Fibre To The Cabinet or a Fibre Leased Line – which is best for my business?

Fibre To The Cabinet or a Fibre Leased Line – which is best for my business?


Over the past year or so, we have had numerous customers getting in touch with us to discuss Fibre connectivity. Unfortunately the conversation can be made confusing, as there can be a vast difference in how people define ‘Fibre’. What I will address in this month’s blog is the differences between between Fibre Broadband (FTTC) and a dedicated Fibre Leased Line.


Which is best for businesses?

The answer to that question depends on a number of factors; how your businesses uses the Internet, how many users you have and last but most importantly how critical the internet is to your operations.  The answer to this final point should really be the deciding factor in your decision between the services.

Before we explore these further it’s worth looking at a few differences between these two services:

Over the last few years we’ve seen broadband speeds increase and Leased Line costs decrease.  There now seems to be an overlap between the two services.  This raises the questions for many IT managers and business owners as to which service to opt for. A question we get asked a lot is why is there such a large price difference between Fibre Broadband and Leased Lines?  For example, people see the cost of an ‘up to 80Mbps’ Fibre Broadband service and compare this to a 10Mbps Leased Line service and wonder why a ‘slower’ Leased Line service would cost more.

It’s worth remembering here that we aren’t really comparing apples with apples.  That Fibre Broadband ‘up to’ speed isn’t a guarantee; it’s an estimate of what you’ll get in the best case scenario.  A Leased Line speed delivers what it says it’s going to deliver, 50Mbps is 50Mbps. 24 hours a day seven days a week, uncontended, dedicated to you.  The cost of a Leased Line is based on three main factors:


Part of the Leased Line cost is based upon the distance between your premises and the service provider’s Point of Presence (PoP – an access point to the supplier’s core network).  The greater the distance, the greater the costs. Initial installation costs can also be affected by how much infrastructure is already in your area and how complex it will be to deliver a dedicated Fibre line direct into your premises.

FTTC on the other hand is delivered via your local cabinet and availability will be dictated by whether your particular cabinet has been upgraded to provide FTTC.


As you’d imagine, more bandwidth equals more cost.  What you may not know is that Leased Line providers like ourselves can use a selection of different carriers. Certain carriers will make the cost of particular bandwidths more attractive, so you should always get a selection of speeds and carriers on your quote. At Chicane, we will always compare several speeds and carriers before quoting for Leased Line connectivity to ensure that you always get the best deal.

It is worth pointing out also that as well as providing bandwidth dedicated to you (i.e. not shared by other users at the local exchange), Leased Lines provide symmetric upload and download speeds. FTTC is still an asymmetric service, meaning that the maximum upload speed can be as low as 20Mbps (shared with other users at the local exchange). If you are running your business using cloud or web based applications (i.e. you are uploading large amounts of data to a central area) then the contended, asymmetric nature of FTTC is not fit for purpose.


Are you based in the middle of a metropolitan city or in a remote rural location?  Generally the more rural the fewer the number of carriers there are available, and therefore less competition fighting for your business. So prices may be keener in highly populated business hubs than rural locations.


To compare these two services isn’t really fair.  Both services have very different aims.  

If you have a large number of users, use cloud or web based services to run your business or if your organisation will lose revenue if your Internet connection goes down then a Leased Line is definitely the service that you should be considering.  It is important to ask yourself how critical your internet connection is. If it is business critical then you should opt for the Leased Line as this comes with a full Service Level Agreement (SLA) and Service Level Guarantee (SLG) whilst also giving you automatic failover in the event of an outage and a 4 hr response time to service issues. Fibre to the cabinet has the same SLA as Broadband i.e any service issues or outages will be responded to by Openreach engineers on a best efforts basis. That could be one day or 5 days, as there is no SLA/SLG with this service.  

Additionally, consider what else you can do with a Leased Line to increase its productivity. At Chicane, we often provide Leased Lines with bandwidth segmented to run other applications that don’t need access to the web.  Remote real time backup and SIP trunks are two examples.   Your Leased Line is then helping the organisation function better as well as providing high bandwidth Internet access.


Have a great month!