FTTC - a Cheaper Alternative to getting a Leased Line

Some businesses want more bandwidth than ADSL can provide, but can't afford a leased line. Thankfully, they may be in luck. There's a much cheaper option: FTTC.

What is FTTC?

We like to think of Fibre-to-the-cabinet as 'ADSL on steriods.' It offers higher speeds than ADSL, because it uses less copper wire, and more fibre-optic cable. The downside is that it's available in far fewer locations.

  Typical ADSL2+ Typical FTTC2 Typical Leased Line
Contention Yes Yes No
Max. Download Speed Varies. Up to 20Mbps Varies. Up to 80Mbps Fixed. Up to 10,000Mbps
Max. Upload Speed Varies. Up to 0.448Mbps Varies. Up to 20Mbps Fixed. Same as download speed
Service Level Agreement No No Yes
Unlimited Data Transfers? Possibly Possibly Yes
Fast Fixing of Faults No No Yes
Suitable for VoIP? Probably Not Unclear Yes
Underlying Technology a copper wire a short copper wire +fibre-optic cable fibre-optic cable (mainly) or multiple copper wires

FTTC Availability

At the time of writing (April 2014), just under 2000 of the UK's 5600 telephone exchanges are FTTC-enabled. Bear in mind that to get FTTC, two things have to happen first:

  1. your local telephone exchange has to be FTTC-enabled
  2. the cabinet through which your phone line runs has to be FTTC-enabled

It's the last of those that's usually the problem. BT has generally focused the roll-out of FTTC on residential areas. Cynics might suggest that BT is reluctant to lose leased line revenues by giving businesses a cheaper alternative.

Can I Get FTTC? What Speeds Can I Get?

You can check whether you can get FTTC (and ADSL) by using the BT Wholesale DSL & FTTC Availability Checker It will tell you the connection speed you can expect - downstream (from the Internet to you) and upstream (from you to the Internet). It may also tell you which cabinet your phone line is connected to. In a few cases, near to telephone exchanges, you may be directly connected to an exchange. If this is the case, you won't be able to get FTTC.

Where do these Superfast/Connected Schemes Fit In?

The Department of Culture Media and Sport has an internal team called Broadband Delivery UK (aka BDUK), which works with coalitions of local authorities to find companies willing to improve broadband coverage in return for some of the £1.2bn the government is willing to spend on subsidies. Once BT has upgraded its network at taxpayers' expense, most of the UK's ISPs can piggyback on that investment to offer FTTC and ADSL in more places than ever and at higher speeds. Pretty much all the UK's ISPs buy from the infrastructure or wholesale divisions of BT (BT Openreach and BT Wholesale respectively). So they can offer the same underlying physical connection that BT sells directly to consumers and businesses.

What is FTTC2?

There are two main variants of FTTC. One offers up to 40Mbps downstream and up to 10Mbps upstream. The other offers twice those speeds. Many providers refer to that double-speed version as FTTC2. It's worth remembering that these are maximum speeds. You won't likely get them in real life, because in real-life, your office is unlikely to be directly next to the green street cabinet through which your phone line passes.

We Can Provide FTTC and FTTC2 Broadband For Businesses

To find out more, call us on 020 7847 4510. (P.S. We don't provide FTTC to consumers. We're purely focused on serving businesses.) Alternatively, if you're interested in a leased line, use the pricing tool at the top of this page to find out how much it would cost in your location.