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growing business

Growing Businesses

service level agreement

Reliability & Uptime SLA


VoIP Call Quality

multi site businesses

Connecting Multi-Site Businesses

“After making contact with a few providers I quickly found that I was being offered lots of quotes but no actual solutions. Then I found Amvia!”

Clive Wall – General Manager – Exception Var Ltd (A Fineline Company)


A leased line service is dedicated to your business. This means that your business is not competing for bandwidth, as with other services like standard copper or fibre broadband. You can be absolutely certain that if you have purchased a 100Mbps leased line, then 100Mbps will be available for you to use. This is particularly important when you have bandwidth dependant applications like VOiP, cloud applications or a sizable user base.

Service Guarantees

A leased service is backed by stringent service guarantees. These guarantees cover features such as speed, availability, jitter, latency and packet loss. If the service provider does not meet the service level agreement (SLA) there are severe implications. The service provider can be forced to pay financial penalties. You can even terminate the agreement if necessary.

Upload & Download Speeds Are The Same

Leased line services have the same upload speed as download speed. This is called a symmetrical or synchronous bandwidth connection. There are several benefits of this symmetry:

  1. If remote users are accessing HQ hosted applications and content. They can download to, and access these HQ located services much faster and without drop outs.
  2. FTP and other remote web services have a far higher level of performance.
  3. It is quick to send and upload large files, CAD technical drawings, graphic designs etc

Upgrade & Downgrade Bandwidth Capacity Conveniently

Some  providers offer the ability to upgrade and downgrade the capacity on a circuit with short notice. BTnet for example allow a bandwidth upgrade or downgrade with 72 hours notice. This means if your business is operating on a 20Mbps service over a 100Mbps bearer, you could increase to 30Mbps without requiring  a fresh installation.

A leased service is backed by stringent service guarantees. These guarantees cover features such as speed, availability, jitter, latency and packet loss. If the service provider does not meet the service level agreement (SLA) there are severe implications. The service provide can be forced to pay financial penalties. You can even terminate the agreement if necessary.
Leased services have the same upload speed as download speed. This is called a symmetrical bandwidth connection. There are several benefits of this symmetry:

  1. If remote users are accessing HQ hosted applications and content. They can download and access these much faster.
  2. FTP and other remote web services have a far higher performance.
  3. It is quick to send and upload large files, CAD technical drawings, graphic designs etc
Some  providers offer the ability to upgrade and downgrade the capacity on a circuit with short notice. BTnet for example allow a bandwidth upgrade or downgrade with 72 hours notice. This means if your business is operating on a 20Mbps service over a 100Mbps bearer. You could increase to 30Mbps without requiring  a fresh installation.

Unlimited Usage

Leased line fibre does not have a usage cap on the data transferred over the circuit each month. The service is truly unlimited and there are no fair usage policies.


Some suppliers insist that you use a managed router. This can be inflexible and expensive as a monthly fee is applied to the managed router service. Other providers can provide what is known as a “wires only” service. This means that your business provides the router to connect to the end of the leased line service.

If you need a latency service level agreement (SLA) to ensure your internet has low latency then you will need to buy a leased line. Latency based SLAs are available. The SLA is usually measured between the core routers on the service provider’s network. 20-30 milliseconds is industry standard.
Our customers have decided that speed and availability of bandwidth are critical to their operation. You pay more for a leased line for these features. But things do go wrong. When they do you need to know you can call your supplier whenever you need to. This is why suppliers offer support by phone, and email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year.
Static IP addresses are required for you to operate certain services. For example, you own email server, remote worker VPN, self hosted web servers. Usually you receive a block of 4 static IP addresses.

If you have a requirement for more static IP addresses then this can usually be accommodated. A justification for IP addresses is usually required.

Most providers provide an online web portal specific to your service. This can show you uptime statistics, usage of the connection over time and much more. Often this service also allows you to raise a support ticket and handle any moves and changes.

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Leased Line Overview

What is a leased line?

It is a high-performance internet connection used by businesses in the UK. It has several features:

  1. It is dedicated to your business
  2. It is backed by a service level agreement
  3. It is usually a fibre optic line with multi-gigabit capacity

Who provides these lines?

Leased lines are provided by UK fibre network carriers or telcos. These companies own fibre optic networks across the UK. They “lease” you a section of their network and, using routers and other network infrastructure, dedicate this to your business. The major UK providers are BT, Talk Talk & Virgin.

Source: This is a great overview video, by one of the UK’s largest suppliers, BT.

Multiple Options

There are different types of leased line to suit every business’ need.

Fibre offers a powerful combination of reliability and performance. This can come at an expensive rental fee. It is necessary to have fibre optic cable run into your office. There can be considerable installation fees including excess construction costs.

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Generic Ethernet Access, (GEA), is a cost effective ethernet based service. The service offers symmetrical speeds of up to 20Mb download and 20Mb upload.  The service uses an FTTC enabled exchange and cabinet. Copper is used for the last mile. The bandwidth then switches onto fibre to the exchange. It then passes over the GEA network. By using the existing UK copper network to access businesses, rental and install costs and lead times are vastly lower than traditional fibre based leased lines.

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EFM is for some businesses an ideal combination of speed and reliability. EFM leased lines use twisted copper pairs. This has several benefits. Firstly resilience, in the form of multiple copper circuits. Secondly cost, as copper can be used to your customer premises negating the need for fibre installation fees. Thirdly, speed as lead times for EFM can be much quicker without the need to install fibre cable.

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FTTP offers a mix of Generic Ethernet Access and Fibre to the Premises (GEA-FTTP) technology. The speed capability is significant, up to 330Mb download and 30Mb upload. FTTP is available to businesses who have access to a FTTC access. Fibre is pulled from the FTTC cabinet to provide the GEA/FTTP bandwidth.

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I got a quote and it is considerably higher than business ADSL, why is that?

What is a leased line?

This definition is provided on the wiki page for leased lines:

A private bidirectional or symmetric telecommunications line between two or more locations provided in exchange for a monthly rent. Sometimes known as a private circuit or data line in the UK.

What do businesses used them for?

It is used by UK businesses to connect 2 business locations. The business locations are usually:

  1. another office
  2. a datacenter connected to the internet for internet access
  3. a datacenter on the business wide area network (WAN)

They have several attributes which mean they are purchased to run mission critical applications in businesses. Examples of such mission critical data applications include VOIP, data back-up, hosted applications and virtual private networking (VPN).

What makes leased lines ideal for these uses?

The main thing that businesses require is reliability and speed. It is a dedicated connection and this means several important things:

  1. The speed of the service is dedicated to you – effectively the bandwidth speed is all yours and not shared, as it is with contended services such as business DSL.
  2. The service is guaranteed – the guarantee applies to speed and uptime. The guarantee comes in the form of a service level agreement (SLA). The SLA is a contract between the business and the provider. Usually the SLA sets out a contractual guarantee that the speed e.g. 10Mbps will be available, for 99.99% of the time.
  3. The bandwidth’s speed is omnidirectional – this means it is the same speed upstream and the same speed downstream. There are significant application speed benefits of symmetrical bandwidth for VOIP, hosted applications, data backup and VPN.

It isn’t an internet connection on it’s own.

A business needs to procure internet access over the service. Typically a UK business will order a 10mb, 100mb or 1gb bearer. Then they will order or provision the appropriate amount of internet access over the bearer. For example a business may purchase 30mb of internet access over a 100mb bearer.

What determines the cost?

The main factors that determine how much it will cost are:

  1. Location – the location of the site to be connected is a key factor in cost. If fibre is already in the location or near it will be cheaper to provision the circuit.
  2. Competition – the more providers at a site, the cheaper the cost.
  3. Speed – the faster the speed of bearer and internet access provisioned, the higher the cost.

What are the advantages?

  1. The speed available is vastly superior and flexible for upgrade/downgrade
  2. Symmetrical bandwidth
  3. Guaranteed availability
  4. Guaranteed speed
  5. Highly secure

The main disadvantage is cost.

The ongoing rental is expensive. Depending on your location, there may be significant installation fees. These fees are called excess construction charges (ECC). You will have to wait between 30-90 days for an installation. This is because of the physical work, and potentially digging, to get the fibre to your installation premises.

I’m considering getting a fibre line installed. I’m not sure of the process. Will I need wayleave. Why is it necessary?

The only way to determine whether you need wayleave to install a fibre line is to begin the ordering process.

Shortly after ordering you will get a site survey date. This determines how the fibre broadband will be delivered to your premises. It also ascertains whether you will need a wayleave agreement.

What is wayleave?

A wayleave agreement is formed between landlord and carrier. Your landlord or freehold property owner, gives consent to infrastructure providers such as Openreach, Virgin Media Business etc to lay ducting and deliver fibre down that ducting. The ducting has to pass over land owned by the freeholder. A wayleave agreement needs to be granted by the landlord or property owner.

I don’t want to sign into a 3 year term without knowing if I can move my service. My lease only continues for another 18 months.

Yes they can. However, there are important factors to be aware of.

Often, you need to be in the 2nd year of your 3 year term to ensure you don’t pay high fees. So, on the basis you have 18 months left on your lease, you should be okay.

Typically, there is a one-off shift fee, of circa £500-£750 to move the service.

You need to factor in rental fee changes.  They won’t necessarily stay the same. If you move from Central London out to Bodmin Moor for example, the monthly cost will change. In this example upwards significantly. It is especially important to consider if for example you are thinking you might move your offices closer to home and you live in a rural location.

Moving within a city usually means your monthly costs for your leased line would broadly remain the same.

Some providers can treat a move just like a new installation. The service at the new site may take 70 working days to install (longer if there is a wayleave requirement or ECC’s discovered on survey). It important to plan the move with plenty of time to deliver the new service, and smoothly move your operation.

I’m not sure how many static IPs I need, or how many you get when you order a fibre line.

The number of IPs you need depends on your usage .

IP addresses come in blocks of 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 etc.

You will need a dedicated IP address for each bit of hardware (e.g. router, firewall, webserver) or web services that will require a dedicated IP address.

Invariably businesses only require a handful, as most of their applications are hosted these days.

Most providers give a standard block of 4 or 8 IPs as part of the service.

Requests for IP blocks larger than 8 will require a RIPE application to justify the block size. Your account manager should be able to help guide you on this and steer you on how many IPs your company will need.

I’ve heard that leased lines are a lot more secure than other Internet services. So do I need a firewall?

We would always recommend using a firewall. Unless you publish your IP addresses to the world, it would be hard for someone to infiltrate your network, but far from impossible.

You need to ask yourself the implcations of: someone infiltrating your network and stealing financial, personal or employee data; someone hijacking your leased line to send viruses and blacken your reputation; someone completely trash your operation system and preventing your business from operating for a period of time. What would the implications be?

You need to get a firewall. You can get managed firewalls either as hardware or software. Cyber security is a major part of business today and skimping on this leaves you open to serious repercussions.

Get a firewall!

I’m at my wits end. This has taken way too long and I don’t get any relevant updates from my provider.

First question is, what reasons are you being given for the delay?

Delivering fibre ethernet lines can occasionally hit some snags. Infrastructure providers (e.g. Virgin or Openreach) can find that the ducts they want to use are full. Or the ducting they need to access is running underneath a busy road and they need to apply for a traffic management permit in order to access the ducts safely.

That said, you should have been made aware at the sales stage about such risks. You should be planning risk time into the delivery to mitigate any standard delays.

Importantly though your service provider should be communicating with you effectively about the delivery of your service.  The reasons and schedules of works pertinent to any delay should be clear to you.

It really is down to the selection of your provider, some are great at this and take customer delivery seriously, some just want your order and then don’t really care what happens next.

I know the engineer installed some kit in one of our racks, but I have no idea what it looks like. Can anyone help?

It depends on which supplier you have as the underlying infrastructure (BT Openreach or Virgin), and also if you have a Fibre Ethernet line or EFM (Ethernet First Mile) installed.

BT Openreach NTE ­ ADVA FSP150CP

openreach nte

Virgin Alcatel OmniSwitch 6250­8M – for Fibre Ethernet Leased Lines

alcatel nte

EtherAccess LA­210 – for EFM Leased Lines

rad etheraccess nte

I have 3 quotes.  All of the quotes are using different routers. All of the providers are claiming they are a really good router. I’ve heard of Cisco, but not of the others (Juniper and MikroTik). How do I decide?

If you order a managed service from a reputable provider, then the router hardware that they use is broadly insignificant. It is the provider’s responsibility to manage that device on your behalf. As long as they are comfortable supporting it, then you should be fine.

However, a critical thing to understand is what happens if you have a hardware failure. Routers are hardware equipment after all. There is always the risk of malfunction.

You should get an understanding about how reliable each manufacturer’s equipment is. Does it have a reputation for incurring faults. If your hardware fails, so does your connection to the Internet.

Also critical is what happens in the event of a router failure? Is there a hardware replacement SLA? If your hardware fails how quickly would a pre-configured replacement be with you? 4 hours? 1 day?

Remamber if your hardware fails, your connection to the Internet fails too.

Managed routers are used mainly as a gateway. They provide little function other than that. As long as you are comfortable with reliability reputation and replacement times, then it is of little consequence which brand is provided.

I need a block of 32 static IP’s. My provider is saying I need to justify this to RIPE. There is a fairly involved process for this.

IPv4 addresses are now in short supply and ISP’s are becoming more and more protective of their allocations.

In the past businesses would just order large blocks of IPs, in case they needed them. Because there were so many, they were just given out. This has caused a large redundancy problem, and IP’s are now in short supply.

With NAT (Network Address Translation) and PAT (Port Address Translation) there is less of a need for organisations to order/require large blocks of IPs. The determining factors for IP allocation to different devices and services have changed.

When you request a certain block request size, many ISP’s will be quite demanding on what you want them for. They will investigate the equipment/services you want to allocate them to, and whether you have considered NAT/PAT to get round the need for a large block of IPs.

My business wants to run VOiP phones on an installed 10Mbps EFM.  I just need to know if I’ll need to upgrade my line before I do this?

It really depends on how many concurrent calls (ongoing inbound and outbound calls) you will need at any given time. Typically providers allow for 80 to 100Kbps per concurrent call when putting voice traffic over a data connection.

As an example, if you wanted to have 10 concurrent calls, then when these calls are taking place, it would saturate roughly 1Mbps of your available bandwidth.

I’m told FTTP is available at my location, but I can’t seem to find anyone who can give me a quote for the service. Any ideas?

Fibre to the Premises is being shown as more frequently available on the BT Wholesale DSL checking website, but I don’t think ISP’s have found a cost effective method to deliver the service.It’s a matter of waiting for the first one to take the plunge and get the market for it moving.

With speeds quoted at 300Mbps up and down, it’s certainly going to be great when it does start getting delivered!

I’ve had a site survey completed. The engineer said I need to provide an asbestos register. Is this really necessary?

Not always. Virgin are sticklers for this and 99% of the time, if you are having a Virgin Media Business line installed, you will need to go and get one. BT Openreach take a slightly more relaxed view. If the ducting is in place and there is capacity in the ducting for your fibre, and they will not need to drill through any walls to terminate the service in your comms room (or wherever you will be terminating the service).  Then they don’t typically request one.

Some installations do require some level of drilling, or going into ceiling voids etc, and if this is required, then the infrastructure providers have a responsibility to their employees to ensure they are protected from risks such as asbestos. In order to do that, they have to see the register to see that the building is free from asbestos and they are safe to deliver your leased line service.

During the service delivery of a Leased Line, sometimes the Operator will later discover that in order to continue the external circuit build via a certain route chosen (usually selected due to it having the shortest distance) that access via ‘Public Thoroughfare’ such as Roads, Pavements & Car Parks is required in order for them to continue the external civils work towards the premises.

In order to deliver the service via these routes they will need to seek the relevant permissions/permits from the the Local Highways Authority/Council for the work to begin.

For example, if the Operator needs access to dig roads, or access Manholes in order to run Fibre Cabling (which will cause disruption to Traffic), the Operator must seek permission from the Local Council to close either portions or entire sections of roads/public pathways off.

Broadband is effectively just a term given to an Internet service and most often will be applied to ADSL or FTTC based services, which are ‘Shared’ or ‘Contended’ services. These are services that carry very little in the way of guarantees in terms of speeds or repair times (SLA’s).

Leased Lines are truly dedicated services and more often than not refer to ‘Fibre Ethernet’ services, or ‘EFM’. These services are ‘uncontended’ and will provide guaranteed bandwidth speeds (upload and download) and sub 6 hour repair times which is critical for most businesses.

A shared or contended service is one in which multiple users, which could be businesses or residences, share the line.

Any residence or business served by a given local box, will then all be competing for a finite amount of bandwidth.

It’s like all the homes and businesses in your area living in the same building and only having one Internet connection that you are all fighting for.

Whilst normally okay for standard home/recreational use, increasingly bandwidth hungry applications (VoIP, Back-ups, VPN’s, Hosted Services such as Microsoft 365) are pushing contended services to the limits of their capacity.

This is when most business users turn to a leased line.

Leased lines are delivered using a bearer of typically either 100Mb or 1GB.
On a 100Mb bearer you can start with as little as 10Mbps upload/download and then scale upwards in 10Mbps increments to a maximum of 100Mbps.

Similarly on a 1Gb bearer, this is replicated but just in 100Mbps increments, meaning the minimum starting point on a 1Gb bearer is 100Mbps.

This really depends on two factors.

Firstly, what sort of business are you? If you’re an online advertising agency and need to upload content to channels like Vimeo or Youtube, chances are 10Mbps will not be enough. If you’re a small solicitors practice and host all of your own practice management systems and such, then chances are it would be perfect.

Secondly, what services are you running? If you are using multiple cloud based applications and wanting to run your voice and video conferencing  services over the circuit, then you may well struggle. If you really don’t do more than send emails and browse websites, then this could be just the service for you.

Overall, speak to an Amvia specialist and let us help guide you to selecting the best Internet service for your business and budget.

The Fit & Test is the last site visit made by the Operator (Openreach, Virgin etc) before the service is finally built and  tested by the Operator which is then handed over to us as live. Normally after confirmation has been received that the Fit & Test was successful, we are able to arrange your Amvia ‘Go-Live’ within 5-10 working days thereafter.
This is the last stage in the provisioning process of a Leased Line.

It is when we have received handover of service from the Operator and tested the circuit remotely.  

We then offer a proposed date, for us to talk you through setting up your equipment onsite.

This is not always necessary as we send out a guide. This covers what to do leading up to the ‘Go Live’ date.

Test Rod & Tubing often relates to the external civils works being performed by the Operator in order for the service to be delivered towards the premises. This often includes fibre cabling being run across the Operator’s Infrastructure.
You are allowed a bank of 4 static IP’s (1 usable) without any justification, free of charge. We can also provide you with a bank of 8 static IP’s (5 usable) free of charge however justification will be required i.e. what devices do you have that need them and why are these devices crucial to your business etc. Additional IP’s will come at a cost and further justification.
Yes, in order for us to provision your inclusive ADSL failover circuit we will require an available PSTN which must be free of any broadband/fax machine service etc.
The first port of call would always be via the online ticketing system to then raise a support ticket, which would be responded to swiftly. If you have no means of using the online portal for this then you can call the main support number. Yes 24/7 support is provided.
If the service issue has not been resolved within the SLA then for every hour outside of the fix window that the issue has not been resolved a percentage of what you pay Amvia for your monthly fees will be returned to you in the form of Service Credits. Please refer to the main SLA for more details.
Yes, quite often the Carrier will impose an upgrade fee of typically £250-£500, however this is not always the case.

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