One of Labour’s most eye catching manifesto promises is to deliver free full-fibre broadband for all by 2030.
Full-fibre broadband is defined as reaching speeds of over 1000Mbps. According to Ofcom only 2.5 million properties currently have access to full-fibre, compared to 28 million homes which can access superfast broadband (defined as downloads speeds of 30Mbps and above).
Currently, one of the biggest problems facing consumers is that Internet Service Providers can make it difficult for you understand what speed you will actually get when signing up with them – quoting a maximum download speed rather than what you will actually experience. They say things like the speed will depend on how far you are from the local exchange.
But the funny thing is most of the different companies use the same network set up by BT Openreach – so their speeds will be roughly the same.
One way you can learn more about what’s really available is to use sites like SamKnows UK Broadband Availability Checker
In some areas BT’s Openreach (also known as BT Wholesale) is the only service available – so whatever ISP you choose you’re going to get pretty much the same speed. But with SamKnows you can check whether any other providers provide their own infrastructure. This is called Local Loop Unbundling or LLU.
Simply type in your landline number and postcode and SamKnows gives you a detailed list of every type of connection available to your property.
The tabs we’re interested in are the Summary which tells you all the services available in your area:
Then the BT FTTC tab which tells you roughly the speeds you can expect from BT:
And finally the LLU tab which lists who else has their own infrastructure in your area. In the following example it looks like Vodafone, TalikTalk, and Sky Broadband also provide LLU at this location:
Vodafone, TalkTalk, and Sky won’t necessarily be faster than BT – in fact, they may be slower – but this information gives you an unbiased idea of who to contact before making a decision about choosing your broadband supplier.
Happy, faster surfing!