Do you know your FTTC from your FTTP? Broadband Options Explained

Do you know your FTTC from your FTTP? Broadband Options Explained

10th October 2019

In today's fast-paced, interconnected world, reliable internet access is an essential lifeline for businesses across the spectrum. From small startups to multinational corporations, the need for a robust broadband connection is non-negotiable. However, stepping into the realm of broadband options can often feel like venturing into uncharted territory, especially for those who aren't deeply entrenched in the IT or telecoms industry. The choices can seem overwhelming, leaving many wondering ‘is it simply a matter of paying more for faster speeds?’

While speed is undoubtedly a key factor, the world of broadband options is far more intricate and nuanced than a simple price-to-speed ratio. An IT provider can assist you with choosing the right broadband solution for your business. It involves a delicate balancing act of several factors, and often the final decision can significantly impact your business operations and success. 

Broadband, Beyond Speed

The general assumption is that broadband options often boil down to a matter of 'the faster, the better.' While speed is undoubtedly vital, it is merely one piece of the puzzle. Beyond speed, businesses need to consider factors such as reliability, scalability, and the unique requirements of their operations.

Assessing Broadband Options

#1 Reliability

A lightning-fast connection is of little use if it's frequently plagued by downtime or instability. Your business might demand a dependable connection to support critical applications and services, such as video conferences, cloud-based software, or e-commerce platforms. A reliable broadband connection ensures that your operations run smoothly and without interruption.

#2 Scalability

Businesses are dynamic, and their internet needs can change over time. You might start small, but as your business grows, your broadband requirements can multiply. Scalability is an essential consideration. The broadband options your IT provider recommends should be flexible enough to adapt to your evolving needs without requiring a complete overhaul.

#3 Business Needs

The type of broadband that's ideal for your business hinges on what your business does. Different industries have different needs and will need to explore different broadband options. For example, an e-commerce business with heavy traffic demands may prioritise high-speed connections, while a creative agency might prioritise symmetrical bandwidth for seamless file uploads and downloads.

#4 Location

Your geographic location plays a crucial role in determining the available broadband options. Urban areas tend to have a wider selection of providers and faster connections, while rural areas may have limited choices for IT, and slower speeds. Your location might necessitate a more in-depth evaluation of the available options.

#5 Budget

While not the sole determinant, budget is an essential factor in assessing broadband options. The cost of broadband services varies greatly, and it's crucial to find a solution that aligns with your financial resources while still meeting your business needs.


Outside of being in the IT or telecoms industry, you might not be aware of the different types of broadband options out there. As we delve deeper into the broadband landscape, we can act as your IT provider, and explore the various options available. 


ADSL: Asymmetric digital subscriber line

Back in the days when broadband was considered fast at around an 8Mb download speed, you would have been using one of these full copper cable lines. This reaches from the BT exchange, connects to a street based green cabinet and then goes on to your premises. In theory, the closer you lived to the exchange, the faster your connection would be. They were the norm for both business and home users for years. The only other alternative was paying a 2nd mortgage in order to have something faster (and dedicated) installed!


In terms of cabling, the newer ADSL2+ standard uses the same copper cables as its predecessor. It is, however, capable of pushing a greater bandwidth through them and offers home/business users up to 24Mb download speeds. Many moons ago, if you were lucky enough to be in an area close enough to the exchange and you deemed the speed suitable, you could joyfully grin at the fact that you were almost experiencing fibre type speeds, for a fraction of the cost.

FTTC: Fibre to the Cabinet

When fibre broadband came onto the scene, this was (and still is) the most common type of connection to have. Fibre optic cables, which send data through at lightning speeds, would travel from the exchange to the street cabinet and then the data would use a copper cable to make its way to your premises. Fibre isn’t affected by distance from the exchange and its only limitation is the ‘noise’ on the copper cable side of things. On an FTTC connection you can expect to see speeds up to around 76Mb download. To this day, this is more than ample for the majority of homes and SME businesses.

FTTP: Fibre to the Premises

This is when things get interesting because FTTP is not available for everyone. In fact, in comparison to FTTC, FTTP is far less available. This is because it would usually only be available if your premises were too far from the cabinet. This means that instead, you benefit from a straight connection directly from the exchange – with 100% fibre lines and no copper involved at all. The speed offered with this type of connection is more often than not capped at 330Mb. They are capable however, of 1Gb! You can pay to have FTTP installed, but without an engineer survey, it's impossible to know how quickly this would be, or how much.

Leased Line

The Rolls Royce of broadband options - but it comes with a price tag!

For businesses that want dedicated, uninterrupted, high priority connections, they often choose to install one of these Ethernet based lines. They’re subject to survey, and if that results in some construction work required in order to get the line to your premises, this can get costly. Most surveys are free of charge, but ensure you double check this element with your IT provider.

You get a choice of line that can be installed (a line up to 100Mb, or a line up to 1Gb) and the respective max speed your budget allows (20Mb, 40Mb, 60Mb etc etc). If you think a maximum of 100Mb will be more than enough for your needs over a long time frame, it's worth getting the ‘up to’ 100Mb line installed, as a 100Mb connection on a 1Gb line will cost you more than a 100Mb connection on a 100Mb line.

It's important not to get too greedy with speed though, as an 80/100 (speed/line) might cost £250 per month, compared to a 1Gb/1Gb which can cost anywhere from around £700 per month! Plus you’ll typically be locked into a 3 year contract as well - so choose wisely!


Talk To Our Team About Broadband Options

If you're in need of guidance to select the ideal internet connectivity solution, don't hesitate to reach out. If you already have an IT provider, they should be your first point of contact for broadband options. However, if you don't have one, we're here to assist you. 

Feel free to get in touch with us for expert advice and personalised support on your broadband options. We're just a call away, ready to provide you with the assistance you need!

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