Full-fibre vs satellite broadband Core

Check availability and register interest

What’s the difference between full-fibre and satellite broadband?

Building a full-fibre network is a challenging process – particularly in rural areas. This is why lots of rural areas receive their broadband through a satellite supply instead. As full-fibre makes its way to the more rural parts of the country, we thought it’d be helpful to explain the key differences so you can make an informed choice between the two.

Firstly, full-fibre:

How it works

  • Imagine fibre optic cables running directly from the internet provider straight into your home. It’s like having a superhighway of internet right to your door!
  • These cables are usually buried underground, or strung along utility poles.

Speed

  • Ultrafast! We’re talking speeds that can reach up to 2000Mbps or even more. These speeds make it perfect for streaming, gaming, and downloading without any buffering.
  • What’s more, this speed is consistent because it’s a direct, physical connection.

Latency

  • Very low delay, usually just 5-20 milliseconds which makes it great for video calls, online gaming, and other real-time stuff.

Reliability

  • Rock solid. As it’s a physical connection, there’s very little that can go wrong.
  • It’s also not affected by bad weather, so you’ll stay connected no matter what.

Where you can get it

  • Currently, it’s mostly available in cities and towns where the infrastructure has been laid out.
  • We’re dedicated to bringing full-fibre to more rural and semi-rural areas, helping to bridge the digital divide across Scotland.

What about satellite broadband?

How it works

  • With satellite broadband, the internet signal uses satellites orbiting the earth to send data back and forth.
  • You’ll need a satellite dish and a modem at home.

Speed

  • Speeds can vary, but traditional satellite broadband might give you between 12-100Mbps.
  • Newer options, like Starlink, can go even faster – usually up to 150Mbps or more.

Latency

  • Satellite broadband experiences a higher delay compared to full-fibre, usually around 600-800 milliseconds which can make real-time applications a bit laggy.
  • Newer low earth orbit (LEO) satellites are faster, around 20-40 milliseconds, but still not as fast as full-fibre.

Reliability

  • Satellite broadband is prone to disruptions from weather like heavy rain or snow.
  • It can also experience signal issues if there are obstructions like tall buildings or trees.

Where you can get it

  • Pretty much anywhere, which is why it’s being used in extremely remote areas where laying fibre cables isn’t possible.

All in all…

If you have the option, full-fibre broadband is the way to go for its speed, reliability, and low latency. But if you’re in an extremely rural location that fibre hasn’t yet reached then satellite broadband can keep you connected, even if the speeds and reliability aren’t quite on the same level.

It all comes down to where you are and what options you have open to you. To see if we’re bringing all the benefits of full-fibre to your area, head to our availability checker.