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Internet Connectivity in London




CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS


There has been a lot of excited buzz recently about the emerging possibility of fixed wireless internet connections in London (read about it here). But until technology is really able to deliver a connectivity solution that provides the benefits of both wireless and fixed simultaneously, we need to manage our businesses with the resources currently available to us.


Businesses need certainty that their hosted services will function, but often, the cost arguments for dedicated and certain connections are daunting and confusing. However, greater clarity about the savings that better connections can offer in other areas such as telecoms, and falling monthly prices for high speed services, have made the offering more compelling in London.



  • ADSL, ADSL2+ and FTTC


ADSL is the cheapest broadband connection type available. ADSL2+ and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) are all unstable variations on the same type of connection, travelling at least the last part of the connection down the old copper telephone wires to the receiving building.


However, whilst ADSL and ADSL2+ speeds are not especially fast (by modern standards) FTTC offers much greater bandwidth. Though none of these technologies offer a guaranteed speed, they can provide a good backup connection in the event of the failure of a “main connection”.


Fibre to the Cabinet is not fullFibre Optics. It relies on a device in the local telephone street cabinet that receives a direct connection. Because the high-speed connection has moved closer to the end user, faster speeds than those possible with ADSL can then be achieved through the same copper wires.



  • True Fibre to the premises, Ethernet, EFM and WiMax/wireless


These connections require a new cable installation, or in the case of wireless technologies, a receiver. This is provided to the building from either the street or the roof in the form of an antennae or dish. Therefore, the installation is generally more complex, time consuming and costly. However, the resulting internet connections are dependable and come with a guaranteed data speed.



The Speed


  • DSL, ADSL2+ and FTTC

Available bandwidth speed can vary wildly depending on competing neighbouring users and the quality of copper wiring throughout the premises and towards the Telephone Exchange.


ADSL 2+ is faster than ADSL. While ADSL download speeds typically finish at 1500-8000kbps, ADSL2 finishes at 12,000kbps and ADSL2+ can reach up to 24,000kbps. FTTC (marketed as BT “Infinity” by BT) can technically achieve download speeds up to 160Mb, but in reality the speeds are much lower.


The most recent Ofcom published investigation into fixed-line broadband speeds found that the average download speed on Infinity 1 was between 32.1Mbps and 34.4Mbps. When it comes to upload speeds, BT Infinity 1 only offered up to 9.5Mbps.


The Infinity 2 fibre package is advertised with download rates of up to 76Mbps. However, the Ofcom investigation again found that the average speed was a little lower, and between 59.9Mbps and 63.1Mbps.

Whilst that’s still fast enough for most business’s online activity, the upload speeds of BT Infinity 2 were found to be only up to 19Mbps.


With increasing online business activities such as internet telephone calls, streaming video conferencing and hosted email, upload speed is now considered equally important. A business that has more than 10 people sharing a FTTC connection for these purposes may struggle with poor call quality and other delays.



  • True Fibre to the premises, Ethernet, EFM and WiMax/Wiber/Wireless

These types of connections offer a fixed and committed maintained speed directly to the premises. They range from speeds of 30MB per second to in excess of 1GB per second.


The connection is dedicated and not shared with neighbours. It is also synchronous, meaning the speed up and down can be identical.



The Cost

To receive FTTC ADSL or ADSL + you need to rent a phone-line (PSTN) as well as pay the internet service provider. They do not have to be the same provider but often the overall price will be cheaper if the ISP provides both.


There are hundreds of ADSL providers in London. Since deregulation of the telecoms market in the UK, re-sellers have been able to sell BT Openreach provided services at cheaper prices. Billing and customer service is then conducted through the re-seller instead of through BT.


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Typically PSTN Installation (if necessary) is around £99.99 Broadband activation: can be around £40


PSTN Line monthly “line rental”: £14 – £20 Broadband monthly: £30 – £40

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The cost of True Fibre to the premises, Ethernet, EFM and WiMax/Wiber/Wireless varies depending on the providers existing infrastructure and whether the connection routes are already used by other users. As a result, the installation and monthly ongoing cost of such connections has fallen dramatically for new customers in the past few years.


Depending on the araciality in the location, monthly costs typically vary from £280 to as high as £600 per month for speeds ranging between 100Mb/second to as high as 1 Gb/Second. Even higher speeds are also possible for a bespoke premium.



Offsetting the costs and making the figures work

For a budget owner, the increased spend on connectivity can be hard to justify even though the outcome would be greater productivity.


However, many business owners currently pay high telephony costs of between £15-£20 a month for either ISDN or analogue channels. Each simultaneously-available telephone line is a separate “channel”. Removing this cost for a business of 10 individuals who simultaneously make and receive calls can provide £200 savings to offset against higher internet costs.


Telephone calls can then be made with possibly even greater functionality using a VoIP internet telephone provider and this usually leads to huge further savings on variable monthly call costs.



IT support companies in London can help you investigate the options and prices available to you in London. Ask your independent IT Support company for advice to ensure you’re making the best decision for your business. For further enquiries give us a call on 020 7372 4106 and we'll happily assist you.




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