Fibre Broadband (FTTC) Self Install and the Risks to Broadband Speeds Without a VDSL Faceplate Filter

Mark HeathThe accountants seem to have been actively working in BT recently, with a number interesting, financially-motivated decisions taken. These revolve around optimising BT’s services to better reflect the practical costs of installation of fibre-optic cables for FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) on Demand and FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) equipment in residential and business premises.

We have recently reported that BT is significantly increasing the installation costs and monthly rental costs for FTTP on Demand.

fibre broadbandinstallation-fibre-broadband

Another significant area of costs for BT is associated with the installation by engineers of fibre broadband in residential and business premises, which has differed from the cheaper self-install process for conventional ADSL and ADSL2+ broadband services. As described in our article What’s involved in a fibre broadband customer installation, fibre broadband installations have involved an engineer:

  • visiting the nearby conventional street cabinet to connect the copper pair from the customer’s premises to a board that connects to the nearby fibre street cabinet (containing the DSLAM fibre broadband equipment)
  • installing a master socket with a faceplate filter (or fitting a faceplate filter to the existing master socket) and then installing an FTTC (VDSL2) modem.

Since the second stage of this process can take some time, it is not surprising that BT has recently instigated a self-install option for FTTC fibre broadband where an engineer no longer needs to visit customers’ premises.

At first sight, this new self-install option looks to provide a win-win situation for broadband users and BT. Self installation will be cheaper for broadband users and they no longer will need to wait in for a visit from an engineer. For BT, there is a significant cost saving as the engineer will no longer need to visit customers’ premises to fit an Openreach modem and faceplate filter. Currently, the self-install option is only available for BT Infinity 1 and ‘up to 38 Mbps’ download services offered by other ISPs.

However, there is potentially a significant downside to the self-install option that broadband users need to be aware of. Self installation relies on broadband users installing microfilters on every telephone socket, as with the installation of conventional ADSL and ADSL2+ broadband services. However, installing microfilters filters can often result in much lower speeds than when a filtered faceplate is fitted.

The difference in speeds achieved by using a faceplate filter at the BT master socket rather than microfilters will generally be much larger for fibre broadband than for ADSL and ADSL2+ services.

We urge anyone considering or opting for a self-install fibre broadband service to install a faceplate filter. These are inexpensive and will generally deliver significant improvements in broadband speeds. Given the low cost of a filtered faceplate, you will still save money compared with an installation by an engineer and should achieve the same speeds!

For simplicity, here is a link to a high-quality, low-priced VDSL faceplate:

VDSL Faceplate fromĀ Amazon UK


Don’t forget to view our Increase Broadband Speed Guide for tips on how to get the greatest speed from your line.

Did you realise that your Wi-Fi could well be the bottleneck of your broadband connection? Read our Wi-Fi Optimisation Guide for advice on how to squeeze the highest speeds from your WiFi.