).

It’s like racing across the world in a hyper sonic jet to make it in time for Sunday dinner at your mother’s house, only then to find that her house is surrounded by a lake of piranhas and sentient gun turrets. Not cool. Those copper wires really slowed things down for Fibre-Optic.

So a little unknown company called Hyperoptic, you probably still don’t know them, back in 2011 said: (probably word for word) ‘screw that green cabinet, we’ll just drill a hole into your flat and plug the fibre-optic cable straight in!’. Then a small area in London got to experience symmetrical Gigabit download and upload speeds, the first time we saw a pure fibre-optic internet connection in the real world.

Today, we call it Full-Fibre and it’s gone mainstream. The race is on to get involved, and all of our network providers are desperately rummaging through our pavement to find those pesky copper wires and throw them away. The thing is, Full Fibre is cruising at 1Gbps; Where it goes from there is a choice I leave to you… Not really, that’s a quote from The Matrix.

Full Fibre availabiltiy

Is Full Fibre in my area?

Full Fibre coverage is rapidly growing in the UK, we are currently at about 57% of UK homes connected up according to Ofcom. So you’ve got a pretty good chance of getting it right now. Here we have a list of our top Full Fibre providers we recommend to our readers.

Compare Full Fibre Prices

Before we look at individual providers, here’s a round up of this weeks best prices and rewards. There deals are based on providers fastest services. They are also slower and cheaper Full Fibre products which are shown once you have checked availability…

Hyperoptic

900Mb
£19 set-up
3 months free then £36 p/m

Virgin Media Full Fibre
1130Mb
£0 set-up
£45 p/m

Sky Full Fibre GigafastFREE £90 Voucher

900Mb
£0 set-up
£42 p/m (was £48)

BT Full Fibre

900Mb
£31.99 set-up
£59.99 p/m

EE Full Fibre

900Mb
£31.99 set-up
£59.99 p/m

Plusnet Full Fibre

900Mb
£0 set-up
£44.99 p/m

Unless otherwise stated, prices may change during minimum term

Hyperoptic Full Fibre Broadband

Hyperoptic Logo

Currently, our buddies Hyperoptic have reached about 1 million homes with their own alternative-network. They’ve focused on working with residential apartment buildings in major cities, so you’ll rarely see the network outside of that. Hyperoptic is like a unicorn, if you can find it, you should get on it. Check Hyperoptic’s Full Fibre availability »

Virgin Media Full Fibre Broadband

Virgin Media Logo

Virgin’s Full Fibre has only reached about 1 million homes right now, but here’s the thing: Their Fibre network does Full Fibre speeds anyway. You can get Gigabit speeds on Virgin’s standard Fibre network which reaches about 16 million homes today, making them the fastest most widely available Fibre broadband service. Check Virgin Media Full Fibre availability »

The Openreach Network

Openreach Logo

Openreach is the largest Full Fibre network in the UK, reaching 10 million homes as of 2024 and growing. And you’re in luck because pretty much all major brands use Openreach to deliver their services. We’ll list a few here:

EE Full Fibre Broadband

EE Logo

EE are racing ahead of the game with their 1.6Gbps Full Fibre speed. Targeting gamers and busy professionals, they have plenty of exciting new features to make the most of the new technology. Check Full Fibre from EE availability »

BT Full Fibre Broadband

BT Logo

BT are trying to take a backseat in the consumer broadband arena, they’re focussing on business broadband instead. If you go on their website BT are pointing us regular folks away, towards EE Home broadband – as they’ve had a large hand in that as well. They’ll have to try a bit harder though, because BT Home broadband is still very good and us consumers still want it. Check BT Full Fibre availability »

Sky Full Fibre Broadband

Sky Logo

If you want to be entertained look no further than Sky. They’ve got the best TV bundles out there, plenty of new toys to play with and their Home broadband is pretty good too. Everyone is raving about Sky’s top customer service so if you want a hassle free package deal have a real good look at what Sky has to offer. Read our full Sky Fibre Review. Check Sky Full Fibre availability »

How does Full Fibre Work?

So for quite a while now fibre-optic has been reaching only as far as the green cabinet in the street from your local exchange. Having fibre optic do this route from the exchange to our street drastically increased internet speed when it first came on the scene, but there was still room for improvement, a lot of improvement.

Full Fibre diagram

Now the networks are in the process of getting every home connected to the exchange via fibre optic which is a monumental task, something that hasn’t been feasible or even a need for until now. Technology has come a long way since fibre optic first arrived and now there is a need for the kind of internet speeds pure fibre optic cable allows, so Full-Fibre is the mission ahead.

The streets are very busy with Openreach and Virgin Media logo’s flying around every corner, some are apologetic knowing full well the enormous task ahead to dig up the street. It is going to disturb the area but, it’s the future of the internet. And once the fibre optic is installed, that’s it. There is no other better technology to transfer data, what is faster than lightspeed? So, this probably won’t happen again for the rest of our lives.

Are our landlines being removed?

In a word, yes. Those copper wires couldn’t have been removed back in the day because that’s your landline, but today, Fibre has reached 99% of properties in the UK and almost everyone has a mobile phone so the case for leaving the old telephone system behind is a strong one. Some of the time fibre-optic cable will be put alongside the copper wires to your home but in a lot of cases, if you get Full-Fibre installed the copper wires may be removed to make room for the fibre leaving you without a landline. But that is beside the point, as the analogue telephone system will soon be switched off anyway.

Full Fibre telephone

Everyone has a mobile phone these days, but some people want to keep their landline and they still use it. They also don’t want to depend on a broadband connection for their home phone to work. Broadband goes down sometimes and if you need to call the emergency services, this is just one more worry people don’t need (It’s worth noting here though that the reliability of Full Fibre far exceeds any previous broadband technology). And I agree that if you are not into mobile phones, that a good old fashioned dial tone is and always has been very reliable and should not be removed to make way for Fibre-Optic. Why not keep both?

One thing is for certain though that Full Fibre providers won’t include a landline in the package anymore because it’s just not the same technology. The service you will be paying for will not use copper wires at all, even if they are still there or not. The landline will instead be replaced with a digital home phone which is purely broadband internet powered, but like I said before, that is at the mercy of your broadband connection.

To keep your landline you will have to continue to pay for the service from another provider alongside your Full Fibre network provider. If that’s BT you’ll be able to keep your landline in the same deal, but if you get Full Fibre from anyone else you’ll have to make sure you’re still paying for the landline service from your original provider if you want to keep it, but it won’t be for long.

BT Telephone System will be switched off by the end of 2025

It is very much important to mention that by the end of 2025, BT and Openreach will have switched off the analogue telephone system altogether in the UK and (at least) they won’t be providing the service anymore. It will be an emotional moment I’m sure, the telephone system has been a very big part of the lives of us that are in our 30’s and above and of course more so for older generations. But it’s not just nostalgia, it’s a stable technology that still works very well today, even in a power cut. Hopefully there might be some sort of way to revive what is left of the system in the future.

Preparing for a Digital Phone VS Mobile Phone

Your transition to a digital phone doesn’t have to be a complicated one, you can still keep your old original phone handset and your old phone number, the only difference will be that instead of plugging the phone into the socket on the wall, you’ll plug it into your internet router instead. All you will need is a Digital Voice Service from your internet provider.

However, if the power goes down or you lose internet connection, a moment when you might really need a phone, your digital home phone will not work. So we recommend having a fully charged mobile phone on hand in case of emergencies, leading me to the very simple conclusion that the digital home phone will become nothing more than a beeping and flashing ornament in your home, with no real practical use if you’ve got a mobile phone – so why bother?

The future of the Internet

Full Fibre future

At the moment Full-Fibre is overkill for most users, but there will be a time in the future when it makes sense. We needed a little more pep in our motors, but Full Fibre has given us the supersonic world land speed record with two flaming jet engines on the side. It’s a bit much.

Fibre-optic is way ahead of its time, the full potential of Full Fibre is actually unknown and is still being discovered by the leading networks. Virgin Media have mentioned some numbers on their website that I’m not even going to repeat here because they are just mind boggling. Put it this way: once Full Fibre is fully installed, the term ‘future ready’ won’t really cut it. We will enter into science fiction-turned-fact.

I enjoy writing about technology because I actually find the whole thing pretty nuts. The major networks are very blasé when telling us about their crazy experiments, but I like to keep it real: This is a little bit bonkers!

This weeks Full Fibre prices

To conclude, here’s another rundown of current pricing and some exclusive offers:

Hyperoptic

900Mb
£19 set-up
3 months free then £36 p/m

Virgin Media Full Fibre
1130Mb
£0 set-up
£45 p/m

Sky Full Fibre GigafastFREE £90 Voucher

900Mb
£0 set-up
£42 p/m (was £48)

BT Full Fibre

900Mb
£31.99 set-up
£59.99 p/m

EE Full Fibre

900Mb
£31.99 set-up
£59.99 p/m

Plusnet Full Fibre

900Mb
£0 set-up
£44.99 p/m

Unless otherwise stated, prices may change during minimum term

 Please note: The information provided in this review is correct at the time of writing. Always read the terms and conditions of any service before you subscribe. Products, services, offers and pricing are subject to change by providers without notice. Although we endeavour to keep all our publications up-to-date, we are not responsible for 3rd party changes. Our reviews and ratings are based on current market evaluations, regulator reports and a comparison of services across UK providers. 

About the author
LinkedIn
Mark Cowley tech journalist

Introducing Mark – our review expert and exciting new addition to the team

left quote Drawing on his experience in the toy, game and tech industry as a concept designer, Mark reports candidly on what’s going on in the tech world today. Mark enjoys the great outdoors, traveling and music when he is not writing – but he mostly likes to do it all at the same time. right quote

Mark CowleyTech Journalist

Posted in reviews Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,