Broadband is the culmination of high speed transmission technologies that allow users to access the Internet. In the past, users accessed the Internet with dial-up access. This was very slow and severely limited the number of people who could gain access at one time. Technological advantages brought about this technology, which meant that more people could access the Internet at the same time and work became more efficient.
As with most technology, there were further advances and the Internet can now be accessed through different kinds of broadband, including fibre optic and ADSL (Asymmetric Direct Subscriber Line). ADSL is supplied by using a subscriber’s phone line. Fibre optic broadband is created by using groups of fibre optic cables. These cables are made from a special material that uses light to transmit signals. This fibre optic service is faster than ADSL and continues to evolve. In the United Kingdom, there is even a distinction between kinds of fiber optic connections – Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP).
Fibre to the Cabinet broadband connects a street cabinet to a telephone exchange using fibre optic cables. Then, regular copper wires are used to connect the street cabinet to individual homes. Generally, FTTC offers speeds from 38 Mbit/s and 76 Mbit/s. While this is still incredibly fast and a big upgrade over ADSL, it is still not the fastest. One of the biggest drawbacks to FTTC is the inability to add on to the system. This will become a problem as regular users need faster upload and download speeds. FTTC will not be able to support that need.
Fibre to the Premises is the fastest way to access the Internet. The name is somewhat self-explanatory. It means the fibre optic cables run directly into the subscriber’s home. There is no use of the standard copper, the entire connection is made of fibre optic cables. This allows for a stable and reliable connection. It also means that more people can use the network at the same time. FTTP offers speeds up to 1 Gbit/s or 1000 Mbit/s. This is considerably faster than FTTC.
Additionally, FTTP is usually only available to businesses where is grant’s speed and reliability. In a business, it allows for more users to be on the network at the same time. This increases efficacy of the workforce and results in better work process. While FTTC was designed for the everyday person, with no real possibility for upgrades, FTTP was specifically designed to be improved upon and expanded. This is critical for many businesses, especially as they grow. It would be even more expensive for a business to start with FTTC and find out that the system just can’t support their Internet traffic. Then, they would have to subscribe to an FTTP services, and subsequently must bear the cost of the switch. It can cause many problems for businesses.
However, and this is probably the reason FTTP is used mainly in businesses – it is very expensive to install. The expense comes from the need for a new infrastructure, calling for digging up roads and sidewalks to lay the cables. Businesses, and sometimes individuals, need to determine whether they need and want to accept the significant cost of FTTP.
Fibre optic broadband is certainly the technology of the future. The United Kingdom has graduated from dial-up and ADSL service to FTTP and FTTC broadband services. People and businesses need to do their research and decide which service will be serve them. Some of the determining factors include speed and cost. Long-term goals should be considered when making the decision of which service to embrace.
Wanting faster service may be desired by all, but might not be available. Whereas ADSL broadband is accessible by just about every home in the United Kingdom (all you really need is a phone line), FTTC and FTTP may not be. As their popularity increase, their availability will increase also. More companies are emerging that provide broadband services, and the service areas are being expanded.