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As the availability of ever faster broadband continues to increase thanks to technology advancement, we ask whether it signals the end of the line for leased line connectivity.

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

First it was ADSL2+ that brought us speeds of up to 24Mbps; then FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) was introduced to deliver up to 40Mbps; and now there are trials of FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) offering speeds of up to 100Mbps. Add extra service features such as Annex M on ADSL2+ for increased upload speed and Elevated Best Efforts (EBE) guaranteeing throughput over the BT network at the busiest times and you can see why it’s a relevant question.

For a business customer the latest broadband technologies available appear to have a lot to offer. For example, higher speed connections with an appropriate bandwidth allowance delivered over a provider’s network that has ample capacity can be good for businesses wanting to use them for VoIP, linking remote workers or accessing centrally hosted applications. As long as the service provider’s network is properly managed to minimise factors like latency, these customers can indeed use business focused broadband connections. We readily promote broadband for day-to-day business communication and have a lot of reseller partners with happy customers.

However, there are commercial and operational factors that can mean broadband doesn’t meet the mark. These generally depend on what business customers are trying to achieve, how critical the connections they’re using are to them and how important it is to ensure service continuity is guaranteed.

What we’re talking about here are factors like the need or desire for a connection that isn’t shared with anyone else, backup options in the event of a primary connection fault, the extent of any Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the service provider and speed of fault resolution so that business isn’t adversely affected. While broadband can offer the speed potential it can’t deliver against these requirements effectively. For example, upload speed is considerably lower than download speed, standard BT fix times are up to 40 hours (20 if the Enhanced Care feature is applied) and there’s no included back up service. Where a customer’s connectivity is critical for delivering communications and supporting business applications then, more is required than a standard broadband service.

This is where leased line, or Ethernet, connections come into their own. Leased lines deliver the faster, synchronous speeds that many businesses need to support multiple services, applications and users – in the case of Entanet, that’s up to 10Gbps. They can also provide a choice of back up connectivity options and, critically, a 100% SLA. They also provide the end user with more flexibility to meet future bandwidth needs as they grow. For example, many Entanet customers purchase a 100Mbps bearer with a 10Mbps Committed Data Rate (CDR) to start with. As their need for more bandwidth arises, they’re able to increase the CDR easily and quickly rather than having to invest in a new larger connection. Leased lines can provide un-contended connectivity where exclusivity of availability is essential to the customer and form the ideal core component of IP Virtual Private Networks.

So, is faster broadband signalling the end for leased lines?

Definitely not. As faster broadband with performance enhancing features is helping businesses improve their efficiency and competitiveness, we’re seeing demand for 10Mbps, 100Mbps and even higher speed leased line and Ethernet bearers dramatically increase too. Market forces and technology progress has brought down the historically high cost of leased lines and made them accessible to more and more business customers. Their features make them ideal platforms for enabling customers to improve the way they work by supporting their voice and data sharing requirements internally and externally.

This is great news for resellers. It means that, while there are many opportunities available through the emergence of faster broadband, there are also huge opportunities by selling leased line solutions.  It may seem a daunting step for traditional broadband resellers to make but it needn’t be. In Entanet’s case, our experienced pre-sales and solutions consultants can help scope, design and cost solutions before they’re implemented by our provisioning and systems teams before being supported by our technical support engineers. To find out more, contact bespokesales@enta.net.

Have your say!
What effect do you think faster broadband is having on leased lines? Do you agree that there is space in the market for both products or do you think that broadband will eventually replace what leased lines provide? Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below.

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