Leased Lines UK Availability Report

When it comes to leased lines UK companies are very well served. Speeds of anything from 2Mbps to 10Gbps are available throughout much of the country… at a price.

There are two main networks. BT's and Virgin Media's.

UK leased line providers will lease a data circuit from BT or Virgin's wholesale arms They'll then add and configure the equipment they send you. Usually, they'll add additional services on top of the simple point-to-point link that's been ordered. For example, they might add Internet access, or join the leased line up to other leased lines to form a corporate WAN.

You can't order from BT or Virgin Media's wholesale divisions directly. And due to this leased line duopoly's need to appease the UK's telecom regulator OFCOM, both company's wholesale divisions tend not to show favouritism towards their own retail divisions.  It's often cheaper and better to go to a reseller than to the retail arm of the carrier concerned.

If you see more concrete than grass when you look outside your window, chances are you can get a leased line.

In most of the UK, it is possible to get high-capacity leased lines (100Mbps, 1Gbps, 10Gbps), at a cost. However if you want something smaller, your options vary dramatically depending on where you are.

BT has approximately 5600 telephone exchanges. Almost all of them are ADSL-enabled. About 600 have  SDSL enabled. About 1100 are on BT Openreach's '21cn' network and have access to ADSL2+. Around 1500 of these exchanges have Local Loop Unbundlers offering ADSL2+/SDSL.

Some UK leased lines are built upon a dedicated SDSL connection. Others are built on bonded DSL circuits. But most leased lines use fibre.

The UK's largest fibre network belongs to Virgin Media. It doesn't cover all of the country, focusing instead on the major urban and suburban areas. For those not served by either an SDSL-enabled exchange, or near to a BT 21cn-enabled exchange, Virgin Media is often the only game in town.

Your leased line provider will be able to get a Virgin Media leased line circuit in many areas where Virgin's pay TV service is unavailable. This is because they can deliver 2Mbps circuits to many areas that are within a certain distance of their nearest points-of-presence.

Much of the country is served by both the BT and Virgin Media networks. Which one is cheaper varies by location.

When seeking leased lines UK firms will often go with a provider other than BT or Virgin. This is normally to get a lower price, or to get a solution that combines circuits from both BT and Virgin in a way that enhances network resilience.

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