'Leased Line' Meaning Explained In Plain English

What do people mean by a leased line? Our definition: a leased line is a business-class connectivity service used by organisations to reliably connect offices, data centres and other operational locations to the outside world - with dedicated bandwidth reserved from the customer's location to their connectivity provider's core network.

Unlike consumer broadband, leased lines offer symmetrical connections speeds, dedicated backhaul bandwidth and business-class support. This may often include 24x7 technical support, a Service Level Agreement, and expedited fault resolution.

Subscribing to a lease line means you may be able to benefit from much higher connection speeds - upstream and downstream - than are available to broadband users. For example, during 2018, leased lines could deliver 10Gbps (10,000Mbps) of connectivity to most of the UK, and 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) to almost every business location in the UK, compared to an average maximum UK broadband speed of 55.6 Mbps downstream, according to OFCOM's broadband speeds research published in 2019. Upstream, broadband is even slower than leased lines, meaning the difference is even more noticeable. The average broadband upload speed in the UK in 2018 was a mere 7.2Mbps, according to OFCOM. Put another way, in a typical urban or suburban location in the UK in 2018, a fast leased line could deliver over 1300 times as much bandwidth upstream as a typical broadband connection.  

Almost all leased lines are connected to the Internet, but such connectivity is not mandatory. Some businesses order a point-to-point leased line without Internet access; for example, to connect two offices, or to connect an office to a data centre. To make clear that Internet access is required, some people refer to ordering an 'internet leased line,' meaning a dedicated, symmetric connection that can access the Internet. This is usually achieved by connecting the customer's site to the network provider's core network, where traffic can 'break out' to the Internet, via Internet peering and transit links. This break-out typically happens in carrier-neutral data centres, where many ISPs and transit providers are already in the same building. 

The continued growth in demand for contended consumer broadband is having an impact on the economics of delivering leased lines, meaning businesses are able to get a symmetric dedicated business-grade digital connection more cheaply than used to be the case. That's because technical infrastructure built to serve mass-market consumer broadband customer-bases can be repurposed to provide backhaul capacity (and low-bandwidth dedicated circuits) to business connectivity providers. For example, in the UK, consumer ISPs BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk Business, Vodafone and Sky all provide wholesale leased line services to Business ISPs such as ourselves. This gives these consumer ISPs a lucrative income stream that helps defray the costs of maintaining nodes, fibre-optic circuits, switches, network operations centres, and an army of network engineers. It also provides independent business ISPs with a range of wholesale suppliers.

The pricing tool at the top of this page takes the address you provide and your bandwidth requirements, then uses APIs to request site-specific prices for a leased line, meaning we can keep costs down by making wholesale suppliers compete for the business. 

To find out how much you should be paying, scroll to the top of this page and tell us the UK postcode where you would like your new internet leased line installed. 

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