Pricing For Dedicated Internet Access

The Internet has become an essential part of most business operations today. Many companies require a reliable high-speed connection that is dedicated solely to their use. Dedicated Internet access (DIA) is an Internet service that provides businesses with a high-speed connection not shared with other users. The bandwidth is reserved solely for customer applications, and speed is not affected by other network users. Sounds great, right? However, the cost of a dedicated fiber line can be significant and depends on several factors. That includes the location’s distance to the fiber network, any construction and engineering required, bandwidth speed, SLA, equipment, and contract length. In this article, we will take a closer look at all these factors, including types of fiber access, the average cost of dedicated internet access, as well as some helpful provider information.

Dedicated Internet Cost Factors

There are several factors that can impact the cost of a dedicated internet line. Some of them are out of a customer’s control, but some are not. Understanding these factors can help businesses make informed decisions about their internet service needs and get the best dedicated internet access pricing.

On-Net

On-net refers to the presence of a dedicated fiber line already built to the location. These sites are also known as lit buildings. This is the single biggest factor in getting competitive dedicated internet pricing since costs to build fiber to a site can be very expensive. With fiber in place those construction costs have already been absorbed, giving providers more flexibility in dedicated internet pricing. On-net fiber access is also known as type 1 access.

Near-Net

Near-net refers to an existing fiber network close to the location but not built to the site already. Fiber networks are usually less than 1000ft away for near-net. This type of site requires a fiber buildout, but construction costs for near-net sites are typically low. In general, the process of installing fiber to a site usually takes 30-120 days.

Off-Net

Off-net would be locations beyond 1000ft or utilizing another fiber provider for access to the site, which is known as type 2 access. These sites tend to be the most expensive since there could be significant buildout costs to bring the site on-net. Also, type 2 access may have a cost markup included, increasing the dedicated fiber line pricing.

Location

Outside of on-net vs near-net vs off-net sites, location is another factor of dedicated internet access pricing. Dense urban areas tend to be the most competitive due to the sheer number of existing on-net buildings and providers. The downside is that fiber buildout costs and permits can be very challenging for locations that are not on-net already. Beyond major cities, metro areas and smaller cities can also be very competitive. This is due to lower buildout construction costs and less red tape with permitting. With rural areas and small towns, they have a limited selection of fiber providers and networks available. Choices for good locations can be slim at best for these areas. Internet traffic has to be backhauled to an internet POP, also adding to a dedicated internet line cost.

Internet Speed

As you might imagine, internet speed or bandwidth significantly affects dedicated internet access pricing. The cost of service almost always increases with speed, starting with 10x10Mbps up to 100x100Gbps in many urban areas. In some cases, there are provider promotions available that make certain higher speeds less expensive than a lower speed option. Unlike shared network services (DSL, Cable, Shared Fiber, Wireless), bandwidth is guaranteed and symmetrical. The speed you pay for is the speed you get, with connection performance backed by a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Service Level Agreement

A Service Level Agreement is a fundamental part of dedicated internet service, without it there are no guarantees on what you will get. If the service does not come with an SLA or only guarantees a minimum level of performance, that is a big red flag to consider. Most SLAs will guarantee service uptime, network latency, packet loss, jitter, and mean time to repair. In many cases, there are clauses for chronic outages as well as financial compensation for not meeting any of these metrics. Reviewing and comparing the SLA against the cost of dedicated internet access is always a good idea.

Contract Length

The length of the contract can also impact dedicated internet access pricing. One, two, three, and five-year terms are the most common. Many providers offer substantial discounts for a longer-term contract, such as three or five-year agreements. In some cases, promotions are available on shorter terms that offer competitive dedicated internet costs vs a longer contract term. Installation fees are also waived with longer terms, adding another potential benefit to those contracts.

Equipment

Another factor in a dedicated fiber line cost is the equipment included. Most of the time providing your own router (customer-managed) is a much lower cost than a provider-managed router. Having your own router also offers the ability to control and configure it for your specific applications. A provider-managed router offers very little access for the customer, requiring you to contact customer support for any configuration changes needed (if allowed). It’s more targeted towards organizations that lack the IT resources or want to outsource that role to a dedicated internet provider vs managing themselves.

Average Cost of Dedicated Internet Access – 2023

DIA ProviderOn-Net/Near-Net100x100Mbps1x1Gbps
AT&TOn-Net$600-800$1,300-1,500
AT&TNear-NetSameSame
VerizonOn-Net$600-800$1,000-1,200
VerizonNear-Net$800-1000$1,400-1,600
ComcastOn-Net$500-600$1,000-1,200
ComcastNear-Net$600-800$1,200-1,400
SpectrumOn-Net$600-700$1200-1400
SpectrumNear-NetSameSame
CoxOn-Net$600-700$1,500-1,600
CoxNear-Net$700-900$1,600-$1,800
LumenOn-Net$400-500$700-800
LumenNear-Net$600-800$1,000-$1,200
FrontierOn-Net$400-500$900-1,000
FrontierNear-NetSameSame
ZayoOn-Net$400-500$800-900
ZayoNear-Net$600-800$1,000-$1,200

Top Dedicated Internet Providers – Pros and Cons

  • AT&T – Dedicated Internet access pricing is flat-rate, meaning the same cost for on-net or near-net locations. They are a good option for locations that require construction since they will absorb those costs in most cases. If you are looking for a managed router, they have competitive options for that too. Also, AT&T fiber promotions are numerous and can make certain speeds in targeted markets very competitive.
  • Verizon – Typically a good option for on-net locations and full port speeds (100Mbps, 1Gbps, 10Gbps), with the best promotions typically for those speeds and locations. Dedicated fiber line costs for near-net and off-net sites can be fairly expensive. Verizon offers a good managed router service as well.
  • Comcast – Good option for on-net fiber sites, but can be pricey for near-net locations with more significant construction costs. Comcast will not absorb much of the buildout costs for these sites. Promotions can be limited, so on-net fiber really determines how competitive they will be with dedicated internet pricing.
  • Spectrum – They offer competitive pricing for both on-net and near-net since costs are the same. As with most cable companies, they do not absorb much in the way of fiber buildout costs, so off-net sites are rarely competitive. Promotions can vary but usually cover all speeds.
  • Cox – One of the more expensive dedicated internet providers, even for on-net locations. Not much is absorbed with construction and promotions are limited, but lower speeds tend to have the best pricing.
  • Lumen – Great option for on-net locations and larger bandwidth. Will work with customers on near-net sites to be competitive and absorb much of those fiber buildout costs. Promotions vary from time to time.
  • Frontier – Competitive for both on-net and near-net locations since dedicated fiber cost is the same. Can be very expensive for off-net sites. Promotions run consistently, but usually only for full port speeds.

Buying Dedicated Internet Access

When purchasing a dedicated internet service you need to take all these factors into consideration. Having a location that is in an urban or metro area, on-net, with a few competitive providers is a good start. Then using your own router, along with a longer-term contract, will offer the best dedicated internet pricing in most cases. You can’t always control all the variables, but having a few of these will get you a lower cost for dedicated internet access. Also, try using a telecom or technology consultant to assist with pricing dedicated fiber services. Their industry knowledge, experience, fiber network resources, and provider contacts, can help ease the frustrating process of getting dedicated fiber line costs.