Why do fibre prices vary?Posted on 31 August 2021 by Beaming Support
As you shop around for a good deal for a fibre internet connection for your business, you may be surprised by what seem like big variations in price.
Why is some fibre cheaper? Before choosing what appears to be the best deal, make sure you’re aware of these five reasons why fibre prices vary.
1. Fibre prices appear to vary because you’re comparing apples with oranges
“Fibre” has become a bit of a catch-all term for any connectivity that includes some fibre optic cabling – cable that is able to transmit data at the speed of light – so it’s possible you’re not quite comparing like-for-like. The different types of “fibre” connectivity you may have come across, with the slowest and cheapest first, are summarised below:
|Technology used||Download speeds|
|Superfast fibre broadband/Fibre to the Cabinet/FTTC||Includes fibre optic cabling to your local green cabinet with the final stretch being covered by older copper wires||Maximum download speed is around 76Mbps|
|Ultrafast fibre broadband/Fibre to the Premises/FTTP||Brings full fibre connectivity to your door but bandwidth is shared with other users||Maximum download speed is around 1Gbps|
|Fibre leased lines||Full fibre, private connection with no bandwidth shared||The speed chosen is the speed guaranteed at all times, up to 10Gbps up & down|
You can read a more in-depth comparison of these technologies in this blog:
2. The network is crowded
Some ISPs, particularly the larger ones, are able to reduce prices by having many customers sharing the same infrastructure; imagine a fibre “pipe” with many packets of information jostling to get through. The more packets in the pipe, the slower they’ll travel. This may apply even when you’re using a business product and comes at the expense of reliability and performance, resulting in slow-downs or drop outs.
To help spread the capacity across many customers, some domestic providers use ‘traffic shaping’, which reduces the speed of individual connections when they’re using large amounts of internet bandwidth, for example when streaming videos. As you can imagine, having your connection limited when you’re using it the most can have a significant impact.
A specialist business provider will pay close attention to how many customers may be sharing their infrastructure at any given time, making sure the number of packets using that pipe won’t impact on the speed they travel. This negates the need for traffic shaping and ensures the performance is reliable and dependable. This might add a little to the overall price but gives business customers confidence that the internet connection will always be there when they need it the most.
In theory, the above doesn’t apply to leased lines, which should provide uncontended connectivity. However, some providers do actually share bandwidth out on their leased line products, too.
You can read more about that in this blog:
3. Fibre prices can vary because the provider is saving costs on support
To keep the price of providing connectivity down, some ISPs use call centre support. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that staff have a different level of expertise, what is likely is that you will have to wait some time in a call queue, which is both frustrating and an unproductive use of time.
Often, keeping costs down does involve employing less qualified staff, and the first support person you’ll speak to more than likely has to follow a script to help with basic problems. For more complex issues you’ll wait longer to be put through to a more experienced technician and may have to explain the whole problem again. All this means it takes longer for issues to be resolved, and results in a frustrating experience.
An in-house support team that directly manages the network and has the expertise to do so may cost more to run, but means that any support issues are resolved swiftly, so you’re able to get back to work with minimal disruption.
4. Your telecoms company is reselling another provider’s network
Many business telecoms companies are resellers of another provider’s network. They might be open about the relationship or they might rebrand the service as their own. This can allow them to reduce prices as the services are in fact supplied by a much larger network, offering economies of scale. However, just like with some of those large broadband networks mentioned earlier, more shared resources can also mean reduced performance and reliability.
Another factor to consider is the support. Will the reseller be able to help you or do you have to speak to the provider directly and go into that call centre queue? Will you be referred from one to the other and back again when you’re looking to resolve a problem?
5. Your ISP doesn’t control all of its network
Even if you have a direct relationship with an ISP, they may not actually own and manage their network. Certain parts of the network might be provided by third parties. While this could help to lower costs, an ISP that has an overview and control of its entire network is able, as detailed above, to avoid becoming oversubscribed at any point. With fewer parties involved in the supply chain, they’re also better placed to provide timely support should there be a problem.