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What is Fiber to the Building (FTTB)?

FTTB stands for Fiber to the Building, and it refers to a type of internet connection that brings fiber optic cables directly to a building, such as an apartment complex or office building. Fiber to the Building is also called Fiber to the Basement.

Imagine that you live in a house, and you want to get high-speed internet. With traditional internet connections, the data would travel from a network location (OLT) to your building through copper wires. Copper wires provide lower internet speeds than fiber. With FTTB, fiber optic cables directly reach the basement of your building, and only the last few meters (from the basement to your apartment) are made up of copper.

When the fiber optic cables are brought to the building, they are connected to a special device called an Optical Network Terminal (ONT). The ONT connects the fiber optic cables to the building’s internal wiring, allowing the internet connection to be distributed to each apartment or office. FTTB however does

One of the main advantages of FTTB is that it provides faster and more reliable internet speeds compared to traditional copper connections. Fiber optic cables can transmit data very quickly over long distances without losing quality. This means that you can browse the web, stream videos, and play online games without any delays or buffering.

With FTTH, the evolution of FTTB, fiber cables are brought directly to the wall of your house, providing even faster internet connections. For differences between FTTB and FTTH check the below example.


Hannah and Mary are two friends who live in the same neighborhood but have different types of internet connections. Hannah has a Fiber-to-the-Building (FTTB) connection, while Mary has a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) connection.


  • Hannah (FTTB): Her internet connection is delivered to a distribution point in her apartment building, and from there, it uses traditional copper or coaxial cables to reach her apartment.
  • Mary (FTTH): Mary’s internet connection is delivered directly to her home through a dedicated fiber optic line, ensuring a faster and more reliable connection.


  • Hannah (FTTB): Her FTTB connection can provide decent internet speeds, but they may vary depending on the quality of the building’s internal wiring and the distance from the distribution point. Typically, FTTB offers lower upload speeds compared to download speeds. A stable FTTB connection can offer download speeds of around 100-200Mbps. This means a 2GB movie would take around 2-3 minutes to download.
  • Mary (FTTH): With FTTH, Mary enjoys consistently high-speed internet because the dedicated fiber optic line ensures minimal signal loss and interference. Both upload and download speeds are usually symmetrical, providing a superior online experience. A stable FTTH connection can offer download speeds of around 1Gbps. This means a 2GB movie would take around 15 seconds to download.


  • Hannah (FTTB): FTTB connections can be susceptible to signal degradation due to older building wiring and interference from other users in the building. This may lead to occasional performance drops or outages.
  • Mary (FTTH): FTTH connections are known for their reliability. Since the signal travels through dedicated fiber optic lines, there’s minimal risk of interference or signal loss, resulting in a stable and consistent internet connection.

FTTB connections are normally good enough for normal activities like streaming, gaming of web browsing, although FTTH is advisable if you want the highest performance.

Mary will pay more per month for her FTTH connection, given FTTH normally offers higher reliability and performance.

FTTB: From the Backbone to the Building

The Birth of FTTB in the 1980s

The 1980s marked the dawn of an era where the potential of fiber optics for telecommunications began to gain significant momentum. These ultra-thin, hair-like strands of glass or plastic offered unparalleled advantages over traditional copper cables. Their ability to transmit data using pulses of light signaled a shift in the industry. Initially, fiber optic cables were primarily utilized for long-distance communication backbones, connecting cities and countries with high-speed data highways.

The Rise of FTTB Solutions

As the demand for high-speed internet access increased, the need for faster and more reliable connectivity solutions within urban areas became evident. This demand led to the inception of early FTTB (Fiber to the Building) solutions. The concept behind FTTB was to leverage the immense bandwidth capacity of fiber optics to deliver lightning-fast internet connections directly to office buildings and multi-dwelling units (MDUs). This was a significant departure from the traditional copper-based solutions, as FTTB promised to bridge the digital divide within urban centers.

The Internet Boom and FTTB in the Early 2000s

Fast forward to the early 2000s, and the internet had become an integral part of daily life. With the proliferation of internet usage and the appetite for high bandwidth applications, FTTB deployments became increasingly prevalent. Telecom companies and service providers recognized the necessity of investing in robust fiber infrastructure to meet the growing demands of businesses and residential buildings.

To meet these demands, new industry standards were established, supporting higher data rates and enhanced performance. One noteworthy development during this period was the integration of VDSL (Very High Bitrate Digital Subscriber Line) technologies with FTTB deployments. This synergy allowed for faster connectivity options even for buildings situated farther away from the central exchange, bridging the digital gap even further.

FTTB in the Modern Era

As the appetite for high-speed internet and bandwidth-intensive applications continued to surge, FTTB’s popularity soared. Innovations in fiber optic technology played a pivotal role in this growth. The deployment of faster PON (Passive Optical Network) technologies, such as GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) and XG PON (10-Gigabit Passive Optical Network), ushered in an era of even higher-speed connectivity to buildings.

In the present day, it’s worth noting that many FTTB connections have evolved into FTTH (Fiber to the Home) setups. FTTH takes FTTB’s promise of superior performance and reliability to the next level by extending fiber optic connectivity all the way to individual residences. This evolution underscores the enduring importance of fiber optics as the backbone of our modern digital infrastructure.

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