Can I switch FTTP broadband provider?

Asset 6

Can I switch FTTP broadband provider?

Posted on 15 July 2022 by Beaming Support

It’s more important than ever for businesses to have a fast, reliable and secure internet connection. Cloud-based software and applications are now near-universal. Hybrid workforces are spread across multiple locations and need to connect seamlessly. And there is dramatically increased use of bandwidth-heavy services like video conferencing.

To achieve this speed and reliability, many small businesses are turning to ‘Fibre to the Premises’ (FTTP) broadband. But FTTP also brings questions – particularly about whether you will still be able to switch provider.

What is FTTP?

Sometimes known as ‘full fibre’ broadband or ‘Ultrafast fibre’, FTTP broadband delivers data directly to a building over fibre-optic cabling at the speed of light.

By contrast, traditional broadband – sometimes called Superfast – relies on a slower copper telephone line for the last link to your building. The copper line connects your business to the fibre network; the link-up between copper and fibre happens at the nearest green broadband cabinet or telephone exchange.

With FTTP, however, fibre technology extends all the way to your office. That means a faster connection for your business, one that can carry many times more data at much quicker speeds.

What is an FTTP provider?

Most internet service providers offer FTTP broadband packages. Many use Openreach’s network of cables and connections to deliver their services. This infrastructure is used by internet service providers like Sky or Beaming to deliver the FTTP service.

Openreach manages the infrastructure for the UK’s largest FTTP network, currently available to more than 27 million UK homes and businesses.

So if you use FTTP broadband, your service will most likely use cables managed by Openreach. The exception is when an ISP uses its own fibre cabling, often operating in local areas where Openreach have not yet delivered their FTTP infrastructure.

My business already has an FTTP deal. Can I switch providers?

In most cases this is very straightforward, but not always. It depends on the exact switch you want to make.

If you’re moving from two providers that use the Openreach network (from BT to Beaming, for example) this is as easy as switching home broadband providers.

There will be minimal downtime and your new provider should be able to manage the switch to minimise any disruption. There shouldn’t be any additional fees or installation costs. No new line needs to be laid.

If you’re still under contract, you may face early-exit penalties – these depend on the details of your contract.

I want to move from an ISP that uses Openreach to an AltNet. Is that harder?

There are also a small number of alternative network providers (AltNets) currently laying their own cables in selected areas of the UK. AltNets don’t use Openreach cables. The largest and best-known is Virgin Media.

You cannot move to an AltNet unless it services your area – most are highly localised. And it may not be as simple for the new provider to manage the switch. You should liaise with the new provider to plan ahead to minimise disruption.

If you’re still under contract, you may face early-exit penalties.

I want to leave an AltNet. Is that possible?

If an Alt Net is providing the FTTP at your business location you may be able to switch to a provider using the Openreach network. But that depends on Openreach having brought FTTP to your area already. Again, it may not be as simple for the new provider to manage the switch. You should liaise with the new provider to plan ahead to minimise disruption.

If you’re still under contract, you may face early-exit penalties.

 

Doesn’t FTTP require our own personal cabling?

FTTP v a Fibre Leased Line

Whether your provider uses the Openreach network or its own, your FTTP connection still uses shared broadband infrastructure. It is not a so-called Leased Line.

With FTTP many different users share bandwidth. So connection speeds are likely to be slower at peak times as competition for connectivity increases.

By contrast, a Leased Line – also called a fibre ethernet service – is your own dedicated fibre-optic cabling from the main internet infrastructure to your premises. These lines offer higher speeds, more secure transmission, and much faster diagnostic and repair times if there is ever an issue. Naturally, they are also significantly more expensive than FTTP.

A Leased Line is dedicated to a single business: there is no external competition for bandwidth.

Leased Lines connect directly to the main internet infrastructure. Data travelling on a Leased Line doesn’t have to hop between the different parts of the broadband infrastructure. So there is less opportunity for things to go wrong, and extra resilience built into the infrastructure in order to meet the stringent service levels.

If you’d like to know more about the different services in more detail, read Beaming’s explainer here.

Join the Beaming Bulletin

Sign up to receive monthly advice and industry insights straight to your inbox. Be fully informed ready for your next connectivity and telecoms renewal.

Beaming business-only ISP

Should you choose Beaming as your new provider, our skilled technical team will work to your timeline to keep downtime during the switchover to an absolute minimum. You’ll be kept informed about the progress of your order at every step.