All forms of metro ethernet are dependent on local access. 10 mbps ethernet can be provided over five sets of copper telephone wire, or seven DS1 circuits. Ethernet over copper (EoC) costs less than ethernet over DS1 (EoDS1), but the range for which EoC can reach a customer is often limited to 11000 feet. EoDS1 has a much longer range. It can often reach as far as DS1 circuits can extend. One of the main reasons that EoDS1 costs more than EoC is that with EoDS1, the cost of all of those DS1 loops are factored into the price. At 44, 88, and 100 mbps, ethernet provided over DS3 provides higher bandwidth options than 10 mbps EoC and EoDS1, however ethernet over DS3 carries its own unique access challenges. Most business buildings are not “lit” for DS3. Unlike DS1 and EoC, copper telephone wires are not able to carry a DS3 circuit. DS3 requires special forms of wiring, or fiber. Buildings which have this special wiring, or fiber running to them, are referred to as “lit” buildings. To light an unlit building, “build-out” often is needed. Build-out is often extremely expensive. Imagine the costs of running fiber from the local central office (CO) to a specific business location, often several miles. Some estimate the cost of fiber build-out to average about $300 or more per foot. In rare occasions, some providers will waive this cost in return for very long contracts, or recuperate it with higher monthly costs. To provide ethernet over DS3 to remote buildings that are not lit, can include extremely expensive up-front costs. Gig-E requires fiber as well. If a business location happens to be within a mile of a lit CO, then build-out costs might be justified for very large bandwidth pipes. For companies which do not need more than 10 mbps, EoC or EoDS1 are usually the most practical options. For buildings which are already lit, and for collocation facilities, EoDS3 and/or Gig-E can offer extreme savings per mbps of bandwidth.
Ethernet over DS1 and DS3 has a greater distance range, but cost more per mbps than ethernet over copper. By far, the least expensive option per mbps is Ethernet over fiber. This access is limited to buildings that are “lit” with fiber (have fiber running to them). For buildings that are not lit, fiber can be run to them, but this can be extremely expensive, depending on how far the business is from the nearest fiber route or central office. Some providers offer special sales which include free fiber build out for short distances.