Fiber to the x (FTTX; also spelled "fibre") or fiber in the loop is a generic term for any broadband network architecture using optical fiber to provide all or part of the local loop used for last mile telecommunications. As fiber optic cables are able to carry much more data than copper cables, especially over long distances, copper telephone networks built in the 20th century are being replaced by fiber.
FTTX is a generalization for several configurations of fiber deployment, arranged into two groups: FTTP/FTTH/FTTB (Fiber laid all the way to the premises/home/building) and FTTC/N (fiber laid to the cabinet/node, with copper wires completing the connection).
Residential areas already served by balanced pair distribution plant call for a trade-off between cost and capacity. The closer the fiber head, the higher the cost of construction and the higher the channel capacity. In places not served by metallic facilities, little cost is saved by not running fiber to the home.
Fiber to the x is the key method used to drive next-generation access (NGA), which describes a significant upgrade to the broadband available by making a step change in speed and quality of the service. This is typically thought of as asymmetrical with a download speed of 24 Mbit/s plus and a fast upload speed. Ofcom have defined super-fast broadband as "broadband products that provide a maximum download speed that is greater than 24 Mbit/s - this threshold is commonly considered to be the maximum speed that can be supported on current generation (copper-based) networks."
A similar network called a hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) network is used by cable television operators but is usually not synonymous with "fiber In the loop", although similar advanced services are provided by the HFC networks. Fixed wireless and mobile wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, WiMAX and 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) are an alternative for providing Internet access.
Cambridgeshire (abbreviated Cambs.)[note 1] is a county in the East of England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the north-east, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west. The city of Cambridge is the county town. Modern Cambridgeshire was formed in 1974 through the amalgamation of two older counties: Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely, comprising the historic county of Cambridgeshire (including the Isle of Ely); and Huntingdon and Peterborough, comprising the historic county of Huntingdonshire and the Soke of Peterborough, which historically had been part of Northamptonshire. Cambridgeshire contains most of the region known as Silicon Fen.
The county is now divided between Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, which since 1998 has formed a separate unitary authority. In the county there are five district councils, Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council.