Slow speeds getting you down? Can’t get your puppy picture fix on the internet? Then look no further enable your apartment block with a fibre connection and come on board with our #Gigablock project.

What is a Gigablock?

A Gigablock is a residential building that Telcom has brought online with a fibre connection. Typically apartment blocks are connected with the same traditional connections as houses but with ever increasing demand for bandwidth, fibre optic connections are becoming more common.

The problem with normal ISP connections

When you pay an ISP for an internet connection they connect your household to their network infrastructure. Your ISP has to deal with alot of capacity due to the volume of data going down their lines, the quickest and most efficient way of dealing with this traffic is to use fibre optics. Typical ISP connections are split into two parts: the ‘backbone’ and the ‘last mile’.

The backbone

The backbone is the main part of their network, normally fully connected with fibre. This includes heavy-duty network devices capable of managing data from thousands of users per second.

The “last mile”

The “last mile” is the connection between you and the superfast backbone, getting its name from being the last section of the connection. The problem here is that the “last mile” in many ISPs uses non-fibre technology, becoming a bottleneck for connection speeds. A simplified example of this can be found in the image below.

Last Mile.jpg

Figure 1 -Source: Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future, DCMS May 2011

The 5 main connection types used for “Last mile”

ADSL - Asymmetrical Digital subscriber line

This kind of connection refers to transferring data over copper cabling. The majority of internet connections in the UK use copper cabling. It is called asymmetrical because the download rate is faster than the upload rate. Users typically need to download content rather than upload it. For example if you visit a number of websites you need to download everything that comprises the site, the text, images, sound files etc. but the only data you tend to upload is to certify that you have received the downloaded data and information that you put into forms which does not use that much of your connection. This is the main reason ISP’s use asymmetric lines like ADSL


Coaxial is similar to ADSL in the fashion that fibre is brought into the green primary connection boxes and is then converted into a copper cable with a copper shield called Coaxial cable. Cable can also carry a TV service as well as an internet connection.


As technology becomes cheaper and the need for data goes up, using fibre directly to the home is becoming more common. Using an optical signal to send and receive information is a lot faster than an electrical signal but the cost is significantly more expensive. Fibre is required when high bandwidth capacity is needed this is why it is used to make the backbone in an ISP’s infrastructure.

Fixed wireless

This technology is similar to the routers you have in your home except instead of broadcasting the signal to everywhere around it, a fixed wireless system focuses a narrow beam signal to a specific point usually another antenna. Except for fibre this type of connection is typically faster than the other kinds of last mile connections the only drawback being the antenna must have line of sight to each other which means if there is a building or even a tree between the two it will cause connection problems.

Dongle 3G/4G

Wireless technology has come a long way over the years, all smartphones today come with access to the 3G and 4G network but it can also be used to provide your computer with a connection. A dongle essentially provides your computer with a SIM card to connect to the cellular network for data transfer.

How our Gigablocks are better: Using the best “last mile” options

In order to provide our customers with the best connections, we attempt to use what we think is the best option for “last mile” connections. In most cases the optimal choice is to install a fibre optic cable as there are multiple tenants in the premises.

Here at telcom our aim is to make Britain's internet connection superfast. As we are already established in business grade connections we have introduced the idea of Gigablocks to enable home superfast broadband. We will describe how you can take advantage the Gigablock and help us help you get superfast. If there are any questions or if you have any feedback send us an email at [email protected] and why not apply to make your building a Gigablock.

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About the author:
Customer Happiness Officer, Master of Spreadsheet
The customer whisperer, a people person at heart. Achieved Level 99 in customer service after working in the field for 9 years. Avid spreadsheet and technology enthusiast bringing my expertise to the diverse Telcom team.