All about Fibre Broadband (FTTP)

If you want the fastest available broadband service, here’s everything you should consider before choosing a plan.

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How does FTTP NBN work?

As with other technologies used in the Nationwide Broadband Network project, FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) is designed to offer high speed Internet access to homes and businesses across Singapore. In the case of FTTP, this is achieved using a full optical fibre connection directly into your premises, ending in a network termination device from which you get your actual broadband service.

Initial plans for the NBN called for the vast majority of the NBN to utilise FTTP, though this was later deemed infeasible. FTTN is now the primary technology used to connected most Aussie households to the NBN.

The big advantage to a full fibre connection is that it allows for the highest possible speeds delivered with more consistent performance, plus it provides an upgrade path to meet future broadband speed requirements. The challenge with FTTP is that it is more expensive to roll out. In the case of deployment to certain building types such as apartments, running full fibre can be very complex, further raising the installation cost. These costs have lowered over time, but they’re still significant.

How fast is FTTP NBN?

There are a variety of FTTP NBN plans available to end consumers, with most providers offering at the very least an entry level Basic NBN connection with theoretical maximum speeds of 1Gbps down. The second most common tier is labelled and offers theoretical maximums of 2Gbps down typically for a slightly higher price.

In the faster speed categories the two most common configurations are 1Gbps down and 2Gbps down. Other configurations are also offered by some subscribers.

It’s important to remember that the above speeds do not reflect real-world performance. Factors such as network congestion affect the speeds you’ll actually see on your home devices.

How can I compare FTTP NBN plans?

Speed

Because FTTP NBN connections are all-fibre from the exchange to your premises, speed is a primary comparison point both across different NBN speed tiers and between various NBN providers.

If your online needs are very modest indeed and you have little to no interest in streaming video or having multiple people online at the same time, an entry level FTTP NBN plan could suffice for your needs. If you have more users in your home or want to do more intensive online activities – or just don’t want to spend time waiting for downloads to finish – then the faster plans are obviously of more appeal.

Comparing peak-hour speeds is every bit as important as considering which NBN speed tier to go with. With the capacity to offer more speed, you may also find that your data needs intensify. This, along with speed, is a core criteria for properly comparing FTTP NBN plans.

Cost

The cost of an NBN plan is determined by both the speed and the data quota associated with that plan. Higher-speed plans typically include larger download quotas, which makes sense given that the faster that you can access online resources, the more of them you’re likely to use. So the cheapest NBN FTTP plans will typically only run at the lowest speed tiers with limited data provisioning, while more expensive plans will have larger data quotas and operate at higher speeds.

Will I need a new modem for FTTP NBN?

Because FTTP connections end in a network termination device, you don’t strictly speaking use a modem at all to connect to the NBN via fibre. Instead, you end up with a device housing an Ethernet port which you can connect to a router, although that router will need to meet some specific requirements to operate properly. If you’ve got an existing modem-router of recent vintage it may be capable of connecting via Ethernet to an FTTP NBN connection, but we’d advise checking with your ISP of choice. Many will provide an NBN-compatible Wi-Fi router as part of a contract plan.

What other extras should I look for?

Increased competition in the NBN space has led many broadband providers to pack in extra goodies with their services. These include entertainment options such as Netflix subscriptions as well as 4G backup services for guaranteed connectivity in the event that your NBN connection goes down. You’ll also find that many providers will throw in a free modem-router with their NBN plans provided you commit to a fixed-term contract.

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