Many business in central London have moved away from national carriers, turning to one of the capital’s independent fibre network providers for their business fibre broadband needs.
This obviously won’t come as a surprise to you if your business is already experiencing the benefits of working with an independent fibre broadband network provider. On the other hand, if you are still receiving fibre broadband (and the subsequent headaches) from a national carrier this article will give you all the information you need about the benefits of choosing an independent provider for your business broadband needs.
What is an independent fibre broadband network provider?
Before we begin to look at what an independent fibre network can do for you which a national carrier can’t, it helps to know exactly what one is.
Independent network providers go by many different labels, and you may have come across the terms independent providers, alternative providers, alternative networks or alt-nets. In a nutshell, an independent fibre network provider is a fibre broadband provider who owns and operates their own fibre internet network. This network is often referred to as a “metro network.”
What independent fibre network providers can do because of owning their own network is provide end-to-end pure fibre internet connections from the local telephone exchange directly to business premises.
Why are businesses choosing independent fibre internet providers?
National carriers can’t always provide fibre internet in central London due to lack of capacity. If you have tried to get fibre to your premises in central London from a national carrier you will have most likely experienced the frustration of being told that fibre internet is not available in your area.
This can be a distressing situation if you need fibre installed at your premises in time for a tight deadline, for example an impending office move or an upcoming event. Nevertheless, despite a national carrier telling you that you can’t get fibre internet, the truth is you can and an independent provider can get it directly to your premises.
The most significant point here is that a national carrier may not always be able to get fibre to your premises in central London, and this comes down to the fibre product that is on offer. In many cases when fibre broadband is advertised it isn’t necessarily really fibre, in a pure sense at least.
Many national carriers offer Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) which is actually a hybrid product consisting of a combination of copper and fibre cables. FTTC involves running fibre optic cables from the telephone exchange or street cabinet and then copper cables through a telephone line to the business premises. This is an easy solution to roll out in rural areas where all the nearby premises are served by one street cabinet, but when it comes to urban settings with a high density of buildings and no immediate street cabinet, this solution is a bit more difficult to supply.
The reason that national carriers can’t provide this fibre solution in an urban context mainly comes down to infrastructural upheaval. There are no street cabinets in most urban environments like central London where is a high concentration of buildings all wired back to the local telephone exchange. Because of this, rolling out a hybrid fibre solution is very difficult because it would take a lot of infrastructural upheaval to move cables to an intermediate cabinet and then into the premises.
So how can an independent provider offer fibre in central London?
As we said earlier, the most common fibre product on offer from national carriers is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), or hybrid fibre, and not the pure fibre that is provided by most independent providers. This makes all the difference when it comes to your fibre internet provider being able to reach your premises, especially in a densely populated urban area such as central London.
So how can an independent provider give you fibre in these areas when a national carrier can’t? The way they do this is by owning their own network and cutting out the copper wires so that you get pure fibre from the exchange to your premises.
This means that when you connect with an independent provider you are part of their own individual metro network. Pure fibre is supplied to your premises through a fibre leased line which runs from your independent provider’s own equipment in the telephone exchange directly to your premises.
The reason that an independent provider can supply pure fibre to you in this way goes back to capacity at the telephone exchange. In theory, a national provider could do what an independent provider does, but it takes a lot of investment and capacity at the level of the exchange. Independent providers have invested heavily into the infrastructure at the exchange and will have hundreds of leased lines running at symmetrical high speeds. This capacity is crucial because providers need to make sure that at peak times their fibre internet doesn’t experience down time due to a high volume of connections.
In many exchanges, large national carriers have run out of capacity, which means that they have difficulty providing fibre at a local point of presence. This means that if they were to increase their capacity at the exchange there is a risk of down time due to the high volume of people connected to their equipment at the exchange.
This means that independent fibre providers are much more nimble than national carriers. Because of their investment in the exchanges, independent providers can get fibre installed directly to your premises and provide fibre where national carriers simply don’t have the capacity to provide to any more customers.
What else do Independent Fibre Providers have to offer?
In addition to fibre to your premises, working with an independent provider means that you also get a number of commercial and support benefits that you wouldn’t necessarily get when you with a national carrier.
Working with an independent provider will usually mean that they operate a local metro network. This also means that their office and team will be based near to your premises. Not only does this mean that your independent provider is always in your local area and will understand the problems you face as a local business, but it also means that they will also offer local support teams, have local knowledge, and can help you solve your technical issues quicker than a national carrier whose support teams are located remotely.
Having a local support team also means that you get a more personal and reliable support service than you would receive from a national carrier. Working with a local team and local account manager who knows your individual business needs and issues means that you build a personal working relationship. Having this personal relationship and knowing exactly who you will speak to makes all the difference when you are in a stressful situation and need to get critical problems solved quickly.
Quicker problem resolutions
Working with a local independent provider also means that if connectivity issues do arise your provider will dispatch an engineer and ensure that your problems are resolved quicker than with a national carrier. When you work with a local independent fibre provider you can rest assure that an engineer is usually only 20 minutes away, and if you are a business who relies on being connected to fast and reliable fibre internet to do business, having this lifeline close by is crucial.
The round the clock support and security offered by an independent fibre provider speaks volumes and many businesses have found that working with national carriers with offices outside London has meant delays in fixing connection issues, which has meant loss of business and revenue.
To safeguard your business applications, most local independent providers will also have Service Level Agreements (SLA) to guarantee you uptime, quick response times and reliable technical staff. To find out what these are, as they will differ depending on your provider, you should request this information in the stages of choosing which provider you want to work with.
Compared to many national carriers, you may find that independent fibre networks may not offer the cheapest service, but they do offer overall better price performance. While many national carriers will charge a premium for additional services and support, you will find that most independent providers offer these services as part of their standard costs. These may include:
- Private networks
- Dedicated account and project manager
- Pre-technical support: Build out and design of internal data cabling and infrastructure
- Efficient provisioning and installation teams
- Private network links between their multiple sites
- Multi-Tenant design and deployment
- Better contention ratio
- Unlimited connectivity
- Having these additional services in place is well worth the cost, as they guarantee overall better connectivity, security and support in the long run.
Time to choose an Independent Fibre Broadband Network provider?
With independent fibre providers filling in the gaps and limitations in the services offered by national carriers, it is no surprise that even the minister for broadband, Matt Hancock MP, was quoted in the Financial Times warning BT he was “on the side of the challenger” in the government’s attempt to improve Britain’s internet speeds and coverage. Internet provision in London is changing, and now is the time to see how independent fibre networks are ahead of the curve when it comes to connecting businesses in central London.