Imagine you’re going on vacation to someplace tropical. Let’s say … Costa Rica. That’s nice, right? I hear it’s lovely this time of year. Now imagine you’re telling someone about your trip afterwards. You probably wouldn’t say “I flew to Costa Rica, rode a shuttle bus to the terminal, then took a cab to my hotel and later walked to the beach.” If you even mentioned your mode of transportation at all, you’d probably just say “I flew to Costa Rica,” and it’s generally understood that you took other forms of transportation for “the last mile,” you might call it.
In fact, “the last mile,” while it sounds like a song or book title, is exactly the term that is often used to describe internet end point network arrangements. There are many different versions of the last mile employed by different companies and institutions, but probably the 2 most common are Fiber to the Curb (FTTC, sometimes called Fiber to the Neighborhood or FTTN), and Fiber to the Premises (FTTP).
Many internet companies who claim to offer fiber internet do in fact have a largely fiber network, but in many cases they are only Fiber to the Curb, meaning to a cabinet nearby, with the last mile comprised of shared copper cabling. In Fiber to the Premises, fiber is built directly into a network terminal housed in or on the physical building it serves. This is a dedicated, unshared connection which is not subject to the same limitations as a FTTC arrangement (degradation over distance, limited bandwidth to begin with) and is truly a 100% fiber internet product. Usually in the residential world, this is referred to as Fiber to the Home or FTTH (so many acronyms!).
Why would companies utilize FTTC when FTTP is clearly the superior delivery mechanism? It’s simple, and it’s not to deliver a better user experience – it’s to cut costs. These companies often have copper networks in neighborhoods already in place, so it’s much, much cheaper to build fiber to a central location and tap into the existing infrastructure from there. The fiber provides better reliability for their network and higher speeds, since copper is distance-sensitive, but it can’t get near the speeds and reliability of FTTP.
Back to Costa Rica. (If only, right?) Since the airport shuttle and the taxi ride are often some of the least pleasant parts of a vacation, why not just have the airplane drop you off directly at the beach? That’s Fiber to the Premises. Metronet is a FTTP company, which means your company saves time - and you don't need a blog article to tell you how valuable that is. Having faster internet doesn’t guarantee your company’s success, but it sure helps!