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Leased Line Comparison: What You Need to Know

Posted by Neal Endean on Dec 13, 2018 10:05:49 AM

A leased line can provide your business with a faster internet connection than broadband. But with several options available, how do you choose the right one? Cost, availability, speeds, support and installation times all play a part in making the most appropriate choice. One might be faster than the others but speed should not be your only consideration.

In this post, we are going to discuss the three types of leased line connection that are available to you. These are fibre to the premises (FTTP), fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and ethernet first mile (EFM). While cost, availability, speeds and installation times vary between them, they are all capable of providing you with a faster connection than broadband. 

By the end of this post, you will feel more confident in choosing a connection that is right for your business. You will be able to consider your budget, timing and demand in order to make a wise investment. Before we go into more detail about the three of these options we will offer you an explanation of what leased lines are and how they work.

What is a Leased Line?

A leased line is a dedicated connection that works on a static bandwidth. Put in other words, you have an uncontended connection. You are not sharing your internet with anybody else as you have a private circuit that directly connects your premises to the internet. This enables your connection to support the day-to-day activities of your business and perform at a reliable speed all of the time.

Talking of speed, your uploads and downloads will be symmetrical on a leased line. Another way of saying this is that you can upload files as quickly as you can download them. With these high speeds and reliability, you are able to use the internet for a great range of tasks, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Leased lines also come with low latency, which means websites can be accessed and load at a fast pace.

Having a leased line connection is not the same as using broadband. With the latter, your connection is competing with the activity of lots of other web users. Whatever they are doing will have an impact on the speeds you can access. This can make downloading files a sluggish process during peak time. For businesses, peak time is anytime so a broadband connection simply will not do.

Read more - before moving office, plan your internet connection in advance 

Leased Line Comparison: FTTP, FTTC and EFM

With the definition and benefits of a leased line connection all fleshed out, let’s take a closer look at the types of leased lines available. As we said earlier, these are FTTP, FTTC and EFM. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages and there are scenarios where one is more well-equipped than the others. 


FTTP, also known as a fibre leased line, provides an internet connection directly to your premises from the network supplier using a fibre optic cable. It is usually capable of providing the fastest possible speeds to your business and is completely uncontended. Another reason why it is liked so much by businesses is that it is scalable. They can invest in more bandwidth and overlay other services on the cable when they need to, plus reduce their spending and usage when they do not need as much.

If you work in a large office, a small office or an office of any size where lots of people depend on cloud services, transferring large files and using VoIP to do their jobs, then FTTP is what you need. It will give you enough bandwidth to get everyone online and doing the things they need to do in order to keep your company running. The uncontended factor will mean you are not disrupted by unreliable connectivity in the middle of an important task.


* Speed. With the right bandwidth, you are capable of doing anything over the internet and there will not be any delays.

* Uncontended bandwidth. Your connection is dedicated to your business. It is impossible for disruption to be caused by a user on the outside of your network.


* Installation times. FTTP can take between 30 and 90 days to install.

* Cost. This is often a barrier that prevents many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) getting connected as they simply don’t have the budget.

Right now, however, SMBs can apply for a government voucher granting them up to £2,500 towards the cost of a gigabit internet installation with us.


FTTC makes use of existing street cabinets and infrastructure in order to supply your premises with a fibre internet connection. Around half of your connection is made up of fibre optic cable which is directed to a cabinet at street level. From here copper wires are used to supply the rest of your connection. This makes it fast to install and easily accessible to many businesses.

If you want a better connection in a hurry FTTC may be a good option for you. As it takes advantage of existing infrastructure you do not have to wait as long as you would for a fibre leased line to be installed. It is not as fast as FTTP but if your day-to-day duties have more relaxed deadlines, an FTTC connection can provide you with exactly what you need.


* FTTC is widely available. It is not difficult to get connected this way as it uses infrastructure that is already out there.

* It is fast to install. Because there is no need to dig up roads in order to make the connection you can get FTTC a lot quicker than FTTP.


* Speed. FTTC is partially dependent on copper wire. This does not perform as well as a fibre leased line so it is not great for tasks that need to be done in a hurry.


An EFM connection can provide your business with up to 40Mbps of bandwidth by using bonded copper lines. As is the case with fibre leased lines, EFM offers you an uncontended connection. So there is no chance of competition from web users outside of your network slowing down the speed of your connectivity. Another thing it shares in common with FTTP is symmetrical download speeds, so you can upload files as quickly as you can download them. But as with FTTC, EFM does not offer the fastest speeds available.

If you need to transfer large files on a regular basis, EFM can enable that capability for you. However, this connection won’t let you do it as quickly as a fibre leased line will. It can be installed faster than FTTP because it makes use of existing copper circuits and wiring. If you need a better connection in a hurry but are willing to sacrifice some speed, EFM may be the way forward for your business.


* Uncontended bandwidth. Your connection is dedicated to your business. You won’t ever have to compete with anybody on the outside for bandwidth.

* Symmetrical speeds. You can upload files as quickly as you can download them, making EFM ideal for transferring large files on a daily basis.


* It isn’t as fast as FTTP. If you need to transfer large files in a hurry, EFM probably won’t cut it for your business.

How to Choose the Right Leased Line

All of the types of leased line we have covered in this post can provide you with a faster connection than broadband. Out of all of them, FTTP offers the fastest connection available but it is expensive and it can take a long time to install. So if you need a speedier connection, you are willing or able to wait for it and have the budget available, you should consider getting a fibre leased line. 

If speed isn’t everything and you have a smaller budget, FTTC and EFM are more than capable alternatives to a fibre leased line. They can both be installed quicker, making them ideal for getting a faster connection more immediately. Additionally, EFM is uncontended and has symmetrical speeds.

Before we wrap things up, we wanted to remind you one last time that the government's Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme can help you save up to £2,500 on the installation of a gigabit-capable fibre leased line. Optimity is a registered supplier of the Scheme and you can apply for your voucher with us. Learn more about the Scheme and apply for your voucher here.

Apply here

Topics: Leased Lines, Fibre, Connectivity