EFM Broadband - No Longer Your Best Option

Ethernet First Mile (EFM) connections are sold in two flavours - a broadband version and a non-broadband version.

EFM broadband has a contention ratio of 5:1. That means your connection's backhaul bandwidth is shared with up to four other subscribers. At peak times, your throughput could drop to 20% of your connection speed. So, a 20Mbps EFM broadband connection might only allow you to send or receive data at 4Mbps.

If you're thinking "that's a bit slow... that would cause me problems" you've just hit on why most ISPs don't even mention the existence of EFM broadband. They prefer to pretend that only the uncontended version exists.

EFM broadband's other problem: patchy coverage

EFM isn't available throughout the UK. You can only order if your local telephone exchange has the right equipment installed. For businesses served by around 2500 of the UK's 5600 telephone exchanges, EFM isn't available at any speed.

Even where the EFM equipment is installed in your local exchange, you may be too far away from it the exchange to get the speeds you're after.

The best alternatives to EFM broadband

Back when EFM was first launched, the roll-out of FTTC fibre broadband was far less advanced than it is today.

Since then, the Government took a chunk of the BBC licence fee and used it to fund upgrades to the broadband network. As a result FTTC is now available in far more places.

There's a business product that piggybacks on the FTTC infrastructure - called Ethernet over FTTC, or EoFTTC for short.

It offers up to 20Mbps of guaranteed bandwidth in both directions, for sites that can get up-to-20mbps upstream via standard 'up to 80mbps' FTTC broadband.

There are two other alternatives to EFM broadband that are also worth consideration: uncontended EFM and fibre leased lines. Both have fallen in price since EFM broadband first came into existence.

Uncontended EFM offers up to 20Mbps in some areas, and up to 35Mbps in others. Fibre leased lines offer speeds of up to 10Gbps in a lot of places. At more realistic budgets, it can offers speeds of 20Mbps, 30Mbps and 100Mbps. In theory you can order 40Mbps, 50Mbps, 60Mbps etc, but the prices for these tend not to be much different to getting 100Mbps.

To get a quote for uncontended EFM or fibre leased lines, just fill in the leased line pricing request tool at the top of this page or give us a call on 020 7847 4510. We'll be able to tell you whether EFM is available for the location/speed combination you selected, and whether EFM or fibre leased lines are cheapest for your location.

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