Our guide to FTTP and FTTC broadband, what the difference is and which connection you should choose.
What is FTTP?
FTTP stands for fiber to the premises, and essentially refers to fiber broadband that is wired directly to the home instead of a cabinet that services the area (which is referred to as FTTC, or fiber to the cabinet).
FTTP, unlike FTTC, uses all fiber optic cables, making it the fastest type of fiber you can get. In fact, fiber optic allows for up to 1GBps (1000Mbps), though there aren’t any current UK providers that offer speeds that high outside of a lease line connection. With the combination of fiber optic cables and the fact that they go directly to your business, FTTP is certainly the preferred option for those who are serious about their broadband use.
What is FTTC?
FTTC means Fiber to the Cabinet and refers to broadband that draws its connection from a cabinet that services a specific area. You can see these in the street when you’re walking along – they’re normally either grey or green colored.
FTTC broadband rarely needs home installation because when you switch, the company is able to connect you via these cabinets. Most UK broadband providers get their fiber services from BT’s Openreach network, which is what these cabinets include.
How fast is FTTP broadband?
FTTP has a much higher speed capacity than any FTTC package, though this is rarely fully utilized. This usually ranges from 100MB to 1GB. The government has outlined plans to roll out FTTP capability to 3 million premises by 2020, though this is unlikely to be fully established. One day, packages such as this will become the norm, but until then, many will have to make do with FTTC.
Can I get FTTP broadband?
Around a million premises can currently get FTTP broadband, with Virgin Media holding the vast majority of those connections.
If your business is able to be connected via FTTP, installation will be necessary in order to get you hooked up. Unlike FTTC providers, which can often switch you to their broadband without any installation, FTTP needs someone to come and sort it for you. This process is often very quick, with an engineer finishing in under an hour.
Is FTTP broadband reliable?
FTTP connections are quite often more reliable than FTTC due to the wires being connected to your home directly. This means that you’re not sharing them with others and they can’t be damaged in the same way broadband cabinets can.
Of course, no broadband connection is without occasional outages, though this is now quite rare for customers of FTTP packages. If you do experience frequent slowdown or outages, be sure to notify your provider, which may compensate you.
What are the main benefits of FTTP?
The main benefit of FTTP broadband is the fact that it has a higher speed capacity than standard fiber broadband. FTTP packages are often more than 3 times faster than FTTC packages, making them an obvious draw for any business that uses the internet heavily.
FTTP broadband also allows you to take broadband on its own, which not all the FTTC providers do.
FTTP vs FTTC
Ultimately, the type of broadband you go for will very much depend on your business needs.
For light internet users, FTTC is perfectly adequate and also has a much higher coverage, with the vast majority of UK business’s able to connect this way even in rural areas.
FTTP is ideal for those who want a much faster connection and can afford the increased cost. In more populated areas, providers such as Virgin Media offer the best solution for superfast broadband, making them appealing for those who fall inside the catchment areas.
Despite FTTP being faster, there are plenty of FTTC packages that are more than fast enough for the average broadband user, even if you’re streaming and downloading. The likes of BT, TalkTalk and Plusnet all over fibre packages of up to 63-67Mbps, which is still quite fast compared to ADSL connections.