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In last weeks article (Part one) we started to look at the ‘connectivity scale’ and looked at the growing options around copper and fibre based broadband that are driving customers’ expectations of faster and more reliable services. Today we look at Ethernet based products that build on these expectations and deliver service attributes that are even more essential to business critical connectivity. Let’s start with GEA…

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales


GEA is a new service which begins to bridge the gap between fibre broadband and Ethernet based solutions. Like FTTC, GEA utilises the existing copper infrastructure (a single copper pair) between the customer premises and the cabinet and then uses fibre back to the exchange. However, from the exchange it delivers the traffic across the Ethernet core network, not the broadband one. This means it can deliver an uncontended and dedicated service with service guarantees. GEA provides a comprehensive SLA, choice of backup options and a 9 business hour return to service guarantee, making it an attractive and cost effective option for business customers looking for a guaranteed service with short installation times and symmetrical speeds from 2Mbps up to 20Mbps.


Unlike GEA, Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) uses between two and eight copper pairs to deliver symmetrical Ethernet speeds from 2Mbps to 35Mbps to businesses situated within 4.8km of the serving exchange. While limited by distance, the use of multiple copper pairs is a way of creating resilience. Similar to GEA, EFM uses the Ethernet infrastructure from the exchange and provides a comprehensive SLA, choice of back up options and 9 business hours return to service guarantee with installation lead times of just 35 working days. In Entanet’s case the SLA for EFM and GEA is the same.

Leased lines

A leased line is a dedicated 1 to 1 connection from the customer’s premises to the Ethernet core network. It is a highly resilient, managed and fully supported and guaranteed solution that can provide symmetrical speeds of between 2Mbps and 10Gbps depending on the customer’s requirements. The service is also fully scalable, for example if you currently require 6Mbps but expect this may rise to 40Mbps in the near future you can purchase the solution as a 100Mbps bearer with an initial 6Mbps commit rising to 40Mbps if and when you need it and even further to 100Mbps if required. Leased lines remain the most resilient and fully supported type of connectivity solution.

The Connectivity Scale

So where does broadband end and Ethernet begin?

The answer to this question is that GEA is a hybrid between the two services, bridging the gap between broadband and Ethernet and providing a cost effective Ethernet based solution that utilises the existing broadband infrastructure.

As described above, the benefits of GEA are:

  • Symmetrical speeds of up to 20Mbps,
  • Faster installation times (as little as 18 days),
  • Lower installation and monthly rental costs when compared to leased lines or EFM,
  • Dedicated and uncontended service
  • Service guarantees including a comprehensive SLA, choice of back up options and 9 business hour return to service guarantee.

However, GEA does not provide the same level of service guarantees as leased lines and is reliant on an existing partially copper based infrastructure. For customers requiring complete resilience and service guarantee and a choice of faster speeds, EFM and leased lines are still a more viable option, especially if a scalable service is required to meet future bandwidth demands.

At the end of the day, each of the services described above has its place in the market (as shown in our chart) and as a reseller you can earn valuable margin from all of them if you apply the correct solution to the right scenario. It comes down to listening to your customer’s requirements and meeting them with the most appropriate solution. For some customers, broadband will sufficiently meet their needs while others will demand a more guaranteed and dedicated service which is where Ethernet comes in. If you need help identifying the best solution for your customer talk to us and we’ll be happy to provide advice and guidance.

Click to download your free copy of ‘A Comprehensive Guide to Connectivity’

Have your say!

Have you had demand for a service that sits between broadband and Ethernet? Have your customers requested a more cost effective Ethernet solution and do you think GEA will fit this market? Share your experiences with us by leaving us a comment below.

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