Fibre Broadband


What is Fibre Broadband?

Fibre Broadband or FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) is the first widespread fibre broadband product available in the UK. The technology uses a fibre optic cable between the exchange and your nearest street/pavement cabinet which enables much higher upload and download speeds. From the street cabinet, your line is still a traditional copper line, but since the broadband signal now only has to travel by copper from the street cabinet to your premises, the degradation of the signal which determines your broadband line speed is much less.

The distance from the telephone exchange no longer has such a major influence on your line speed. Instead, distance from the green street cabinet and the quality of the line between the cabinet and your property are now the main factors in determining how fast your line can go.

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Who can get Fibre Broadband?

Fibre Broadband is classed as “next-generation broadband” and is still being rolled out across the UK by BT Openreach.

You can only have Fibre Broadband from The Co-operative Business Telecoms when both your local exchange and street cabinet have been enabled. You can use this link to find if and when your exchange will be upgraded If Superfast Broadband is available in your area please call our Business Team on 01608 434 070 for more information.

  • There are some reasons why you may not be able to get Superfast Broadband, even though you live in a fibre optic broadband enabled area.
  • If you're connected directly to a telephone exchange, rather than via a green street cabinet
  • If your line is too far from your nearest green street cabinet to support a stable fibre optic broadband service
  • Work hasn't yet been done at your nearest green street cabinet
  • Your green street cabinet isn't suitable for fibre optic cabling

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How is the Fibre Broadband service installed?

Someone will need to be at your premises to allow a BT Openreach engineer onsite. The engineer will fit a new telephone master socket and connect a BT Openreach VDSL modem to it. The BT Openreach modem must be connected directly to your new master socket and will need to be within 1.5m of the master socket and close to a power-supply. Your router then needs to be connected to the BT Openreach modem with the included Ethernet cable. Your router will also need a power supply, so think carefully about where you want the new master socket and the BT Modem to be fitted.

If your master socket isn't in a convenient place (e.g. if there are no nearby power outlets), the engineer can fit a data extension cable. This will allow you to install the BT Openreach modem up to 30m away from your master socket. If required, the engineer can pin the cable to a skirting board and door frames but may not be able to drill holes in your walls or run it under carpets. It is strongly recommended that the modem is wall-mounted to prevent over-heating and, if you're going to use wireless, you'll get a better signal if you can place the router close to where you'll be using broadband the most.

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How long does a Fibre Broadband installation take?

You will be offered a choice of an AM or PM appointment. Typically the process can take up to an hour, but it can take up to 3 hours if you want the engineer to relocate the master socket. You will need to be at your premises for the engineering appointment. If the engineer is unable to make contact with you or access the premises, you will incur a Missed Appointment charge.

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Will I need new hardware for the Fibre service?

Yes. The engineer will provide you with a VDSL modem as part of the installation process. This BT Openreach modem must be connected directly to your new master socket and the engineer can move your master socket if this is more convenient for you. You will then need to connect a fibre router directly to the modem.

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Can I use my existing broadband router?

In many cases no, Superfast uses different technology so an ADSL2+ router will not work on the new service. There are some router models that have the capacity to support both standard broadband and Fibre but we advise you call us on 01608 434 070 to check your specific model. We can also provide you with a new router that can be pre-configured correctly for the service if your current hardware is not suitable.

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What speeds can I expect from the service?

Fibre Broadband can deliver speeds up to 79Mbps download and 20Mbps Upload depending on the package you take and your location. The line length from the cabinet to your premises and the quality of the line is still a significant factor in determining the actual speeds you can expect to receive.

Actual speeds experienced may vary significantly throughout the day and over time and factors affecting delivered speeds include:

  • Time of Day - the amount of Internet traffic varies throughout the day and at bust times, speeds may be reduced
  • Contention - as uptake of fibre broadband increases in a given exchange speeds may reduce over time
  • Interference
  • Wireless networking - speeds experienced on devices connected wirelessly can be significantly less than the speeds provided by the fibre broadband service. Always ensure that all devices connecting to the network support Wireless N rather than Wireless G.

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What might affect my Fibre Broadband speed?

Fibre broadband speeds can vary throughout the day and during busy periods, when other people are using their fibre services, and so speeds may drop to the minimum speed your line can support.

You can test how fast your service is performing using This is the official speed test site for fibre broadband within the UK and BT Wholesale will only investigate speed related issues once you have performed speed tests from this site. There are other speed test sites available, but they are not optimised for fibre broadband and may give misleading results.

Below is a document about what factors may affect your speeds and some tips to help you get the most from your connection.

PDF icon Download Fibre Broadband Speed information.

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I am not yet in a Superfast broadband area. What can I do?

Fibre broadband is being rolled out across all the major towns and cities. You can enter your postcode into to find out if it is coming to your area and also register your interest. 

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