Choosing a Business Ethernet Supplier

Posted by Karen on Jul 4, 2017 12:00:00 AM
The purchase and delivery of fibre Ethernet leased lines can often be fraught with complications. As a savvy buyer you avoid many of the obstacles by asking the right questions, and by knowing your business needs both now and in the future. In the first of a series of blogs on Ethernet, we'll look at the different Ethernet suppliers on the market today, and understand which may suit your requirements best.

Network overviews

In choosing a supplier, it’s important for you to understand that there are a number of network providers in the UK who own and operate their own core networks, but there are very few providers who own the last mile of connectivity into your premises. Here's a rundown of some of the main players.


Sky has their own independent network and their last mile is provided by Openreach. Sky is relatively new to the business to business Ethernet market and has entered offering high-capacity solutions and aggressive pricing to gain market share.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media operates their own core network and has a last mile network so on-net locations are 100% end-to- end Virgin Media infrastructure. This gives control of the installation to Virgin – however Civil Works, Wayleaves and Capacity can still cause delays.

TalkTalk Business

TalkTalk Business runs their own core network, connecting to thousands of local exchanges using Openreach technology to connect the last mile to sites.


Vodafone runs a complex core network with assets predominately from Cable and Wireless acquisitions. They have their own last mile technology but will use Openreach where it is advantageous. It should be noted that unless requested Vodafone will not usually disclose the last mile provider.

BT Wholesale

BT Wholesale works with Openreach to deliver to almost every exchange in the UK. The BT Wholesale quotations are split into the Etherflow and the Etherway elements. Etherflow is the BT Wholesale network and the Etherway is the Openreach last mile element.


Gigaclear runs an independent network and is not reliant on any other fibre provider in the last mile. However, backhaul from the rural locations to the datacentre NNI’s will use third party fibre technologies in the delivery.


IFNL are a location-specific network provider and part of the Nexus construction group. For new build locations such as the Kings Cross development, IFNL is the primary network provider and other network operators such as Openreach will have to reach wayleave agreements with the Nexus group to overbuild. Therefore, in IFNL areas they are the fastest service, but availability is wholly limited to on-net areas.

SSE Networks

SSE Networks has a network made up of a combination of unbundled exchanges and services provided using Openreach, Virgin and Vodafone.

Metronet UK

Metronet UK has their own meshed backbone core network, which they backhaul from feeder stations to datacentre NNIs using spectrum technology for the last mile. They are able to support up to 1Gb/s symmetric throughput and match the SLA and service requirements of any fibre leased line technology.


Spectrum is regulated by Ofcom therefore Civil Works do not need to be taken into consideration. However, there may still be up to 45 days’ delay whilst Openreach approve spectrum usage and wayleave is required for physical installation of equipment for the spectrum signal.

That’s all for now, we’ll be back next week with part two of our series of blogs that help you choose an Ethernet provider. If you want the full story now, you can always click here and download our Independent Ethernet Buyers Guide.

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