Can I get a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) service?

We are now starting to see Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) solutions being rolled out. The standard solution is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), whereby the existing copper telephone network is utilised. In most cases, the telephone service is delivered by taking copper out to a roadside cabinet (PCP) and then splitting the wiring to take it to individual properties. This has worked fine for voice transmission for many years.

FTTC involves putting a new cabinet (DSLAM) as close as possible to the existing copper cabinet. The DSLAM also needs power as we are, effectively, taking the exchange out to the local community. The DSLAM is fed with fibre and then only the final part of the delivery is over the copper telephone network, meaning that the achievable speeds are much higher.

In some areas, there is no copper cabinet so other solutions have to be found. Sometimes there is a local exchange, so we can still employ a cabinet solution but have to install both a PCP and a DSLAM. In other areas we can install an all-in-one cabinet that serves the function of both the DSLAM and the PCP. These are mainly suitable in areas with smaller numbers of properties.

In a few areas there is no aggregation point and the existing copper wiring runs off in all directions, or there are other reasons why a cabinet solution will not do the job. In these cases, we are starting to see Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) being deployed.

This means that instead of the final delivery being over the copper network, the fibre is taken to a central point and then run directly to each property when the service is ordered.

The advantage of this service for the user is that much faster speeds can be achieved. The disadvantages are that the costs of the very fast services tend to be higher, although you can still get a superfast service at the same price as anybody on an FTTC installation..

From the CSW Broadband point of view, we don’t know until the FTTP service goes live exactly which properties will be able to benefit, so we can’t let people know that it is coming. Also, the installations costs are considerably higher than for a cabinet-fed solution.

FTTP is not appropriate in every location. We need to be mindful of the costs of installation and under the contract there is a cost cap per premise, so FTTP can only be used where this cost cap will not be breached.

Also, whilst we could connect a few communities using FTTP, we can connect a lot more and get the overall fibre network much further by using cabinet technologies. Since the over-riding principle of the project is to take the fibre as far as possible, FTTP will only be used in exceptional circumstances.

Finally, FTTP should not be confused with Fibre on Demand (FoD), which Openreach announced some time ago. This service is outside the remit of our project, so if you live in one of these areas you and want to find out about this, you should go to Openreach or your ISP to find out more.

Unless you live in an area that is to be covered by Fibre to the Premise, or Fibre on Demand, then the only other way to get fibre right to your door is to buy a commercial Private Leased Line, however the installation costs can run into tens of thousands of £s, and the ongoing rental costs are considerably higher than for other services.


Posted in: General Rollout