The past few years have marked a shift in the framework of business communications. This is in part down to BT’s announcement in 2017, concluding that 2025 will mark end-of-life for all PSTN and ISDN (or copper) lines in the UK.
In the lead up to the switch off, BT have implemented several notable changes along the way. This includes optimisations to fibre connectivity in 2018, encouraging businesses to utilise an ever-improving full fibre network. Also of notability is BT’s announcement to stop the sell of all traditional phone lines across the UK in September 2023.
In line with these changes, businesses are now in the process of upgrading their phone and broadband connections to future-proof alternatives. With the demise of PSTN, also comes the end of broadband models such as FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet). Businesses still relying on this network must transfer to an alternative solution by 2025.
While 2025 may seem like a while away, these migrations are well underway, and it’s imperative that businesses allow enough time to find the best connectivity solutions for them.
What is FTTC?
FTTC sends an internet signal from a broadband provider to a cabinet in proximity to businesses. FTTC is a hybrid solution that combines the use of fibre optic cables and the traditional copper wire network.
In terms of how FTTC works, the fibre optic connection begins its journey at the internet provider’s main ‘hub’. This fibre optic signal is then transferred to a local cabinet. Think of this cabinet as a ‘check point ‘for the fibre optic signal. Once it arrives at the cabinet, it is then converted into a copper-based connection and is sent on to the end-user’s location via the traditional copper network.
This model of broadband allows for copper-based broadband, but with faster internet speeds. This increased speed is achieved through the initial fibre optic part of the process, reducing the distance of copper wiring between the internet provider and the consumer.
What is FTTP?
FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) is a full fibre broadband connection, sometimes referred to as FTTH (Fibre to the Home) or FTTB (Fibre to the Business). Like FTTC, FTTP begins its journey as a fibre optic signal, originating from the ‘hub’ of an internet provider.
How does FTTP work?
Unlike FTTC, FTTP relies purely on fibre optic cables, eliminating the need for a copper-conversion cabinet. Instead, it travels to an ‘exchange’ – this is an internet provider’s local hub, housing the fibre optic network and transmitting fibre optic connectivity directly to businesses in its locality.
What are the benefits of FTTP?
FTTP boasts superior longevity in comparison to FTTC. FTTP is a broadband solution that will see businesses through the upcoming PSTN switch off, and far beyond.
In contrast, FTTC’s direct reliance on the PSTN network puts a sharp expiry date on this type of broadband (December 2025). Similarly, businesses without a PSTN line who are considering FTTC, will only have until September 2023 to have a PSTN line installed. From then, this only allows a period of around fifteen months of FTTC use before the PSTN switch off date.
Aside from long-term usability, FTTP has a number of other benefits over FTTC:
1.Ultra-fast internet speeds
To provide some context, FTTP can reach speeds of up to 1Gb/s, compared to average FTTC speeds of 42Mb/s. This provides businesses with greatly reduced lag time, faster upload and download speeds and the elimination of video call buffering.
The full fibre composition of FTTP makes it highly resistant to interference caused by electrical currents, unlike broadbands running on the copper network. The framework of FTTP cables also factors in durability, making them less susceptible to environmental damage.
While FTTP installation requires upfront installation costs, it’s likely cheaper in the long run when compared to the rental costs of PSTN and ISDN lines.
As businesses grow and adapt, so do their broadband requirements. FTTP is designed to accommodate changing data demands and continuous technological advances, all without sizeable infrastructure improvements.
FTTP’s full fibre connection moves at a pace close to the speed of light. This not only provides fast internet speeds, but also makes it more difficult for your business’s data to be intercepted by cyber criminals.
Is FTTP available to my business?
Providers such as our partner, CityFibre deliver full fibre connectivity to businesses.
Whether you’re a single office business or a large, multi-site organisation, if your geographical area is covered by full fibre, you can most likely benefit from FTTP.
Over the last decade, CityFibre has branched out to an increasing amount of UK towns and cities; to name just a few, this includes Gloucester, Cheltenham, Bath and Swindon (Excalibur were the official launch partner for Swindon CityFibre in 2019).
Going forward, more hard-to-reach, rural businesses will also be eligible for CityFibre’s FTTP.
Are there any disadvantages to FTTP?
As we’ve mentioned, there is no escaping the fact that businesses will incur upfront installation costs for FTTP. This is because Fibre to the Premises requires laying fibre optic cables directly to the premises, requiring time, labour and materials.
Due to the physical nature of full fibre installation, it could be that the installation process could cause temporary disruption and inconvenience to businesses and premises in its vicinity.
While providers are working to extend coverage to more business areas, this is still a work in progress. The extensive infrastructure required for FTTP requires significant planning and agreements from local councils. This may leave a number of businesses with little to no access to FTTP for the time being.
Despite these short-term challenges, the benefits of FTTP largely outweigh the drawbacks for businesses wanting to acquire ultra-fast broadband.
Is FTTP suitable for my business?
As with all technology solutions, FTTP is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Excalibur’s in-house experts are on-hand to discuss your requirements and the best connectivity packages to suit your business.