FTTH, FTTB, FTTO… which broadband internet solution should you choose for your business?


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Which offer should I choose to support my company’s new practices? How to find your way through all these technical names for Internet fibre? A short guide to the jungle of fibre optics for businesses.

Optical fiber for businesses: good advice for professional Internet

Choosing fiber optics for the Internet connection of a company of agreement. But which connection to choose among all the offers for professionals? There are more than 700,000 business sites in France outside city centres, and it is an understatement to say that access to very high speed broadband (VHS) offers is not homogeneous from one site or city to another. While ADSL has benefited from a massive rollout over the past 10 years that has placed France in the European top tier, optical fibre is still looking for a way to reach businesses. The optical fibre offer for companies exists, but only one company out of ten has it, and the same number plans to switch to it. This is not very many, whereas 80% of companies are eligible for a THD offer.
Problem of readability of the offers, companies still find it difficult to understand what is hidden behind the operators’ acronyms. FTTH, FTTB, FTTO? What should we choose among these optical fibre offers for professionals? These 3 names (Fiber to the Home, Building or Office) all refer to optical fiber, their difference lies in the way the fiber is brought to the company. FTTH is based on physical infrastructures similar to those of the telephone, and therefore of ADSL. Businesses can therefore access this Internet fibre offer in towns that have been equipped with fibre optic cables from the street to the foot of the building. As for FTTB, it is installed in office buildings and companies that move in can benefit from it as a service in the same way as heating or connection to the electricity network. Finally, in some cases, the company can make a request for connection to the fiber Internet pro with an operator to have an optical fiber dedicated to the company that will come to its walls, this is the FTTO.

The fiber pro to meet the limits of ADSL

The first solution for the Internet connection of a company, even the most obvious, is to use ADSL in its muscular and symmetrical version, the VDSL. Barely more expensive than ADSL, VDSL offers business Internet connections with peak downstream speeds of 100 Mb/s and upstream speeds that can climb to 30 Mb/s. Ideal for a small business? Yes, if your company’s offices are very close to the operator’s shared equipment. Beyond 100 meters after the DSLAM, we can no longer talk about HSBB because the speeds fall below 30 Mb/s.
When an operator offers VDSL as a professional Internet connection, fibre is never far away, as are FTTH offers. Here again, there are variations in the type of connection offered by the operator. The basic offer (in the same price range as xDSL) is between 50 and 100 Mb/s downstream, which, given the reliability of fibre at all levels, allows 10 to 20 employees to be served very well for uses ranging from the cloud to video conferencing. But here again, FTTH is rarely offered as a professional Internet connection outside city centres, and above all, operators do not commit to quality of service, even if bypassing the copper network gives hope of more consistent speeds than ADSL.

Optical fiber: the fastest Internet connection for a company

For companies needing a professional Internet connection with a higher speed, it is always possible to multiply and mutualize the FTTH subscriptions on the site. This is an economical solution, but it is not comparable to a dedicated fibre offer (FTTO). This is the ultimate in professional Internet connection. To do this, the operator will have a fiber drawn to the company’s premises. The capacities of the optical fiber in company are almost without limits, a little bit like if you install a 2 x 5 lanes highway to reach the company’s parking lot. It’s up to you to determine the capacity you need.
The cloud, video conferencing, very high speed VPN access to remote sites, or specialized services that make critical use of images (e.g. remote surgery), all these new services require a lot of capacity and quality of service. It is impossible to hope to convert a company’s teams to cloud computing if access to files is random, for example. The prudent thing to do would be to count 8 Mb/s of capacity per employee for a medium-sized company, a figure that can be refined downwards as the number of employees increases.
Fibre-to-the-Office (FTTO) Internet offers of over 1 Gb/s 100 Mbps start at €2,000 per month, not including the cost of the connection. With a guaranteed and symmetrical flow, the company can hope for productivity gains by sharing certain services such as voice, virtual private network (VPN), Internet access on the same fiber, and therefore the same subscription. Taking advantage of a quality fibre network in the company also has an impact on hardware and software choices, and provides an opportunity to compare local and remote solutions. In short, the first step towards a revolution in corporate practices and usages towards mobile or home-based remote work…


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