NBN FTTC In 2024! Fibre To The Curb Explained

What is FTTC

Experience the best of both worlds with Fibre to the Curb (FTTC). This clever technology combines the speed of fibre optic cables with a practical touch.

Fibre runs most of the way to your neighborhood and then connects to a Distribution Point Unit (DPU). That last stretch to your home? That’s where existing lines come in, making FTTC a smart and speedy upgrade.

NBN FTTC - Fibre To The Curb

The FTTC configuration leverages the existing copper wire network that traditionally delivered phone and broadband services.

From the DPU, the final connection to the individual home or business is made using this copper network.

This approach minimizes disruption and excavation as it requires no direct fiber optic run to the building itself, unlike Fiber to the Premises (FTTP).

As internet usage grows, FTTC provides a scalable solution to meet consumer demands without the higher costs associated with laying new infrastructure in every home.

Its implementation has been regarded as an efficient step in the modernization of network systems, potentially offering speeds that satisfy the majority of standard internet activities such as streaming, gaming, and telecommuting.

In summary, this technology is a great alternative for FTTN customers and a lot are already switching the FTTC as FTTN had big issues with degraded copper lines.

Understanding FTTC

Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) delivers broadband via a hybrid fiber-copper network, promising enhanced speeds in comparison to traditional setups.

This advanced approach integrates fibre-optic cables up to a point near end users, leveraging existing copper lines only for the final stretch.

How FTTC Works

In an FTTC setup, fibre-optic cables run from the telecommunications exchange to a street cabinet and further towards a distribution point closer to the user’s premises.

The existing copper network takes over from this distribution point to complete the connection. By shortening the copper run to the premises, FTTC reduces signal degradation and boosts internet performance.

FTTC vs Other Technologies

FTTC presents a middle ground between various broadband technologies. Unlike FTTP (Fibre to the Premises), which brings fibre directly inside buildings, and FTTN (Fibre to the Node), which utilizes existing copper lines from a local cabinet or node, FTTC reduces the reliance on copper without requiring comprehensive infrastructure changes.

Compared to HFC (Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial), which uses both fibre and coaxial cable networks, and FTTB (Fibre to the Building/Basement), a variation of FTTP, FTTC provides a cost-effective solution for improving broadband speeds without the extensive rewiring that FTTP demands.

Visit our Knowledge Hub and NBN resources for a full list of service types and how they work!

Getting Connected

When it comes to getting connected with Fibre to the Curb (FTTC), the process involves a few key steps and pieces of equipment.

Refer to the video above for further support.

FTTC Installation Process

The installation process for an FTTC connection typically starts with the internet service provider (ISP) or the National Broadband Network (nbn™) informing residents that FTTC is available in their area.

A connection box, designed to link the existing telephone wall socket to the new FTTC network, is provided.

Most times, this setup is designed for self-installation, allowing residents to easily connect the provided nbn connection box to the modem and router.

  1. Check FTTC availability
  2. Receive the nbn connection box
  3. Connect the box to the telephone wall socket
  4. Link the modem and router
  5. Activate the service through your ISP

The Role of Distribution Point Unit (DPU)

The Distribution Point Unit (DPU) is a pivotal part of the FTTC system, placed inside a pit on the street near residences.

It connects the fibre optic cables from the node to the existing copper line network, which runs to individual premises.

A technician may be involved in this external setup, but the intervention at the user’s residence is minimal.

  • Location: Pit on the street
  • Function: Connects fibre optic cables to copper lines
  • User Intervention: Minimal (mostly external work by a technician)

From ADSL to FTTC: Transitioning

Transitioning from an ADSL connection to FTTC involves a significant upgrade in internet speeds. With FTTC, signals travel predominantly through fibre optic cables, reducing reliance on the longer stretches of copper wires and thus enhancing speed and reliability.

If the premises were previously connected with ADSL, the modem may need to be upgraded to one that is compatible with FTTC nbn™ for optimal performance.

Even if it’s not required, ask for an upgrade because a modern modem will typically work better than a 3/4 year old modem

Maximizing FTTC Efficiency

Optimal FTTC Setup and Equipment

The effectiveness of an FTTC network begins with proper setup and the use of compatible equipment.

Initially, installers must ensure the connection box is placed close to both the power supply unit (PSU) and the modem, minimizing the length of ethernet cable needed.

This helps reduce potential signal degradation that can occur over longer distances. An uninterrupted power supply should be considered to maintain service during a power outage.

When connecting existing devices, it’s critical to check device compatibility. Some older devices may not support the speeds that FTTC connections offer.

Additionally, the quality of the copper wiring from the curb to the premises needs inspection. Degraded or poorly configured wiring can significantly disrupt service.

In homes with security alarms or other specialized devices, an ADSL filter might be necessary to ensure these services do not interfere with the broadband signal.

Always opt for high-quality cables and filters to enhance connection stability and performance.

If you are part of the unlucky few, who have significant copper issues, consider the alternatives such as 5G which is great in modern cities.

Choosing the Right FTTC Plan

When selecting an FTTC plan, ensure you figure out which speeds are needed for you or your family, such as nbn 25, nbn 50, and nbn 100, and assess the typical evening speeds.

Comparing NBN FTTC Plans

You should carefully compare NBN FTTC plans from providers like Telstra, Optus, TPG, SpinTel and MATE.

Different plans will offer varied typical evening speeds, which is the speed likely to be experienced during peak usage hours (typically 7pm-11pm). The typical speed tiers for FTTC NBN plans include:

  • NBN 25: Suitable for smaller households with light web browsing and streaming needs.
  • NBN 50: A mid-tier option that supports moderate usage, including HD video streaming and online gaming.
  • NBN 100: Designed for larger households or heavy Internet users who require high download and upload speeds.

Potential FTTC NBN customers should compare the wholesale speeds and powered plans which can indicate higher performance capabilities.

Most providers offer plan details and comparisons on their websites to assist with decision-making. You will also not need to pay any more for FTTC plans

Understanding the Technology Choice Program

The Technology Choice Program allows individuals or businesses to pay for an upgrade to a higher-performing NBN technology, such as from FTTC to FTTP (Fibre to the Premises).

Key points include:

  • Installation: Consider the cost and feasibility of installing a new NBN technology at your premises.
  • Upgrades: Assess the benefits versus the costs of upgrading, as these can vary significantly.
  • NBN Plans: It’s important to verify that once an upgrade is completed, the chosen retail service provider offers plans that capitalize on the new technology’s speed potential.

Remember to review each plan’s features, cost, and contractual obligations.

Conclusion

That concludes all you need to know about NBN FTTC. All in all, it’s a great alternative to FTTN and provides more reliable and faster speeds.

If you’re unlucky enough to have poor copper or issues with FTTC, look at the FTTP upgrade options or 5G, as you will most likely have a much better experience with those types of connectivity.

Author

  • David Everson

    Telecommunications & Technology enthusiast, I have worked multiple years in the telco and tech space, so have a strong passion towards delivering terrific insights.

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