What is FTTC fibre broadband?

What is FTTC fibre broadband?

The intials FTTC are an abbreviation of ‘Fibre to the cabinet’ and describe how this type of fibre broadband reaches you.

In general terms, fibre broadband refers to the fibre optic cable network that is used to deliver broadband at much faster speeds than standard (ADSL) broadband and is inherrently more reliable and stable than the older systems, as well as being faster. Fibre broadband, in one form or another is available in large parts of the UK and many providers are actively trying to upgrade users to this newer network.

fibre broadbandProvided through the Openreach network, FTTC is the default form of fibre broadband available on the Openreach network. Broadband data is shuttled around the country at the speed of light, using fibre optic cables. These fibre cables form a national network which stretches as far as your local Openreach cabinet – hence the term ‘fibre to the cabinet’. The final leg, the connection between your property and the local cabinet is performed by a copper cable.

Although the national network runs at the speed of light, the length of the copper cable connecting your property to the local cabinet have a direct effect on the upload and download speeds that you get – the further away you are, the more speed you will lose.

What are FTTC speeds like?

The Openreach FTTC network will typically offer maximum download speeds of up to 80Mbps, although sellers are free to offer cheaper, restricted speed, packages if they wish. Most offer a lower cost package which offers maximum download speeds of 40Mbps, typically costing £22-£30 a month in addition to an 80Mbps package at around £26-£35 a month. For the average ‘real world’ user, the 40Mbps packages offer the best combination of speed and cost effectiveness.

Some providers also offer a further reduced entry-level fibre package aimed at light users who want to move away from ADSL but don’t want their bills to go up too much in the process. Onestream, for example, offer a 20Mbps entry level fibre deal at only slightly more than ADSL prices.

FTTC fibre is not yet available to all customers, but will eventually become the new ‘standard’ broadband as use of ADSL is phased out.

Is FTTC fibre any good?

Yes, if it’s available. It’s not ‘pure’ fibre but is a significant improvement over ADSL and is increasingly affordable. As already mentioned, a 40Mbps package is likely to be good enough for the majority of users, although households with multiple simultaneous users, those aiming to stream 4K TV and heavy gamers might want to upgrade to an 80Mbps package to ensure everybody is happy.