Fibre to the Premises Broadband: What is FTTP and How Does it work?

Tom Grange
By Tom Grange, Director of Connectivity

For many companies, having fast and reliable broadband is essential for keeping businesses running effectively. 

A poor connection can hugely hinder your day-to-day operations, whether you’re running an office or have a brick-and-mortar store. So, how can you ensure you don’t end up unexpectedly offline?

Our Bionic guide explains everything you need to know about fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband and how it can help keep your business flowing smoothly.

Someone browses the internet via an iPad. It's connected to WiFi using an FTTP internet connection

What is Fibre to the Premises broadband?

FTTP stands for fibre to the premises and is a type of fibre optic broadband. FTTP is supplied by fibre optic cables from your local internet exchange — a physical location where network providers transmit internet data — directly to your business’s premises. This is instead of using traditional Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) copper cables. Fibre optic cables offer much higher and more consistent speeds compared to broadband delivered from copper cables or fibre to the cabinet broadband (FTTC).

Fibre to the cabinet is classed as semi-fibre broadband, as the fibre optic cables run from the exchange to a cabinet near your business’s location. A standard copper cable then delivers the broadband the rest of the way to your premises. While FTTC is currently the most widely used form of broadband, it doesn’t have the same speed and efficiency as FTTP.

How does FTTP work?

FTTP has earned a reputation for lightning-fast broadband that’s one of the quickest internet options for businesses today.

Fibre to the premises achieves this by transferring internet data straight from the exchange to a location, using a single set of fibre optic cables. As it’s an end-to-end service, there’s no need for the broadband to pass through a green cabinet (that you’ll usually see in the street) and copper cables in multiple different steps – which is the case with fibre to the cabinet.

Fibre optic cables are also much more resilient than copper, so they won’t break down over time. They are specifically designed for carrying internet data, which makes them exceptionally effective. On the other hand, copper cables were originally created for landline services and were later adapted to transmit broadband.

How fast is FTTP broadband?

FTTP broadband can offer download speeds of up to 1 Gbps or 1000 Mbps. While this is currently the maximum speed for ultra-fast FTTP connection, most fibre optic providers offer FTTP broadband with download speeds of up to 300 Mbps.

Different packages will have varying average speeds and a range of price points, so you can choose a speed that best suits your business. For example, if you need broadband to power a large office space with twenty or more electronic devices, an ultra-fast FTTP connection with 1 Gbps download speed could be ideal.  

However, suppose you only need the internet to make individual card payments in your store throughout the day. In that case, an average download speed of 100-200 Mbps may be enough.

Is FTTP broadband reliable?

Along with the fibre optic cables being stronger and less prone to deterioration than copper ones, FTTP is more reliable than FTTC as there are fewer stages for the data to reach your business location – meaning there are fewer things to go wrong. For example, damage to a green cabinet can cause internet failure, but as FTTP isn’t routed through a cabinet, you won’t have to worry about that being a potential problem.

Also, as fibre optic cables are connected directly to your premises, you won’t have to worry about sharing them with other broadband users. High volumes of users all connected to the same copper wires can cause slower speeds, but FTTP is unaffected by this.

Of course, internet outages can sometimes happen, no matter your broadband connection type, but this is less likely to occur with FTTP. Find out what you can do if your business internet goes down with our guide. 

Which providers offer FTTP?

As FTTP is one of the newer and most efficient internet services, it’s less accessible than ADSL and FTTC as fibre optic cables need to be installed to access it. 

Initially, Virgin Media was one of the only providers of FTTP as it delivers broadband using its own networks which can offer fibre to the premises services. However, as copper wires are slowly being phased out and FTTP becomes more popular, an increasing number of providers can now deliver FTTP to businesses.

You can check the latest list of FTTP providers using Openreach’s full fibre broadband checker here.

When can I get FTTP in my area?

Despite FTTP not being as widespread as FTTC, Openreach has announced plans to make FTTP available to 85% of the country by December 2026. To achieve this goal, fibre optic cables will need to be installed to 25 million homes and businesses by this date.

Openreach has split the UK into 5,600 areas or ‘exchanges’ and plans to connect these exchanges to FTTP broadband in the coming years. 

You can check on the progress of Openreach’s FTTP build plans using their map, which is updated at least once every three months with the latest information. 

It’s also worth noting that while FTTP could be available in your area, it may need to be installed to allow your business to access it. While FTTC can be enabled at the flick of a switch by providers, an engineer will need to come and manually connect your premises to FTTP. This usually comes with a charge of around £500. 

An overview of the main benefits and disadvantages of FTTP

FTTP is currently the fastest and most reliable way to connect to the internet, but it's not without its downsides. If you're considering upgrading your connection, check out these pros and cons before making a decision.

What are the benefits of FTTP?

  • Offers some of the highest internet speeds
  • Can offer a more reliable connection, resulting in fewer outages
  • Sustains a greater number of devices
  • Gives you the option to take out a broadband-only deal without having to pay for a landline service 

What are the downsides of FTTP?

  • Tariffs are more expensive
  • Installation fees can be costly
  • Can take longer to set up and get connected compared to FTTC
  • Not as accessible as FTTC

Is FTTP or FTTC right for me?

Choosing between FTTP or FTTC depends on your internet requirements and budget. If your business doesn’t need a super-fast connection and only hosts a handful of devices, choosing a more affordable FTTC deal could be sufficient and may save you money.

If a high-speed connection is a non-negotiable, FTTP will likely be better suited for your business.

Another point to consider is whether FTTP is available in your area. If not, you may not have the option. It’s also important to remember that there are faster FTTC broadband options which offer average speeds of up to 80Mbps, which may be enough for your business’s needs.

Compare broadband options with Bionic

Selecting the right internet option is crucial for keeping your business operations running. Whether you’re interested in ultra-fast internet to keep you up to speed or are satisfied with a semi-fibre connection, we can help you find the best business broadband deal.

Speak to our friendly Bionic team today, or learn more about business connectivity with our guides.