Superfast Fibre BroadbandThe Big Build

Superfast fibre is lighting up the UK

Our network upgrade is one of the biggest and fastest in the world. More than 19 million homes and businesses already have access to superfast broadband. We have rolled out superfast fibre to around two-thirds of UK premises. And working alongside the UK government we're hoping that 90 per cent of Britain will have access to superfast fibre broadband in the next few years. So what's involved in getting the country connected and why does it take up to a year to get an area ready for fibre? Find out below...

How is it being rolled out?

Unfortunately, it's just not feasible to replace the entire copper network with fibre – we'd have to dig up the entire country. So we have two approaches:


Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC)

A part-fibre, part-copper solution, capable of delivering download speeds of up to 80Mbit/s and upload speeds of up to 20Mbit/s. With FTTC, we overlay fibre on the copper infrastructure running from an exchange to cabinets in the street. Copper will still be the final link (i.e. from the cabinet to your home or business).


Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)

A pure fibre solution, capable of delivering download speeds of up to 300Mbit/s and upload speeds of up to 30Mbit/s. If that's not fast enough for you, there's a 1Gbit/s already being tested. As the name implies, FTTP uses fibre all the way from the exchange to individual premises, usually delivered using underground cables.

See the power of fibre

What's so great about fibre?

The network that delivers today's phones and broadband is an all-copper infrastructure. But that means the further from the exchange you are, the slower your broadband speed.

Fibre is different. A single fibre is capable of carrying much more information than copper, and doing so in a far shorter space of time. Compared to copper, fibre is:

  • inherently more reliable
  • longer lasting
  • able to carry more data over long distances
  • resistant to electromagnetic interference
  • immune to corrosion
  • secure and immune to crosstalk
  • easier to handle and install.

The key stages from planning to go live

From the moment you see your exchange appear on the rollout plans, it could be up to 15 months before it's ready to supply superfast fibre broadband. Why? Well, here's what we have to do...

Pre Planning

The most important thing is to know what the current picture is like in an exchange area. So we do a full assessment of the existing network infrastructure to provide accurate, up-to-date information for engineers.

Months 1-9: Preparing the exchange

We then agree and plan where the new equipment goes. As every exchange is different, we may have to create bespoke equipment. Once ordered and built, we install everything and upgrade the power facilities.

Months 3-9: Planning the network

While we're upgrading the exchange, we survey the area and draw up a plan for where the fibre, new ducts and street cabinets go. This often involves consultation with local councils to comply with local planning regulations.

Months 10-15: Installation

The final stage is building from the exchange to the new street cabinets. When the first 10 cabinets are ready, we'll let our customers know and they can start to offer superfast fibre broadband services.

Our fibre broadband rollout is one of the fastest in the world

We're currently upgrading 2,000-3,000 cabinets a quarter and connecting between 70-100,000 premises with fibre every week.

But it's not easy. The local access network covers 30 million customers and 8 million broadband lines from approximately 5,500 local exchanges. 300 million telephone calls and 350 million internet connections are made across this network every day.

We have to lay 3 million km of fibre across the UK and install 50,000 new cabinets serving 3 million distribution points.

When can I get it?


Find out if exchanges near you have fibre - or when we currently anticipate that they'll get it

Do you need planning permission for a new cabinet?

Find out the answer to this, and other frequently asked questions here >