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What’s Fiber to the Home? To the Curb? To the Node?

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When you find out that fiber is coming to your neighborhood (at last!), you’ll want to see how it’s being delivered.

While internet service providers (ISPs) say they’re providing 100% fiber networks, fiber to the curb (FTTC) and fiber to the node (FTTN) options don’t actually provide that fiber all the way to your residence. Just be aware that fiber to the home (FTTH) is the one and only option that provides pure fiber directly to your home without using any copper wiring along the way.

Fiber to the home (FTTH)

This is the fiber installation option you want to look for, as it will give you the best performance. Unlike the other options, fiber is installed directly into your home without using any coaxial cables or copper wiring, so it provides the highest bandwidth, fastest speed and greatest reliability.

Here’s how FTTH—also called fiber to the premises (FTTP)—works: The fiber is installed from your ISP’s closest central office to a box, called an optical network terminal (ONT), that’s placed inside or outside your home. The ONT converts the fiber optic signals to electronic signals that are transmitted to your router via an ethernet cable.

Per the FTTH Council, an organization that advocates for fiber in homes, in order for an installation to be classified as FTTH, the fiber must cross the property line and end either inside the home, on an outside wall of the home or within about 6.5 feet of an external wall on the property.

The one downside to FTTH is that it isn’t yet widely available. There’s promising news, however. Fiber passes more than 54 million U.S. homes, and with a growth rate in fiber installation of about 10% per year, researchers predict that fiber could be available in 35% of U.S. households over the next decade.

In addition, thousands of FTTH projects are currently in development all around the world, according to the Fiber Optic Association (FOA), so FTTH may be available to you in the not-so-distant future.

Fiber to the curb (FTTC)

No, fiber isn’t installed inside that low concrete border separating your property from the street.

“Curb” in this case refers to a utility pole or cabinet that contains a junction box called a node, in which the main fiber optic cable from your ISP’s central office is installed.

Inside the node, the fiber optics are converted into electronics that are transmitted using existing coaxial cables or copper telephone lines to your home—as well as to other homes within about 1,000 feet of the node. Fiber internet providers call the connection from the node to your home “the last mile,” although it’s not necessarily that exact distance.

The quality and age of your home’s copper wiring may affect your internet connection. For example, homes with older copper wiring may have less available bandwidth.

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Fiber to the node (FTTN)

Also called fiber to the neighborhood, this type of delivery is similar to FTTC, with one important difference.

Instead of just your immediate neighbors, FTTN provides service to several hundred homes located within an approximately one-mile radius of the node utility pole—so in this case, “the last mile” is accurate.

The farther away your home is from the node, the farther the data must travel through copper wiring, which may result in a slower and less reliable connection.

Frontier Fiber is built for the way you live today—and tomorrow

If you’re still on the lookout for the right ultra-fast internet connection for streaming, gaming, working from home and running your smart home—all with enough bandwidth for everybody, find out about Frontier Fiber. Then check our Fiber Expansion page to see when it’s available at your address

12 responses to “What’s Fiber to the Home? To the Curb? To the Node?”

  1. David says:

    Frontier fiber is coming to my home in March and I would like to buy a router vs having the monthly rental. So what is the best router that works with frontier fiber and do I need to run any fiber, coax or cat 5 myself from the frontier box outside to my router inside or will frontier handle that run.

  2. Frontier Communications says:

    Hi David,

    How exciting that our fiber will soon be available in your neighborhood! These are some great questions. We currently have promotions that include our standard Wi-Fi router at no charge or monthly fee, or a 2 access point Eero 6 mesh included with our Gig service. Beyond that we’re unable to make any specific recommendations and always advise using the hardware we provide direct support for. If you’re an IT pro and able to support and configure your own network, then there is a wide variety of top-notch choices out there from leading vendors like Amazon’s Eero, Google’s Nest, Netgear’s Orbi, Ubiquiti just to name a few. One thing all of these have in common, they’re mesh networks, and that’s definitely the way to go for superior coverage and elimination of any dead zones within a home. It’s also worth noting that the performance of Wi-Fi will always be outmatched by a wired connection, so when possible, having stationary devices wired is always ideal.

    As for installation cabling requirements, our technicians are generally able to care for that on install day. The fiber install consists of a fiber line connection from either a buried or aerial drop to a device called an Optical Network Terminal (ONT). The ONT requires power and has an Ethernet connection. This device can be located in a weatherproof enclosure on the outside or wall mounted inside of a home (often in the garage). From there an Ethernet connection is made to the router or the Ethernet may be converted to existing coaxial wiring using a technology called MoCA, then converted back to Ethernet. The common demarcation point for the fiber internet is at or near the location commonly shared by other services like power, cable, or our older copper connection. Hope this helps you to better prepare for install day!


  3. Greg Wood says:

    I was visited by a young sales person, representing Frontier, a few days ago wanting our family to sign up for the newly installed FIOS system in our neighborhood. The young person could not explain “how” the newly installed fiber will be run from the node, in front of our house, to the house itself since all wiring and plumbing in our neighborhood is underground. Do the dig up our yards or tunnel under driveways, walls planters sprinkler systems…ext.??
    We would like the quality of the FIOS for our homes but need more clarity before making a final decision. Can you explain it to me?

  4. Frontier Communications says:

    Hi Greg, great question! If we were in your area discussing our Fiber service that means the build has passed your home. To complete an installation, a buried wire from a hub/vault at curbside is placed to your home and connected to an optical network terminal that our technician installs. This buried wire is placed after locates through your states 811/call before you dig service and uses the least invasive methods possible. If you have more questions or would like us to check additional qualifications we can help out on Twitter (https://fybr.to/3LQisa7), Facebook (https://fybr.to/3Fk1xu9) or https://fybr.to/3LYNigY.

  5. Roger Meyer says:

    I am confused about how the fiber will be installed from the curb to the house, which is all underground. There is now a cable box next to the curb, will you be using that to fish the fiber to the house?
    Do you supply the Modem and the router and at what price?

    • Frontier Communications says:

      Hi Roger, great question! This blog article should cover the basics https://fybr.to/3U8pFH9 and we do provide the necessary hardware including up to a 2 access point mesh with additional access points available for a small monthly fee, but for most 2 is more than enough. Let me know if you have any other questions! ^Michael

  6. Doug Weaver says:

    We live in Elkhart, Indiana and are scheduled to have Frontier fiber optic installed soon. Is the installation going to be FFTH, FTTC, or FTTN.
    Thanks, Doug

    • Frontier Communications says:

      Hi Doug, great question. Our fiber is fiber to the home / prem (FTTH/FTTP). We bring a fiber strand from the pole or curb to the home and install an optical network terminal (ONT) which, in a way, acts in the same way that a modem would in a cable or DSL based solution. Today’s ONTs have up to 10GBase-T Ethernet making them well suited to the next generation of bandwidth needs and ready to deliver our 500, Gig, and premier 2Gig all symmetrical speeds. ^Michael

  7. Richard says:

    Frontier Fiber is available to my home address in Connecticut and I’m in the process of signing up for a bundle of 1 Gig internet plus landline-type phone service that will move my current phone number from Xfinity triple play to Frontier fiber.
    I found your blog by Googling Frontier Last Mile and it’s exactly what I’m wondering about. My house is 250 feet from the road and my utilities are underground (coax and power) buried 30 years ago. I guess that means FTTC will use the coax to the outside corner of the house alongside my electric meter. The Frontier service includes an Eero router that will replace the rented triple Xfinity router now running in bridge mode to my Eero mesh network. So where will the Frontier Eero router sit and how will it integrate with my Eero system?

    • Frontier Communications says:

      Hey Richard, great questions! First I must clarify that our service is not Fiber to the Curb nor is it Fiber to the Node. Our service is FTTH/FTTP, Fiber to the Home/Premise. We will bring fiber all the way to your home and connect to an Optical Network Terminal that may be placed in a weatherproof enclosure outside or inside in a utility or otherwise inconspicuous space (basement or garage is common). From there we can connect to and adapt to your home using interior Ethernet or Coaxial wiring. If you already have an Eero network in your home you can continue to use it as normal, and you can add the Eero we provide or keep your network as is. ^Michael

  8. Mish says:

    Our house is 600 feet from the road where Frontier fiber runs past. Wires (power, cable, etc.) from the road to the group of houses where I live are run through underground conduit. Will Frontier be able to install fiber to my house?

    • Frontier Communications says:

      Hi MIsh, this shouldn’t be an issue if the fiber you’re referring to is our FTTP/FTTH build that we’re expanding within our footprint. You can check to see if your home is currently qualified or sign up to be notified once it is here: https://fybr.to/3mgwUA7. ^Michael

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