Are broadband acronyms giving you a headache? A question we’re often asked is, what’s the difference between FTTP vs FTTC? What do they mean, and which is better?
Well, here’s our quick explainer. Firstly, FTTP and FTTC describe a fibre broadband connection, so let’s start with that.
What’s fibre broadband?
Fibre broadband is a connection that uses fibre optic cables to transmit internet data packets that travel to and from your connected devices.
Fibre broadband technology is making internet connections much faster and more reliable. It’s so important we’ve even published a complete guide to fibre optic broadband.
The critical bit of information you need to know when comparing FTTP vs FTTC is that the more fibre optic cable your connection uses, the faster your internet speed will be. The acronyms FTTP and FTTC describe how much of your internet journey uses fibre optic cables instead of old-fashioned copper cables.
Let’s take a look at each in turn:
What is FTTP broadband?
FTTP stands for Fibre to the Premises. Another acronym for the same situation is FTTH (Fibre to the Home), but a more catchy name is ‘Ultra fast full fibre’.
FTTP is where the fibre cable reaches all the way to your wifi router.
When you stream Netflix, the data carrying your favourite show will go via fibre optic cables all the way from the Netflix server to your local exchange and directly into your property.
Going all the way to your property means no old-fashioned copper cables are slowing down your connection. It’s ‘ultra fast’.
What is FTTC broadband?
FTTC stands for Fibre to the Cabinet. The ‘Cabinet’ is a green box usually found on a nearby pavement.
Fibre to the Cabinet means the fibre optic cable only reaches as far as the green box. The remainder of the journey uses your property’s copper telephone cable.
Since packets of internet data travel thousands of times faster in fibre than copper, this tiny bit at the end of the journey makes a big difference to your internet speed.
FTTP vs FTTC
So now you’re familiar with these two types of fibre optic broadband, let’s compare the five key differences between FTTP and FTTP broadband:
FTTP vs FTTC speeds
FTTP is typically much faster than FTTC because no old-fashioned copper cables slow up your internet connection. Although speeds depend on your location and broadband provider and package, generally speaking:
- FTTC speeds are typically between 35Mbps and 76Mbps (excluding Virgin Media and GFast).
- FTTP broadband packages typically offer between 50Mps and 1,000Mbps.
FTTP vs FTTC availability
Both types of fibre broadband require that your property is in an area where fibre optic cables are installed. This is an ongoing challenge for rural locations. However, FTTC broadband is much more widely available:
- FTTC broadband is available to 96% of homes
- FTTP broadband is available to only 15% of homes.
FTTP vs FTTC costs
FTTC relies on the copper cable used by landlines which are already installed at most properties. Instead, FTTP depends upon the installation of a new dedicated fibre cable. This means that generally speaking, FTTP is the more expensive option.
FTTP vs FTTC installation
FTTC fibre broadband uses the copper phone line that most properties have had for decades. This makes installation an easy process.
FTTP, by contrast, requires a new cable when first installed. An engineer will need to drill a small hole in your property in a process that usually takes a few hours.
FTTP vs FTTC reliability
FTTP connects all the way to your property with a fibre connection. Avoiding decades-old copper phone infrastructure has the advantage of fewer maintenance issues—additionally, having a full fibre line results in less interference and greater reliability.
What speeds can I get with FTTC?
A FTTC fibre broadband connection’s download speed is typically between 35 and 76Mbps. However, the exact speed you can expect depends on your broadband package and how rural your property is.
There are also two key exceptions:
- GFast Internet improves FTTC speed up to 330Mbps. This technology is available to 2.8m premises in the UK.
- Virgin Media internet doesn’t use the Openreach network but instead uses a faster type of cabling for its FTTC servicing, allowing much faster speeds.
What speeds can I get with FTTP?
The download speed of FTTP fibre broadband packages ranges from 50Mbps (fast) and 1,000Mbps (very very fast). Your speed largely depends on how much you are prepared to pay for your broadband package.
What’s more expensive, FTTP or FTTC?
Generally speaking, FTTP is more expensive as it requires installing and maintaining a dedicated fibre line into your property.
It depends on which broadband provider and packages you choose, but generally speaking, a FTTP broadband connection can be as much as 50% more than a FTTC connection in monthly costs.
Can I get FTTP Broadband?
Openreach is working hard to deliver an FTTP broadband service to 25 million properties by 2026. You can only benefit from ultra fast FTTP broadband once Openreach has completed its work.
Openreach keeps an up-to-date map showing the progress of the full fibre rollout.
Even better, here’s an address finder tool to get the FTTP and FTTC availability for your home or business.
Looking to compare business broadband or household broadband?
We hope our guide has helped you understand what fibre broadband works best for you. Armed with this information, it’s time to compare the packages offered by broadband providers: