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FTTC vs FTTP: What is the difference?

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There are several types of broadband in the UK, but FTTC and FTTP are the most sought-after, with the latter being the fastest broadband in the country. You can find one of the best FTTC or FTTP broadband deals by using our comparison tool and considering important factors such as cost, contract length and provider reputability.

This guide will explain these two broadband types, including what they are, how they differ and which solution is best for your household.

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What’s the difference between FTTC and FTTP internet?

FTTP and FTTC both use fibre optic cables but in different ways. Fibre broadband uses plastic or glass cables and offers a faster, more reliable connection than older broadband types, such as ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line), which uses copper wires.

Fibre broadband is more expensive and faster than ADSL. FTTC – fibre broadband or fibre to the cabinet – provides speeds up to 80Mbps, and FTTP – full fibre broadband or fibre to the premises – delivers speeds up to 1,000Mbps, depending on the provider.

Fibre broadband is less widely available than ADSL, although FTTC broadband is more widely accessible than FTTP, since it uses a combination of fibre optic and copper wires. FTTP exclusively uses fibre optic cables, and some UK households don’t have the infrastructure for an FTTP connection.

According to an Ofcom report, in September 2023, 57 per cent of UK households had access to FTTP broadband, with less accessibility in rural than urban areas. Accessibility is also affected by the cost of FTTP broadband, which is generally more expensive than FTTC broadband because of its speed.

Our comparison tool can help you find an FTTC or FTTP broadband package and show you the best broadband deals in your area.

FTTC explained

For FTTC broadband, the fibre optic cables connect to a cabinet in your street. This cabinet is then connected to your home via copper wires. While speeds can reach 80Mbps, your connection will likely be slower in practice, as copper wires suffer from signal degradation over long distances.

FTTC broadband requires a landline, so most FTTC deals include broadband and phone. Not all broadband providers will provide a landline service; some may install a physical phone line in your property.

FTTC deals can be paired with other services, such as broadband and TV or broadband and SIM deals, in addition to the required line rental.

Pros

Budget-friendly Higher coverage than FTTP across the UK Suitable for many households Low likelihood of requiring an engineer for installation

Cons

Much slower download and upload speeds than FTTP broadband Speeds affected by proximity to the cabinet May require a landline phone

FTTP explained

FTTP broadband exclusively uses fibre optic cables directly connected to the home, negating signal degradation issues and increasing connection speed to up to 1,000Mbps.

FTTP broadband is known as fibre to the premises, fibre to the home, full fibre and fibre optic broadband.

FTTP does not require a landline connection, so you will not need to sign up for a broadband and phone package. Eligible households can opt for broadband only, broadband and SIM or broadband and TV deals when considering FTTP.

Pros

Much faster upload and download speeds than FTTC No landline service required Better able to accommodate future technologies Greater reliability and resistance to damage through the use of fibre optic cables

Cons

Less budget-friendly Not accessible to every household May incur installation fees

FTTC vs FTTP speed comparison

Now that you’re familiar with FTTC and FTTP, you can consider which solution is the best fit for you. The table below outlines the speed characteristics of each option.

FTTC FTTP
Average download speed35Mbps50Mbps
Highest download speed75Mbps1,000Mbps+
Average upload speed10Mbps80Mbps
Highest upload speed20Mbps1,000Mbps

Theoretically, FTTP connections can be symmetrical, meaning download and upload speeds are equal. However, this highly depends on your internet service provider (ISP), with average upload speeds being around 50-95 per cent slower than average download speeds.

It is crucial to know your minimum required broadband speed so you don’t overspend. If you need a low-speed connection, you can invest in a cheaper package, while investing in FTTP broadband might make sense if you need a faster connection. If you want to learn more about broadband speeds and how to measure them, consult our guide. 

What is the best option for me?

Choosing between FTTC and FTTP may sound complicated, but it comes down to a few factors.

If you live in a house with multiple people or student housing, FTTP will provide more reliable speeds for all connected devices. Engaging in internet-intensive activities, such as streaming, playing video games or uploading content, might require FTTP. If you are far from the cabinet in your street, FTTP will provide faster, more consistent speeds than FTTC, as it does not suffer from signal degradation.

FTTC, however, is the better choice for households that value affordability and do not require the fastest connection. If you live with few people or close to the cabinet on your street, you will have a good experience with FTTC.

You can always scale up and invest in FTTP broadband for a luxury browsing experience, but don’t underestimate your internet needs, as that can result in a frustrating experience.

icons8-switch-96

If you want to switch your broadband package, first contact your broadband provider, even if you plan to stay with the same company. Your provider will tell you what to do with your current equipment and let you know if you’re liable for charges, such as a cancellation fee. 

 

Depending on your situation, you may be required to pay installation fees when switching, including the cost of delivery and activation or the installation of the relevant infrastructure and equipment on your property.

Which providers offer FTTP or FTTC?

Most of the best broadband providers offer FTTC and FTTP services, depending on your needs. The following list of some of the most popular broadband providers in the UK and their services will help you pick the best provider.

Broadband providerFTTCFTTPAdditional information
BT BroadbandBT offers FTTC and FTTP broadband to eligible households
Sky BroadbandResidents can pick between ultrafast FTTP broadband or FTTC with Sky Broadband
Virgin MediaVirgin Media operates its own cable network and offers packages that can be classed as FTTC but with much higher speeds than other providers
TalkTalkTalkTalk offers a range of FTTP packages alongside FTTC services
NOW BroadbandNOW Broadband introduced its first full fibre package in 2024, with a selection of FTTC deals also available
PlusnetPlusnet is phasing out its landline services but still offers FTTC broadband to households that require it
Shell Energy BroadbandResidents have the choice between FTTC and FTTP deals with Shell Energy Broadband
EEEE offers some of the fastest FTTP speeds in the country at 1,600Mbps, alongside its slower FTTC deals
VodafoneVodafone offers both FTTC and FTTP broadband deals alongside mobile broadband deals
Community FibreCommunity Fibre operates exclusively in London and only offers FTTP, with speeds as high as 3,000Mbps
HyperopticHyperoptic only provides FTTP broadband to eligible households
ZenZen’s network covers 500,000 postcodes in the north of England and provides FTTP speeds as high as 900Mbps
GigaclearGigaclear is a small provider that exclusively offers FTTP broadband to eligible households

FTTC AND FTTP broadband FAQs

FTTP is typically more expensive than FTTC, although this will depend on the provider and the speed of each package. Higher speeds are more expensive, making FTTP broadband unaffordable for some people. However, smaller broadband providers are often more affordable than their larger competitors, making it important to compare quotes.

It’s very likely that you can already access FTTC internet; however, finding out whether your area has access to FTTP can be a little trickier.

Use the Openreach availability checker to find out if your postcode has access to an Openreach FTTP provider – note that it uses the term full fibre, not FTTP. Since not every broadband provider works with Openreach – with Virgin Media being the most notable – you should also check with smaller providers to uncover your options.

If you live in an urban area, you’ll likely have access to FTTP internet. Residents living in cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow have multiple options when it comes to FTTP and FTTC broadband providers. If you want to learn more about the broadband options in your area, consult our dedicated articles.

If you can’t sign up for an FTTC or FTTP broadband deal, ADSL is one of the country’s most popular types of broadband and is accessible to 99 per cent of residents. However, it is the slowest type of broadband, offering speeds up to just 10Mbps.

You could also opt for wireless broadband packages, which provide an internet connection through a wired, underground connection or a mobile data network. Satellite broadband offers are ideal for those living in rural areas with few options for an internet connection, although they are generally more expensive than traditional broadband solutions. Finally, mobile broadband can be useful if you’re looking for a portable solution.

Gemma Ryles, Home Tech Expert.

Gemma Ryles

Home Tech Writer

Gemma Ryles is a BJTC and PPA-accredited journalist with three years of experience writing across various publications. As a home tech expert at Independent Advisor, Gemma tests, researches and writes about broadband and home security. 

Previously, Gemma reviewed and curated lists about consumer technology at Trusted Reviews, where she honed her skills in creating buying guides and features to help customers make informed decisions. She has previously worked at Yorkshire Post, BBC Yorkshire, Glitterbeam Radio and Bonus Stage. 

Gemma has a BA in Journalism and in her free time can be found writing short stories, gaming and crocheting. 

Molly Dyson

Editor

After growing up with a passion for writing, Molly studied journalism and creative writing at university in her home country of the United States.

She has written for a variety of print and online publications, from small town newspapers to international magazines. Most of her 10-year career since relocating to the UK has been spent in business journalism, writing and editing for admin professionals at PA Life magazine and business travel managers at Business Travel News Europe and representing those titles at conferences around the world.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Molly is an expert in a broad range of consumer topics, that include solar panels and renewables, home improvements and home insurance, and consumer technology such as home security and VPNs.

In her free time, Molly can usually be found exploring the outdoors with her husband and their young son or gardening.