back to article 'Fibre broadband' should mean glass wires poking into your router, reckons Brit survey

Most Brits think ads for “fibre” broadband ought to mean “fibre to the premises” and not “fibre to the cabinet”, according to a survey sponsored by a FTTP company. Two-thirds of 3,400 Britons surveyed by a company called Censuswide, on behalf of Cityfibre, said they think the word “fibre” in ads for broadband connections …

  1. Gerhard Mack

    Same in Canada

    Here we have "Bell Fibe" which usually means fiber to somewhere and could mean 25 mbps max.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Same in Canada

    >Here we have "Bell Fibre" which usually means fiber to somewhere and could mean 25 mbps max.

    Here in the UK we have "Bell Wire", it's what BT string to your house from the fibre cabinet. Fibre should mean fibre to the door as it's more resilient and fit for purpose than crappy old rotten bell wires which are prone to all sorts of faults and interference.

  3. Alistair Silver badge

    Re: Same in Canada


    the CRTC had to take to court to get the "r" removed from that word in their ads. I still had twats from bell showing up on the street insisting that if I switched from my current DSL provider to Bell I would get "fiber" service. I keep pointing out that it is in no way fibre when I have UTP cable coming in the house. (and at the time the local "cabinet" wasn't even on a fibre pipe).

    They get even more pissed off when I point out frequency capability of UTP vs cable.

  4. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    Re: Same in Canada

    " wires poking into your router..."

    My Bell Fibe (formerly known as Aliant FibreOP in Nova Scotia and elsewhere) ISP connection has the glass fiber poking into the house, then into the wee feisty Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which is mounted to the basement panel, about 30 cm from the first of several routers and switches. The first link between the ONT and Router are connected with Gb Ethernet, which "...should be enough for anyone."

    We presently subscribe to 300 Mbps service. Gb is available upon request, but they charge more per month.

    Because we have telephone poles (as opposed to cabinets on the ground) in our semi-rural suburban sprawl neighbourhood, the circa-2014 installation of the last 150m segment from the pole to the basement required them less than two hours. We blinked and missed it, found the cable dangling beside the house. Inside work, another two hours. Even stringing up 'the last mile' to service a dozen houses required them only about a day. Not really a big deal, given telephone poles. Advantage suburban sprawl.

    The reason that the telephone company decided to actually do this, was that they can now offer television service (as well as telephone and Internet), the Triple Play money spinner. The television service requires a dedicated ~25 Mbps connection, set aside from the Internet 'bandwidth'.


  5. ratfox Silver badge

    Re: Same in Canada

    They advertise fiber, but actually that's a fib.

  6. CommanderGalaxian

    Re: Same in Canada

    The whole "last few hundred yards" statement that BT Openreach & the ISPs trot out is also misleading. The nearest cabinet here is about 0.7 to 0.8 miles away. 1200 yards is not "the last few hundred".

  7. LDS Silver badge

    Re: Same in Canada

    Yesterday in Italy the Communication Authority ruled that only FTTB/FTTH can be advertised as "fibre". Other types must be advertised as "mixed copper" or "mixed wireless"..

    Let's see how much and how long the telcos will try to ignore the ruling...

  8. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Re: Same in Canada

    "Yesterday in Italy the Communication Authority ruled "

    Until it's upheld in court, it's not binding across the EU.

    You can expect that to be fought tooth and nail by telcos across the continent.

  9. K Silver badge

    Re: Same in Canada

    And we all know the EU is no good.. I mean what benefits have they brought (sarcasm)

    Now we have Brexit, we can breathe a sign of relief, that all the marketing "white lies" will continue.. and the uneducated masses will keep believing! (But I got a happy-gooey feeling, when I realised they're probably the same folks morons that voted for it in the first place!)

  10. NBCanuck

    Re: Same in Canada

    I have a fiber service in Atlantic Canada (BellAlliant) and I have fiber to the premises - I know because I can see it coming into the house. They have Good, Better, and Best services. I am on Better and have 300Mbps up and down. I have tested and the promised rates are accurate.

  11. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    Re: Same in Canada

    NBCanuck related his experience, "Bell Aliant (FibreOP) promised rates are accurate."

    Yep. And to give credit where credit is due, their back-end network seems to be pretty good. It's not just fast to the nearest server, but actually fast in real life too.

    It would not be uncommon for our household to be streaming three HD videos and two on-line gamers playing, all at the same time. No issues.

  12. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    Re: Same in Canada

    Here in the UK we have "Bell Wire", it's what BT string to your house from the fibre cabinet

    Not on any new connection in the last decade or two we haven't. The old grey twin coper-covered-steel cable hasn't been used for new installs for quite a few years now, current installs will use a round black cable containing (typically) two off twisted pairs and three off glass fibre tensile strength members.

    I still agree with the result of the survey though - it's a complete flipping lie that the ISPs deliberately use to confuse the technically ill-educated masses.

  13. toffer99

    Re: Same in Canada

    I can't wait to have CCTK. What's that? Chlorinated Chicken to the Kitchen.

  14. aqk
    Big Brother

    Re: Same in Canada- plus ça change, eh?


    I live in a RURAL area, less than 60 miles from Montreal. Around 2000-2001, all kinds of fibre was strung on the poles in our neighbourhood. The 21st CENTURY WAS HERE! But then Northern Telecomm went belly-up, John Roth took his big gazillion-dollar retirement package, and all this fibre has now remained dark for the lastt 18 years and counting...

    It mostly ends in refrigerator-sized CO boxes (one is about 1.5 KM from me) and the last 200 M of buried copper is fit only for voice telephones.

    What a shame.

    I'd love to show you my but it was repossessed. All I have left to rail against Bell is an old (2008) FIBE 0.037 DIATRIBE.

    Bah! Nothing, NOTHING has improved since then.

    Now I rely upon a geo-stationary satellite 38,000 Km away for both my internet AND telephone. The only thing that Bell seems to be interested in is cell-phones, and from celltowers, they charge insane amounts of $$ for a few Megabits of monthly HTTP.

    Fuck Bell.

  15. LenG

    Not copper. I'd love copper. My connection to the cabinet is aluminium.

  16. Dwarf Silver badge

    Broken aluminium oxide wires

    They will replace it with a copper cable if you keep pestering them, my parents had the same and eventually, after a couple of years of constant faults being reported, they decided to replace the wire. Its been in for a couple of years now with no problems since the replacement. You just need to stick to your guns.

  17. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Aluminium? Luxury! We used to dream of this.

  18. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Two tins and some wet string? Luxury! when I got my first BT connection is was this - you don't know how lucky you are.

  19. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Re Not copper. I'd love copper.

    So do the local scavengers. Less troublesome to saw through than electric distribution cables. And this is the other problem with copper, it has intrinsic value.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not copper. I'd love copper. My connection to the cabinet is aluminium.

    I'd love aluminum! All I have here in west Texas is barbed wire.

    Granted, I'm used to Arcnet to the ISP and would have buy additional hardware for anything faster.

  21. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Re: Re Not copper. I'd love copper.

    "this is the other problem with copper, it has intrinsic value."

    Which should be "encouraging" the telcos to switch to fibre.

  22. Flywheel Silver badge

    Bl00dy Southerners! We're so poor in't North that we just shout out each other from t'tops of t'moors! on a good day our Selwyn can whistle to t'next dale at over 1200 baud. Champion!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re Not copper. I'd love copper.

    One might hope so, but they prefer to convenience of copper anyone can deal with easily and cheaply, fibre skills and equipment are rather more expensive, for the last links. As the Academics on the patent application approval committee said to Sir David (long before he got the Sir) "no you can't patent the in-fibre amplifier, coppers been fine for years, what makes you think anyone's ever going to want to use your invention?" How many millions of lost Patent income...

  24. Anonymous Coward

    The current law is silly. Unless it's FTTP, it should not be advertised as such, In practice there's very little difference with FTTC and ADSL2 based on the few connections I had in the UK.

    Currently I have 1Gb (real) fibre here in New Zealand.

    Fibre with last mile copper (hybrid), why not call it fi-brid, and by law allow only call FTTP called fibre.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A mix?

    Like all bran, with fibre and rice pops n honey flavouring. ;)

  26. AndrueC Silver badge

    In practice there's very little difference with FTTC and ADSL2 based on the few connections I had in the UK.

    You apparently didn't try many connections then. Most people are seeing at least a tripling of their speed and noticeable improvements in reliability. I, for instance, went from an 11/1.8Mbps ADSL2+ connection that dropped maybe once a month to a 67/18Mbs connection that drops only if/when the DSLAM decides to adjust something which happens maybe once or twice a year in the early hours of the morning.

    Of course as I've posted elsewhere one person's experience doesn't count for much but since rolling out FTTC the UK's average speed has risen from around 6Mb/s to around 30Mb/s. Quite why you didn't see much difference is hard to say but one possibility is that the UK buys connectivity on price. Possibly the people you stayed with were typical tight wads and bought the cheapest package they could.

    There's an interesting article here that suggests if people in the UK bought the best package available to them we'd actually be in the top 3 countries for 'average speed' with number one a possibility in a couple of years.

  27. AndrueC Silver badge

    The current law is silly.

    No, it isn't, because it's not a law. It's just one of the rules that companies voluntarily follow in order to avoid getting a public slapping. The ASA has limited powers to enforce these things. In theory it can go crying to Ofcom in this case but I don't know if it ever actually has done or if Ofcom will even care.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Currently I have 1Gb (real) fibre here in New Zealand.

    So in about ten minutes you could exhaust the entire monthly movie output of Hollywood. That'll be useful, particularly if you can watch it as fast as you can download it.

  29. Real Ale is Best

    > In practice there's very little difference with FTTC and ADSL2

    My connection improved from a flakey 4 Mbit/s to 62 Mbit/s.

    I'd say that was a fair improvement, but then we are a fair distance from the exchange.

  30. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge


    If you had fiber to the box, then told the consumer that they had to spend extra $$$$ for no difference in terms of performance... how do you think that they would feel?

    If you're talking copper for the last 100 yrds or less, its not the same as if you had copper for the last mile.

    So if you live in an apartment and had fiber to the building but then its muxed out via copper... is that really a bad thing?

    Yes, I'm the guy who 20 years ago had a pair of fibre cables pulled from my unit to the telco closet / room so that I could put fiber in some day when FIOS came around. So even if its in my neighborhood, since my building doesn't have it... I can't get it. Its the 200-300 feet under ground within a pipe that is missing, but you can't tell the phone critters that.

  31. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    @Snarky AC

    So in about ten minutes you could exhaust the entire monthly movie output of Hollywood. That'll be useful, particularly if you can watch it as fast as you can download it.

    Believe it or not there are use cases for fast fibre, albeit not for everyone. I have 300/30Mbps FTTP. I recently had to shift a number of 1GB+ MySQL backups between office and various servers. Took minutes. ADSL had taken 7hrs to upload 1GB of videos!

  32. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "You apparently didn't try many connections then."

    There's "speed" and there's "latency" - there's fuckall difference in the latency between ADSL2 and VDSL, mainly because it's just a shitload more 8kHz 32/64QAM carriers stacked out to 17 or 33MHz from the 8MHz limit of ADSL

    Latency is dictated by the baud rate - and the baud rate of a high symbol-per-shift carrier like 64QAM is LOW (as low as an old fashioned 1200bps modem)

    _You_ might not see that when you're streaming your kitty porn but it shows up in spades on video conferencing or when playing online games.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In UK suburbia I went from <1Mbps on ADSL2 (new build area of town resulting in a seriously round-the-houses copper connection to BT exchange, 2.5 miles away as the crow flies) to 80Mbps line speed as soon as my local cabinet went to FTTC. I was the second line installed. Speed has dropped since as more people have got in on the action.

    That was a significant upgrade.

  34. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

    ACNZ, I signed up for Vodafone's "FibreX". I didn't cotton on to the fact that it was HFC until they came to "install" it: by swapping my old 100Mbs cable modem for a 800Mbs cable modem. But as the speeds are as-promised, I am happy enough.

    I would never be happy to sign up for HFCu...

  35. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

    "There's an interesting article here that suggests if people in the UK bought the best package available to them we'd actually be in the top 3 countries for 'average speed' with number one a possibility in a couple of years."

    So what you're saying is: if my Scots cousins weren't part of the UK, the average UK speed would be much higher?

    I'll get me Gents Joey Scotland Jacket...

  36. AlbertH
    Thumb Down

    The sad truth of the UK situation...

    Virgin Media still claim that the ratty old bit of cheap coax run into their subscriber's houses is "fibre". When called out on this they get all defensive and claim that the "fibre's terminated in the junction box on the side of your house".....

    The reality of these "high speed" services is appalling - contention ruins data rates during periods of higher usage, return path speeds are typically only 3% of the downlink speed, and downtime is as high as 25%. They actually have the temerity to charge some of the highest prices in the world for this garbage!

    BT can't provide anything better than their flaky VDSL to the home, since their city and town infrastructure often dates back to Victorian times. Their pricing strategy is interesting too - a headline price of "just" £20 per month for the first year than >£60 per month thereafter! They try to sneak the price increase into the smallest possible print at the bottom of their literature, and hope that their sucker customers won't notice the massive price change if they're on Direct Debit.....

    My service in Singapore is genuine FTTP at 2 Gb/s for ~$4 US per month. The prices that are being charged in the UK should be able to pay for laying real fibre throughout the country. Unfortunately, the UK government is entirely toothless when it comes to dealing with business.

  37. AlbertH

    OFCOM are in the pockets of the service providers. They're entirely useless in every way - a bunch of oxygen thieves. Just another UK Quango set up by Blair's "government" to appease the "stupid electorate" (Blair's words).

  38. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Should really be advertised as it is...

    ...whether that is "FTTP and FTTC" or "hybrid fiber"

    The average consumer doesn't care about what the back-haul is built from or how it works. They care about the service they can get.

    I'd argue that providing accurate bandwidth estimations should be enough, but the homeowner is also concerned about their direct connection, as that is what can limit upgrades in the future (that they have to care about)

  39. ibmalone Silver badge

    Re: Should really be advertised as it is...

    When I signed up for a "fibre" contract I was never unclear that what I was getting was FTTC, and it was much better than the available ADSL (supposedly up to 12-18Mbps I think, actually lucky to get 2Mbps and frequent outages). It was also apparent that we were basically capped to the advertised speed (35Mbps), and that local FTTP providers weren't bothered about us. Now I'm on Virgin FTTP in a different location and speed is not noticeably better, reliability is a little worse. Not really bothered what technology is used so long as it's fast and robust.

    The only downside is Openreach's make-work disconnection fee, where if you have to cancel such a contract they claim they must send someone out to disconnect it and charge you for it.

  40. CommanderGalaxian

    Re: Should really be advertised as it is...

    There is a fundamental unfairness though - people buy the same service, get charged the same price, but those living close to the cabinet get much faster speeds than those living further from it.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Should really be advertised as it is...

    And when we have true fibre services how do you differentiate them?

    Ironically, with copper networks you cannot give accurate estimations. With true fibre you can.

  42. JimC Silver badge

    Is it important?

    As longs as the final run is short enough (yards, not miles) that its not significantly impacting performance does it really matter? It smacks a bit of box ticking to me.

  43. TRT Silver badge

    Re: Is it important?

    Does if you're buying your own modem / router.

  44. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Re: Is it important?

    Point is with FTTP there is no practical bandwidth limit on the infrastructure: change the end point transceivers (assuming enough backbone capacity) and you can get 1GB or possibly 10GB symmetric speeds. At least and order or more of magnitude faster than last-run over copper.

  45. Remy Redert

    Re: Is it important?

    I have an FTTC atm. I'm about 150 meters of cable from said cabinet and easily make 100mbit/s.

    My neighbors have FTTP (our house is also set up for it). They manage 500mbit/s and there are plans to go to 1gbit/s.

    I'd call a factor 5 going up to 10 with the possibility of future upgrades all the way to tens of gigabits a pretty significant difference.

  46. Phil W Silver badge

    Re: Is it important?

    "As longs as the final run is short enough (yards, not miles) that its not significantly impacting performance"

    Sure but unless that final run is shielded Cat5 or better, which it isn't, it WILL be impacting performance. It may not be by very much if you live within spitting distance of the local cabinet, but it could be by a lot, especially if the cabinet is nearby but the cable takes a rather circuitous route to get there.

    For example my nearest cabinet is on the corner of the street only 3 houses away, but the cable goes overhead to a pole on the other side of street then underground to get back across to the cabinet, making the run more than 3 times longer than it otherwise might be.

    As a result for BT's Superfast Fibre package that can provide up to 50Mb the estimated speed for my address is 33Mb, only two thirds of the maximum.

    If BT's Superfast Fibre was actually Fibre all the way to my house, I would get the absolute maximum the equipment on each end of the cable could support.

  47. Commswonk Silver badge

    Re: Is it important?

    @ TRT: Does if you're buying your own modem / router.

    Yes, but... realistically how many broadband consumers do buy their own? I suspect that as a percentage of the total the number is quite small.

  48. Halcin

    Re: Is it important?

    Yes! This is yet another example of the reprehensible behavior of marketing skum. It is not acceptable to confuse, bamboozle, trick people into buying one thing by insinuating it's another.

  49. Fatman

    Re: Is it important?

    <quote>As longs as the final run is short enough</quote>

    Maybe not for you, but with anything but a fiber connection at your premises, you are stuck with the realities of copper. And that is throughput, both to yourself, and anyone else sharing your "connection"

    With phone lines there are the limitations of DSL and its variants; your connection usually ends up at a DSLAM along with anyone else served by the cabinet. And you have to deal with the telco's backhaul.

    With coax, DOCSIS has limitations on the number of upload and download channels. Subscribers on a single cable run share the available upload and download frequencies. Somewhere, those data channels get pulled out, and routed in a functional equivalent to a DSLAM. Where that is done is up to the cable operator. If you are on a strictly cale plant, then it is most likely done at the cable operator's head end. If you have a HFC (hybrid fiber-coax) network, then it is out at some cabinet, and at the end of a fiber line coming from the operators head.

    Even with satellite there are speed limitations.

    The beauty of FTTP (fiber to the premises) is that those limitations are much higher, and in the right circumstances, your link may go all of the way back to the operator's head. How many home users have the traffic to saturate a 1Gps link?

  50. Korev Silver badge

    Re: Is it important?

    you can get 1GB or possibly 10GB symmetric speeds

    You can get 10Gb connections in Switzerland now. I have no idea how the typical household would be able to consume that bandwidth though.


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