True optic fibre connections are the place where all events would ideally be – high speed, low contention, reliable and very low latency. Only a few years ago having a 100Mbps fibre connection on site was a luxury, now many sites are moving to 1Gbps fibre connections as demand continues to increase. Cost has fallen significantly over the last few years but it is still a significant investment which tends to only work where events will be using the same location for at least 3 years.
The primary problem with fibre is the lead-time to install – typically at least 3 months and often longer, coupled with what are known as ‘ECCs’ or Excess Construction Charges. Because a fibre connection requires an optic fibre cable all the way to the final location it often requires some significant physical installation – a new fibre being ‘blown’ through a duct or an actual physical duct being installed requiring ground works. Depending on the distance to the nearest location which has a fibre point these ECCs can run from just a few hundred pounds to over £100k! Any new fibre installation is subject to a survey after which any ECCs are detailed and the order can be cancelled.
There are many good aspects fo fibre though from normally a 1:1 contention ratio through to the ability to ‘burst’ capacity. Bursting means that a connection can be kept running at a much lower speed for most of the year with a ‘burst’ to a higher speed only when there is a requirement. This approach can keep the cost down significantly.