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BT Business broadband review

By Tom Rodgers | Thursday, September 9th 2021

4/5

BT Business Broadband has near-universal name recognition, reasonable pricing and a few extras you can't get anywhere else. But is it any good? We take a look.

With standard and fibre broadband on offer, along with the option to include a static IP address and bolt-on calls packages, BT Business broadband is a popular option for many small to medium businesses. So what else does it having going for it?

Speed and packages

BT offers four main business broadband packages, all on 24-month contracts with a Digital Phone Line included as standard. The two entry-level options: Superfast Essential Broadband and Superfast Halo for Business Broadband offer download speeds of up to 76Mbps and upload speeds of up to 13Mbps. Each comes with unlimited data, so you can upload and download as much or as little as your business requires.

For companies that need more speed there are two fibre offerings: Full Fibre 150 or Full Fibre 900, again with unlimited data and Digital Phone Line included. Full Fibre 150 offers download speeds of up to 152Mbps and uploads of up to 29Mbps, while Full Fibre 900 offers download speeds of up to 900Mbps and uploads of up to 104Mbps.

Each package gets you BT's Guest Wi-Fi. This handy add-on boosts security by providing Wi-Fi access to guest users over a secure network that is entirely separate from your company network. This means you can provide your customers or office staff with free unlimited access to BT Wi-Fi and all without sharing your Wi-Fi password or log-in details. Guest Wi-Fi also automatically blocks any malicious or illegal content from your network for extra peace of mind.

In terms of business email, Microsoft 365 for business is available as an add-on service from just a few pounds per month. That gives you 50GB of hosted email space per user with POP access, all powered by Microsoft Office 365. A range of different packages are available for Microsoft add-ons, including cloud storage, secure communication tools, and Microsoft Office software like Word and Excel. There are options to increase the amount of hosting space all the way up to 1TB per user and add online access to Microsoft Office apps, but you will have to pay extra depending on your usage needs.

By joining BT you'll be given the option of downloading the BT Wi-Fi app, which means you can access over 5 million free BT Wi-Fi hotspots in supermarkets, airports and city centres across the UK. Free Wi-Fi can be a godsend if you're travelling for business, so this is a definite benefit.

a business full of broadband devices

The two Full-Fibre-branded BT Business broadband options cost a little more but come with a raft of useful extras, some of which are exclusive to BT. These include Hybrid Connect, a nifty piece of tech which switches your broadband connection over to EE’s 4G network when speeds are slow, and it comes with BT’s Always Connected Guarantee. You won't get that anywhere else.

The Superfast BT Halo for Business, Full Fibre 150 and Full Fibre 900 packages include a static IP address, which means you can access your computer from anywhere in the world: very important if you have freelance or remote workers. BT’s Enhanced IT Support is also included in these premium packages, giving you 24/7 access to help with everything from setting up printers to removing nasty viruses on your business devices.

Added new paragraph: As a bonus, qualified BT Business customers can get a free contactless card reader by Square, a smart payment provider that gives you the freedom to take fast & secure payments from your customers. They also offer free payment processing on your initial card transactions, a great benefit for any business wanting to go digital or accept payments from anywhere.

One important point to mention is that none of the BT Business packages available here come with SLA (service level agreements) to keep your business online. If there is a problem with your broadband you will be offline for as long as it takes to resolve the issue – this could be a matter of hours, or days.

Compare all business broadband

BT Business calling packages and digital phone lines

The UK's telecoms industry is changing from copper to full fibre for the entire country by 2025; this means that the old way to make calls over a traditional phone line must change and soon all calls will be made over the internet. BT is ahead of the game and is already offering digital phone lines instead of traditional landlines.

A digital phone line is simply a 'line' to make and receive calls like you’ve always done, but the technology to do so is via your broadband/fibre connection.

BT is offering all business broadband packages with their Digital Phone Line service, so as long as it’s available in your area, you can use that instead of a phone traditional line. You can check availability in your area using the postcode checker.

Is BT Business broadband fast enough for your needs?

BT's standard speed broadband - with up to 76Mbps downloads and up to 19Mbps uploads - may be enough for sole traders, or for small businesses with only one or two employees. However, BT's premium fibre offerings - Full Fibre 150 or Full Fibre 900 – are much more likely to satisfy the needs of today's businesses.

Downloads of up to 900Mbps and uploads of up to 104Mbps are now standard speeds for premium packages in the industry. They're not the fastest you can buy (that's Virgin Media), but they do offer a fast service at a reasonable price point. Just be aware that the advertised speeds are a guide, and not everyone will be able to achieve speeds at all times.

Download and upload speeds will vary depending on how far your business is from the nearest telephone exchange (closer is better), the time of day (usually slower during peak hours of 8am to 8pm), and how many people are using your connection at once. If you’ve already switched to a digital phone line, your business’s distance to a telephone exchange won’t impact your speeds.

BT Business broadband upload speeds

The standard 76Mbps BT Business Broadband packages can only provide upload speeds of up to 29Mbps. While other providers selling standard speed broadband can manage a bit more, upload speeds are comparable with the rest of the market. For fibre services – that's Full Fibre 150 or Full Fibre 900 – you can get upload speeds of up to 104Mbps which are much more competitive, and may be essential, depending on your business.

Installation

Engineers work on green street cabinets to install or switch over your broadband to BT, so you shouldn't suffer any disruption in the office. BT says its minimum lead time to switch over your broadband from another supplier, or to install a new broadband and phone line, will be at least 10 days.

a bt openreach van

If you already have BT Home Broadband and you're switching to BT Business Broadband, the news is a little better: you could be up and running in five days, but you can still use your old broadband connection until the switchover takes place. You can track the progress of your order on the BT website.

Router

Every new BT Business Broadband customer will receive BT's Business Smart Hub 2 router in the post. It looks very similar to BT's Smart Hub 2 router for residential customers, and that's because it is. It offers excellent wi-fi range across your property.

In terms of operating the router, it's pretty much plug and play so there are no complicated options to arrange before you can get online.

Reliability

BT stakes a lot of its reputation on providing a reliable service for businesses. Quite apart from the sales spiel, you can get a good feel for how reliable a service is on a day-to-day basis by checking BT's page on the independent DownDetector service. There you'll be able to see reports from customers when BT broadband is down, and find out how the business is handling it.

One of the key selling points for BT Business Broadband is the fact that they promise no traffic management nor any fair-use policy for downloading data. This means your connection really is unlimited and sets BT Business apart from the competition.

BT's Service Status page allows you to see if any issues with your phone line or broadband are just affecting you or a whole area. You can also livechat with BT Business and while the connection is rarely instant, you can usually get through to a customer service agent in a matter of minutes.

Customer service

The key to any successful relationship – business or otherwise – is good communication. When things go wrong with business broadband you want to know that your provider is on your side and you have an account manager willing to bend over backwards to fix your issues.

According to Ofcom's most recent report on service quality, BT Business only offers customers an end-of-next-business-day target time for repairs and fault fixing. This compares unfavourably with other operators so it is worth keeping in mind when choosing your business broadband product.

Conclusion

While BT's home broadband customer service reputation might put off some small business owners, the simple fact is that they have the widest coverage across the UK for business broadband.

It's certainly not the cheapest brand on the market, and upload speeds on the basic packages may be an issue if you work with data-intensive applications on a regular basis. The addition of premium services which include Hybrid Connect, static IP addresses, BT Enhanced IT Support and access to a free Square Contactless Card Reader should sweeten the deal, though.

There are also features you can't get anywhere else, like Hybrid Connect with its Always Connected Guarantee and Guest WiFi. So BT Business Broadband is definitely worth a look if you're searching for a new business broadband provider.

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