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Guide to leased lines

Guide to leased lines

Leased lines offer a dedicated, high-performance alternative to standard broadband lines.

Leased lines offer a dedicated, high-performance alternative to standard broadband lines. These robust connections to the internet are rented from a specialist provider, typically on an annual basis, and offer a host of benefits that help deliver outstanding speed and performance to businesses.

What are leased lines?

Leased lines are dedicated connections to the internet that are not shared amongst customers. This differs from a standard broadband connection which is generally a leased line shared between a large pool of customers. The result can therefore be substandard depending on the level of internet activity undertaken by these customers. Leased lines offer high-speeds, dedicated support and other benefits to one party only. As a result, the cost is far higher than normal broadband.

Types of leased line

Leased lines are typically referred to by their allocated speed, such as 1Mbps or 1Gbps (1 megabit per second and 1 gigabit per second respectively). However there are some industry standards, the most common of which is known as the E1 in Europe and the T1 in America. In Europe this operates at 2.048Mbps.

No contention ratio

Broadband connections are shared between a set number of users; this is called the contention ratio, which ranges from around 5:1 to 50:1. This means that you may be sharing your connection with up to 49 other users at any one time, which can have a significant effect on speed and reliability. Leased lines have a contention ratio of 1:1, giving you access to the line’s full capabilities at all times.

Guaranteed speeds

Whilst broadband speeds can fluctuate significantly depending on your businesses’ proximity to the local telephone exchange, leased lines take this distance into account to ensure the speed you are quote is the speed you receive.

Specialist support

Because leased lines are more expensive than regular broadband connections and offer more benefits, you’ll receive a far higher level of support. There may even be a dedicated account manager depending on your package. Expect at least 24/7 support with extremely quick turnaround for technical issues.

Fast uploads

Broadband connections are asynchronous, which means the upload speed (the speed you transfer information to the internet) is slower than the download speed. For some companies this isn’t a problem but if you work in an industry that requires fast uploads (such as web design) then faster upload capacity may be appealing.


Leased lines range from £300 a month up to several thousand pounds a month depending on the speed required, the hardware needed and the level of post-installation support provided.

Is a leased line right for my business?

Analysing your broadband requirements will help you decide if a leased line is right for you. Leased lines may only become cost-effective when your organisation grows or you develop a new product that requires a higher level of internet connectivity to market and develop. Discuss your needs with several companies before making a decision but bear in mind that most connection contracts will be 12 months minimum. If you do opt for a standard broadband connection, ensure it’ll meet your needs for at least a year.


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