Fibre Leased Line Buyers Guide - Key Things You Should Know

Thinking about getting a fibre leased line? Here are the key things you should know

Not All Leased Lines Are Fibre-based

Most leased lines use fibre-optic circuits for the entire path from your site to your leased line provider's core network.

However, lower-bandwidth leased lines (some of those delivering 35Mbps or below) use copper circuits for the leg of the journey closest to your site. 

If you want to make sure you have a full-fibre connection, avoid connections labelled Ethernet First Mile over Copper (aka EFM) or Ethernet over Fibre To The Cabinet (aka EoFTTC, GEA-TTC).

Fibre Leased Line Speeds

In theory, you could order a fibre leased line as slow as 2 Mbps. However, almost no-one does that, as 10Mbps connections cost about the same.

Throughout most of the UK, the highest leased line connection speed is 100Gbps (100,000 Mbps). However, that's only ever ordered by Internet Service Providers and mobile network operators. 10 Gbps tends to be the maximum speed we see ordered - and it tends to only be of interest to giant, tech-savvy organisations. Most organisations tend to order 1Gbps or less of connectivity per site. 

There's often surprisingly little difference in price between 10Mbps, 20Mbps, 30Mbps, 50Mbps or 100Mbp connections.

For speeds of between 101Mbps and 1Gbps, it's common here in the UK for the leased line to be provided over a circuit that's capable of carrying 1 Gbps of data. So if you order a 200Mbps leased line, the actual physical circuit is likely to be capable of sending and receiving data at 1000Mbps. All that remains, should you wish to upgrade from 200Mbps to 1Gbps, is for contractual changes to be made, and potentially, for your router to be replaced with a better model.

Underlying Providers (Carriers)

Here in the UK, there aren't that many firms with large-scale fibre networks. Throughout most of the UK, there are just two - Openreach's and Virgin Media's. That's because building such large-scale networks is ruinously expensive.

Openreach is the highly-regulated part of BT that looks after BT's infrastructure - it's telephone exchange, ducts, cables, and telephone poles.

Your leased line provider will likely rely on Openreach or Virgin Media assets - directly or indirectly - to help connect your site to the nearest part of your provider's pre-existing network.

This setup cut costs, as leased line providers don't have to dig up miles of road in order to connect you.

This doesn't mean your leased line provider is merely reselling Openreach or Virgin Media, as your leased line provider will still do most of the work - buying and configuring hardware, project-managing the installation, setting up your IP addresses, providing support, monitoring the service, adding Internet access, and billing you. 

Fibre Leased Line Pricing

To find out how much a fibre leased line would cost at your specific location, use the pricing tool at the top of this page, selecting a connection speed of 50Mbps or above.