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FTTP vs leased line

Fibre optic cable is fast becoming the only internet connection to have. With the retirement of the PSTN fast approaching, the roll out of this future-proofed technology is speeding up. But, whilst many connections are widely labelled fibre broadband there are still different options to choose from. 

In this article we will explain the difference between two; fibre to the premises (FTTP) and leased line. But before that, let’s have a quick overview of fibre broadband.

What is fibre broadband?

Fibre optic cable is the most up-to-date delivery method for internet connectivity. It has a much larger capacity for data transfer than standard copper cable and will therefore replace it when the PSTN is switched off.

Data travels down the individual fibres at the speed of light and unlike copper the signal strength doesn’t degrade over greater distances. As a result you will get faster upload and download speeds and a more stable and reliable connection.

What is FTTP?

FTTP or fibre to the premises is ultrafast broadband. Data is sent via the exchange to your local street cabinet and from there it’s entire journey is through fibre optic cabling directly into your premises. FTTP utilises existing shared fibre infrastructure and is therefore a contended service, which means you may see a dip in your speeds at peak times.

What is a leased line?

A leased line is dedicated fibre cabling directly into your premises. Unlike FTTP, leased lines do not utilise shared infrastructure so your data will be transferred directly from the internet to you. This means you will receive the full capacity of your connection at all times.

Speeds you will receive

FTTP is an asynchronous connection which means your download speed will be significantly higher than your upload speed. Currently FTTP connections can support speeds up to 1Gb, however most organisations will receive around 330Mbps due to the way the bandwidth is split between premises. For a cost, FTTP is upgradable and scalable, providing you have the required capacity from your connection to increase your speeds. 

With a leased line, you will receive the exact speeds you pay for because this is a 1:1 connection. Where leased lines really differ from FTTP is the fact it is a synchronous connection, therefore your upload and download speeds will be the same. 

Leased lines are also upgradable but on a bigger scale. When having a leased line installed you will be able to decide which bearer to get, you can usually choose between 1Gb and 10Gb. Both will support speeds upto 1Gb, and you will only pay for the capacity you use, so you could have a 100Mb connection on a 10Gb bearer. If you choose a bearer with more capacity than you require you can increase the speeds you receive to suit your requirements.

Service Level Agreements

Both types of connectivity will come with a service level agreement (SLA). The main difference is that Leased Lines are more stringent because it is a service that has been developed specifically for the commercial market. Standard fix times for leased lines is five hours whereas FTTP could be up to two days.


As a connectivity specifically designed with business in mind, Leased Lines are extremely reliable and offer a guaranteed uptime usually around 99.99%. In contrast, FTTP users can occasionally experience downtime or drops in speed due to it being a contended service.


FTTP isn’t currently widely available across the UK, whilst this is set to change it’s going to be a lengthy process. Leased Lines are available everywhere in the UK, if you can afford it. If you’re in a rural area then this type of connectivity will come at a premium and may be out of reach of many.

Which should I get?

This is a really difficult answer because both connectivity types have their advantages. 

FTTP provides ultrafast broadband without breaking the bank, bridging the gap between residential and commercial broadband. If you need a fast connection but don’t require a water tight SLA it’s definitely worth considering and shouldn’t be discounted out of hand if it is available to you. 

Leased Lines offer premium, gigabit, synchronous connectivity but it comes with a hefty price tag. If your organisation relies on its internet connection to remain operational then Leased Lines could be the best option for you. The strict SLAs that accompany the service ensure it will be fast and reliable 365 days of the year.

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Is DarkLight connectivity best suited to you?

Dark fibre is perfect if you are looking for a potentially limitless, ultrafast connection with complete flexibility and control.

If you fully rely on the internet, a dark fibre connection could be the best option for you.

Is Leased Line connectivity best suited to you?

Leased Lines are best suited to you if you have high bandwidth requirements and need a reliable, uncontended service.

It is ideal for you if you regularly carry out large uploads and downloads, use cloud based services and a VoIP telephone system as well as video conferencing, for everyday communication.

Is GPON connectivity best suited to you?

GPON is a great choice for you if you need gigabit speeds but don’t need them to be symmetrical. It is becoming more widely available across the UK but may not be immediately available to you yet.

Is Rural Fibre connectivity best suited to you?

If you want to make the move to full fibre, but are based in a rural area, this option is for you.

Is FTTP connectivity best suited to you?

If you have a number of users who use cloud-based applications to upload and download data on a daily basis, but don’t transfer large amounts of data, FTTP might be your best option.

Is Gfast connectivity best suited to you?

If your line cannot support a minimum of 100Mbps, this connection is not for you. Gfast must meet the speed as a minimum. 

If your line meets this need, and you’re looking for an ultrafast, consistent and reliable connection without the hassle and upheaval of construction work – this could be a good fit.

It’s worth noting that Gfast is a stop gap to FTTP, and is not a technology that is likely to be around for a long time.

Is FTTC connectivity best suited to you?

If you need more bandwidth but don’t really need a guaranteed speed, FTTC could be for you. It is widely available throughout the UK, making it suitable as a main connection. As this connection provides higher speeds than ADSL, it is also a good option for a back up to a leased line.

As with ADSL, once the PSTN is turned off in 2025/26, FTTC will become virtually obsolete and at the very least you will require FTTP to remain connected.



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Is DSL connectivity best suited to you?

DSL connections offer very limited bandwidth so it might be right for you if you typically use the internet for less data-intensive tasks. If you’re sending emails, browsing the web, downloading very small files and working with small amounts of data – you should be fine with DSL.

It is worth noting connections based on copper wire, like DSL, will be switched off in the UK by Openreach, with a phased approach due to begin at the end of 2025. If you don’t have a fibre connection at the moment, you’ll need to upgrade this as well as move to a VoIP telephone system.

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