"Fibre to the cabinet". A system in which Internet traffic reaches a street cabinet at high speed over a fibre optic cable, then passes over traditional copper (or copper clad aluminium) telephone cables to the premises. This reduces the distance by which Internet data travels over copper, so enabling higher speeds to be obtained by the user. The actual speed achieved depends on the length of copper cable, with true "superfast broadband" (SFBB) only possible up to about 1.2Km from the cabinet.
The FTTC cabinet (normally a new cabinet near and linked to an existing BT street cabinet) contains modules which convert between the fibre and copper cables. As "traditional" ADSL modems cannot cope with SFBB speeds, new modems are needed in the customer premises. At present these are fitted by BT Openreach engineers, though it is said that a DIY installation will become available.
As with "ordinary" ADSL (see types of Internet connection) an FTTC service can be ordered from many Internet Service Providers - though not until Openreach confirm availability.
A seemingly strange fact is that the equivalent to FTTC technology cannot be readily fitted within the telephone exchange, so if your telephone line is not routed through a cabinet you cannot get the FTTC service! This applies, for example, to premises in the centre and north of Woodhouse Eaves. However, it is believed that a new cabinet will be installed to intercept at least some of these lines.
Better than FTTC is the ideal of fibre to the premises (FTTP). This may become available locally but because it involves significant street works a much higher price can be anticipated.