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What are leased lines?

12th December 2022

As a business, you have been in the position where you need internet. Many businesses get confused by all the internet options available. From ‘business broadband’ to ‘dedicated leased lines,’ it can be very confusing! However, a leased line is the best solution for your business. A leased line will provide a reliable and very resilient internet connection your business is gasping for.

In this article, we have explained everything there is to know about leased lines and why it is the perfect match for your business.

What is a leased line?

A leased line is a full fibre, fixed-bandwidth internet connection that is dedicated. ‘Dedicated’ means that the connection is your own private, uncontended connection. A leased line is not shared with anyone else. This means your data-hungry business’s bandwidth will not be taken up by anyone else. This provides your business with a reliable, high-quality internet connection with guaranteed upload and download speeds, uptime, and resilience.

“Leased” refers to the connection by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), which is rented, directly to your business. This results in an internet connection far better than what standard broadband providers offer.

Leased lines offer a guaranteed connection speed that is more reliable than other types of internet connections such as full fibre (also known as Hyperfast), superfast or ultrafast broadband. These other types of connections are normally shared, and your bandwidth can fluctuate.

A leased line normally offers symmetrical upload and download speeds. This allows your business to surf the web, download files, video chat with customers and send clients documents all at the same high-speed rates.

These types of connections offer a diverse range of connection speeds ranging from just 100Mb/s all the way up to 10Gb/s. These speeds can be incredibly beneficial to businesses needing consistent, high-bandwidth connections.

Leased line diagram showing fibre optic cable connecting local exchange and business together.

How do leased lines work?

Your connection when using a leased line normally consists of a fibre optic cable. That cable is connected from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) directly to your business. This fibre optic cable sends pulses of light down the line at the speed of light.

When you send data down the fibre optic cable, the hardware at either end is looking for light. This light holds the data your devices are sending back and forth. The equipment on either side turns a light on and off, representing binary 1s and 0s. This is picked up by the equipment which recognizes it, records it, and stores it back as 1s and 0s.


Types of leased lines

There are several types of leased lines, and it is crucial you understand the difference, so you do not confuse them.

Full fibre

(Also known as “Fibre Ethernet” and “Ethernet Access Direct”)

This is the most common leased line connection which offers a direct, hyperfast ethernet connection over 100% fibre optic cable between your business and the local exchange. This can send up to 10Gb/s at symmetrical speeds. This speed can often be even higher for more enterprise-level connections.

Ethernet in the first mile

This type of leased line connection uses the older traditional copper network to deliver a connection from your street cabinet. A fibre optic cable is then used from the street cabinet to the local exchange. This is often used in more rural areas or areas where full fibre cabinets are not present. Because this type of leased line is part copper, this means the speeds your business receives are much, much lower than fibre, but the service is fully symmetrical.


Difference between broadband & leased lines

There are huge differences between broadband and leased lines which your business might not be aware of. Below we have listed the most significant differences.

  • Download Speed – The download speed you receive with a leased line is far greater than broadband. Broadband speeds currently range from an average of 60Mb/s up to 1Gb/s. In comparison, leased lines offer speeds from 100Mb/s up to 10Gb/s and sometimes even greater.
  • Upload speed – Leased lines offer a far greater and often symmetrical upload speed which broadband does not. That means if your leased lines download speed is 1Gb/s, your upload speed would also be 1Gb/s.
  • Service Level Agreement – A leased lines service level agreement is often much more business-driven and cost-effective than broadband. Often, a leased line will offer a financially backed repair time which is often completed within 6-12 hours.
  • Infrastructure – The infrastructure of your leased line is normally full fibre which uses fibre optic cables. These cables are more reliable and can carry greater data through them at the same time. That increased data-carrying ability results in faster speeds.


What are the benefits of a leased line?

Leased Lines are high speed

Leased lines are normally faster than traditional broadband. This includes broadband products including superfast, ultrafast, and hyperfast broadband. Leased lines offer a speed of up to 100x faster than some superfast broadband connections and up to 10x faster than hyperfast connections. A leased line’s speed can range from 100Mb/s to 10Gb/s and these speeds are normally backed up by a secondary connection. That secondary connection gives your business redundancy so you can stay connected even if one of your lines goes down.

They offer dedicated bandwidth

The bandwidth you receive with a leased line is dedicated and uncontended. This means that your leased line provides your business with a dedicated connection which is only used by you and no one else.

A huge benefit to this is that during peak times, your leased line cannot lose its bandwidth and speed capability unless it is your business causing it. This means you will receive the bandwidth in full 24/7.

Leased Lines have better SLAs

Broadband options available to your business usually run off the same network and infrastructure as consumer broadband products. This infrastructure often has slower response times to incidents including cable strikes or connection-related issues at either end of the line.

In comparison, with a leased line, your business will receive a far greater SLA (Service Level Agreement). The average repair times range from 6 hours to 12 hours. Not only that, but the support your business receives from your supplier is often far greater.

Your SLA (Service Level Agreement) may include various additional benefits or restrictions. These can vary from time to repair, financial compensation or third-party limitations.

We always recommend that you check with your leased line provider as your service level agreement can vary. For example, at Giganet, we provide a financially backed 6-hour SLA to all leased line customers.

Security assurance

Leased line products offer a greater line of protection from common threats like DDoS attacks and other related threats to your business. These leased line products often come with DDOS protection which can prevent your network from being hit by an outage caused by malicious intent.

Low latency

Leased lines offer a lower latency connection compared to other internet connection options available to your business. Your business has high demands and you likely run multiple cloud-based applications, transfer large amounts of data, and connect to remote locations. Low latency is key to ensuring these tasks are not impacted or interrupted.


Who can use leased lines?

Anyone can receive a leased line but there are some restrictions which may impact your ability to receive a leased line and what type of leased line you can get.

Your business can receive a leased line if your premises are situated close to the infrastructure. Many leased line providers can install a fibre optic cable up to the property with sufficient permission. This process of installing your leased line may include digging up parts of the ground to your property.

Residential properties can also have the benefit of installing a leased line. However, the leased line installation and monthly fees are normally too expensive for most residential properties. In addition, many providers will only accept business customers.


How long do they take to install?

Leased line installation timeframes can vary depending on various factors. For example, the local infrastructure that is already in place can impact the length of time of will take to install the leased lines. This is because there may be additional steps required to install the leased line.

When your leased line provider begins the installation, they will normally conduct a site survey to get a reasonable indication of what’s involved and how long it will take. These time frames are often between 45 to 90 working days. However, because there are multiple parties involved, these timeframes are normally estimates and it could take longer.

A great example of a leased line installation taking longer is if the road next to your premises needs to be dug up to install a new duct. To dig up the road, several organisations need to be involved including contractors to dig the road up and local authorities to gain permission and organise road closures.

Does Giganet provide leased lines?

Giganet provides businesses across the UK with dedicated leased lines ranging from 100Mb/s to over 10Gb/s. Giganet’s leased lines can be paired with redundancy and multi-site solutions to allow your business to operate at its best.

You can learn more about Giganet’s leased lines here, or alternatively, you can contact a member of our team today to discuss how our leased line solutions can help your business.



A leased line is a great option for businesses that require a reliable connection to the internet. Leased lines offer a variety of benefits that alternative connections do not. These benefits include quicker repair times, financially backed SLAs, faster speeds and lower latency.

In addition, most businesses can get a leased line which is dedicated and uncontended from various providers including Giganet.

There are different types of leased lines, and you should make sure you know what connection you are getting before signing up. However, with the benefits and reliability that this type of connection brings, your business could greatly benefit from it.

You can also call our business team on 0800 107 8888 and discuss your options today.