fiber to the curb (FTTC)

"Fiber to the curb" (FTTC) refers to the installation and use of optical fiber cable directly to the curbs near homes or any business environment as a replacement for "plain old telephone service" (POTS). Think of removing all the telephone lines you see in your neighborhood and replacing them with optical fiber lines. Such wiring would give us extremely high bandwidth and make possible movies-on-demand and online multimedia presentations arriving without noticeable delay.

The term "fiber to the curb" recognizes that optical fiber is already used for most of the long-distance part of your telephone calls and Internet use. Unfortunately, the last part - installing fiber to the curb - is the most expensive. For this reason, fiber to the curb is proceeding very slowly. Meanwhile, other less costly alternatives, such as Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line on regular phone lines and satellite delivery, are likely to arrive much sooner in most homes.

Fiber to the curb implies that coaxial cable or another medium might carry the signals the very short distance between the curb and the user inside the home or business. "Fiber to the building" (FTTB) refers to installing optical fiber from the telephone company central office to a specific building such as a business or apartment house. "Fiber to the neighborhood" (FTTN) refers to installing it generally to all curbs or buildings in a neighborhood. Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) is an example of a distribution concept in which optical fiber is used as the backbone medium in a given environment and coaxial cable is used between the backbone and individual users (such as those in a small corporation or a college environment).

This was last updated in March 2010

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