Broadband and Ethernet – Price or reliability

Businesses generally have two choices when it comes to their connectivity – Broadband and Ethernet. Recent technology means this is no longer a cut and dry choice, but a spectrum of products to choose from. Each method has it’s own benefits and drawbacks which may not be immediately obvious.


ADSL + FTTC Broadband 

These products are your typical consumer grade internet connection. They run on copper cabling from the green cabinet’s at the end of streets to provide internet. ADSL can provide speeds of up to 24mb download, however actual speeds and upload achieved are usually much lower. FTTC (Fibre to the cabinet) is the next step up in connectivity offering up to 80mb download and 20mb upload. FTTC works by providing internet over fibre optic cables to the cabinet and then on copper wires to the premises.


  • Low cost. Standard broadband products are the cheapest form of connectivity in some cases less than £1 a day.
  • Quick to install, usually installed within weeks.
  • Excellent as a back up connection.


  • Contended network. Bandwidth is shared by everyone connected to the same street cabinet, so speeds may be greatly reduced at peak times.
  • Long fix times. Openreach supply the infrastructure for broadband so fix times for faults are dictated by their SLA’s. Business grade internet helps to combat this by providing shorter fix times but this may come at additional cost.
  • The temptation of a low price may hide a unreliable network with poor service.
  • Bandwidth may not be enough for businesses with many users or high reliance on internet.



Fibre to the Premises takes fibre optic cables from the street cabinet directly into the home, providing speeds of up to 330mb download. FTTP works in the same way as standard broadband services.


  • High speeds for low cost. FTTP is only slightly more expensive than FTTC and ADSL alternatives but provides much higher bandwidth.
  • Suitable for small businesses who require a lot of bandwidth.
  • Not always fitted by Openreach so may have faster SLA’s.


  • Still a contended network so subject to congestion and slow down at peak times .
  • Availability is very limited but national roll out is underway with 2 million premises expected to be connected by 2020.



Ethernet over FTTC is a entry level dedicated broadband service that provides a symmetrical upload and download speed using existing FTTC infrastructure. Ethernet for First Mile (EFM) works in a similar way but uses bonded copper pairs to provide speeds of up to 20mb.


  • Dedicated connection just for your business ensures no other users affect the speed of your internet.
  • Symmetrical speeds men you can upload data as quickly as you can download it.
  • Monitored service for a guaranteed fix time in the event of faults.
  • Cheaper than a fully dedicated fibre circuit with a faster install time.


  • Internet speeds are dictated by location. If internet speeds are slow with ADSL/FTTC it will affect these services.
  • Maximum speeds of up to 20mb up and down, but may be lower.
  • Availability is limited as both the exchange and street cabinets must be enabled for EoFTTC.
  • May not be suitable for businesses with many users or those requiring large bandwidth.


Dedicated Lease Line (Ethernet circuit) 

Most people know Ethernet as the cable used to connect PC’s to a router but it is also a internet service that provides high speed, uncontended internet directly into the business premises. Fibre cables run directly from the data exchange to the business delivering symmetrical bandwidth up to 10GB. Lease lines can be installed in areas where other broadband services are not available.



  • High bandwidth options from 10mb to 10gb available to suit business needs.
  • Able to support any size business.
  • 24hour monitoring to ensure no downtime time, vital for businesses that rely on connectivity.
  • SLA’s to repair faults and outages in some cases within 6 hours instead of Openreach’s of 3-5 working days.


  • Ethernet circuits are costly, although prices are coming down quickly they are considerably higher than basic broadband services.
  • Ethernet takes on average 90 days to install and can be delayed if new fibre needs to be installed.
  • Subject to excess construction charges (ECC) if considerable work needs to be done to install the circuit, especially in rural areas. Gigabit voucher scheme may be able to help pay for these charges if the circuit is a 1GB or above.


When it comes to business internet solutions budget plays a large role, however it should not be the only considerations. Reliability, availability and scalability are vital when looking at internet solutions. The low cost option may not be able to support business needs and lead to unexpected down time. .

For more information on which internet circuit is best for your business please get in touch with one of our team at or 01623 687750