Internet Connection – Broadband vs Ethernet

The internet is the same internet no matter how you connect to it – right?


If you’ve heard terms like ‘superfast broadband’ or 4G and have ever used their predecessors, ADSL and 3G, then you’ll know there are many differences between the technologies and what you can do with them.


This also goes for high-speed connections, especially for businesses – let’s have a look at Broadband and Ethernet.


In brief – broadband is considered a consumer-grade service, so whilst you can run a business from it, you should have a backup plan of some sort if you rely on it to run your business. Ethernet is the enterprise-grade service you can have anywhere – in a shed in a field in the middle of the countryside if you want – but don’t expect the installation to be free in this case.


The simplest way is to compare them side-by-side:

Broadband Ethernet
Speeds – the download and upload speeds you can get ADSL = 24Mbps Download, 1Mbps Upload

VDSL aka FTTC = 80Mbps Downlaods , 20Mbps Upload

FTTP = 900Mbps Download, 50Mbps Upload

2Mbps – 40Gbps Download and Upload
Latency – the time it takes for data to get from you to your service provider and back again Typically 18-40ms Typically 6-12ms
Contention – how many other people you may be sharing speeds with Typically 1:5, so 5 or more other people are sharing the same ‘pipe’ to the cabinet 1:1 – a private connection means no contention
Reliability ADSL – Typically Fair

FTTC – has been good

Should be 99.999% with SLA Guarantees
Target fix times Typically 40 working hours

(That’s one week!)

Typically 4 hours
Last-mile technology Typically copper, but sometimes fibre optic (GPON) Typically glass fibre, sometimes copper (for the slower EFM / GEA services)
Monthly Cost Low – typically under £50/month

Faster FTTP services are higher, £100-150/month

Higher – typically £100-250/month for 10Mbps-20Mbps services, typically £350-£500/month for 100Mbps service
Installation Cost Low – typically £150 or less Tyipcally free on a 3-year contract, but often £1000 or more on a 12-month contract.

Sometimes has Excess Construction Charges in addition

Lead time for installation Low – typically 2 – 4 weeks High – typically 90 working days
Availability Variable – speed depends on distance from the Exchange or street cabinet, and on which services are currently available (e.g. FTTP is very limited) Excellent – as long as you are prepared to pay for the ‘excess’ installation costs
Connectivity Typically Internet only, but sometimes corporate (e.g. MPLS) Typically internet but can also be point-to-point, or to a private network (e.g. MPLS)
Upgradability Low – usually you’ll want the fastest available speed from day 1. Medium – typically service is provisioned on a higher-speed bearer line, e.g. 100Mbps on 1Gbps bearer line – so you can quickly and easily increase your speed up to 1Gbps within a few days.



A lot of recent development have also meant that the technologies used to deliver services are now crossing over – for example broadband was typically only available via copper connection to your property (even so-called ‘fibre broadband’ which was fibre to the cabinet) we are starting to see more FTTP (Fibre to the Premesis) services available. Ethernet services which previously were only delivered by glass fibre to the premises, with EFM (Ethernet First Mile) and GEA over FTTC services now available to provide some ethernet serivces via copper to the premises, in some cases.


Ethernet pricing will always depend on the speed wanted and your distance from the next nearest fibre connection point, so requires a bespoke quotation and even then is subject to survey. I always advise though – if £300+/month isn’t in your budget, don’t waste your time looking at Ethernet.

At Lansalot we can provide all types of fixed internet services, let us quote you on Ethernet for your business, or maybe read our article Moving Premises? Check your broadband speed first for some more information about internet connections.