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Differences between business (GPON) FTTP broadband and Ethernet leased lines

3rd August 2019

With more than one type of full-fibre internet connection now available to some organisations, many are questioning what the differences are between traditional fibre Ethernet leased lines, and the lower-cost (GPON) FTTP broadband services.

With speeds on both up to 1Gb/s and beyond, many will automatically believe that FTTP broadband is suitable for all and will offer substantial savings that can’t be missed.

However, there are key differences between FTTP and Ethernet leased lines.

This article will aim to provide you with the information so that you can make an informed decision on whether FTTP or a leased line is right for your business.


FTTP vs Ethernet Leased Line Comparison Table

First, let’s start with a quick comparison table that highlights the key differences.

FTTP Ethernet leased line
UK availability 8.20%1 100%
Typical maximum bandwidths 1Gb/s 1-10Gb/s
Typical bandwidth profiles Asymmetrical Symmetrical
Starting price for business-grade 150-200Mb/s £79 (150Mb down, 30Mb up) £326 (200Mb/s down & up)
Installation prices where available – 12m term £100 £2300+
Installation prices where available – 36m term £0 £0
Risk of excess construction charges (ECCs) Low risk if in FTTP-area
Service not available if you are miles away from FTTP network
£2,800 subsidy available for complex installs.
ECCs can be £10,000+ if miles away from fibre network or very complex.
Dedicated bandwidth guarantee No Yes
Uncontended bandwidth guarantee No Yes
Point to point (1:1) fibre between customer premises and exchange No2 Yes
Fibre technology used for delivery GPON2 Point to point active Ethernet
SLA 99.9% uptime 100% with RO2
Fix time 6 clock hrs 5-6 clock hrs
Carriers that Giganet interconnects with offering the services  CityFibre
(BT) Openreach
(BT) Openreach
BT Wholesale
TalkTalk Business
Virgin Media

1As of July 2019 against Think Broadband statistics.
2A very small number of FTTP providers offer point-to-point fibre, but the largest providers of BT Openreach, Virgin Media and CityFibre use GPON.
All prices excluding VAT and correct at the time of publication.


FTTP Broadband

Limited availability means that not many organisations will be able to get FTTP broadband – currently 8% as of July 2019’s figures.


  • Ideal choice for:
    • SMEs
    • Organisations with less than 50-100 employees
    • Those that can afford to risk uptime SLAs and fix time
    • Those that would be less affected by potential contention/slow downs during peak times.
  • Often features asymmetrical bandwidths (different download to upload bandwidths).
  • Limited coverage (circa 8% across the entire UK (July 2019)).
  • Contented and not dedicated bandwidths.
  • Lower Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

FTTP broadband, mainly delivered using GPON technology, is a full-fibre connection that offers ultrafast speeds, without any risks of slowdowns due to electrical interference, resistance or water ingress issues that plague copper or hybrid copper services such as ADSL, FTTC. G.Fast or cable.

FTTP broadband is the next generation of broadband, taking over and offering a big jump in performance and reliability compared to hybrid-copper services such as FTTC, G.Fast or DOCSIS cable.

The coverage of FTTP broadband is very limited, with figures tracked by Think Broadband (July 2019), suggesting coverage has now reached 8.20% of the UK population. This is significantly below the superfast (30Mb/s+) broadband coverage of 95.79%.

So you are very unlikely to be someone who can receive FTTP, however the announcements, build-plans, scale, and speed at which FTTP is being rolled out is increasing.


Ethernet Leased Lines

National availability – subject to survey as some rural and remote areas could end up paying £10,000 for a connection, whereas in more-urban towns and cities the install will be £0 (36m term).

This is usually the preserve of those organisations that want the best and want faster speeds now and can’t wait until FTTP may or may not reach them.


  • Ideal choice for:
    • Larger organisations
    • Those not in an FTTP service area but need access to higher bandwidths now
    • Those demanding the best SLAs, uptime, resilience options
    • Those demanding no slow downs, and uncontended bandwidths
  • Symmetrical bandwidths (same download and upload bandwidths)
  • 100% UK coverage (subject to excess construction charges (ECCs)).
  • Uncontended and dedicated bandwidths.
  • Highest SLAs.


Giganet’s UltraBEAM (FTTP) and ELITE (Leased line) Options

Giganet are able to provide both types of services and our connectivity consultants will be able to help you make the right decision based on your requirements, budget, and service availability.

Our Instant Live Availability Checker will advise you whether FTTP broadband services are available – we brand these UltraBEAM. Our Fibre leased line services conversely are called ELITE.