FTTC NBN Explained

Find out more about FTTC connections on the NBN, how they work and their potential speeds.

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, updated on September 20th, 2023       

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FTTC is one of the connection types available within the National Broadband Network (NBN) framework, delivering high-speed internet services to residences and businesses across Australia. It's essential to understand how it works if FTTC is available in your area.

You can explore the ins and outs of this NBN technology right here in Savvy’s comprehensive guide. You can gain insights into how it’s different from other NBN technologies, the potential speeds it can offer and its reliability. Learn all you need to know about FTTC connections with us today!

What is a FTTC connection for the NBN and how does it work?

FTTC, which stands for Fibre to the Curb, is a type of NBN connection which combines fibre optic and existing copper infrastructure to deliver internet plans to homes and businesses. Unlike FTTP (Fibre to the Premises), where fibre optic cables run directly to your premises, FTTC utilises the existing copper phone line to establish a connection.

Here's how FTTC works:

  1. NBN Point of Interconnect: fibre optic cables running from the nearest NBN Point of Interconnect connect to a nearby node.
  2. Connection to Distribution Point: fibre optic cables running from the node then connect to the distribution point on your street outside your home or business (such as the curb or driveway).
  3. Copper connection to home: from the Distribution Point, a copper line carries the broadband signal from the curb to your premises.
  4. Data distribution: once the FTTC connection and other required equipment are set up, you can enjoy internet suitable for various online activities, including streaming, online gaming, video conferencing, and more.

It’s important to note that individuals and businesses don’t have a say when it comes to the connection type available to them, so you won’t get to choose FTTC or another connection type off the bat, but it’s still important to understand how it functions.

How is my FTTC NBN connection installed and what equipment do I need?

The installation of an FTTC NBN connection typically involves these steps:

  1. NBN Connection Device: the main piece of equipment required for a FTTC connection is an NBN Connection Device or Box. No technicians are required for the setup of this device, as you can plug it into both a power socket and an existing telephone socket.
  2. Connecting the router: with the Connection Box serving as the modem, you'll need a compatible wireless router to connect to it in order to distribute your connection to your various devices. This can either be included for free or an additional charge by your provider or purchased independently (such as from a previous connection). You’ll need to connect this to the Device or Box via an Ethernet cable and to its own power source.
  3. Activation: once the physical installation takes place, your internet connection will be established shortly after. You'll receive instructions on how to set up your Wi-Fi network and devices.

The process is relatively straightforward, with all the work able to be done by you and various setup guides and videos available to help should you need them.

How fast are FTTC NBN connections?

FTTC NBN connections can offer high-speed internet but can only support speed tiers up to NBN 100, which is 100Mbps (megabits per second). This means that FTTC connections are unable to provide you with access to higher speed tiers such as NBN 250 and NBN 1000, both of which can only be supported by FTTP and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connections.

It's important to understand that the actual speeds you experience on your FTTC connection can vary due to factors like network congestion and your chosen service provider. To get the best performance from your FTTC NBN connection, consider selecting an NBN plan which aligns with your internet usage needs and ensure your Wi-Fi router can handle the maximum speed offered by your plan.

In summary, FTTC NBN connections can offer reliable speeds up to NBN 100, making them suitable for most residential and small to medium-sized business internet needs. While not as fast as some other NBN technologies like FTTP, FTTC can still deliver the internet you or your family needs.

Common questions about FTTC NBN connections

How do I upgrade my FTTC connection to FTTP?

Some Australians may be eligible for a free upgrade from an existing FTTC connection to FTTP through NBN Co. In most cases, you’ll need to upgrade to a higher-speed plan through your provider as part of this process. However, if you aren’t eligible for a free upgrade, you may still be able to do so at a potentially high cost.

What do the lights on my FTTC connection box mean?

Your FTTC Connection Device comes with four lights, each of which can come in different colours. What these lights mean are:

  • LAN: blue or amber light indicates successful connection with the modem or router.
  • DSL: blue light indicates successful connection to the NBN.
  • Connection: blue light indicates successful reverse power to exterior NBN equipment, while red light indicates an issue with this power.
  • Power: blue light indicates the Device is turned on.


For each of the above, no light indicates a lack of power or connection.

How much will my FTTC NBN plan cost?

The cost of an FTTC NBN plan can vary depending on a range of factors, with the main one being the speed tier you choose; the higher the maximum speed, the more you’re likely to spend. Additionally, plans may also vary in cost based on contract terms and any additional services or features included. Prices are typically outlined by your chosen provider, so it's worth comparing plans from different providers to help you find one which meets your needs and budget.

What happens to my connection in an NBN outage?

During an NBN outage, your internet connection will be disrupted. The exact duration of the outage and the cause can vary. To address this:

  1. Check for outages in your area: use an online outage checker, look up your internet service provider's website and search their social media for outage information and updates.
  2. Restart your modem: to rule out the possibility of a modem issue, it’s worth resetting your modem and seeing if this restores your internet.
  3. Contact your provider: if the outage persists or if it's a widespread issue, contact your NBN service provider for assistance and updates on when service will be restored.
  4. Look for alternative connections: if you have a mobile data plan or a mobile hotspot, you can use your smartphone or mobile device to stay online. Alternatively, you may wish to move to a public Wi-Fi network.

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Savvy is partnered with Econnex Comparison (CIMET Sales Pty Ltd, ABN 72 620 395 726) to provide readers with a variety of internet plans to compare. We do not compare all retailers in the market, or all plans offered by all retailers. Savvy earns a commission from Econnex each time a customer buys an internet plan via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased directly, as all purchases are conducted via Econnex.

Any advice presented above is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an internet plan. For further information on the variety of internet plans compared by Econnex, or how their business works, you can visit their website.