The ultimate guide to Fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband (FTTC) in 2022

Here in the UK, there is a wide range of different broadband connections that users can select from. Different types of broadband solutions offer a variety of internet speeds and prices can vary greatly from affordable ADSL to the pricier satellite options. Fibre broadband has become well known for delivering faster internet speeds across Britain, but it is understood that users are always seeking the best speed for the lowest price. As a result, fibre broadband involving FTTC connections has much to offer those seeking an affordable option that can provide faster speeds than standard telephone cables.

In this blog, we’ll take an in-depth look at FTTC, so you can decide if it is an option worth considering for your home or business.

What is FTTC?

Fibre to the cabinet, or FTTC for short, is a type of broadband connection currently available in the UK. The “fibre” element of the solution is fibre broadband, a broadband connection provided via fibre optic cabling. Unlike the copper cables used in traditional telephony, fibre cables have a core made from glass, which allows information to be sent through them using light instead of electrical signals. As a result, fibre optic cables can effectively deliver data at speeds that are thousands of times quicker than copper cabling systems.

The ‘cabinet’ part of FTTC broadband refers to the green-coloured street cabinets you may have come across on pavements around your neighbourhood. Fibre optic lines are directly routed into the street cabinets from the local exchange, however, the remaining distance from the cabinet to your premises is handled by slower, copper cabling. As a result, in real terms, FTTC means ‘fibre cables that only stretch as far as the street cabinet’, with a copper element being depended on to cover the final distance and slowing down the possible top speed of your broadband connection substantially.

How fast is FTTC?

The two major networks offering FTTC are Virgin Media and Open Reach. BT FTTC is supplied via Openreach along with services from many other broadband providers.

FTTC speeds for Openreach providers generally start at about 35Mbps but can reach speeds of 76Mbps. The speeds offered by Virgin Media’s network are considerably higher, however. Because it uses its dedicated network, the provider has the capacity to deliver rates that are “Next-level” fast. As a result, Virgin Media offers FTTC speeds that start at around 54Mbps but can be as high as (full fibre) 1,130Mbps.

How to check if FTTC is available?

FTTC is the kind of fibre broadband you are most likely going to be receiving from most providers here in the UK, including Virgin Media. Using our fibre map, you can see that, in 2022 the current UK coverage for FTTC fibre broadband is around 95%- this means the vast majority of the population will have access. Rural areas are less likely to have access to this infrastructure.

To find out whether FTTC is available for your address isn’t difficult thanks to online FTTC checker tools. Broadband comparison sites typically have a fibre map displaying coverage and a dedicated search engine that you can type your postcode into. Once submitted, a list of available FTTC deals will be shown that you can select from.

When will you get FTTC?

Roll out of fibre broadband here in Britain is increasing by the day in a continued effort to bring dependable internet connectivity offering good speeds at affordable prices. If, after checking online, you find that fibre is not yet available for your address, you can still ensure that you stay in the loop. Useful tools online can allow you to enter your postcode and email address. As soon as fibre becomes available for you to access, you will be sent an alert so you can start selecting a deal.

How is FTTC installed?

For brand-new FTTC installations, it is typically necessary for an engineer to access the local street cabinet. However, if the customer does not require a new line, FTTC broadband services can be activated without an engineer visiting their office or home. This is often referred to as a self-install or PCP-only service.

Some providers like Openreach offer managed installations. As part of this service, a qualified engineer will visit the customer’s office or home to set up the network terminating equipment (NTE) and ensure that any internal extension wiring present is working correctly. They will set up a device and make certain that it is working before leaving the site.

In some cases, engineers may have to change over the master socket, install a master socket when one is not in place or relocate a master socket if it is not located in a convenient place. For instance, sometimes master sockets have been installed in lofts and other hard-to-reach areas.

How much does a standard FTTC Connection cost in 2022?

While deals will vary from month to month and depend on the broadband provider you select to use, the average cost of an FTTC connection costs around £30 per month and in many cases even lower.

To sum up, FTTC connections offer excellent coverage here in the UK with most premises able to receive some type of FTTC service. As companies like Openreach can make use of telephone lines that already exist in many cases, engineering work is often not required. As a result, FTTC installations are fast and remotely, avoiding disruptions.

Download speeds from FTTC broadband are reasonably good, making them typically sufficient for domestic use and sometimes for smaller businesses. Along with the decent speeds delivered, this type of broadband is a very affordable option with deals readily available for less than £30 each month.

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