CityFibre says competitors using “misleading advertising” for fibre broadband

Millions of British broadband customers may have been misled about their broadband connection says a study by Censuswide, commissioned by UK fibre provider CityFibre, the UK’s 3rd largest independent supplier. It is urging its competitors to drop the term ‘fibre’ from advertising if the underlying service is fibre-to-the-cabinet (a hybrid of copper and fibre cabling).

Of the 3,400 people surveyed, 24% of people thought they already have a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connection despite this currently only servicing around 3% of the UK populous. Just under half questioned thought that ‘fibre’ services advertised delivered a full-fibre connection to their property, and didn’t realise that the most popular fibre services from mainstream ISPs ran on old copper wiring from their home to the cabinet (FTTC).

Once the difference between a hybrid fibre-to-the-cabinet connection and a fibre-to-the-premises connection was explained to the panel, two thirds thought that the advertising guidelines should be changed to no longer permit the use of the word ‘fibre’ for fibre-to-the-cabinet connections.

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre said:

"Years of misleading advertising of broadband speeds and technologies have left people totally confused about what they are paying for, undermining trust in the industry,"

"It is time to put the customer at the heart of the full fibre rollout and ditch dishonest descriptions once and for all.

"We are calling on all broadband providers to stop using the word 'fibre' unless it is describing a full fibre connection. Rather than waiting for the backward-looking ASA to be forced to act, the industry should stand as one and pave the way for a new generation of connected homes, businesses, towns and cities across the UK."

The report comes amid news that the UK has slipped to 35th in a global table of broadband speeds, whilst a National Infrastructure Commission report calls for full-fibre rollout across the UK by 2033 READ STORY.

FTTC: Fibre-to-the-cabinet is where the fibre optic cabling replaces the standard copper wiring between the local telephone exchange or DP (distribution point – such as a street pole) to the green line cabinet that you can see in the street. The line cabinet houses a Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer (‘DSLAM’) which breaks the fibre feed down in to a copper pair. A DSLAM can hold 288 customer lines. The DSLAM has clever technology within it to filter out the standard ADSL signal coming from the local exchange and replace it with the VDSL (‘very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line’) signal generated in the cabinet. The VDSL signal is then connected to the standard copper cable from the green street cabinet to deliver high bandwidth superfast broadband to the home.

The incoming broadband line will then terminate on to the NTE5 line box inside the home. If you don’t have the right socket fitting / face plate on your master socket within your home then an Openreach engineer will be booked by your service provider to attend your home to complete the installation of the fibre optic service. The engineer will replace the ‘front plate’ of your line box (socket) with a SSFP (service specific face plate). This new face plate comes with an RJ11 socket built in – the engineer will connect up a special VDSL router (which your fibre broadband provider will send to you in advance of the appointment) and connect it to the line box via a cable to the RJ11 socket. In some cases you may already have the correct front plate in place and an engineer will not be required.

FTTP / FTTH: Fibre-to-the-premises (also called fibre-to-the-home) provides fibre direct from the exchange to your home giving you the highest quality connection possible as there is no copper wire involved. These connections are rare because availability is low and the cost of deployment has to date proved more expensive.

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