What is Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC)

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Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) is a type of Fibre Broadband. It’s widely available across the UK and covers most areas.

It’s called ‘Fibre-to-the-Cabinet’ because the fibre cable runs from the telephone exchange to your local street cabinet, where it connects to the existing copper network that leads to your home or business. This upgrade improves reliability, speed and capacity.

A Fibre Broadband connection is delivered over a fibre optic cable. The fibre runs all the way from the exchange – which could be up to 30 miles away – to a green street cabinet at the edge of your town or village. From there, an upgraded version of your existing copper phone line runs from the cabinet to your home or business.

Fibre-to-the cabinet (FTTC) is the current best and most popular broadband connection in the UK. This is because it offers superfast download speeds, normally above 35Mbps.

FTTC is a hybrid fibre connection technology that uses both fibre optic cables and copper cables. The fibre optic cables connect the local telephone exchange to a street cabinet, while the copper cables provide an internet connection from the cabinet to your home, or workplace. This means you get all the benefits of fibre optic speeds for downloads, but uploads are still carried out over conventional copper line connections.

The maximum download speed that FTTC can offer is 80Mbps.

How does FTTC work?

When you’re connected to an FTTC service, data travels from your premises to the local telephone exchange via a standard copper landline phone cable. From here, a fibre optic cable then takes over and delivers your data at superfast speeds to your local street cabinet – usually between 100 to 1000m away. At this point, another copper cable picks up the data and sends it back down the telephone line to your router/modem.

The maximum download speed of FTTC connections is 80 Mbps, which is considerably faster than the 24 Mbps you can expect from standard ADSL2+ broadband.

In order to connect to an FTTC line, your home or business will need to be within a kilometre of a street cabinet and have access to an existing copper phone line.

If your property already has a phone line, you’ll be able to get FTTC by simply switching your broadband supplier. If not, you may need to contact your preferred provider and arrange for one of the big telecoms companies (BT, Openreach or Virgin Media) to install a landline before you can get connected.

If fibre is available in your area but your home isn’t connected yet, it could take up to 12 weeks for engineers to install the necessary infrastructure.

Find more information on FTTC here.

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