Copper vs Fiber? Why is it important to consider before selecting a broadband service?

Internet in India
Internet in India


After Reliance Jio, mobile data revolution begun in India and people started consuming more data on the go. But it can never beat the high-speed broadband. People who have good data consumption, they prefer broadband connection at home. With the introduction of smart TVs, having high-speed internet at home is a necessity to consume content on the large screen. So, a broadband connection is now an important thing for us.

But, there is something you must know before you go and call any broadband provider for the connection. You might have lots of known and less known broadband providers, but your selection should be smart. Now we have many local broadband providers who have disrupted the market and brought high-speed internet to us at very low cost. But, selecting any random broadband provider just looking at their plans will ruin your experience and you will end up frustrating.

In this article, I will talk about something you must know before getting a new broadband connection. Today, I will tell you the difference between Copper vs Fiber connection.

What is Copper broadband?

Copper or cable broadband is the traditional broadband that is decade old. In the copper communication, it works by sending electrical pulses through a copper wire.

Copper cable communication was originally for the telephone but later it began the data communication. It offers speeds from 2Mbps to over 20Mbps depending on your distance from the cabinet or exchange. So, speed from the exchange is an important factor here.

Now, the companies have improved their infrastructure and started offering better speed on copper broadband. Recently, researchers have bee able to send up to 10 Gbps through copper but the distance was restricted to 30 meters.

What is fiber optic broadband?

Fiber optic broadband uses fiber optic cables to send data. It is fast as compared to traditional ADSL broadband, and gives a reliable channel of communication. It delivers broadband speeds up to 20 times faster than the copper network. It can send terabytes per second of data. It offers signal retention and signal clarity.

The performance of fiber does not degrade over distance. So, data transfer speed will not be affected by distance from the exchange.

Why Is Fiber Faster That Copper?

Copper connection suffers from a significant signal loss issue. If the distance is large, the signal gets very fuzzy. So, copper is very poor for signaling. It is still good for local networks, but it should not be the choice as a global communication channel.

Fiber also protects the signal from any electromagnetic interference and EM fields can influence data transfer over copper.

So, Fiber optic should be your choice over Copper broadband.

Copper still have few advantages. Copper is cheaper and easier to terminate. It is easily available and it reduces cost. This is the reason, most of the known broadband providers are still using the old copper lines. They claim to offer speed but you will never get a reliable connection if you have lots of data consumption.

What should you prefer?

Fiber is the recommended, but it is not available in all cities. So, you need to find if there is an option to get Fiber optic connection easily. The best form of connection is where you get an end to end fiber channel. It means the connection from your home to junction box is also via fiber cable. Many old players in the industry have improved their infrastructure on the backend, but they are still using the old copper line to connect your home connection to the junction box. So, your home connection should not be far away from the main junction box.

If you ask sales person from any broadband company, he will boast a lot and will talk about charming plans. But, he will never tell you about upload speed. Even if he claims about upload, don’t trust if his company offers copper connection.

Copper connection offers very slow upload speed. It tested Airtel, Tata like companies with good download speed claims, but upload was nothing more than 500 Kbps. If you are on Fiber optic, the upload will either same as a download or slightly lesser than download speed. But it will never be as less as in traditional copper lines. If you are the kind of Internet user who needs a broadband to upload the data on a server regularly, you should go with Fiber optics. YouTubers should never think of using copper because videos will take hours in uploading but the same video will take few minutes in Fiber network.

So, you must ask the kind of connection they offer and do not buy the plan until you have a clear answer. You must ask if they are offering fiber or copper. You must also ask if the connection from home to the junction is copper of wire. You should also ask the location of the junction to have an idea of distance from your home to junction.


The cost of broadband depends on your service provider. A few years ago, Fiber Optic broadband used to be costly but prices have come down in recent years. Now, you may find cheaper fiber broadband provider in many cities. If I see here in Delhi NCR, I find fiber cheaper than many copper based wired broadband providers. For example, ACTSpectraNet and Nextra like providers have revolutionized the broadband segment in metro cities. Now people enjoy much faster and uninterrupted service in lesser cost. These companies are also hitting hard by offering services without FUP.

Final Words

It all depends on availability, usage, and cost. If you need the internet connection just to browse social media, emails and normal web browsing, you will be satisfied with a copper-based Internet connection. 10-20 Mbps speed is good enough. But, very slow upload is the primary issue. Most of the users who have never experienced the high-speed internet connection with good download and upload, they will still find traditional broadband providers fast enough, but things should change. Airtel has started upgrading its network and is now offering V-fiber. ACT fibernet, Spectranet and Nextra like service providers are offering FUP free high-speed fiber-based broadband at very low cost.

If you are thinking to change your broadband service provider, you must prefer fiber connection.