Poor Internet connectivity can cripple a business. Not surprisingly then, many businesses are looking at leased line connectivity as an alternative to broadband: effectively, it’s a dedicated Ethernet connection direct to the Internet.
So how much does a leased line cost?
Frustratingly, there isn’t a simple, easy answer. The reason? Leased line costs depend on a number of business-specific variables:
- Location. A leased line involves creating a direct fibre optic connection between your business and the nearest ‘Point of Presence’, this is usually an exchange or carrier datacentre, which can be up to 35km away. The longer that connection, the greater the cost.
- Bandwidth. Basically, the faster the connection, and the greater the amount of traffic that it has to carry, then the higher the cost. A business simply wanting a fast and reliable connection for 20 people, say, is therefore going to pay a lot less than a 200-employee business with heavy cloud-computing and enterprise systems workloads.
- Contract length. From a leased line provider’s point of view, there are a lot of fixed costs involved in setting up a leased line connection. The longer you’re prepared to be a customer, the lower your monthly payment.
- Required levels of customer service, latency, resilience, and uptime provisions. As always, you tend to get what you pay for. And as with consumer broadband offerings, cut-price business connectivity can often mean compromises on performance and service.
Informed decisions about the true cost of a leased line
Several things stem from this.
The first is that it’s important to really understand what your bandwidth requirement is going to be, as not every leased line provider will offer an ability to flex your leased line’s bandwidth as your needs evolve. So don’t underestimate—but don’t overestimate either. The trouble is, bandwidth calculations aren’t easy: look at how fast technology is evolving. If you’re in any doubt, seek advice.
The second is that different leased line providers will have different leased line infrastructure in place to serve businesses’ differing location and bandwidth situations. The upshot is that when it comes to leased line costs, it really does pay to shop around—especially if your business is located a little off the beaten track: cities and busy business parks are better served than more rural locations.
And third, it’s a complex marketplace, thanks to those differing leased line infrastructure footprints, and differing service and uptime provisions. So to get the best price and the most appropriate leased line capability, you’ll want to obtain a ‘whole of market’ comparison. That needn’t be difficult: at Aspire, for instance, we partner with all the major leased line providers including Virgin Media, Sky, Openreach, Talk Talk Business and CityFibre, precisely so that we can offer those ‘whole of market’ comparisons. We compare wholesale quotes to find the most competitive price.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that many suppliers are resellers and often don’t hold direct partner relationships with the major leased line providers. In addition, some suppliers may sell you a 24/7 product from the leased line provider, but they might not accompany that with a 24/7 support offering of their own. Ultimately the service you receive from your supplier is crucial. Whilst leased lines are incredibly reliable, it’s essential to ensure there is a business grade SLA (Service Level Agreement) in place, with precise commitments on fix times.
Pushing the leased line limits
There’s one other thing to throw into the mix. It’s not always applicable, but it’s worth bearing in mind. And it’s this: sometimes there can be exceptional leased line provision out there, worth investigating simply because it’s transformational.
For a particular business, it might be overkill—but then again, it might not. Technology—and technology uptake—really is evolving rapidly. Consider the huge shift to working-from-home and video-conferencing that was sparked by the coronavirus lockdown, for instance.
A case in point: Aspire’s very own full-fibre network in the North East of England, offering connectivity of up to a phenomenal 100 gigabit per second (Gb/s) speed. Known as UDC (Ultrafast Dedicated Connectivity), our full fibre network is a game changer which delivers more than just speed. The dedicated connection allows businesses to take a huge step forward in their communication and technology capabilities, offering a dependable platform for business growth. Available within Tyne & Wear, County Durham and the Tees Valley, it’s the fastest connectivity available in the North East.
Making the choice: getting the best leased line solution at the right price
Looking for help in working out which leased line option best suits your business? Seeking price quotations from a broad panel of leading leased line providers? Looking for a supplier who offers dedicated 24/7 monitoring and support and a customer portal for bandwidth usage reporting and incident management?
At Aspire we offer a wide range of connectivity solutions, and our team of experts can help you to take the next step in your leased line decision process.
We’ll tell you what’s best for you—so that you can make the best choice for your business, and the best choice for your budget.