EFM v Fibre Leased Lines – How They Compare

Comparing EFM vs fibre leased lines? The main differences between them are: connection speed, cost, installation time, reliability and geographic availability.

We are often asked 'which is the better option: EFM or a Fibre-optic leased line?' by users of our free EFM and Fibre Leased Line Price Checking Service. The answer depends on your situation - your bandwidth requirements, your budget, your installation deadline, your location and the extent to which you need connection resilience.

EFM can actually be provisioned over fibre-optic cables. However, technology marketers and EFM connectivity providers often use 'EFM' to just refer to 'EFM over copper,' so that's how we'll use the acronym here. 

SPEEDS - Fibre Offers Higher Maximum Speeds Than Copper-based EFM Circuits

Fibre-optic leased lines can be used to deliver up to 10,000Mbit/s. EFM circuits may deliver up to 35Mbit/s. Both these maximum speeds aren't available everywhere.

COST - Sometimes Fibre Is Cheaper Than EFM over Copper. Sometimes The Reverse Is True

It all depends on your location. The only way to find out is to get a price for both fibre and copper options, then compare them. Our EFM and Fibre Leased Line Quoting Site does that, then gives you the price for the cheapest option. If you want to check whether that price is based on a Fibre or Copper, just give us a ring on 020 7847 4510, and we'll be happy to check for you.

INSTALLATION TIMES - EFM Copper Circuits Are Installed Faster Than Fibre Leased Lines, Typically

Fibre Leased Lines take about 90 working days to be installed. That's 4 months. EFM leased lines provisioned over copper are usually provided in around 30 working days. That's about 1.5 months. For most visitors to our EFM & Fibre Leased Line Price Checker, getting the lowest price is their primary concern. So we get a number of quotes, compare them, then choose the technology that will give the lowest price we can find. However, if a quick installation is your primary concern, run a quote then give us a ring on 020 7847 4510. We'll be able to check whether the price you've received is based on a fibre-optic circuit, or whether it's based on a copper EFM circuit. If the former, we can re-run the price comparison - excluding the fibre options. This will confirm whether EFM over copper is available at your exchange, whether it can provide the bandwidth you desire, and if it can, how much it will cost you.

GEOGRAPHIC AVAILABILITY - Fibre-Optic Leased Lines Are Available In More Places Than Copper EFM Circuits

You can get a fibre leased line pretty much anywhere in the UK - with the exception of some very rural areas that look like a sea of green when viewed on Google maps. EFM is available to a far more limited degree. Your local telephone needs to have been EFM equipment in it. We expect about 30% of the UK's 5600 telephone exchanges to end up with EFM equipment in them. That doesn't mean that only 30% of businesses can get EFM, as those 30% of exchanges will cover the vast majority of businesses. The second factor limiting copper EFM's availability is that electrical signals degrade as the distance the electrical wires span increases. So, if you're many miles from your local telephone exchange, you may find you can't get the high connection speed that would be available to businesses that are located very close to your local telephone exchange. Is EFM available in your area? Sadly, there's no simple coverage map. It depends on which of the UK's 5600 telephone exchanges serves you, and how far away you are from that exchange. However, the major EFM network operators provide tools to companies such as ourselves that enable us to check the availability of EFM at a given postcode. So, if you want to find out if EFM is available in your area, give us a call on 020 7847 4510 and we'll check for you.  

RELIABILITY - Fibre-Optic Leased Lines Are Slightly More Reliable Than EFM Over Copper Ones

Copper EFM circuits can be affected by distance-related signal degradation and by electrical interference. Fibre-optic circuits are affected far less by each of these, as they send data using light rather than electrical signals.

Check What EFM and Fibre Leased Line Options Are Available At Your Location

You can use our free online EFM and Fibre Leased Line Price Checker to discover the lowest leased line price we can offer at your location. Our site doesn't mention whether the price is based on fibre-optic circuits or on EFM copper ones, as that would just confuse most visitors - many of whom haven't heard of Ethernet First Mile. However, if you are interested in finding out whether our quote is based on an EFM circuit or a fibre-optic one, give us a call on 020 7847 4510 and we'll tell you. And while you're on the phone, we can also investigate your Ethernet in the First Mile options. For example, is copper EFM available at your postcode? If so, what speeds can you get, and how much will each option cost? To find out how much your dedicated connection is likely to cost, use our EFM and fibre leased line pricing tool.

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