Fibre optic broadband - or fibre - is delivered to your home using fibre-optic cables.
How does fibre broadband work?
Fibre optic broadband uses glass or plastic cables, which are run underground. Fibre-to the-Home (FTTH)/ Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband is the fastest type of fibre connection as it delivers fibre directly into your home. Speeds of up to 1,000Mbps are now available in Ireland through FTTH/FTTP.
Meanwhile, Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) is more common throughout Ireland - this means the fibre connection is delivered to your nearest cabinet or exchange, and the connection to your home is brought from there by older copper cables. This type of broadband can still offer speeds up to 360Mbps - through Virgin Media - but the actual speed you get will depend on your distance from the exchange.
Fibre Broadband Providers in Ireland
Fibre broadband is available from many providers, such as:
The fastest broadband package available on the Irish market now has speeds up to 1,000Mbps. However, fibre connections with speeds of up to 100Mbps are much more commonly available, through providers like eir, Sky and Vodafone.
Why choose fibre broadband?
The main advantages of cable broadband include:
- You can download movies in minutes.
- Lag shouldn’t be an issue when you’re playing games online.
- It’s ideal for large households, where multiple devices are connected to the internet.
- Working from home, and downloading large files, will be much easier.
- It is the best type of broadband for streaming content, like Netflix, NOW TV, or Spotify.
- You’ll get great reception for video or WiFi calls.
Do I need superfast broadband?
Obviously, superfast broadband is getting to become more of a necessity, as more and more of our activity becomes dependent on reliable internet. It might be especially useful if:
- You live in a large household with multiple internet users.
- You play a lot of online games, which require decent internet.
- You stream content in HD via the likes of Netflix or NOW TV.
- You need to download large files.
Is fibre broadband available nationwide? Is it in my area?
Fibre broadband isn’t available in all areas of the country at the moment, but the likes of SIRO, eir, enet and Virgin Media are continually working to roll out superfast speeds, so it is coming to more towns all the time.
Try comparing broadband deals in your area to see whether or not you can access fibre plans, and keep an eye on rollouts to see what they may be coming to your town.
Alternatives to fibre broadband
If fibre broadband is not currently available in your area, there are some good alternatives:
- ADSL broadband provides a reliable connection, with speeds up to 24Mbps, via your phone line.
- Satellite broadband, which is set up in a household through the installation of a satellite dish; and
- Mobile Broadband, which provides internet access through a mobile phone signal via mobile dongles and 4G SIMs.
How do I compare fibre broadband deals?
When you’re comparing fibre broadband deals, often price will be the most important factor. Fibre broadband can be more expensive than older forms of broadband technology, but the connection will be much more reliable, which can be invaluable if you’re dependent on it.
Speed is generally considered the next most important factor when comparing broadband plans. Remember, providers advertise ‘up to’ speeds, and the actual speed you get will depend on whether or not you have a FTTH or FTTC connection, and - if you have FTTC - your distance from the exchange.
You should also consider the contract length, and whether or not you want to bundle the broadband with other services, like home phone or TV.
Can I add TV or home phone to my fibre broadband plan?
Yes, it’s possible to bundle your fibre with home phone, TV, or both. Usually, if you do require more than one service, it will work out cheaper to get them all in one package from the same provider.
- If you want to get a TV and broadband package, there are 4 main providers in the Irish market. The Mix 240 plan from Virgin Media is the cheapest package on the market at the moment.
- Meanwhile, if you just want to bundle broadband and phone, Sky offers the cheapest plan.
- You can also bundle all three in a broadband, TV and phone package. The cheapest triple-play bundle on the market is the Mix 240 plan from Virgin Media, which costs €49 for the first 12 months, and €89 thereafter.
How fast is fibre broadband?
The fastest fibre plans in Ireland at the moment go up to a whopping 1,000Mbps - or 1GB - which is known as ‘lightning speed’. However, speeds of up to 100Mbps are more widely available from many providers, and Virgin Media offer speeds up to 360Mbps through their own network.
Can I get fibre broadband without a phone line?
Fibre broadband is not reliant on phone lines, so you won’t need one installed in order to get fibre installed in your home.