How to choose the best broadband for your business
Reliable broadband is essential if you want to run a successful start-up. Here are the key considerations for choosing fast, dependable business broadband
If you want to run a business in 2018, internet access is important. If you want to run a successful business, reliable internet access is essential.
That’s why it’s worth investing in business broadband – these packages are fast, dependable and specifically designed to accommodate the requirements of a company, whatever size it may be.
That said, knowing which provider and package you need can be a little daunting – there are plenty of different options after all. Read on, and we’ll go into some of the most important things to consider, the options available, and ways you can find the *(lowest price)*.
Why get business broadband over residential?
Many people assume that they can use the same internet they get at home for their business. In the case of some sole traders or freelancers, they may be able to get away with that, but most companies should opt for a dedicated business package.
These deals come with a range of advantages over your garden variety home broadband, including:
- Dedicated or personalised customer service
- Service level agreements that guarantee uptime
- Faster connections with prioritised traffic for your business
- Better internet security
- Business-focused hardware
Things you should consider when choosing business broadband:
Before you start comparing different business packages, you should consider what it is you actually need it to do. Some new business owners start by looking at price, but that’s a mistake. After all, if the download speeds or level of support aren’t sufficient to support your business, it doesn’t matter how much of a saving you made – you’ll have a thoroughly miserable time.
Instead, I recommend you think about the following:
Obvious perhaps, but important. How fast do you need your broadband to be? If you have multiple employees, or internet access is essential for the way you do business, you should invest in a fast fibre package – at least 38Mbps or higher. These connections are typically more reliable and should support lots of users simultaneously without slowing to a crawl.
On the other hand, sole traders or those who only need internet access for email might be able to get away with a super-cheap ADSL package with advertised speeds around 10Mb.
It’s not just download speed you need to consider – upload speed is always extremely important. This governs how quickly you can send something from your devices over the internet – so if you regularly make video calls, connect to remote connections or VPNs or, say, manually process customer orders online, you’ll need it to be decent.
It only takes one particularly malicious virus to cause serious problems to your business, so make sure you have internet security set up. Some business broadband providers will include an internet security suite in their package as standard, others may charge extra for it. Or, if you have a savvy IT guy, you may prefer to go third party. Just make sure you’re protected!
One way that business packages differ from residential options is that they tend to come with a service level agreement. You’ll typically have a dedicated business customer service team, who can help you with any problems, provide advice on how to get more out of your setup, or just keep things running smoothly. The level of support can vary depending on the package, so factor this in when comparing options.
Most business providers will give you the option to add an integrated phone system or multiple lines. Consider how much you or your employees will be on the phone, and make sure you pick a call plan that can accommodate those needs.
Perhaps your business needs something special. If you have remote workers, for example, you may need a static IP to set up a virtual private network. Or if you have a serious need for speed and reliability, you could invest in a leased line – a dedicated connection that’s used solely by your business.
Though looking at price above all else is unwise, it is still important. After all, a budget can make or break a business. Once you’ve considered everything you need from your business package, use a comparison site like broadbandchoices.co.uk to compare only those packages that meet those requirements. The most affordable options will become apparent very quickly.
What type of broadband should you get?
With the above factors considered, it should be fairly simply for find an appropriate business broadband deal. But if you need a little more guidance, here are some common internet setups.
- Sole trader / home office – If constant internet access is crucial, a low-cost business package would be a safer option for you. That said, if you’re running an online-only business, you can probably get away with a fibre optic package, or even a residential broadband connection. That way, you won’t end up paying over the odds for a broadband package that isn’t right for you. Luckily, there are a lot of competitive residential broadband deals out there for you to choose from
- Small office – unlimited business broadband. If you have more than four employees, I’d also recommend you shop around for a fibre package
- Medium sized office – unlimited fibre optic business broadband, multiple phone lines. Fast broadband is essential for supporting multiple employees, and a static IP will be necessary if you want to run a server. I’d also make sure you have a good service level agreement in place to help ensure uptime
- Large office – unlimited fibre optic broadband, static IP, multiple phone lines, dedicated customer support team. Naturally you’ll want the fastest speeds possible to keep employees working online without blockages. Most large businesses will want to run their own servers and email, so you’ll need static IPs in place – this will also let you make VoIP calls (calls over the internet)
- Enterprise / very large office – leased line. If you have a lot of people to get online, a leased line is your best friend. Unlike standard packages, nobody else will share the cables, meaning you’ll get incredible speeds and reliability. Not all business broadband providers offer leased lines – BT Business or TalkTalk Business would be good starting points.
Bear in mind that these are suggestions only. No business is the same, and you may find that your company doesn’t fit easily into a box. If that’s the case, use a broadband comparison site to browse your various options – and you can always phone providers directly if you want specific advice.