Hi Dorota Topolniak – thanks for clarifying in your profile that you’re in the UK, that really helps me understand where you’re coming from with this question!
The Advertising Standards Authority set out to address this exact thing – but before we look at what the ASA said it might help to look at some of the technologies in use here.
ADSL – Just copper, no fibre. With ADSL the same copper wire runs all the way from your local telephone exchange to your house (which could be miles and miles away)
Fibre to the Cabinet – With FTTC the copper section which runs to the house is vastly reduced, and in most cases is no more than a few hundred metres. For most users this means their copper phone line, although Virgin media use a version of FTTC but with a different sort of copper cable instead of providing broadband over your phone line
Fibre to the Premises – As the name suggests, FTTP actually has a fibre coming into your house
So, there’s no doubt that FTTP is fibre broadband – there’s an actual fibre optic cable that runs into your home. Plain old ADSL is clearly not fibre – so what about Fibre to the Cabinet?
Well, FTTC does bring the fibre closer to your house but it doesn’t bring it to the house.
The goal with FTTC is to reduce the length of the copper wire, and hence to improve speeds – and it does that.
The question is, is it fair to refer to it as fibre? I can see both arguments. You’re not getting fibre directly into your house, and it doesn’t run at the same speeds as a full fibre solution, but it is part fibre and does give higher speeds than a pure-copper line.
The ASA looked into it – and they concluded that as long as ISPs aren’t making claims about speeds that their service can’t deliver that they’re fine to sell part-fibre solutions as fibre broadband and that this isn’t likely to mislead consumers.
Personally I think it’s a bit cheeky to sell it as fibre, but that’s just my opinion.