What is business broadband?
Business broadband packages are designed to fit the needs of small or medium-sized businesses, with extras that are generally not available with home internet. These can include a static IP address, faster speeds at peak times and extra security. Business broadband generally costs more than home internet, but many of the extra features are essential for running a business.
Do I need business broadband?
Reliable internet access is vital to most businesses, and business broadband comes with extra levels of support than can be vital if things suddenly go wrong, as well as extra security. In addition, if you’re running a server or want to set up VoIP calling, you’ll need a package with a static IP address. Plus, business broadband can offer a guaranteed level of service, as well as web hosting and email.
Which providers offer business broadband?
Many companies that provide home broadband services also offer deals on business broadband, so the names here may well be familiar to you.
- BT Business – The UK’s biggest telecoms provider has a range of business plans for companies of all sizes. Their superfast broadband offers speeds of up to 76Mbps, and their ultrafast broadband provides speeds of up to 314Mbps. Leased lines are even capable of providing up to 10Gbps.
- Virgin Media Business – Virgin offers business broadband speeds of up to 500Mbps and upload speeds of up to 35Mbps. Phone lines and mobile handsets can be added, and static IP addresses are included.
- Plusnet Business – Plusnet’s business offering is aimed at small businesses, with the speeds on offer no different to its residential broadband packages. The difference is the inclusion of features such as 24/7 support.
- TalkTalk Business – TalkTalk offers cheap ADSL broadband packages for businesses, with or without a call package, as well as fibre deals and leased lines.
- XLN Telecom – XLN doesn’t offer residential broadband packages, and its business deals are firmly aimed at small businesses. Like most of the providers here it uses the Openreach broadband network, so it offers a top speed of 76Mbps.
- Vodafone Business – Vodafone, as with its residential packages, offers a simple choice between two fibre deals, and it just depends on how fast you want your broadband to be. Choose from an average download speed of 35Mbps or 63Mbps.
- Hyperoptic – Hyperoptic offers gigabit business broadband over its FTTP (fibre to the premises) infrastructure. There are also speeds of 30Mbps and 150Mbps if you don’t need gigabit broadband.
- Direct Save Telecom – Budget provider Direct Save has a range of business broadband deals offering both ADSL and fibre. If you’re happy to have a usage cap then you’ll save a fair bit, but there are also unlimited deals available.
Important things to consider when choosing business broadband
There are quite a few additional considerations to bear in mind when choosing business broadband compared with choosing a residential service. Take a look at our broadband jargon guide for more information on some of the terms used below.
- Priority service and technical support – This is often the major difference between a provider’s residential and business broadband packages. Some providers offer to fix faults within a certain number of hours and have a dedicated business helpline.
- Static IP address – Most IP addresses are dynamic: that is, they change every time you switch on your computer. But there are a number of reasons why a business would want a static one – it makes it easier to access your computer remotely and is necessary if you want to host a website, run a server or run CCTV.
- Faster uploads – Business broadband packages often come with faster upload speeds than residential plans. If you send a lot of large files, then a faster upload speed is likely to have a positive impact on your working day.
- Web hosting and email – Some providers include web hosting and email hosting in their business broadband packages.
- Leased lines – Leased lines are dedicated connections that you don’t share with any other user, meaning there’s no competition for bandwidth. You also get a symmetrical connection, so upload speeds are the same as download speeds.
- Remote computer access – Allowing your staff to access their work computer remotely can open up a world of possibilities in terms of flexible working, so it’s worth checking whether a provider will include this in your business broadband deal.
- Security – Providers will often throw in some security software such as an anti-virus package with their broadband deals.
- Priority network access – This means that at peak times, when the network is at its busiest, your business will take priority over residential users, so you shouldn’t experience any dip in speed or performance.
- Router – Most business broadband deals come with a free router. This is often the same as the router you’d get with a residential deal, so it’s up to you to decide whether that’s going to be enough for your business needs.
- ADSL or fibre – If you’re on a tight budget, ADSL business broadband deals are available from a number of provider. But many businesses will want the greater speed and reliability that comes with a fibre deal.
- Service Level Agreement (SLA) – With business broadband deals in particular, providers may well be open to negotiation when it comes to an SLA, which defines the level of service that is to be expected.
- Cloud storage – Cloud storage can be a nice little bonus to have included in your broadband plan.
Business phone packages
As well as having additional broadband needs, businesses often require more phone services than residential customers.
- Business phone numbers – Look out for the type of phone number being offered with your business phone package. It might be that you want a local number for your customer base. Alternatively, you might feel that a non-geographic number, possibly even a freephone one, would be better if you’re trying to attract customers from around the country.
- Second line – This won’t usually be advertised as part of the initial deal, but your business phone provider might be able to provide you with a second line. If this is important to you, it’s worth asking about before signing up.
- VoIP – VoIP, which stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, lets you make calls over the internet rather than over a standard phone line, often meaning better quality and potentially cheaper calls.
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