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EFM is a fast copper-based internet connection which is better than normal ADSL broadband but is not as good as a proper Fibre Ethernet leased line.

EFM is a relatively new type of internet connection. #EFM stands for 'Ethernet First Mile'.

EFM is relatively simple - it is bundles of copper cables presented together. As there are multiple cables, the speeds are faster - typically up to 20Mbps. Also, speeds are the same both ways so EFM connections are more attractive than ADSL connections in certain scenarios. They are also far less costly than leased lines and still offer reliability.

EFM Overview and explanation

EFM is an uncontended internet connection that uses multiple copper wires to deliver faster internet connections with the same speeds both ways. It uses up to 8 aggregated copper pairs of wires (standard broadband uses only 1 pair). There is normally no Fair Usage policy.

Most telecoms companies have an EFM offering in their portfolio including BT, Daisy, Spitfire, Talk Talk etc. We recommend you check the small print of their offers - particularly if you intend to use EFM for voice as you will also need to pay the suppiler for SIP trunks and calls, the cost of which can vary and NOT be easily identifiable without closer scrutiny.

What are the main advantages of EFM over normal broadband?

Well for a start the speed is normally guaranteed not to vary. Some suppliers will also not share your connection with other customers.

Also, it often comes with a guaranteed Service Level Agreement.

Speeds of up to 35Mb (download and upload) can be achieved although the maximum speed varies from premises to premises. Some suppliers offer lower maximum speeds than this (eg BT only offer 10Mb) - our main data partners are Adept and Gamma - Gamma, for example offer 35Mb (up to 10Mb in 1Mb increments and over 10Mb and up to 35Mb in 5Mb increments).

Can I get EFM?

EFM is not available everywhere unfortunately. Normally where an exchange is enabled, as long as the premises are within 4.5Km of the exchange, you can get it. Availabilty varies so it is best to actually speak to a supplier rather than using an availability checker. Some areas of the country are fully covered - generally bigger towns and cities tend to have EFM coverage - London, Brighton and most bigger towns in Kent and Sussex tend to be OK. Other areas of the country vary - most of our customers are in the South East. Phone us for clarification.

Please call us and we will tell you over the phone (normally) within 5 minutes whether you can get EFM and what speeds you can achieve. We just need a telephone number on your premises (preferably an analogue number like your fax number) and your postcode.

The speed you order will dictate how many pairs of wires the BT Openreach engineers will need. The higher the speed you order, the more pairs will be required. If lots of pairs are needed, this could delay the installation where there are insufficient spare pairs available at your premises - this will be ascertained once the installation process starts.

EFM Lead Times.

EFM is much quicker (normally) to install than a proper fibre Ethernet connection - lead time is typically 4-6 weeks which is approximately half the time of a leased line/fibre Ethernet circuit.

EFM Costs

The cost of EFM normally starts at around £250 - £350 per month but the cost does depend on various factors - we can provide costs with a 5 minute phone call. Note that often we find it is not that much more to get a proper fibre ethernet circuit which is a much better option than EFM if you can get it - place an order for fibre ethernet with us and we will then be able to ascertain if there are any costs for installing the fibre directly into your premises. Please see our leased line or fibre ethernet page for more detail.

What Equipment is used for EFM?

BT Openreach will install a special NTE (line box in other words). Our EFM circuit includes a special managed Cisco Router which you connect your network to. This is normally installed and configured by the customer with full instructions provided - it is quite a simple process. We can install this for you for a small additional charge. This router can be rack or wall-mounted,

How reliable is EFM?

Very reliable - our partners offer 99.9% availability for internet access only EFM circuits and 99.4% availability for converged circuits (converged means that they are designed and managed to be shared with Voice).

Can I use EFM for Voice - eg SIP Trunks of Hosted Telephony?

Yes - we do a converged option which guarantees a portion of the bandwidth will be reserved for Voice. This can replace your normal telephone lines (EG ISDN) or work with your ISDN with the ISDN being available as a 'failover' service. Please speak to us about this - many businesses are now taking advantage of this kind of solution. We can also provide costs of all the elements involved and fully manage the installation.

Please call us for advice on 01892 676000 - ask for Paul, Michael or Nick.

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What our customers say...

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Maria Quevedo - Artis Education, London

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