When deciding to upgrade their internet connectivity, most businesses will be faced with the choice of either fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) or ethernet in the first mile (EFM) as the most cost-effective ways of gaining faster speeds.
But it’s not just about speed....
FTTC, or superfast broadband as it is more widely known, uses fibre rather than copper to carry data. These connections run from local exchanges to the green cabinets in our streets and are then delivered to the end user via copper lines. Fibre delivers faster speeds and is more resilient than ADSL. FTTC is steadily being rolled out across the UK but, as yet, is not available to all.
FTTC speeds vary, depending on the proximity of the cabinet to the end user, but speeds of 80Mbps download and 20Mbps upload can be achieved.
EFM is considered a business class service. The fact that many home users are switching to FTTC, when it becomes available, kind of gives the game away that businesses might want something over and above a domestic service. Common sense tells us that a business requires better connectivity than the average household. EFM users uses copper wires; in fact, it uses bonded copper wires so it makes EFM very resilient as in the event of one pair failing, the other will continue to provide service.
EFM offers synchronous speeds whereby upload and download speeds are the same. This allows businesses to benefit from higher rates of upload than standard broadband. These constant speeds of up to 35Mbps offer businesses the opportunity to make use of cloud-based and real-time applications, such as voice over IP (VoIP).
So that’s the summary of upload and download speeds but what else sets them apart?
In areas where FTTC is available, upgrades can complete in seven to 10 working days. EFM takes longer as it does not utilise existing lines or hardware. Service provision can take 45 working days or longer.
As mentioned before, FTTC is being rolled out, but for some, the wait has been agonisingly long. Many BT exchanges have yet to be upgraded. EFM is not available everywhere either.
FTTC is a contended broadband service so at peak times there may be a drop in performances as you are sharing the service with other users in your area. EFM is non-contended, which is why it can offer support real-time communications services as already mentioned.
FTTC does not come with a service level agreement (SLA) so there are no uptime guarantees or guaranteed service restoration times, even if you are a business customer. EFM, however, does come with a range of SLAs to ensure your business remains online.
It is not surprising then that EFM costs more than FTTC. Business need to weigh up whether the extra cost can be offset against the savings they could create by using VoIP, SIP, etc. as well as mitigating the impact suffered due to a loss of connectivity.
Where FTTC and EFM are deemed unsuitable, there are other options available; such as fibre to the premieses (FTTP) or ethernet over FTTC (EoFTTC), which is a cost-effective stepping stone between FTTC and EFM.To find out what is available and suitable for your business, please do not hesitate to contact me.