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Symmetric - GEA (Generic Ethernet Access) Technology

With GEA the plumbing between the telephone exchange and the customer premises is pure FTTC - fibre to the street cabinet then VDSL2 (Very high-speed digital subscriber line 2) over copper to the premises. Where it differs is in the backhaul from the exchange to the ISP and on to the Internet.

With regular FTTC the contended backhaul is provided by BT over their 21CN network which onward connects into the ISP. With GEA the backhaul from the exchange is over an uncontended private network.

Most ISP’s will partner with a single GEA backhaul provider but some aggregators are planning to offer both to increase their GEA footprint.

The fastest FTTC package today is an asynchronous 80/20Mb. Most service providers have chosen to offer a symmetrical 20/20Mb GEA service by clipping the down channel speed to match the up channel. A few providers still offer the full asymmetric 80/20Mb.

GEA availability is slightly less than FTTC as not all exchanges have the GEA backhaul. It does, of course, require your exchange and street cabinet to be FTTC enabled.