Ethernet Competition Warming Up Globally In 2009

Traditionally high speed fibre links have been expensive because often the fibre had to be physically run for long distances, normally back to a connection in one of the dense metropolitan areas, and often all the way to London. The need for repeater stations adds to this cost.

In the UK the model has changed. Now network providers are rolling out Points Of Presence locally around the country with a preinstalled backhaul to London. It normally has to be London because typically this is where connections to other carriers and the internet are located.

This means that now, instead of long connections with high installation costs businesses can install lower cost local fibre connections, provided they are within 25km of an enabled POP.

From my perspective there are two main players in this game.

BT Openreach will, by April, have 600 Ethernet enabled 21CN exchanges and notionally 1,100 by the end of the year. BT is however playing catchup with NTL which owns most of the UK’s cable TV infrastructure. NTL some time ago woke up to the fact that it wasn’t using this existing fibre in the ground to best effect and is now selling leased line connectivity at much lower costs than was available even last summer. 

If you don’t understand the relevance of this, fibre connections are far more reliable than ADSL and come with better Service Level Assurances. As companies rely more and more on web based hosted services and applications they need better service uptimes.

The competition is great and is very much to the benefit of UK business. I am now quite often seeing zero up front cost quotations go out the door which is likely to prove a great help to businesses struggling to find capex in the recession.

PS the Global Warming bits in the post title was purely an attention getter 🙂 . Actually I don’t really mean “globally”, I mean in the UK and although there are some countries ahead of us in this game in Europe and the Far East there are others, notably the USA that lag behind.

We are still a long way from getting fibre to the home but the environment for businesses is definately improving.

Published by Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of trefor.net, writer, poet, philosopherontap.com

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