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Ethernet First Mile (EFM) Explained: Benefits and Costs

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    The obvious reason people do comparisons for anything in life is to save money and EFM leased lines are not an exception to this. However, because of the volume of comparisons we do our providers also give us exclusive discounts which means you can save up to 60% getting quoted through up compared to going direct.

What is EFM? What speeds should I expect?

Some of you may be asking, what is EFM? Well an EFM line is basically a low cost leased line. The best EFM speeds you’ll get is around 20MB upload and download. The reason the maximum speed is only 20MB is because EFM runs over fibre lines for the first mile and the rest is run over copper lines to your premises. Copper lines doesn’t carry data transmissions as well as fibre, hence why the maximum bandwidth is lower.

Currently, EFM providers don’t cover the whole of the UK. There are only certain locations that can facilitate an EFM line, this is because the service is only provided at fibre enabled exchanges. So before looking in EFM you should check if it is available to implement in your area. EFM is a great solution for smaller business who can’t afford a normal leased line. But if you are a smaller business looking into EFM leased lines you must consider if you’re looking into expanding your company, because if you are then this type of lines may not be for you, as it only goes up to 20MB and you may need more bandwidth if you have a bigger workforce. But for small business with no intention of expanding, this is a brilliant solution.

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EFM Cost

The cost will vary from provider to provider, but it normally starts from around £150 per calendar month. That is around half the price of a normal leased line, so it is definitely something to look into if you want the same perks as a leased line for a cheaper price. There are many providers that will supply EFM, you just need to look around and find the right provider for your needs.

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EFM vs. FTTC ?

Some people may be confused about the difference between EFM lines and FTTC. FTTC (Fibre to the cabinet) is essentially superfast broadband. It works by fibre wires running from the exchange point to a PoP (the green boxes you see on the streets). PoP just means point of presence. From the PoP a copper wire is run to you premises. This is similar to EFM in the sense that they both use a mixture of copper and fibre wires.

But with EFM it goes straight to your premises rather than going to a PoP then to your premises. FTTC is advertised to have download speeds up to 80MB and upload speeds of up to 20MB. Although, these speeds aren’t guaranteed. The speed you get will depend on the number of users around you using the internet, so at peak times your internet will be slow. Whereas with EFM it has a one-to-one contention so you’ll receive all the bandwidth rather than sharing it.

The install time for EFM and FTTC is quite different. FTTC only takes around 7-10 days to be installed, whereas EFM can take around 45+ days to install. FTTC only takes a short amount of time because installing superfast broadband (or just broadband in general), is a less lengthy process than installing an EFM. With an EFM it doesn’t utilise any existing lines, therefore, new lines would need to be installed which can take a long time. But with FTTC, it just takes a flip of a switch to upgrade from regular broadband to FTTC.

Another difference between FTTC and EFM lines is the speed. EFM has symmetrical upload and download whereas FTTC doesn’t. FTTC has a significantly lower upload speed compared to its download speed. This is not ideal if your company send substantial amounts of data regularly. Also, on FTTC line there will definitely a drop in performance at peak times. This could interfere dramatically if your company is uploading/downloading large amounts of data consistently. But with EFM you would need to worry about any drops in performance, this is because it has a one-to-one contention so you will receive all the bandwidth.

There is also quite a big price difference between FTTC and EFM lines. FTTC prices will vary from provider to provider, but normally it would start from upwards of £20 per calendar month. Whereas with EFM prices it starts from around £150 a month. The prices differences are justified though, EFM gives you the capabilities of a leased line, but offer a lower bandwidth. But with FTTC it is basically a high-end broadband. So, you must keep in mind your budget when deciding to go for one or the other.

If you’re deciding whether to get FTTC or EFM, then you should take this into consideration. FTTC should be fine for small businesses that don’t rely too much on the upload speed. But if you’re looking for a business grade internet with symmetrical upload and download speed then EFM is the one for you.

The only way to get a true idea of costs is to get some quotes, which is something we can help with. We simply take your details and then do all the legwork to get you the most competitive price on the market. All we need to do is understand your requirements and then you will get the best providers contacting you directly with the quotes. Get your free quote today!