Bell fibre optics explained

Bell Canada’s Fibe TV internet services both make use of a fibre optic network.

Fibre optic cables transmit data using light. It’s the best, and fastest, internet technology available on the market. Traditional broadband connections use copper, or ‘coaxial’ cables to deliver the internet, and these can’t hold the same volume of information, or transfer at the same speed.

However, depending on your neighbourhood, the fibre optics could come right to your home (fibre to the home), or stop some distance away in your neighbourhood (fibre to the node).

What this means, and how it could impact your maximum internet speed is not widely understood. That’s why Marketplace has your consumer cheat sheet.

Fibre to the home: You have fibre optic cables directly connecting your home to the Bell fibre optic network. With this kind of infrastructure, Bell can advertise speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Fibre to the node: Bell’s fibre optic network stretches as far as a “node” which could be 3 or 4 houses away, a street away or further from your house. From this node, traditional copper coaxial cables connect your home to the fibre optic network. Though still potentially fast, this type of connection means that the same maximum speeds as an all-fibre connection are not typically achievable. Bell often advertises speeds of up to 50Mbps.

Fibe TV: Bell’s IPTV television service. Instead of traditional cable or satellite, your TV is delivered via the internet on Bell’s fibre optic network. This product is available regardless of whether you have fibre to the home or to the node.