Understanding Leased Line Installations
When you compare leased line prices for your business, you may notice that each quote you receive will indicate that the price is ‘subject to survey’. So what exactly does ‘subject to survey’ really mean?
The price that a leased line provider will quote a business will be based on what that provider expects the installation of the leased line equipment to cost in total. This is based upon the information that has been provided.
However, during these early stages, a provider will not usually have all the information that they require to give a definite price to the business. That’s why a comprehensive survey will need to be carried out prior to installation.
Most leased line installations will take around 45 working days or 3 months. However, if extra work comes back after the survey, or you order with Virgin, this can take much longer.
What is a Leased Line Survey?
Let’s start by answering the question ‘what is a leased line?’. As the name suggests, a leased line is leased. It’s a high capacity data network belonging to a carrier, such as BT Openreach or Virgin Media, for example, that is rented by your leased line provider in order to provide a fast, reliable, and symmetrical service to your premises.
A site survey is completed before any leased line installation to assess if any extra construction work needs to be done. It’s rare that there would need to be more work but if there no fibre in the area or its rural you may be more likely to get extra work for the leased line installation to go ahead.
All site surveys are completed by Openreach who have strong ties to BT. Virgin and other providers have been trying to change this Ofcom got involved & believe it is now monitored to ensure fairer waits for customers from all providers.
Ofcom has applied pressure to Openreach to ensure leased line installations happen quicker. That being said Virgins leased line installation time is the worst in the industry & nothing to do with the surveys as far as I know.
Leased Line Installation Survey Results: What Do They Mean?
The good news is that most businesses will be located in areas of existing high capacity data networks, which means that in many cases there will be very little construction work, or perhaps even none at all, that needs to be carried out in order to connect the premises. Business located in more rural areas may find that there isn’t a suitable existing network, or that existing networks do not have any more capacity.
If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic. It is still possible to have a leased line installed for your business. Following the survey, your provider will inform you of what construction work would need to be carried out. In order to get your premises connected, will be provided with a quotation for excessive construction charges (ECC). At this point, you can decide whether or not to go ahead with the order.
If extra work is needed this will come at a cost which can be hundreds of thousands in the worst locations, although that is extremely rare. Common reasons you may see excess construction charges on leased line installs include :
- Physically digging up a road/public path to enable the leased line installation
- Needing to do construction on a listed or protected building or bit of land (this will usually add more time as appropriate planning permission would be required)
- Digging through a farmers field or privately owned land. Again this would add time due to needed relevant permissions.
- Any construction that could cause a loss of service to another local business eg. digging through/around their business.
Anything that requires physical work to complete the leased line installation may come at a cost to you. Some providers may absorb some of the cost for you so it’s worth asking. However, if you did get ECC’s you can always simply back out of the contract at that stage.
‘Subject to Survey’
‘Subject to survey’ means that there may be additional ECC charges on top of the quoted installation price, depending on the results of the survey. A provider cannot be 100 percent sure on what works may need to be undertaken at the time of quoting, so this is simply a way to cover themselves should there be any obstacles along the way.
However, in many cases, any differences from the quoted price will be negligible if anything at all, so it’s safe to say that quoted leased line prices are a pretty good representation of total cost.