BT GEA (Generic Ethernet Access)

BT are taking their Superfast fibre broadband infrastructure to provide customers with an alternative to products such as broadband and EFM for a lower cost than a dedicated BTNet leased line.

The exciting promise of BT’s Superfast broadband was that you would be able to achieve speeds of up to 80Mbps for FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) and even 330Mbps for FTTP (FIbre to the Premises). However, the reality is that FTTP is still in it’s infancy and FTTC capability varies in terms of speeds, some clients require more predictable speeds to support voice, video or other applications within their organisation. But, the cost of a full 10 or 100Mbps leased line is perhaps prohibitive. EFM (Ethernet First Mile) is always an option but leveraging BT’s super fast broadband infrastructure means that BT GEA is available from many more nodes with future plans to increase coverage and speeds.

BT Generic Ethernet Access, BT GEA represents the middle ground.

In terms of speeds, availability is from 2-20Mbps for FTTC and 2-30Mbps for FTTP.

The long and short of availability is whether or not your organisation is able to receive either BT FTTC or BT FTTP then there is a good chance you will be able to procure GEA. We’ll perform this check for you by the way, when you register your details.

Some of you may be wondering why GEA vs FTTC or FTTP. Other than the guaranteed bandwidths, the service is uplifted with a business grade managed service wrap. Essentially, managed and monitored in the same way as a leased line. The overall availability SLA is set at 99.95% and engineered across the BT 21C network which supports uncontended traffic and real time applications such as SIP. The leased times are different for each platform.

All BT GEA services are delivered as standard with a BT PSTN line by default for all fibre to the cabinet based connectivity. The reason is for management, to provide each customer with a full monitoring service for GEA services.

As you are able to see from Fig1, the standard provision is very similar to FTTC connectivity. However, the actual BT core network provides the ability to engineer Ethernet access with guaranteed bandwidths.


The difference is simple, FTTP provides end to end fibre infrastructure as detailed within the diagram below.

About the GEA service

The easiest way to think about GEA is to compare the overall delivery to EFM in the sense of guaranteed bandwidth using a broadband type infrastructure. The overall service wrap is business grade to meet stringent requirements for Internet access.

BT GEA may be used as a failover service for BTNet leased lines representing a cost effective business continuity option.

GEA over FTTC is 39 working days
GEA over FTTP is 30 working days

GEA could be used for failover as a secondary on a BTNet leased line. In this sense, the technology represents a good option to provide maximum uptime. This said, you could not guarantee separation from your leased line because the service is not a true resilient product. As an example, there could be areas of commonality as the circuit leaves your building.

We will be writing more about Generic Ethernet Access in due course as we receive more product updates. If you are looking for a direct BT proposal, use our Business Partner status and scroll back up to get going.