Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) Installation

Yesterday I had FTTC installed. Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) is a product sold by BT Retail as “BT Infinity”. This post will be a little geeky…

FTTC promises “up to” 40Mbps but this depends on the quality of your copper and the distance to the green box. Up until now ADSL1 (“up to 8Mbps”) or ADSL2+ (“up to” around 20-24Mbps) has always been hampered by the quality and length of the old copper line going to your house. Don’t forget that it’s just two bits of copper, that’s all.

To install FTTC a BT engineer visit is required. He’ll first go to your local exchange and pull out your copper cable from the line card. He’ll then go to one of those new green boxes you may see popping up on street corners and effectively plug the copper cable from your house into that instead. This shortens the distance. Instead of travelling all the way to the exchange, your copper goes the green box. From that green box it’s all fibre optic back to the exchange – hence the term “Fibre To The Cabinet”.

FTTC isn’t available at all exchanges as it involves a huge amount of work and investment by BT. Roads need to be dug up, new boxes need to be installed, fibre has to be laid and exchanges have to be refitted. Major towns and cities will get it first – you can do a check on sites like this

Below you can see what happened when the BT engineer turned up at our house. Once the face-plate is fitted it may stick out slightly further than your existing box and it will have two ports. There’s no need for a filter / splitter – this is all built in. In the pics you should see the RJ11 (modem) port at the top and a standard telephone port at the bottom.

They will also bring with them a BT-branded modem, here it’s a Huawei FTTC VDSL modem with some BT stickers. This plugs into the RJ11 on top and should have a steady DSL light indicating a connection with the green box out on the street. The router will “present” an Ethernet connection. You will then need a router to connect to the BT router. I’m using a Draytek 2820 for this as it does VPN and all manner of other geeky things.

This is paving the way to other services such as TV on demand (most new TV’s now have an Ethernet cable on the back of them). Sky are already doing TV on demand for their Sky ADSL2+ customers. On FTTC I’m currently getting around 34Mb/s, which is fantastic.

Update – More information in my other blog post.