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Is a leased line cheaper than broadband?

A fibre leased line is ideal for businesses needing a reliable, constant connection. As it uses a dedicated 1:1 connection, a leased line can be allocated to an organisation for their sole usage, without the problems that can arise due to line contention.

In contrast, typical ADSL vs fibre broadband connections will be subject to contention, resulting in users having to share or compete for bandwidth. This can result in reduced speeds during peak times, when a greater number of users attempt to connect to the internet concurrently.

Even though the cost of renting leased lines can be more expensive than broadband, leased-line solutions are becoming increasingly affordable. Many organisations have found that the benefits end up outweighing the higher cost.

A modern coffee shop business will typically offer broadband internet to customers

Why use a fibre leased line?

With a leased line, your business will benefit from a fast 1:1 dedicated connection. Whilst this does incur a higher cost, you will likely receive a range of benefits, including:

Symmetrical downstream and upstream speed

In most cases, a fibre leased line solution will not just improve download speeds; you’ll also notice that upload speeds will be just as fast, i.e. the line will offer symmetrical download/upload speeds. This type of connectivity suits organisations that have to push large volumes of data upstream, for example when engaging a remote connection, utilising a VoIP system, or backing up your systems to a cloud server.

Consistent performance

Like fibre broadband, the potential for environmental interference or distance from the exchange to affect the connection is minimised if the majority of the infrastructure used to carry the signals eschews the use of copper wires.

Thanks to the elimination of line contention, a leased line will guarantee the best possible experience, free from network congestion between you and the ISP.

Specialised support

If your business relies on the internet for its day-to-day operations, network downtime is definitely a situation that needs to be avoided, or at least minimised.

Whilst a fibre or ADSL broadband connection may be cheaper, these deals typically do not offer guaranteed Service Level Agreements (SLA). If something occurred which caused your connection to drop, you could easily end up waiting several days for it to be fixed. For the premium price tag, many leased line packages come with a degree of service management, meaning that engineers at the ISP can remotely monitor the connection’s performance (i.e. offer ‘circuit visibility’) and resolve any outages within a time limit defined by the SLA offered with the chosen package.

Infographic comparing leased lines and broadband

Why use fibre or ADSL broadband?

When searching for an internet connection for your business, a leased line will most likely be the superior option. However, a standard fibre or ADSL connection is not without its advantages. Not all organisations will require the added benefits of a leased line; having fewer options at a lower cost may prove adequate enough.

Does your business need the fastest internet available?

Ultimately, it will come down to your unique requirements. If you’re looking for a home office solution and don’t need to upload many large files, you will need not need a leased line. Similarly, if your business is not based online – for example if you run a café or a local shop which doesn’t engage in online commerce or provide online resources – you may not require a leased line. In these instances, a standard broadband solution will suit, allowing you to reduce costs.

Easier installation

A fibre leased line will probably require cables to be laid in order to complete the circuit and provide your connection. This will increase the initial outlay, and may also be reflected in the ongoing line rental charge. The physical process of surveying and laying new cables may inevitably increase the amount of time you will be without a connection.

On the other hand, a standard broadband installation can be completed and made active relatively quickly, especially if you already have a phone line installed. if a connection is not yet present, it is relatively simple to be installed.


One of the primary reasons many organisations choose broadband over a fibre leased line is due to limited market penetration of the required infrastructure. Although Openreach has promised to roll out fibre-optic connectivity to 3 million premises by 2020, this promise is still a way off fulfilment, with only around 6% of the country being able to access full fibre at the end of 2018.* This means that, regardless of cost or speed, you may have to opt for standard broadband.

*[Source: OFCOM, Connected Nations 2018, pp.4]

Which is cheaper – fibre leased lines or broadband?

A standard ADSL or fibre broadband connection will always be cheaper. However, it is widely agreed that cheaper is not always better when it comes to internet connectivity. Whilst you may be able to cut some costs initially by going for the cheaper option, this may not be the wisest choice. Consider your needs carefully.

Cheap contracts or providers often have additional fees hidden in the small print and are simply unable to offer the reliability associated with fibre leased lines. If it is available to you, and doesn’t place undue pressure on your budgetary and time constraints, installing a leased line could be a valuable and productive business decision.

For more information on the benefits of a fibre leased line, or to find out how Structured Communications can help you, please do not hesitate to get in touch.