12 Aug

Beware Fiber Construction Costs and Timelines

More and more of our clients are migrating off of traditional copper services from the likes of AT&T and other carriers and onto fiber-based services.  Fiber services provide significantly more bandwidth and are far more reliable.  On paper, it looks great.   You can get a 10meg fiber connection with a PRI for less than 1k in most cases which is cheaper and faster than what many businesses have today.  If you are a multi-site organization, you’ll be able to speed up the service to remote users and transfer data in a blink.  It’s wonderful.   But there is a caveat to getting this great service.

The carrier you choose to work with needs to have the fiber close by so they can run it into your building.  If they don’t, then they have to pay for the construction costs to get it on your street.  This can be tens of thousands of dollars.  The big issue is that many carriers won’t tell you if they can actually get you the fiber without any construction costs until after a contract is signed.  And then they will use that as leverage to get you to pay construction costs for sites that don’t have the fiber nearby.   In addition to the cost, the timeline to get it done will be well over 6 months.

Our experience over the last couple years is that AT&T will over promise and under deliver.   They tell you it can be done, only to find out one or more sites can’t be done without construction costs.  One of our clients just had this experience recently and the resolve was to have a lower speed copper bundle put in place until fiber is closer.  Or pay 25k to get it done now.  Not what anyone wants to hear.  On the other hand, we’ve had good experience with Comcast.  What they quote is what they can deliver, and within 90 days.  If they can’t do it, they tell you.

Fiber service is great, and I encourage everyone to move to it.  Just be aware of the pitfalls.

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11 Mar

High Speed, Private Point-to-Point, and Internet Connections

In the last several months, we have completed several projects that are using fiber-based services to connect remote offices back to corporate.  These are not internet based VPN services, but private point-to-point over fiber with an Ethernet hand-off.  This is not entirely unusual in that fiber-based services have been available for many years now, but what is most interesting is the cost.  The price for these services has dropped significantly over the past couple years, to the point where it doesn’t make sense NOT to use these.

The impetus behind the lower costs comes from competition.  Here in the Central Valley, one of the major cable companies is Comcast.  They are in quite a few cities up and down the valley, and of course throughout California.  Comcast started offering enterprise class business services over a year ago now, and have been offering very competitive rates.  At first I wasn’t sure if I was ready to recommend them because we hadn’t completed any projects using their services.   However, now that we have, I can say that Comcast has a solid offering with good service to back it up.

Comcast is also able to offer point-to-point private Ethernet service between any locations where they have a presence.  Additionally, Charter Communications, also a cable company present in a few cities, offers similar service.  Also, both companies are close to being able to offer a bridge service where you can have an office in Comcast territory connected to an office in Charter territory; a very appealing service.

Many of our customers have already transitioned to fiber-based Internet.  If you haven’t, I’d definitely recommend you consider it.  In most cases, you can have faster internet speeds for less money.  If you don’t have fiber in your neighborhood, you might be surprised to find out that the carrier will bring it in for free.  For instance, in our office, we are transitioning to AT&T fiber-based services.   At the time of our order, AT&T did not have fiber running down the street,  but they did have it about ½ mile away.  They agreed to bring in fiber to our building at no cost.  After talking with the AT&T construction manager, we were interested to find out that they would pretty much bring fiber in to most locations because they wanted to continue to build out their infrastructure.  All they needed was one paying customer.

To give you an idea of what you might be able to get, here’s some recent pricing to consider:

    • AT&T Fiber-based Internet – 10megx10meg – $900/month.
    • Comcast Fiber-based Internet – 20megx20meg  –  $1128/month
    • Comcast Fiber-based Private Line – 100megx100meg – $1228/month

The bottom-line is that there is no reason to be stuck on the old and expensive circuit-based technology any more.  Fiber is cheaper and far more reliable.

As always, we are here to help.

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