SLA, SLA, wherefore art thou on my broadband line

You look at this picture and you think “what a mess” right?

Well that’s what you get when you don’t have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) on your business broadband!


The recent BT issues in August still ring in my ears for some of our clients who didn’t have an SLA on their broadband lines.

Some were offline and unable to work for an entire day.

Nightmare scenario if every un-worked minute costs hundreds if not thousands of pounds in lost revenue.

So what can you do to prevent this from happening again?

Break it down for me

There are four types of business broadband lines and I will explain the difference below. Note that I am only limiting by certain line technologies for ease of explanation when it comes to SLAs:

a) Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) – this is fibre to the exchange and then the service is delivered through a copper phone line to your premises.
FTTC is a home and business product delivering great speeds, it is extremely cheap monthly but comes with NO SLA.

b) Fibre to the Cabinet Ethernet (FTTC-E) – this is fibre to the exchange and then the service is delivered through a copper phone line to your premises.
This is a business grade product that is much more expensive than FTTC (three to four times more monthly), but comes with great dedicated, symmetrical speeds and a business level SLA.

c) Ethernet First Mile (EFM) – this is copper to the exchange and then the service is delivered through a fibre line to your premises.
This is a business grade product that is about the same cost as FTTC-E, has very good dedicated, symmetrical speeds together with a business level SLA.

d) Fibre Leased Line or Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) – this is a fibre line direct to your premises.
This is a business grade product that is much more expensive than FTTC-E (six times more monthly), but comes with extremely fast, dedicated, symmetrical speeds and a business level SLA.

So what does this mean?

Option A above provides great speeds but if there is a problem with the line, service or network, there is no service level agreement protecting the business uptime in terms of response or resolution from the Internet Service Provider (ISP). In fact the network won’t even fail over to another service in the event of a problem. Consequently businesses will be offline for as long as it takes to resolve the problem and this could be hours or days!

Options B to D provide the speeds and service protection required to a business and although it is far more costly than a Non-SLA backed broadband line, varying speeds and availability of types of lines have a cost implication, both positive and negative to a company’s monthly affordability.

It also means that a business really needs to consider if uptime is important to them and then the cost vs benefit. A lot of the time, as with the recent BT issue last month, it is sometimes too late to realise how important having a good business grade line backed by an SLA is and even though the monthly cost is cheaper without one, when you calculate the lost revenue during a service issue period, it is often more than the annual cost of a business grade broadband line backed by a Service Level Agreement.

The real question is, how much time and money can you afford to lose in a day of no internet access?

What’s the next step for service uptime protection?

Contact your Internet Service Provider or IT Support Company in charge of your internet line (even if your IT Company are not in charge of your line, they can still help source, recommend and install a suitable one) and upgrade your primary line(s) to a business grade broadband line that comes with a Service Level Agreement.

Alternatively, install just one SLA-backed business broadband line as a backup should your non-SLA primary broadband line(s) go down, which will ensure that you can still continue to work during an internet service disruption.

Were you affected by the BT-wide outage in AugustIf so, contact us and we will go into more detail about how to prevent a similar downtime recurrence.

If you know someone who was also affected, please share this article with them.

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