FTTP: When's the right time to upgrade?

Ofcom has recently reported that the average home broadband speed is 64Mbps. Typically this is associated with FTTC connections – This is a good speed but ISP’s like SKY say this is only good to support fifteen devices. With the way technology is advancing with smart homes and devices that demand more bandwidth, it’s only a matter of time before speeds like this become the new ADSL. 

The Government’s target is that at least 85% of UK premises will have access to gigabit-capable broadband (FTTP) by 2025. Inevitably, broadband customers will need to make the transition to full-fibre in the next four years and are doing so at a rate of 40,000 premises a week. 

So with this change on the horizon, when is the best time to make the jump? 

When it comes to upgrading to full fibre broadband, there are a few factors to take into account that can help you decide when the best time to act is. 

Firstly, full fibre broadband is still a relatively new technology, so new in fact, that it does not have full UK coverage yet. This means those living in more rural settings will be limited on broadband options due to their geography. Unfortunately, this means that some will be in for a long wait to even have the option of upgrading. Although, if you are really desperate you can look into FTTPoD (Fibre to the premises on demand). This involves an ISP providing full fibre straight to you. However, this is a big operation and is not only time-consuming but very costly- with a £250 survey to see if this is even a possibility. There is one £3,500 sized solution to this however. The Government Gigabit scheme can provide vouchers to those in need of full fibre broadband up to £3500 per household. This has created an interesting rural trend over the past couple of years with rural villages across the UK coming together as a community to make the most out of the scheme to improve the infrastructure of their village. 

If full fibre is available in your area, it’s still not a cheap option. Being the latest most advanced iteration of broadband connectivity, like the most advanced iteration of an iPhone or games console, this carries a premium due to classic supply and demand. This means purchasing FTTP today will set you back more than FTTC or ADSL. Therefore, another point to consider when upgrading is do you need full-fibre? If you use the internet for simply checking emails and scrolling through social media, chances are you don’t.

With these in mind, there is no rush to upgrade to full-fibre as many would have you believe. It’s probably a cheaper option to wait until the infrastructure grows and the cost depreciates. That being said, waiting until close to the Government’s deadline is probably not a good idea. Around that time there will be a big spike in demand as not only the Government tries to hit its target but also people upgrade due to ADSL being turned off. 

All things considered, it’s best to find a happy medium with this. Don’t listen to companies that use the 2025 copper switch-off as a pressure tactic- installations can be completed in a matter of weeks, let alone four years. There’s plenty of time to get this done but don’t leave this until the last minute and utilise the schemes available to you. Then your upgrade to full fibre should be a fully pleasant experience.