It was a Saturday at around 7am. My mobile phone rang and one of my clients called to say that he had lost his fibre internet access. I didn't mind taking the call but the only thing was, I was in Paris, having arrived on Friday to see another client ...
If you get a problem with your fibre internet access, check both your SLAs and Ts&Cs!
Anyway, that got me thinking about Service Level Agreements (SLA) and Terms and Conditions (Ts&Cs) of supply and repair times of the various Fibre Optic internet services that are on the market.
This particular client has a full-fibre internet connection from an alternative service provider, not Openreach or Virgin Media. The previous more expensive connection was also a full-fibre internet connection from Openreach.
"So, what's the difference in SLAs and Ts&Cs, I hear you ask?"
Firstly, it's nothing to do with the connection being from an alternative provider (or AltNet as we know them in the business). It actually has to do with the product you have and which part of their overall network that the service is connected to.
The two main services are firstly an Asynchronous (faster download to upload speed) service, connected to a public network and usually has a contention ratio on the network. The service guarantees are akin to standard ADSL like you'd get with older copper broadband services.
Although FTTP is delivered over a full-fibre connection, the internet service is still connected to the standard public network and at affordable pricing so carries the same level of monitoring and repair times as before.
The other is a pure 1:1 ratio service, traditionally called a leased line service with synchronous upload and download speed and upper limit subscription bandwidth of 1Gbps. This purely business service is conventionally connected to a private network run by respective operators.
Of course, you pay a much higher rate for the full fibre service such as this, but the service level is what's called a 'gold standard'. Private networks come with a 'managed router on-site which is constantly monitored, 24/7/365. If the router goes offline or the network loses a connection between them and your site, alarms are raised automatically and we resellers are usually notified even before you know that there is an issue.
"All private circuits have an uptime guarantee of 99.99% and are constantly measured on network performance and speed of repair!"
There is a hybrid version of synchronous service, connected to a business network and offering a higher SLA to the FTTP service, but not as good as the Leased Line/private circuit SLA. Companies such as City Fibre build their Business networks on a GPON system. GPON connects multiple fibres (e.g. from adjacent buildings) to a single outbound fibre.
The general ratio is 5:1, which means five premises connected to one fibre. The GPON unit has a general throughput of 2.4Gbps so each connected building is still able to output up to 500Mbps with any degradation to the speed. So, it can be said, that business GPON is almost as good as a leased line, but without the price tag.
"Monitoring can be done by your service provider if they know the correct router to supply and install!"
So, repair time is not only related to the type of service that is subscribed to, but also the price you pay as both go hand in hand. Don't expect Gold Standard for the price of gold plated from any provider, not all will give you that as standard.
I did help my customer in the end, but there was little I could do from Paris apart from a phone call to the supplier back in the UK, asking them to look into it.
However, I will be checking both my SLAs and Ts&Cs really for the next time they call.
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about SLAs and Ts & Cs for your fibre internet access, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 01604 926100 or take a look at my website which you can find by clicking here.
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