The difference between Openreach and CityFibre

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Modern businesses rely on broadband services; their speed affects how quickly you can respond to your customers and how productively your staff can work.

That means the plans to introduce ultrafast broadband across the country are important, and there are some things you should know.

Why fibre optic connection is important 

As users, we expect fast responses and are unwilling to accept that internet connections and essential business applications will slow down at busy times of the day.

Fibre broadband will provide much faster download and upload speeds than a traditional asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) service that uses copper wires, where downloads are much faster than uploads. On average ADSL2+, which is currently available to most businesses and homes, provides a download speed of around 10Mbps, and 1Mbps for uploads. The speed is affected by the quality of your lines and the distance from the exchange. In remote locations, the speed can be much slower than average

Fibre broadband for your business

Fibre cables have a glass core which allows information to be transmitted using light, which is thousands of times faster and less affected by distance than the electrical signals used in copper cables.

There are two main types of fibre broadband service; fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP). The difference is significant.

  • FTTC - fibre links the telephone exchange to the roadside cabinet, but copper cable provides the last step of the connection to your business premises. This can deliver speeds of up to 76Mbps for downloads and 19Mbps for uploads.
  • FTTP - fibre connects the exchange directly to your business’s premises. Without any copper lines, this will deliver a much faster internet speed of up to 1000Mbps for downloads and 115Mbps for uploads.
The first obvious difference is that FTTP will provide a much faster broadband service for your business than FTTC. You will also benefit from a stable, reliable service. Pricing is similar, although FTTP is more expensive when you want an on-demand service that requires new infrastructure to be installed.

However, FTTP isn’t yet available everywhere.

The future of ultrafast broadband

FTTP is expected to become the new ‘standard’ business broadband option.

Openreach has ‘paused’ the roll-out of their G.Fast FTTC network until at least April 2021. Instead, the focus is on installing an all-fibre service and removing copper cables all together. However, if you already have an FTTC service available you will probably wait some time for FTTP in your area.

BTT believes that full fibre will help local businesses to thrive and unlock their digital potential. We are a City Champion partner with CityFibre in Northampton, one of only a small number of City Champions across the UK. We are strategically aligned with CityFibre’s goal to create over 60 Gigabit Cities in the UK, which they estimate will cost of £2.5billion.

What’s the difference between Openreach and CityFibre?

Openreach’s migration of the country’s national network of legacy copper cables to fibre broadband has been the focus of attention.

Openreach controls most of the UK’s existing copper cable infrastructure and is expected to have the largest single FTTP network for around 15million premises by 2025. With around 2.5million premises already reached, there’s an ambitious plan to achieve the next milestone of 4million premises by March 2021.

CityFibre is an alternative network (AltNet) provider and aims to have FTTP cover for 8million premises by 2025. In some parts of the country CityFibre will be the only choice for FTTP, although in other areas several FTTP providers could all operate in the same area.

In November 2019 CityFibre launched an industry-wide consultation about the role of the alternative FTTP infrastructure, especially emphasising the need to make it easy for users to switch between networks.

CityFibre wants internet service providers (ISPs) of all sizes to have a say in what will be needed to support legacy services on the new networks, the process for mass migration of customers, and how to help customers to change provider.

This month CityFibre announced a further £1.5billion investment, with construction contracts for FTTP in 27 towns and cities and around three million premises. CityFibre says that it is moving ahead with construction plans for more than five million premises in 66 towns and cities, all of which are expected to be underway by summer 2021. There are also plans for another round of tenders for contracts to cover a further 3million premises that would keep the programme on track to achieve its Gigabit City target by 2025.

This month has also seen Ofcom launch a further consultation about plans for regulation of broadband, mobile and business connections from April 2021 to March 2026. The government’s communications watchdog says its aim is to create an environment that will encourage investment in ultrafast broadband for all parts of the UK as well as protecting customers.

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