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Useful information on Fibre Broadband Deals
Business Fibre Broadband Deals
There are many deals available now on fibre broadband services. Which is best for your business depends – as always – on your needs. It’s important to understand that not all fibre broadband is equal. They are almost always marketed as ‘superfast’ or ‘ultrafast’ services and the download speeds associated with fibre can vary from around 50Mbps to 300Mbps. Some will claim to offer speeds of up to 1Gbps (one gigabit).
Just like ‘standard’ business broadband, fibre services will be offered in different bundles. These can include added extras such a hosted voice and 4G backup, so you need to select the one that works best for you.
Availability in your area will also influence your decision. Fibre optic cabling is still being rolled out across many parts of the UK. While it is available in most urban areas now, in some regions the options may be limited.
Another consideration will be the time it takes to provide the service. The fibre services that are now available in most towns and cities across the UK are FTTC – fibre to the cabinet. The fibre cable runs all the way to the green junction box that you will have seen located out on the street (you may have noticed the ‘fibre broadband is here’ stickers on these cabinets in recent times). But the last few meters of the connection will run over copper cable. This ‘last mile’ section of the journey slows down the speeds.
There is also a variation on this, called GFast. This clever technology boosts the speed on the copper line between the cabinet and your premises and thus gives you faster performance – in theory, a little over 300Mbps. The only limitation is that you have to be within 500 meters of the cabinet.
If you want fibre broadband all of the way, i.e. fibre to the premises or FTTP, that last connection has to be made with fibre optic cable, which means it has to be physically installed. That, as you can imagine, is going to take some work – and the cost will be higher.Back to top
Fibre Broadband Availability
The first thing you will want to do when looking for fibre broadband options is check on exactly what is available at your location.
FTTC is now widely available in the UK and GFast is available to around half of UK premises, with full-fibre broadband available in over three million homes in 2019. It will have advanced a little more since then, although progress has been slower in the first half of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
FTTC services deliver speeds of up to 76Mbps, depending on how close your premises is to the junction box. The distance can make all the difference. If you are just a few meters away, the speeds you get should be quite high most of the time. If it’s a further distance, starting at about 300m, it may start to fall off at times. The further away you are from the green cabinet, the more the speed will be impacted.
GFast is similar, but the signal boosting technology mitigates the performance drop to some degree over shorter distances. But there is still going to be a drop-off in performance with GFast as the distance to the cabinet increases.
In most urban areas, you won’t be so far away that it will be any problem adopting FTTC or GFast. But in the countryside or areas where there are few businesses or houses, it’s possible that the green cabinet will a few hundred meters distant.
All that said, you should not worry too much about how far away you are from the cabinet. Modern business broadband technology is excellent and extremely reliable. In most locations within range, you will get good performance all the time. Just check with your provider – they should be able to tell you what kind of speed you can reasonably expect to get.Back to top
Fibre Broadband Providers
If the local infrastructure is in place (i.e. there is FTTC), all business broadband service providers should be able to offer fibre services. But some will elect not to offer services in all areas, perhaps because they don’t expect there to be enough potential in a particular area, or they want to concentrate on other services.
Two of the biggest providers are BT and Plusnet. BT’s fibre services are generally available throughout the UK, usually on a two-year contract and with the latest ‘Halo’ router and unlimited downloads. Some services also come with 4G backup that will take over if the broadband line goes down for any reason and offer enhanced WiFi access. BT also offers ultrafast GFast services that offer download speeds of up to 314Mbps in many areas.
Plusnet is also well known as a business supplier and offers exceptionally good value. The packages it offers are usually very simple and, if you just need a reliable connection that works, Plusnet is a good option. Additionally, some services it offers are now have a fixed-price for the 24-month contract term, so you can be sure that there will be no unexpected cost increases.Back to top
Who Offers the Best Fibre Broadband?
It’s not possible to say which services provider offers the best fibre broadband for business. If you need fast broadband you will want it to be reliable, so choosing a well-known, trusted supplier is always going to be sensible.
You will also need to make sure that it delivers the level of performance you need in the immediate future and over the contract period and that it’s affordable. With broadband becoming more and more important to all businesses, requirements are likely to increase rather than decrease, so you need to keep that in mind.Back to top
How Do I Install Fibre Optic Broadband?
The installation of an FTTC or GFast service is no different to that of standard broadband. At an appointed time, an engineer will go to the local cabinet and make the appropriate connections and perform a series of tests. They may also need to visit your premises to check that the copper connections and sockets are working properly and replace older connectors if necessary.
It should be possible for the installation of a superfast fibre broadband to be carried out within weeks of the order being placed.
FTTP can be more complicated depending on your precise location and situation. For example, if you are on a relatively new industrial estate, it may be possible for the work to be done withing a couple of weeks, as pipes and ducting which engineers can use to run the fibre optic cable through may already be in place. In a busy town or city centre, it may take longer, as some groundworks or access to specific servicing points may be required. This will mean applying for permission and waiting for a slot to become available before the work can be done.Back to top
How Much Does Fibre Cost?
The monthly cost of fibre services varies. Some superfast FTTC services are available for as little as £22 per month over a 24-month contract, including line rental. An ultrafast connection might cost as much as £55 per month, but it will be up to five times faster and come with added extras.
On top of this, there may be some activation and installation and costs. Activation is provided free on some services, but the usual charge will be around £60 to £75.
For FTTP services, installation charges will apply, and these vary depending on the complexity of the project. If that is what you want, you will need to get a detailed estimate off your service provider and Openreach (the company that looks after the UK’s comms infrastructure) before you go ahead.Back to top
The price for broadband, line rental, call plans and call charges will be increased each March from 2022 by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation published by the Office for National Statistics in January of that year, plus 3.9%. Other prices, content and terms may also change during your contract.Back to top
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