Skip to main content

Monday 9 May 2022 | 10 min read

nbn® Fibre to the Premises vs Enterprise Ethernet: What’s the difference?

Photo of a person sitting at a computer workstation

Fibre optic cables are currently the fastest technology we have for delivering an internet connection. As nbn™ Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet both use this technology to deliver internet to businesses around the country, on the face of it, these services could appear the same. However, there’s a LOT more that differentiates these two connections beyond just the fibre. 

If the fibre is the same, then what is the difference between FTTP and Enterprise Ethernet? And what kind of businesses are they suitable for? 

What is nbn® Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)?

An nbn™ FTTP connection is one of the available nbn™ connection types. On an FTTP connection, nbn™ runs fibre optic cable direct to your property giving organisations access to the full range of business nbn™ plans.

Other connection types (Fibre to the Node, Fibre to the Curb, Fibre to the Building, and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial) use a combination of fibre and some other type of cable material to get an internet connection to your business. 

Fibre to the Node, Fibre to the Curb, and Fibre to the Building brings fibre part of the way. With these connections, you get fibre to a node near you – say, a nearby street or to an exchange in your building – then old copper wiring takes the connection from that node and hooks up to your property. 

Copper wiring can’t handle high-speed internet because it was designed for phone lines, not internet. So, because these connection types rely on outdated cabling materials for that “last mile” connection, you’re limited in which speed tiers your business can access. 

FTTP still runs on the same nbn™ infrastructure as everyone else on the network, and your connection still runs through nodes and exchanges to supply your internet. It’s just that with FTTP, you’re getting fibre cabling every step of the way, whereas the other connection types use fibre part of the way and copper for the rest. 

What’s great about nbn™ Fibre to the Premises?

There’s a lot to love about an nbn™ FTTP connection. It’s:

  • Widely available, and $0* fibre upgrades available to eligible addresses

  • Affordable

  • Can access high-speed business nbn™ plans

  • Requires easy-to-source hardware

A key advantage to FTTP is that it’s widely available across Australia. 

Even if you weren’t lucky enough to win the proverbial NBN technology lottery in its initial rollout, many businesses can now get a $0* FTTP fibre installation – and NBN keeps adding more eligible locations. 

Another big difference between FTTP services is price. On an FTTP connection, organisations can access the full spectrum of business nbn™ plans, with Aussie Broadband plans starting from $75/month. 

The highest tier of speed plans also becomes available on an FTTP connection. So your business could access speed tiers ranging from 25/10Mbps up to 1000/400 Mbps**. These plans are contract-free, come with unlimited data, and allow businesses the freedom to dial up to higher speed tiers as you scale and grow. 

Once you have FTTP fibre (if not already), the only hardware you’ll need to supply yourself is a Wi-Fi router. Your hardware can impact what speeds your devices ultimately achieve, but sourcing a Wi-Fi router is simple, and hooking it up to the NBN-supplied FTTP equipment generally takes a matter of minutes.   

What are the downsides to nbn™ Fibre to the Premises?

While there is a long list of reasons why an nbn™ FTTP connection is great for a lot of small and medium-sized businesses, it also poses some challenges too. 

An FTTP connection:

  • Is more prone to fluctuating speeds and outages (when compared to nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet – more on that later)

  • Competes for bandwidth on the wholesale network

  • Cannot deliver symmetrical upload and download speeds

As an nbn™ FTTP connection runs on the same network and infrastructure as everyone else, you’re sharing bandwidth with the rest of the subscriber base. So if there are a lot of people using the network at the same time (residential users as well as businesses), it can cause a bottleneck and slow everyone’s speed, regardless of use. 

Several factors can impact speed fluctuations, including your internet provider and which technology type you’re on. An FTTP fibre connection will deliver more stable speeds than fixed line copper services. However, sharing bandwidth may still cause speed fluctuations, particularly during peak times.

(If you’re with Aussie Broadband, we make sure to deliver enough bandwidth to support all our customers sharing our network. We even publish our CVC graphs so you can check the performance of your CVC at your POI here.) 

An FTTP connection also runs on infrastructure with nodes and stop-offs along the way. 

This infrastructure may be operated by NBN, third-party network providers, or your own internet provider. So, when there’s an outage, the various infrastructure operators control how quickly that fault is repaired. 

Lastly, the nbn™ network doesn’t currently support symmetrical speeds, regardless of connection type. Although business nbn™ plans offer increased upload speed options when compared to residential offerings, these theoretical speeds still fall short of symmetry.  

Check if you’re eligible for a $0 FTTP fibre installation

Unlock ultrafast Business nbn™ plans with a $0 FTTP fibre upgrade

Check eligibility

What kind of businesses use nbn™ Fibre to the Premises?

Simply put, nbn™ FTTP is designed with options for really any business, large or small. Even sole traders and freelancers who primarily work from home may find that a business nbn™ plan is better suited to their needs than a residential plan. The free static IP included in all Aussie Broadband business nbn™ plans is another handy sweetener to the deal too.   

Even if your business isn’t yet running on an FTTP connection, you could be soon. With a $0* FTTP fibre upgrade available to eligible addresses around Australia, it’s a great opportunity to upgrade your business connectivity. 

Regardless of industry, an FTTP connection is a good, all-round choice for getting your business going and running efficiently. With Aussie Broadband nbn™ business plans starting from $75/month, there are options for all budgets and business needs. 

Of course, there are exceptions, as not all businesses have the same bandwidth needs and budgetary constraints. Bigger-scale operations with heavy bandwidth requirements may find the asymmetrical speeds more limiting.

And that’s where nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet comes in.

What is nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet?

Like FTTP, an nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet connection also runs on fibre optic cable. However, while the material itself may be the same, nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet works quite differently.

To begin with, the connection delivers internet to your property through a separate conduit. This approach allows businesses to run both Enterprise Ethernet AND FTTP services, using the latter as a failover backup. 

Enterprise Ethernet runs on different infrastructure and connects to a separate network than other nbn™ services. This gives businesses a direct path to data exchanges, thereby cutting out a lot of the middle stops that slow down latency and speeds.  

With an nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet connection, businesses can also access a whole new range of plans and symmetrical speed tiers ranging from 100/100Mbps to 1000/1000Mbps.

As you might imagine, these features come at an additional cost and involve lock-in contracts of various lengths. So, while Enterprise Ethernet is a powerful service, the solution won’t suit all businesses, operational needs, or budgets. 

What’s great about nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet?

Being on a separate network with different infrastructure has a great deal of benefits for businesses. An nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet connection can offer:

  • $0^ fibre installation to eligible addresses

  • Symmetrical upload/download speeds

  • The full bandwidth that you pay for^^ 

  • Drastically lower latency

Like FTTP, nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet offers a $0^ fibre installation to eligible business addresses. 

Enterprise Ethernet runs on a different network with different infrastructure than an nbn™ FTTP (or FTTN/C/B or HFC) connection. So, instead of competing against everyone else in your area for bandwidth, Enterprise Ethernet is provisioned with the availability it needs.

The separate network and infrastructure gives Enterprise Ethernet the power to provide businesses with a 1:1 contention ratio. This means if you’re paying for an nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet 500/500Mbps plan, you’ll get 500Mbps download and 500Mbps upload speeds^^.

Improved upload speeds are particularly useful for businesses who might share large files between sites or with clients, or who use video calls to interact with customers, clients, or other team members.  

As noted earlier, the Enterprise Ethernet infrastructure is designed with a more direct path. So, with less nodes getting in the way, internet signal can send and return much quicker, which drastically lowers latency and reduces potential areas for faults or issues. 

What are the downsides to nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet?

While nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet sounds pretty epic (and it truly is!), there are some things businesses should take into consideration when investigating your connectivity needs. 

Compared to an FTTP connection, nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet is:

  • More expensive 

  • Only available on a fixed contract

  • Requires a more intensive fibre installation process

As nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet is a more heavy-duty product with a lot more going on behind the scenes, you can probably see why it might cost more too. It’s an enterprise-grade service, so that comes with enterprise-level costs and longer-term contracts.  

While both nbn™ FTTP and Enterprise Ethernet services offer $0*^ fibre installation to eligible addresses, the installation process for each service is quite different. 

To get Enterprise Ethernet installed to your business, NBN creates a separate conduit for your connection. This requires a site qualification and other works to get the service up and running. Whereas an FTTP fibre install uses the existing conduits to run fibre to the premises. 

There are advantages to running a separate conduit for Enterprise Ethernet, of course, but it does make the installation process far more intensive and can incur some additional unexpected challenges.

What kind of businesses use nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet?

Enterprise Ethernet, as the name implies, is generally not something that’s designed for smaller businesses or sole traders. Rather, it’s aimed at bigger businesses and enterprises with heavy bandwidth requirements (like Cumulus Visual Effects or James Cook University). 

Delivering an nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet solution for Cumulus Visual Effects (90s)

However, not all large businesses and enterprises have heavy bandwidth needs and may find that an nbn™ FTTP connection is sufficient. Additionally, small to medium-sized businesses who frequently transfer large files or who are planning to scale up operations may find an Enterprise Ethernet service that better fits their needs.

Ultimately, with Enterprise Ethernet, it’s not the size of your company, but rather the bandwidth use that really counts.  

nbn™ Fibre to the Premises vs Enterprise Ethernet: How do they compare?

Both nbn™ FTTP business and Enterprise Ethernet services offer extra add-on features including support options and tiers of guaranteed uptime. This allows businesses the peace of mind that if something goes wrong at any point in the network, NBN guarantees they will fix it within a certain timeframe. 

Yet, while both run on fibre optic cables, the two services are far from equal in terms of:

  • Speed capacity

  • Network and network design

  • Infrastructure and hardware

  • Price and contract

Getting a clear picture of your organisation’s budget and bandwidth requirements is an important place to start when deciding which service is right for you.

For smaller businesses with few employees using internet services simultaneously, or for those who don’t have heavy bandwidth needs, a regular business nbn™ FTTP service (or upgrade to FTTP) is likely enough to power your organisation. 

A business nbn™ FTTP service still offers organisations a fast and reliable internet experience with speed tiers and support packs to suit many operational needs.   

Whereas larger businesses and enterprises with many employees or sites which require guaranteed reliable speeds, an nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet solution may be the better option. 

Whichever direction your business takes, Aussie Broadband’s local support team and Australian call centre can help you each step of the way. 


Check if you’re eligible for a $0 FTTP fibre installation

Check if you’re eligible for a $0 Enterprise Ethernet fibre installation

Or call us for a chat on 1300 480 905 to discuss your business needs further.

Tags:Enterprise and GovernmentNetwork Infrastructure

Articles like this