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What is Uncontended Internet?

Uncontended Internet

Uncontended internet is a dedicated internet connection that’s not shared with any other users. 

With standard business broadband, you might have 20 other businesses also connected to the same network, this is known as a contention ratio of 20:1 (20 businesses on 1 line). Whereas an uncontended connection will not have any other businesses on it at all, giving you a contention ratio of 1:1 (1 business on 1 line).

Because the line is not contended with other users, you get significantly faster speeds that don’t slow during peak hours and 99.99% uptime (depending on the network type).

Uncontended Network Types

There are 2 types of uncontended networks available in the United Kingdom, they are:

  1. Microwave Internet
    An uncontended internet connection that’s delivered wirelessly via microwave P2P technology
    • Up to 10Gbps upload and download speeds
    • Low latency
    • Mission critical SLA
    • 14-30 day typical lead time
    • Not reliant on Openreach
    • 99.99% Uptime
    • Affordable installation costs
  2. Fibre Leased Line
    An uncontended internet connection that’s delivered via physical fibre cables
    • Up to 10Gbps upload and download speeds
    • Low latency
    • Mission critical SLA
    • 45-90 day typical lead time
    • Reliant on Openreach
    • Affordable installation costs in major cities, expensive in rural areas due to ECC’s

Do I Need Uncontended Internet?

apc solutions office

Most small businesses will not need an uncontended network, especially if their business isn’t overly dependent on internet usage.

However, businesses that do heavily depend on the internet could be losing a lot of money each year through slow upload/download speed and internet failure.

These costs can easily go unrecognised when thought of as just an hour’s downtime every few months, or slow speeds during certain hours of the day – but when looking at the total impact over the course of a year, they add up fast.

Advantages Of An Uncontended Connection

Here are the most notable improvements an uncontended internet connection will bring to your business:

Faster Download/Upload Speeds

Uncontended networks will be ultrafast 24/7 and you will never have the issue of it running slow during “peak hours”, as your company will be the only people on it.

Unlimited Bandwidth

The vast majority of uncontended connections will come with unlimited bandwidth, as you’ll be the sole users of it. This means you will never have to worry about bandwidth limits in your business. It’s always best to check with the provider first though, as some companies will imply a connection is uncontended when it’s actually not. This is especially true for leased line connections.

Better Data Security

It’s far more difficult for hackers to get into an uncontended connection, as there are fewer vulnerabilities in the network. All data being transferred over the internet is going through a private connection, instead of one shared with numerous other people who don’t have a vested interest in your company.

Greater Uptime

Internet downtime could cost your business thousands of pounds in lost revenue, as well as a decline in employee morale and the security risks of an over ambitious employee transferring data via an unsecured network.

Uncontended connections will give you far greater uptimes when compared to contended connections. For example, microwave internet offers 99.99% uptimes, which is the best you can possibly get from a single internet connection. 

Disadvantages Of An Uncontended Connection

leased line lead time

Uncontended connections don’t have any disadvantages when it comes to performance, but there are disadvantages in regards to costs and lead time when compared to a regular contended broadband.

Installation Costs And Lead Time

Having an uncontended connection installed can be costly, depending on the network type you decide on. 

Leased line installation typically costs between £5,000 to £100,000 due to construction works required to get a physical fibre cable installed to your premises (known as excess construction charges). It also takes between 45 to 90 days to get set up, which can be problematic for a lot of businesses. Plus, if you’re in a more rural location it can take longer than 90 days and cost more than £100,000 to install too.

On the other hand, microwave internet installation typically costs between £1,000 to £2,000, as there are no fibre cables needing to be installed underground. This also makes the installation a lot quicker, typically 14 to 30 days.

Ongoing Monthly Costs

If you’re used to paying £40 per month for a contended business internet connection, the cost of an uncontended connection will be quite the jump. For a fibre leased line, you can expect to pay between £350 to £600 per month, and microwave internet will usually cost between £350 to £1,000 per month. The price of both will depend on your requirements and location.

The difference here is you’re paying for the exclusive use of an ultrafast internet connection with a contention ratio of 1:1, instead of a highly contended internet connection that slows down during peak hours and doesn’t come with an SLA.

Uncontended Vs Contended

ContendedUncontended
Price per month:£30 – £55£350 – £1,000
Download speed:75 – 900MbpsUp to 10Gbps
Upload speed:20 – 100MbpsUp to 10Gbps
Contention ratio:1:20 (typical)1:1
SLA:NoYes
Uptime:Not guaranteed 99.99% (if Microwave Internet)
Openreach dependent:YesNo (if Microwave Internet)
Lead time: 14 – 30 days 14 – 90 days (depending on type)

Frequently Asked Questions

What does broadband contention ratio mean?

Broadband contention ratio refers to the number of users sharing an internet connection. A typical contention ratio for home broadband is 50:1, this simply means there are 50 users sharing 1 connection.

What is the difference between contended and uncontended internet

The difference between contended and uncontended internet is the number of users accessing the network. Contended connections might be shared with 20 other businesses, whereas an uncontended connection will be dedicated to just 1.

What does uncontended bandwidth mean?

Uncontended bandwidth means you have exclusive access to the connection and it is not shared with any other users. This means it’ll run a lot faster, be far more reliable and will not slow down during peak hours.

Is FTTC uncontended?

FTTC is not uncontended and is shared with many other users.

Check Availability

Uncontended internet still has limited availability in the United Kingdom, and so we have included an availability checker at the top of this page. Simply click on the button below, enter the postcode where you need the connection and find out instantly if there’s an uncontended connection available in your area

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