Are people scared of upgrading to fibre broadband?

Upgrading to fibre broadband might seem an obvious step, yet statistics suggest many consumers are wary of making the move.

Monday, 25 September, 2023

A few months ago, the UK reached a tipping point in terms of domestic broadband provision.

The majority of households now have Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband cables outside their front doors.

Considering this figure stood at less than 20 per cent at the end of 2020, rollout has been remarkably rapid.

Yet FTTP isn’t necessary to enjoy high-speed internet access.

Fibre to the Cabinet connections can deliver speeds of up to 70Mbps, and they’re the most common packages offered here on

With 98 per cent of UK households now able to receive FTTC or FTTP internet, you might assume consumers would be enthusiastically keeping pace with developments.

However, recent evidence from consumer champions Which? suggests many people are persevering with older ADSL connections, ignoring full fibre’s superior connectivity.

Could there be a fear factor preventing people from upgrading to fibre broadband? And if so, what are they missing out on?

A high fibre diet

Upgrading to fibre broadband brings a number of benefits – most notably speed.

While ADSL connections trundle along at 11Mbps for downloads and just 1Mbps for uploads, FTTC connections range from 35Mbps to 70Mbps.

Full fibre (FTTP) is an order of magnitude faster again, reaching speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Crucially, upload and download speeds are symmetrical, with none of the download bias that makes sending large emails or uploading files to the cloud such a chore on ADSL connections.

This makes for a seamless online experience, with fewer dropouts, less buffering or latency, more dependable video calls and no tangible slowdown during internet rush hour.

Other advantages of fibre broadband include greater reliability. Despite the odd strange broadband outage, subterranean fibre cables are far more dependable than copper phone lines.

Phone lines can be downed in storms or get damaged by snow or ice, while damaged insulation can cause the copper conductors to short out.

Fear factory

If this suggests full fibre broadband is a worthwhile upgrade, we’d agree. Yet millions of consumers are voting with their wallets by not upgrading.

In fact, Which? research published last month suggests that while 98 per cent of households have access to fibre, 20 per cent have chosen to remain on slower ADSL broadband.

There could be a number of reasons behind this reluctance to embrace new technology:

  1. Fear of the unknown. If your trusty copper phone line delivers dependable broadband, there might be worries about switching to new-fangled underground fibre cabling.
  2. Cost concerns. It’s undeniable that full fibre broadband costs more than ADSL, though that’s mainly because the latter is deprecated old technology.
  3. ISP distrust. People who’ve had a bad experience with a full fibre ISP may be reluctant to re-engage with them, even if the alternative is a far slower internet connection.
  4. Reliability fears. Although we’ve established full fibre is more stable, people used to century-old phone line connections may retain trust in the older, more established medium.

However, none of these fears are truly justified, other than understandable concerns about returning to an ISP that’s previously delivered bad service.

Even then, if you’ve moved to a different part of the country or the ISP has gone through material change, it may be unfair to judge the entire company on one historic contract.

The hugely superior speeds and reliability of fibre connections make upgrading to fibre broadband an obvious choice – especially considering how affordable many contracts are.

Visit our homepage to search for full fibre broadband deals in your local area.

Neil Cumins author picture


Neil is our resident tech expert. He's written guides on loads of broadband head-scratchers and is determined to solve all your technology problems!