BT Leased Line Pricing - The Key Facts

Our web site retrieves BT Leased Line Pricing in real-time as we've integrated it with BT's back-end systems. It also gets pricing from other leading providers, so we can be sure of getting you a great deal.

Over the past few years, we've made over 300,000 requests for BT leased line pricing. So we probably know more about BT's prices than some of BT's own employees! Over the past decade, the price of BT leased lines has fallen substantially. And there's a reason for this:

How Competition Caused BT Leased Line Prices To Fall

800 Pound Gorilla, meet Mercury - the God of plucky underdogs

Back in 1981, the UK government decided to open up the telecoms market to competition, and gave Mercury Communications, a new subsidiary of Cable & Wireless, a license to compete against BT. This provided BT with competition for the first time.

OFTEL, BT's lapdog

In 1984 BT was privatised and a new regulator was created. The Office of Telecommunications (Oftel) was supposed to ensure fair competition between the giant BT and its tiny competitors.

But Oftel was widely seen as being too sympathetic to BT, and enabled BT to drag its heals over the introduction of ADSL (which threatened BT's lucrative ISDN service) and Local Loop Unbundling (which threatened BT's monopoly on ADSL provision and line rental).

After 17 years of existence OFTEL finally decided that it might be a good idea to force BT to provide leased lines on a wholesale basis. That long overdue decision had far-reaching effects on BT Leased Line Pricing.

It opened the flood gates to genuine competition in the marketing, selling, equipment provision, monitoring and billing of UK leased lines.

The Dot-com Boom And Bust

Back in 2000 you couldn't open up the FT without seeing 'Internet' this, and 'dot com' that.

Investors were willing to fund pretty much anything that promised to cut them a slice of the Internet revolution.

Some cash-rich start-ups spent hundreds of millions building high-speed next-generation networks across the business districts of major UK cities. Only then did they discover that few companies were willing to pay for what they offered. Oops.

So they lost millions, some went bankrupt, others refinanced, wiping out existing shareholders through debt-for-equity swaps.

The end result was a glut of cheap connectivity in major cities, owned by companies that could just about afford to maintain their fancy networks. Their large interest bills consumed most of their cashflow, leaving them little money left to expand their fibre footprints.

A similar fate awaited NTL and Telewest, two cable companies that had been trying to gobble up the UK's cable franchises, on a debt-fuelled M&A spending spree. They too suffered a hangover: bankrupcty, debt-for-equity swaps and a large interest bill.

This dot-com boom and crash had two main effects that still affect us to this day: It created a number of providers who could undercut BT Leased Line Pricing because they had their own fibre networks. Secondly, it taught investors to avoid large-scale fibre broadband rollouts, unless the company concerned is a master at customer acquisition.

The unwillingness of the alternative carriers to expand their limited fibre footprints sent a strong signal to the telecoms regulator that most competition would have to be at retail or wholesale level, not at the the infrastructure level.

This spurred the regulator to pull its finger out: to push for Local Loop Unbundling and sensible cost-based pricing on infrastructure and wholesale services.

OFCOM - Finally! A serious regulator!

In 2003, OFTEL was merged with a handful of other regulators to form OFCOM.

OFCOM was the regulator that OFTEL was intended to be, and it turned a deaf ear to BT's attempts at regulatory capture. This was probably helped by OFCOM's first Chief Executive having come from NTL, one of BT's main competitors, and one of the alternative carriers that had entered bankruptcy.

BT agreed (under pressure from OFCOM) to split its main UK operations into three operationally independent divisions: BT Openreach, BT Wholesale and BT Retail. It promised that BT Retail would not get special treatment from BT Openreach or BT Wholesale. BT appears to have decided that if it couldn't get away with favouring BT Retail, it might as well give a formal undertaking to that effect, and try to get OFCOM off BT Retail's back.

This worked. OFCOM did reduce the regulation faced by BT Retail in many areas as a consequence. The sensible Openreach/Wholesale/Retail split made it economically viable for big-brand consumer-focussed companies like Sky, TalkTalk and O2 to embrace Local Loop Unbundling, bringing genuine competition at the Wholesale level to much of the UK.

Thanks to OFCOM, OFTEL, Misguided Investors, Local Loop Unbundlers, Resellers and  BT, Leased Line Pricing Has Fallen By Over 90%

So competitors may have been hobbled for over a decade, dot com investors may have lost millions and BT may now have to work to keep its customers from defecting, but the end result is a good one: lower leased line pricing from BT and everyone else.

And if your wondering how much a leased line would cost you, you can find out, by using our lease line pricing tool.