It is, perhaps, no secret that BT dominates the leased line market in the UK. So much so, in fact, that Ofcom have directly addressed this dominance by imposing stricter regulations for the provider, including caps on cost and improved installation times. Because of this, many business customers may find that their leased line contracts are actually split between their chosen provider and BT, where BT owns a portion of the line. You may find, for example, that a different provider can offer the majority of the service, but the last kilometre or so may need to be provided by BT if it is considered ‘off net’.
This results in slightly more complex leased line contracts for businesses, but is this really a problem? The good news is that, assuming you have selected a leased line provider with a strong UK reputation, such as Daisy, Colt, or Fusion, for example, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. You will, however, need to understand how these complex leased line contracts may affect your business:
Installation may be slightly extended when there is more than one provider involved in the process. However, with the introduction of Ofcom’s latest protocols for regulating installation of leased lines, installation services are expected to greatly improve.
Leased lines are known for their excellent service level agreements, but keep in mind that you may be required to accept a slightly degraded SLA for a complex contract. In this case, there will not only be an SLA between your business and provider, but between your provider and BT.
Fix Time –
As with SLA, should there be a fault on the line, reporting and receiving a fix isn’t quite as straightforward as if you had a direct contract with a single provider. You will need to take into account communications between the multiple providers when considering fix time.
Is It Worth It?
For many businesses, the deciding factors for leased lines are price, SLA, and fix time – this was what businesses primarily look at when they compare leased line providers online. Businesses that identify a suitable product that meets their needs in terms of allocated budget and service should not be deterred by complex contracts provided by two separate providers. As standardisation of leased lines becomes more commonplace thanks to Ofcom’s guidelines, businesses have less and less to worry about!