Not sure which optical fiber to activate? Find out how to find and compare the best Fiber offers from TIM, Fastweb, Vodafone, Tiscali, Infostrada.
READ ALSO: More affordable and reliable home internet offers ADSL or Fiber
How to choose the best optical fiber
In the following chapters, we will show you which are the types of fiber optic connections that we can activate in our home or office, how to find out if there is fiber coverage and finally how to find the best fiber optic deals.
Differences between fiber optic technologies
Optical fiber does not identify a single technology, which is why operators often speak in general of “optical fiber” without specifying the type of technology that will be used for your apartment. The currently obtainable fiber optic technologies are:
- FTTH: this acronym identifies the best technology for the optical fiber connection. The new cable arrives from the telephone exchange right into your home instead of the old telephone socket, carrying the new generation technology right into the modem. Obtaining this type of fiber is more difficult because additional work is required to run the cable into the house and obviously a free and available fiber optic cable is required. If we are lucky enough to activate the type of connection, the speeds are very high: they range from a minimum of 100 Megabits per second up to 1000 Megabits per second (the Gigabit or GPON connection).
- FTTC, FTTCab, FTTS, or VDSL: with these abbreviations, we identify the fiber optic technology that reaches “up to the road” (also called mixed copper fiber), i.e. up to the telephone cable distribution cabinet present in every street or neighborhood. The fiber optic cable is passed through the cabinet in a special device that allows you to connect more classic copper cables (the famous twisted pairs) to the fiber optic cables. With this technology, the optical fiber reaches the nearest cabinet, then reaches the end-user with the classic telephone cable (usually with a limit of no more than 500 meters). No additional work is required for this type of optical fiber, the old telephone socket is sufficient (provided that the cabinet is reached by the optical fiber). This “hybrid” technology is the easiest to obtain and still allows you to reach interesting speeds (up to 200 Megabits per second) even if the use of the copper cable increases interference and disturbances, settling the average speed around 50-60 Megabits per second (based on zone, distance from the cabinet and the number of active connections in the cabinet.
- Mixed radio fiber or FWA: the latest in optical fiber technology, offered by TIM and other companies in areas where it is not possible to update old cabinets or where there is no telephone exchange suitable for traditional fiber. With this technology, the fiber optic cable reaches up to a radio antenna, which can transmit the signal to all users in the area without wires, with a technology similar to LTE with which we connect to the Internet via smartphone. This technology can be very interesting to reach small towns in the countryside or in the mountains and, without too much interference, allows you to really reach 20-30 Megabits per second in download (even if the FWA lines should allow you to reach 1000 Megabits per second under ideal conditions).
READ ALSO: VDSL, FTTC, and FTTH fiber: what differences and which is better?
Obviously, we all hope to get an FTTH, but it is not always available: we can anyway benefit from speeds higher than ADSL even with FTTC and the new FWA, which will greatly help to overcome the digital divide that still afflicts many areas of Italy.
Check fiber optic coverage and offers
After delving into fiber optic technologies, in this chapter, we will show you the sites we can use to check the fiber optic coverage to the home address for the operator you have chosen.
TIM has brought optical fiber practically everywhere with unprecedented network development plans: it is difficult not to see all the new cabinets with the area reserved for optical fiber above! To check if we are covered by TIM’s optical fiber (with any technology) just connect to the TIM coverage check site.
To proceed, simply fill in the fields with the street in which we want to activate the new line or switch to fiber optic technology, then press at the bottom on Continue. After a few seconds, we will be shown the result of the check, with information on the technology available and the best offer that can be activated at the moment.
Vodafone has also invested heavily in optical fiber, placing its cables in large cities and renting the one already present in smaller cities to offer VDSL. To immediately check the technology available at our address, let’s go to the Vodafone Coverage web page.
On the page that opens, simply enter the address of our home or office and click on Check coverage. If successful, we will get all the details on the type of connection available and the best offer that can be activated at that time, even online (by filling in all the fields that will be shown if we decide to continue with the offer).
This operator was the first to bring optical fiber to Italy and now boasts one of the best coverage, especially if you live in large cities. In addition to its own fiber-optic cables, it also offers FTTS connectivity by renting cables placed by other operators (primarily TIM). To check coverage with Fastweb, simply open the dedicated site Check Fastweb coverage.
Also in this case all we have to do is fill in all the fields indicated (municipality, street, house number, etc.), indicate if we already have an operator, or want to activate a new line, and press on Check availability. On the new page that opens, it will be possible to activate an FTTH or FTTCab fiber optic subscription based on the coverage available in the area, complete with a graph on the average speed that can be reached.
Wind Tre offers good fiber coverage, also thanks to the agreements reached with Open Fiber (which allows for FTTH connections) and with TIM (for FTTC coverage). Currently, the coverage is not comparable to that of the operators seen previously, but we can still check if it is available in our area by opening the Wind Tre fiber offers page.
This page changes continuously based on the offer available at the moment, but you can use it as a basis to check coverage by clicking on the item Check your speed online and entering the address in which to carry out the coverage check; we will obtain a summary page with the offer that can be activated and the type of fiber optic connection available.
This operator offers fiber optic technology both with lines purchased in collaboration with ENEL Open Fiber and with lines leased from TIM. The coverage is much lower than the competitors, but the subscription prices are really very interesting. To immediately check what type of fiber connection is available with Tiscali, simply open the City page with Tiscali coverage.
We can quickly check if our city is present in the two FTTHome and FTTN lists using the key combination CTRL + F and typing the name of our city. Alternatively, we can check coverage by opening the Tiscali offers page, clicking on the currently active internet offer for a home, and filling in the fields relating to the address to be checked, so as to immediately know if there is Tiscali coverage and which type of fiber connection. we can use it.
If, on the other hand, we want to check the optical fiber coverage from our smartphone, we can use one of the apps reported in our guide App to check fiber optic coverage.
Compare fiber optic offers
In addition to the sites of the telephone operators we can access the best offers for optical fiber using search engines for offers, such as those available below:
- SOS Rates: one of the best sites to compare offers for the internet, with the possibility of selecting the optical fiber during the research phase. On this page, we will have to pay particular attention to the activation costs, to any constraints (usually 24 months, but there may be costs spread over more time), and the accepted payment methods (many accept only current account or credit card).
- Facile.it: another very famous site for comparing offers from various telephone operators, with the possibility of showing only offers relating to an optical fiber (thus ignoring the old ADSL offers, which are no longer adequate).
- Segugio.it: another famous site is seen on TV, with which it is possible to effectively filter all the offers of telephone operators; the site offers a page dedicated to fiber optic offers, so you can immediately benefit from that at the best price.
If we want to try other price comparison sites for the Internet or for other home users, we recommend that you read our guide to Sites to find the best offers for electricity, gas, and the Internet.
Before immediately choosing an operator for the optical fiber, we advise you to look at all the offers of the operators offering the optical fiber network in our area, in order to spend as little as possible. The operator offering the most coverage with its own fiber-optic network is TIM, closely followed by Fastweb. The other operators (Vodafone, Wind Tre, etc.) can offer dedicated optical fiber in some cities, which offers high speeds and excellent stability but is still not very widespread.
If in our area there is no FTTH fiber optic coverage but only FTTC is available, in many municipalities the only network used is that of TIM, with other operators who can “rent” this network to offer their service ( Fastweb, Vodafone and Wind Tre). In this case, one operator is the same as the other, since maintenance and problems will still be fixed by TIM. In summary: if we have FTTH coverage, the best is TIM and Fastweb; if we have FTTC coverage (VDSL) we can easily choose the operator offering the lowest price, as the maximum speed will be the same as you would have with TIM. If we only have ADSL and no cable fiber connections, we can also look at FWA, but we must take into account the problems that can re-emerge with wireless connections over long distances (a storm is enough to blow up the Internet).
READ ALSO: ADSL and Fiber availability check for each zone