What is fibre internet for businesses?
There are two main types of full-fibre internet for businesses, these include Fibre Leased Lines and FTTP (Fibre to the Premises). These two internet services can often get confused with each other, this is because they both use full-fibre, but the way they are set out is different.
Leased lines are the best internet connections you can get, they have symmetrical and consistent speeds, one-to-one contention, unlimited downloads, static IP addresses among many other benefits. The way they work is simple, a fibre line goes directly from the exchange point to your premises, bypassing the roadside cabinet.
Fibre to the premises works slightly differently compared to Leased Lines. Fibre lines go from the exchange point to your local roadside cabinet, then another fibre line is shared out between all the businesses in the area. The main difference between the two is that FTTP (fibre-optic broadband) is a shared line whereas Leased Lines are not.
Leased Line vs Fibre to the premises
There are quite a few differences between Leased Lines and FTTP, below are a few:
Speed– With Leased Lines you can pick whatever speed you want, between 10MB and 10GB, and you will get that consistently throughout the day. Whereas with FTTP the average speed you receive is not guaranteed, it will fluctuate throughout the day depending on contention ratio and peak times.
Price– The price of these two services differ dramatically, this is because of the benefits you receive with both. Leased Line start from around £150-£200 per month, this will change depending on your location and the speed you choose. FTTP starts from around £40-£60+ per month, this also depends on the speed you choose and location. Some providers will have fixed price guarantees for fibre broadband, such as PlusNet Business.
Availability– Leased lines are available in 100% of the UK, but the more rural you are the more expensive it will be. FTTP is less widely available, around 90% of businesses and large households in the UK can access this type of broadband connection. The best way to see if you can access FTTP is to check on a broadband checker, such as SamKnows.
All you need to do is enter your postcode and telephone number and it will list the type of broadband available in your area. All UK based providers will have fibre broadband, such as Virgin Media, it just depends if they service your area.
Contention Ratio– The contention ratio for Leased lines are one-to-one, meaning you’re the only user on the line, hence you’ll receive the full bandwidth. FTTP, depending on the area, will normally have a contention ratio of around 50-to-1. Meaning at peak times there could be up to 50 users sharing the line, this can decrease the broadband speed you receive and make the line cut out.
Reliability– Leased lines are the most reliable type of internet you can get, they are guaranteed to almost never go down and the speeds you receive will be consistent. FTTP, on the other hand, isn’t guaranteed not to go down, the speeds you get will fluctuate and the line can go down at peak times.
SLA– This means Service Level Agreement, both services will have one, but Leased Line SLA’s are more in dept. For example, a set speed is guaranteed in the Leased Line SLA, whereas with FTTP SLA speed isn’t guaranteed. With most SLA’s if the terms set arent met then you could be due compensation. Also, with Leased Line SLA’s you receive business expertise level customer service.
Installation time and Contract lengths– Leased lines take up to 90 days to get the line installed but can take longer depending on if they come across any problems (such as blockages etc). Fibre to the premises takes around 10-15 days to be installed.
As for contract lengths, both services are similar, Leased Line ones are just longer. Leased line contracts are 12 months, 36 months, and 60 months. Whereas FTTP contracts are 12 months, 18 months, and 24-month contracts.
Fibre to the premises vs Fibre to the cabinet
FTTP (fibre broadband) and FTTC (standard broadband) are both types of business broadband, but they often get confused with each other. This is because they both include fibre, but only one is full-fibre. As explained above, FTTP is fibre from the exchange point to a roadside cabinet, then another fibre line from the cabinet to your business.
FTTC is slightly different, fibre runs from the exchange point to the local roadside cabinet, which is the same at FTTP. But rather then fibre cables to your premises, fibre to the cabinet works by running over copper phone lines to your premises.
This is why with FTTC broadband services you’ll have to get a business phone line rental included in the package because that’s what the internet runs off. Whereas with FTTP there is no need for a phone line, so this feature is optional.
The prices of these two services are also slightly different. Fibre to the cabinet starts from around £20+ per month, it is slightly cheaper because the speed you receive and the reliability is worse compared to fibre to the premises. This is because copper lines cannot carry as much speed compared to fibre, also copper degrades over distance whereas fibre doesn’t.
In term of speed, Fibre to the premises is far superior. Speeds of up to 1GB download can be reached (not guaranteed though), but max upload speed will be less because broadband is asymmetrical. Whereas, FTTC speeds are currently maxed out at 80mb download and 20mb upload.
Pros and Cons of fibre internet
We will split this into two sections, Leased Line and FTTP.
- Better speeds– Leased Lines can reach speed up to 10GB and is consistent, which is brilliant for services such as customer Wi-Fi.
- Reliability– Due to only having one user on the line, Leased Lines will almost never cut out or have reduced speeds.
- Security– Due to Leased Lines being dedicated only to one user, the risk of a security breach is lowered. There are firewalls and specialist routers that can also be embedded, increasing security even more. Also, fibre is more secure compared to copper.
- Customer service and support– Leased Lines have the best customer service and features compared to all other internet services. Fix time is around 5 hours (depending on provider), and customer support is 24/7, 7 days a week.
- Scalability– Leased line speeds can be increased if/when needed.
- Price– Having all these brilliant features does come at a cost. Leased Line start from around £150 per month, being one of the most expensive internet connections.
- Lead times– Installation time of dedicated Leased lines is around 90 days, which can be a no go for businesses looking for a quick alternative. One benefit though is that your provider will give you a backup internet source whilst the Leased line is being installed.
Now let’s move onto Fibre to the Premises.
- Speed– FTTP has the best speeds compared to the inferior FTTC or ADSL.
- Sclibility– Speeds can be increased when needed, up to a certain amount.
- Security– Data transmitted on a fibre line is almost impossible to intercept due to the speed it moves.
- Lead times– The installed time for FTTP is only around 10-15 days, which is brilliant if you’re in need of a somewhat decent connection quickly.
- Reliability– Compared to Leased Line, Fibre to the premises isn’t very reliable. It can drop out at peak times and speed will be reduced due to the contention ratio.
- Fix time– This service can sometimes take up to 2 weeks to be fixed, which would be disastrous for internet access reliant businesses.
How to get the best fibre internet deals.
To get the best deal on FTTP you’d need to consider what speed you’d need and how far you are fro your local roadside cabinet. One way to find broadband deals is to go to every provider, fill in your details, receive the quotes and do the tedious process of comparing them all manually.
One way to avoid this hassle is to run a comparison with use, we take all the leg work away from you and get you the best deals in your area.
Again, the process will be the same with Leased Lines. You’d need to consider the speed you need, how far you are from the exchange, and if there is any ECC’s (you’d need a site survey to find this out). One thing that may lower the price of a Leased Line is the Government Voucher Scheme. This scheme gives UK businesses a grant of 2.5k towards the cost of a dedicated line.
So, to find out if you’re eligible for this or to simply get the best quotes on a Leased line all you have to do is run a comparison with us.