FTTC is more often known by the consumer marketing names such as BT Infinity. It is a stepping stone to true fibre (FTTP – Fibre to the Premises) as the last part of the service is still delivered over the existing copper wires, meaning that the headline speeds are only available within close proximity to an enabled cabinet – normally around 800m. The benefit over ADSL is that the upload speed is considerably better – anything up to around 19Mbps depending on various factors. Download speed is also generally much faster, typically with limits of around 50Mbps. The services are contended at different levels depending on the service purchased with business services offering a lower contention ratio.
The primary downside of FTTC is availability with many areas either not having it at all, or suffering limited roll-out. Often initial surveys will say that FTTC is available but at the time of install it is discovered that the particular cabinet which connects to the install location is not enabled for FTTC. Because FTTC is delivered over copper wires a traditional phone line has to be installed prior to the FTTC service being installed.