BT has confirmed that, from 2016, they will cease supply of new instances of their very low bandwidth (VLB) leased line services, withdrawing all VLB services by 2020. This is believed to affect many transport operators and utility suppliers in the UK who utilise these services, including Network Rail, Scottish Water, and the Environment Agency, as well as businesses using ADSL2+ or SDSL internet connections.
VLB leased lines are leased lines that provide speeds of less than 2Mbps. They don’t always provide faster speeds than a business broadband service, but they do provide a symmetrical connection, providing many benefits for businesses looking for greater upload speeds. Under the proposed service withdrawal plans, business who use BT’s VLB services will need to identify a suitable alternative.
While this may seem like bad news on the surface, many are saying it’s actually a blessing in disguise. After all, the network is already ageing, making it more challenging for BT to maintain, higher speed leased lines are becoming much more favourable, and VLB leased lines were never really able to live up to expectations. To use VoIP with a VLB leased line, for example, businesses would require a protocol such as low latency queuing (LLQ) to prioritise voice traffic, along with RTP compression to minimise the total bandwidth use of the call. Ultimately, UK businesses are outgrowing VLB leased lines anyway.
So what’s the solution? Ofcom recommends that existing users ‘migrate to alternative services’, but just exactly what are the options available to businesses who have previously been using VLB services?
One of the most obvious solutions is to migrate to a business broadband service, which is the most cost-effective option. However, it can be challenging to return to business broadband following a symmetrical leased line, especially if your business requires a good upload speed for VoIP or cloud.
BT Leased Lines
Moving onto a BT leased line may be one of the easiest solutions for businesses. BT currently provides two leased line services for businesses – BTnet EFM/GEA and BTnet Ethernet Fibre which offer speeds between 2Mbps and 10Gbps, and accommodating between one and 100+ individual users.
Alternative Leased Lines
Remember that BT isn’t the only provider of leased lines in the UK, and this withdrawal of service is an excellent time to carefully consider different suppliers to find the best service and the best price. You can learn more about the different leased line providers in the UK by filling out our form. One of our specialists will get back to you with a bespoke quote.