What is a broadband leased line?
A broadband leased line is a dedicated data connection between two or more sites, commonly used for internet, data and telephone services. Leased lines are symmetric, meaning data can be sent and received at the same high speeds. So that leased lines can achieve high rates, leased lines are usually run on fibre optic cables.
A leased line is 'dedicated', because unlike other broadband connection types, you don't have to share the line with anyone else – the same bandwidth is available all the time.
The connection type is named 'leased' because you rent the line for a monthly fee – a service contract between your business and the leased line provider.
A leased line is a type of broadband connection – a high-speed connection to the internet. This high-capacity transmission technique uses a vast range of frequencies to communicate a large number of messages simultaneously. Broadband is the much faster upgrade to the now pretty much extinct 'narrowband' dial-up connections, which are extremely slow compared to most modern connections.
How does a leased line work?
A leased line works by connecting two specified locations over a private data communication circuit. The fibre is routed from the carrier's network to the nearest point of presence (PoP) and then delivered via dedicated fibre to your business location, also known as the termination point.
What are leased lines used for?
Leased lines are used for internet, telephone and other data communication services. Businesses often use this type of connectivity to interconnect offices or workspaces in different locations. Most companies choose leased lines for fast, reliable bandwidth and various other benefits, such as priority maintenance and low latency.
How much is a leased line?
A leased line costs between £150 to £1000+ per month. Determining exactly how much a leased line will cost you will depend on a variety of factors. These include the location of your business, the level of network access, the speeds required, and the type of technology implemented to install and connect your leased line.
How much is a leased line in the UK?
The cost of a leased line in the UK depends on what part of the country your business is based, among other factors. For example, the average leased line price for a 100Mb line in major UK cities is:
- London: £233.33/month
- Manchester: £248.50/month
- Birmingham: £276.45/month
- Bristol: £277.87/month
Can I get a leased line?
You can get a leased line for your business pretty much regardless of where you're located in the UK, thanks to advances in technology and connectivity capabilities. The best way to find out what's available in your area is through a leased line comparison. With Amvia, you can compare all leased line pricing and providers at your location in minutes.
What are the advantages of leased lines?
There are many advantages of leased line connections. They include:
- Symmetrically superfast download and upload speeds
- Scale your package to match your business's ongoing needs
- A leased line is more secure and private than a shared line
- Guaranteed connection speeds through service level agreements
- Priority maintenance for faults and issues
- Leased lines often come with static IP addresses
What are the disadvantages of leased lines?
The cost could be considered a disadvantage of leased lines. In general, leased lines are more expensive than shared and less powerful connection types, but that's not to say leased lines are overpriced. If it's the most suitable connection type for your business, a leased line can offer substantial value against any alternative.
How are the costs of leased lines determined?
Numerous factors determine leased line costs. In this analysis, we will look at the key factors that determine a leased line's cost. We'll compare geographic areas in the UK, speeds, technologies and analyse the bearing these factors has on the price quoted.
100Mbps leased line costs analysed
London is the cheapest location Amvia analysed with a 100Mb leased line cost of £233.33/month, and Bristol was the most expensive – £277.87/month.
These prices are based on a leased line price comparison of London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Bristol. BT leased line costs were included, as were TalkTalk, Virgin, Vodafone, SSE, M247, CityFibre, and several more. 100Mb and 1Gb leased lines speeds were compared and compiled in the graph above.
How does the speed of the line affect leased line pricing?
Adding 1Mbps of speed to your leased line costs approximately £1.30/month. So if you were to order a 20Mbps leased line and wanted to upgrade to a 50Mbps leased line, you should budget 30 x £1.30/month = £39.00/month for the upgrade.
How bandwidth speed impacts the cost of a leased line:
The rate of a leased line is a significant contributing factor to the price of a leased line.
To demonstrate this in more detail, we compared pricing from the same provider at the same location for a 10 Mb / 20Mb / 50 Mb / 100 Mb / 200Mb / 500Mb, and 1Gb leased line. The site we chose to analyse was the HQ of Kidderminster-based Titan.
What we analysed:
Titan supplies steel wheels to significant excavator manufacturers such as Caterpillar, Komatsu, Volvo and Liebherr. Titan is located at Bridge Rd, Cookley, Kidderminster DY10 3SD. The 10 Mb / 20Mb / 50 Mb / 100 Mb leased line costs are on a 36-month, wires only contract on a 100Mb bearer. The 200Mb / 500Mb and 1Gb leased line costs are on a 36-month, wires only contract on a 1Gb bearer. The provider used was TalkTalk.
What we found:
The costs were as follows: 10Mbps, £311.69/month; 20Mbps, £326.09/month; 50Mbps, £371.21/month; 100Mbps, £397.60; 200Mbps, £601.90/month; 500Mbps, £1272.79/month; 1Gbps, £1599.26.
You should note that TalkTalk had the lowest prices up to 200Mbps, then Virgin had the cheapest pricing for 500Mbps and 1Gbps at £845.13/month for either speed! The difference between the cost of a 10Mb leased line and a 1Gb leased line is: £1287.57 or, based on a 990 Meg difference, £1.30/Mb of speed.
How does contention affect leased line costs?
Sharing your leased line bandwidth with other businesses is called contention. Contention reduces the cost of a leased line. To understand the cost impact, we have used CityFibre. Cityfibre offers an 8:1 contended 1Gbps leased line for £350.00/month and an uncontended 1:1 1Gbps leased line for £617.00/month. An uncontended service can represent a percentage cost increase of 176 per cent or £267/month.
What is a contention ratio?
Contention ratio is a networking term that refers to "the ratio of the maximum potential demand to the actual bandwidth." The higher the contention ratio, the greater the number of users trying to use the actual bandwidth at any one time and, therefore, the lower the adequate bandwidth offered, especially at peak times.
Why is the contention ratio important?
Most leased lines are only used by the business that purchases them, and the bandwidth is dedicated to that single customer. The fibre line and the bandwidth are not shared, so it is uncontended. If you order a service advertised as 1:1 contention, you can ensure you will receive the total capacity you order 24/7.
If your business orders a 100Mb line, then the guaranteed bandwidth over the service is 100Mb. The contention has an impact on the telecoms network provider's costs. A 1:1 contention ratio is far more expensive to guarantee than a 5:1 contention ratio. The lower contention ratio is more expensive because the carrier can five times sell the 5:1 contended service's bandwidth. You should expect a 1:1 contention ratio leased line to be more costly than a 5:1 contended leased line.
What impact does contention have on leased line prices?
To directly compare the impact of contention on leased line costs, we compared two services with the same supplier, Cityfibre, at EH2 4HQ. At this location, Cityfibre offers an 8:1 contended 1Gbps leased line for £350.00/month and an uncontended 1:1 1Gbps leased line for £617.00/month.
What we found:
In this instance, the cost of an uncontended leased line is £267.00/month or £3204.00/annum. This represents a cost increase of 176 per cent.
How does distance from the POP affect leased line monthly costs?
It is commonly thought that distance is a significant impact on leased line costs. This is true for rural and remote locations as the fibre run is long and has to be constructed. Interestingly, this isn't true for locations less than 20 miles from a network provider's PoP (point of presence). If a business is located under 20 miles from a BT PoP the leased line price is not likely to be impacted.
How does distance impact on leased line prices?
The distance between the carrier PoP and the customer termination of a leased line is commonly cited as a significant contributing factor to the cost of a leased line. To demonstrate this in more detail, we compared pricing from the same provider at the same speed for 0.5 miles, 1 mile, 2 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles and 20 miles.
What we analysed:
The location we chose to analyse was MANAP the Manchester internet exchange at TelecityGroup, Kilburn House, Lloyd Street North, M15 6SE, where BT has a PoP. IT Farm is in Kilburn House, Manchester Science Park, Manchester M15 6SE. Half a mile away is Asda Hulme Store, 100 Princess Rd, Manchester M15 5AS. One mile away is Job Centre Plus, 96 Wilmslow Rd, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5BJ. Two miles away is Withington Library, 410 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 3BD. Five miles away is Northenden Golf Club, Palatine Rd, Manchester M22 4FR. 10 miles away is Manchester Airport, Manchester M90 1QX. 20 miles away is W Mandeville, 2 Macclesfield Rd, Holmes Chapel, Crewe CW4 7NE. We chose BT as the price supplier for a 100Mb leased line on a 36-month contract, wires only.
What we found:
IT Farm, £458.02/month; Asda Hulme Store, £458.02/month; Job Centre Plus, £458.02/month; Withington Library, £458.02/month; Northenden Golf Club, £458.02/month; Manchester Airport, £458.02/month; W Mandeville, £872.29/month.
If a business is located under 20 miles from a BT PoP, the leased line price is not likely to be impacted.
How much is a 100mb leased line?
A 100MB leased line costs from £230.33/month to £277.87/month. For a long time, 10Mb was the most commonly favoured leased line connection speed for businesses, but 100MB and 1Gb connections are becoming more popular. 100Mb and 1Gb are more popular because upgrading to a more robust connection is cost-effective, more widespread availability, and current data and communication demands have increased dramatically.
A 100 Mbps leased line costs range from £230.33/month to £277.87/month.
How much is a 1Gb leased line?
In cities around the UK, 1Gb leased line costs range from £495.00/month to £729.17/month. Bradford is the cheapest location Amvia analysed for a 1Gb service costing £495.00/month, closely followed by London at £501.22/month. Liverpool was the most expensive at £747.17/month.
In cities around the UK 1 Gb leased line costs range from £495.00/month to £729.17/month.
Highlighting the importance of price comparison
There is a lot of competition for 1Gb fibre lines in UK cities. It is vital that when you are buying or renewing a leased line, you get a comparison of all your options. Comparison and shopping around is usually the most significant factor for getting the best leased line prices.
These prices are based on a 1Gb leased line price comparison of London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Bristol in December 2017. BT leased line costs were included, as were TalkTalk, Virgin, Vodafone, SSE, M247, City Fibre and several more. 1Gb leased lines speeds are compared and summarised in this graph on the left.
How much does a BT leased line cost?
In 2019, BT leased lines cost between £317.08/month and £458.02/month in major cities across the UK. In London, the average cost is £317.07/month. In most other UK cities, the price is £389.79/month.
BT are banding the cost of a leased line by city
By analysing the ten largest UK cities and the price BT is charging for a 100Mb leased line on a 100Mb bearer, it is clear there are three price bands. £317.07/month in London, £389.79/month in the majority of the other cities and £458.02/month in Glasgow and Liverpool.
Competition in the major cities
When analysing BT leased line costs throughout the UK, Virgin and TalkTalk provided a more competitive price in most cases. Competition for leased lines in the major cities is high, and businesses can make significant savings by comparing providers.
Using a tool to compare leased lines can create significant savings. One of the challenges with comparing providers is knowing who is at your location and getting the best quote from each provider. A tool like AmviaSearch™ helps make this easy – you can get a whole market leased line price comparison in seconds.
Is a leased line better than broadband?
Leased line is better than broadband because it gives you a dedicated connection (plus various other benefits). A leased line is favoured by businesses that handle lots of data and communications. They cannot afford downtime, but whether leased line is right for your business depends on your unique requirements.
What is a leased line Internet connection?
A leased line internet connection refers to a leased line rented for a business's internet connection needs. A leased line on its own is essentially a reserved circuit, but when a company 'leases the line', it becomes a live internet connection for their data and communication needs. This dedicated line is unlike traditional services that reuse the same circuit for multiple connection destinations.
What is a dedicated line in networking?
A dedicated line in networking is synonymous with a leased line. Many businesses favour dedicated lines because the guaranteed fixed-bandwidth and symmetric data connection provide peace of mind and assurance that they will continuously operate at 'full power' without interruptions or downtime. High availability is vital for companies that handle large amounts of data or is relied on round the clock.
What are the disadvantages of using a VPN instead of a leased line?
The disadvantages of using a VPN instead of a leased line centre around connectivity. Ultimately, a VPN is designed to provide security, whereas a leased line is focused on providing you with superfast connectivity. That's not to say leased lines are insecure, just that security is not the main benefit or focus of the technology.
How meaningful is price comparison on the cost of a leased line?
Price comparison is the most effective thing you can do to drive down your leased line costs. If you only do one thing, compare leased line providers at your location!
If you aren't making a complete leased line price comparison of the market when your leased line comes up for renewal or when you're buying a new service, you're probably losing money.
Supplier choice for leased lines has rapidly evolved since the deregulation of the telecoms market. More choice equals more competition, and lower prices. If you aren't comparing all providers, you probably aren't getting the best leased line costs.
What we analysed:
To demonstrate this in more detail, we compared five providers at the same location and performed a leased line price comparison. We compared prices for a 30Mb leased line on a 100Mb bearer. The terms were kept consistent – a 36-month contract, wires only. The location we chose to analyse was Wolverhampton football club's Molineux Stadium, Waterloo Rd, WV1 4QR.
What we found:
The results were as follows: Virgin £210.89/month, TalkTalk £242.02/month, Vodafone £256.77/month, BT £305.52/month, SSE £718.67/month. The price differential between the lowest cost provider and the highest cost provider for a 30/100 Meg leased line was incredibly, £507.78/month or £6093.36/annum. The most expensive 30Mb circuit was 340% more expensive than the cheapest!
This goes to show, if you only do one thing when you are buying or renewing a leased line, make a market comparison!
How to get the best deal on a leased line?
To get the best deal on a leased line, start with a comparison. With a leased line comparison on Amvia, you can search all the top providers in your area and compare the quality and suitability of products side-by-side. All you need to do is enter your business postcode and speed requirements, and AmviaSearch will instantly present you with the best results.