BT FTTP For SMEs: A Sensible Solution?

Earlier this month, BT introduced what they are describing as an ‘alternative’ to their existing BT Net leased lines; fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) designed to meet the needs of small and medium sized enterprises in the UK. However, while it is certainly good news that providers look to be expanding the range of products available for businesses, we need to be asking one very important question here: is BT’s new FTTP service for SMEs really a suitable alternative to a dedicated leased line?

To answer this question, we need to consider two separate aspects: the differences between BT FTTP and BT Net leased lines, and the ways in which BT is opting to introduce and roll out these services.

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BT Net Leased Line vs. BT FTTP

Straight away, we can see that there are a great deal of differences between BT Net leased line services and the new BT FTTP service for SMEs, so BT may be pushing things slightly by claiming that FTTP is an ‘alternative’; they’re very much two different products. Here are just a few of the differences:

● Managed (leased line) vs. unmanaged (FTTP) internet service
● FTTP upload and download speeds slower than leased line
● FTTP connection is not symmetrical, significantly favouring download
● Roughly 1:20 contention ratio (FTTP) vs. dedicated 1:1 connection (leased line)

FTTP Rollout

Now to look at how BT are rolling out their service. One of the primary benefits of a BT Net leased line service is that’s available anywhere, which is why it’s a firm favourite of more rural businesses who do not have access to superfast broadband. Interestingly, BT are choosing to focus on high street businesses located in major cities such as Bath, Bristol, London, and Liverpool for their initial stage of rollout; businesses that are likely to already have access to speeds that don’t necessarily hinder their potential. Once again, it’s the more rural businesses that are being overlooked, and that’s not changing.

A Sensible Alternative?

In terms of being an ‘alternative’ to a BT Net leased line, BT’s new FTTP service for SMEs is not a sensible option. There are simply too many significant differences between the two products, and it could be argued that BT are actually misleading their customers by suggesting that they will receive a somewhat similar internet service. If you feel your business requires a BT Net leased line, then opt for a leased line.

On the other hand, it should be acknowledged that this new FTTP service isn’t a bad thing. The more options available to SMEs, the better, and FTTP certainly offers greater advantages than an old ADSL connection. It’s often quicker, more reliable, and has a much more favourable contention ratio. Should a business find that ADSL isn’t quite meeting their needs, but they feel that a full BT Net leased line would be a bit too much, BT’s new FTTP service for SMEs could be just the solution they’re looking for.

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