How Much does a Leased Line Cost?
Find out how much a leased line costs, and the number of different factors involved in determining leased line costs in the UK.
It’s hard to believe that as little as 20 years ago, most people were still reliant on slow, unreliable dial-up connections for their access to the internet. In the last decade, we have become used to having reliable, always on, broadband connections, most recently using fibre. These have opened up a world of new opportunities for accessing content and, in business terms, have seen a significant shift to accessing software and services from the cloud.
But as businesses rely more and more on the internet to carry out their day-to-day activity, so they increasingly need a reliable method of connection. Broadband has brought about a huge change in the way we work and play, and it’s not going away anytime soon. However, while broadband remains popular, for commercial operations it has a number of limitations.
Businesses are therefore increasingly turning to alternative methods of connection such as leased lines. But how much does a leased line cost? Isn’t it much more expensive than other connections? And how can you justify the extra expense?
The benefits of leased lines
Before we answer the ‘How much does a leased line cost?’ question, it’s important to understand why leased lines are becoming such a popular way of linking your business to the internet.
First of all, we need to understand how broadband works. When broadband was first introduced, it used the existing copper telephone network. Speeds were therefore limited by the distance between your premises and the exchange. With the introduction of fibre, many services now use a fibre connection to a street cabinet with the final link to your home or business over copper, thus allowing for much faster connections.
However, broadband even with the extra speed offered by fibre has a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, it’s a contended service; that is to say, the link to the exchange is shared with multiple other people, so it can slow down at peak times. Secondly, it’s asynchronous, which means the bandwidth available for incoming data is much greater than that for outgoing. While that’s fine for domestic use where you’re surfing the web or streaming video, it’s a problem for business where you may need to upload significant volumes of information to cloud services.
A leased line connection eliminates these problems. It provides an exclusive fibre connection – either directly or via a street cabinet – for your use, so there is no contention and no drop off in performance at peak periods. In addition, leased lines are fully synchronous, so the bandwidth available for data is the same in both directions. This makes them a better choice for organisations that use the cloud or VoIP telephone services as it provides a more reliable service.
While the speeds you get from an EoFTTC leased line connection may only be around the 20 Mbps of broadband, remember that you are getting that speed in both directions. You are also getting a service that is actively managed by the service provider to ensure it delivers consistent performance. Dedicated all-fibre circuits can provide much faster connections at speeds of up to 10 Gbps, so are ideal for larger businesses or those with lots of users. Of course, having a dedicated connection allows you to institute your own bandwidth management, so you can ensure that the services that are most important to your business – including as-a-service business applications or VoIP – always get traffic priority over less important traffic such as backups or archiving.
Leased lines have other benefits too. Because the line is exclusively for your use, there are security advantages as your data is less likely to be intercepted in transit. Plus as a commercially focused product, a leased line is backed by a service level agreement (SLA) that guarantees connection speeds and ensures that any problems will be resolved within an agreed timescale.
How much does a leased line cost?
So, now that we’ve piqued your interest, how much does a leased line cost? Obviously, the extra benefits we’ve discussed above mean that it’s more expensive than broadband, but there are a number of factors involved in determining leased line costs in the UK.
Firstly there’s the type of circuit. Leased lines come in a number of different flavours. Most common is Ethernet over fibre to the cabinet, (EoFTTC) where the fibre connection from the exchange arrives at a street cabinet and then continues with a further connection to your premises.
There are also all fibre leased lines that offer a direct fibre connection to your business. In areas where fibre isn’t available, there’s the option of Ethernet first mile (EFM) which combines paired copper cables with some clever signal processing to provide fast speeds over a copper circuit. Finally, there are point-to-point leased lines that allow you to create direct links between your business locations.
The cost of leased lines varies depending on your location in relation to the nearest point of access to the core network – usually the local telephone exchange. EoFTTC connections typically cost from around £115 per month, the cost increases with distance. All-fibre circuits are costlier, typically starting at around £230 per month. EFM circuits come somewhere in between with prices from around £130 per month. Point-to-point lines are priced according to the distance between your locations, so it’s hard to generalise on their cost. Find out which type of dedicated line is right for your business.
Obviously, the costs of these lines are significantly higher than for business broadband services. Leased lines cost more because you’re getting a dedicated connection and a guaranteed service level, but you have to balance that against the advantages that a leased line can offer you. How much is it worth to you to have a secure, dedicated, fast, reliable link to the internet?
For small businesses, leased lines may not be an economical solution. Larger organisations, however, need to weigh up a number of different factors. Most important is how you use the internet and how heavily reliant on it you are. If you have or are in the process of setting up services to the cloud, then reliability becomes much more important. If your operation is heavily reliant on cloud services or uses IP-based telephony or video conferencing services, then it’s likely that the loss of your internet connection or a slow and unreliable service could cost you a lot of money. You, therefore, need to set the cost of a leased line against the benefits to your business.
When you look at the advantages and consider the benefits they offer to the operation of your business, it’s clear that switching to a leased line can be seen as a sound investment. leasedline.co.uk work closely with the leading dedicated line providers, and can even broker dedicated internet with BT.Call Us On 0808 115 4281