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How to choose the best business broadband

By Claire Nottage
Thursday, June 15th 2017

If you run a small business or work from home, you might be considering a business broadband package. With useful extras such as enhanced customer service and 24-hour support, choosing a dedicated business package can be a smart move.

However, with a lot of options available, it can be hard to know where to start. We look at the benefits of a business package, which providers to look at, and what you should consider before you make your purchase.

What is the difference between business broadband and home broadband?

You may be wondering whether you even need business broadband, but there are distinct benefits in signing up to a business package that you won't get if you stick with home broadband.

Enhanced service and reliability

The main reason to buy a business broadband connection is the reliability and peace of mind this should bring. Business broadband packages come with enhanced customer service and technical support, and offer guarantees to fix any problems within hours – not something you will ever get with a home broadband package. If you have an internet-reliant business, this kind of service is invaluable.

Static IP addresses and web space

If you run one or more websites, then you need a static IP address. Most business broadband providers will include at last one free static IP – but many offer more. Some providers also offer free web space as part of the package.

Better security and hardware

You will receive a superior router with a business package, able to support the size of your business, even as it grows, and keep it safe with stronger security software that will block spam, viruses and inappropriate websites before they even get to your computers, thereby offering a double layer of protection.

Featured deals

Depending on what you are looking for, there are plenty of business packages to choose from. The deals listed below are some of the most popular, but many different options are available depending on your individual needs.

Do you run a small business?
For unbeatable offers and advice, call us on 0330 053 5740 Call 0330 053 5740

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  • BT Business Broadband Unlimited

    BT
    • Up to 17Mb business broadband
    • Unlimited monthly usage
    • Free UK-based support
    Cable.co.uk Awards Winner 2016
    £28 .90
    £8 set-up cost includes line rental See Deal
  • Plusnet Business Unlimited Broadband + Calls

    Plusnet Business
    • Up to 18Mb unlimited broadband
    • Up to 1Mb upload speeds
    • Just pay for the calls you make
    £13 .50
    £4.99 set-up cost includes line rental See Deal
  • TalkTalk Business Simply Broadband Business

    TalkTalk Business
    • Up to 17Mb Broadband
    • Unlimited Monthly Usage
    • 1 Static IP on request
    £22 .95
    £57.99 set-up cost includes line rental See Deal
  • XLN Telecom Business Broadband

    XLN Telecom
    • Up to 17Mb broadband
    • Unlimited monthly usage
    • Pay for the calls you make
    £16 .95
    £9.99 set-up cost includes line rental See Deal

Who provides business broadband?

Many familiar household names supply business broadband as well as home broadband, including BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Plusnet. XLN is a more specialised business provider.

BT business broadband

BT's business packages offer solid value for money with 24-hour support and a good range of extras. If you're looking for a good all-round business package, BT is a good place to start.

BT business offers up to 17Mbps standard broadband, or up to 76Mbps fibre for small businesses. Within these speed brackets there is a range of choice, from the very basic unlimited broadband with no extras, to the Premium Infinity + UK calls. This top package also comes with Microsoft Office 365 Premium, PC Support and 1 free static IP address.

BT Business has 24/7 technical support for your broadband and for your Mac or PC, comes with 10 email addresses, 50MB of web space for your website, and the BT Business Hub 5 wireless router.

You also get free use of BT’s public wi-fi wherever it is available.

Plusnet business broadband

Owned by BT, Plusnet also offers a good business proposition, with the essential 24-hour support for when things go pear-shaped.

Plusnet offers two core options for business broadband – standard unlimited broadband up to 18Mbps and unlimited fibre up to 76Mbps. Both packages come with PAYG calls as standard.

24/7 support is included, along with one static IP address, one free web domain and 250Mb of webspace. You can have as many email addresses as you want. A fairly standard wireless router is included for free, which you may wish to consider upgrading.

Plusnet does not offer computer support, but it does include Plusnet Safeguard which can block unwanted websites but does not block spam or malware – you will need separate security software for that.

TalkTalk business broadband

TalkTalk's business packages represent value for money but do not include extras such as free web space or hardware support. Plus, the technical support line is not 24-hour.

TalkTalk structures its business packages slightly differently, in that it offers two levels of service – Simply and Complete. Both packages come with unlimited broadband up to 17Mbps as standard, with the option to upgrade to up to 76Mbps fibre. The standard service comes with 1Mbps upload speeds and the fibre service comes with up to 20Mbps upload speed.

The Simply package comes with unlimited standard broadband up to17Mbps and pay-as-you-go calls. You can choose to upgrade to 76Mbps fibre. A TalkTalk router is included at no extra charge, along with one IP address (on request). Simply comes with Worksafe – a network-level security package to protect all your devices. Support is offered seven days a week from 8am-8pm, and TalkTalk aim to provide a resolution to any fault reported within 24 hours.

The Complete package also offered unlimited broadband (standard or fibre) but comes with unlimited UK and landline calls. Up to four static IPs are available on request. Technical support is 8am-8pm seven days a week and a wireless router and Worksafe security software are included in the package. In addition, no charge is made should you need to move premises.

Virgin Media business broadband

Virgin is renowned for its high-speed broadband and it more than lives up to its reputation with its business broadband packages. You get a great deal of extras included in what is a pretty all-encompassing package, along with some of the fastest download speeds available. However, it is not a budget option.

Virgin offers four different unlimited speeds: 50Mbps, 100Mbps, 200Mbps and 300Mbps. You can choose broadband-only or broadband and phone. All packages come with up to 15Mbps upload speeds apart from the 50Mbps package which only offers 5Mbps uploads.

Broadband and unlimited inclusive phone calls is not available with a 50Mbps package – you have to sign up to 100Mbps or more. The 50Mbps bundle comes with PAYG calls only.

Virgin offers 24/7 support and one free static IP address (on request). The technicians aim to restore your connection with 24 hours of the problem being reported.

For additional peace of mind, you can sign up to HomeWorks from £9.99 per month. This add-on package comes with 24/7 IT support in the form of Virgin’s Gadget Rescue team to solve any problems with your hardware. You also get a visit from a technician to check the efficiency of your wi-fi and your security. F-Secure Safe, Virgin’s anti-virus software is also included, along with F-Secure KEY that generates and remembers passwords for you.

Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 4947 0808 168 4947
for sales, upgrades and advice

Monday to Sunday 8am-9pm

XLN

Not a familiar household name, XLN is an established business broadband provider, offering well-priced packages, including 24/7 support. Extras are minimal however, and there is a complicated, tiered support system.

Much like TalkTalk, XLN offers two levels of service – Basix and Max. You can then choose standard broadband up to 17Mbps, up to 38Mbps fibre or up to 76Mbps fibre. All packages come with unlimited downloads, a free router and free online security.

In terms of technical support, XLN run a 24/7 support line and there are four levels of care to choose from. Level 1 is free and aims to fix a fault within three working days. Level 2 will get a fault repaired within 48 hours and costs £1.20 per month. Level 3 aims to fix the problem within 24 hours and costs £3.95 per month, and Level 4 will get you up and running again within 6 hours – this costs £5.49 per month.

If you move premises, you may not be able to keep your existing phone number, and you may be subject to a service transfer charge.

All packages come with a static IP address and email address as standard, but no web space for setting up a website.

How to choose the best business broadband

Much as with choosing home broadband, choosing business broadband requires an understanding of your own individual requirements. Here is a list of things to consider:

1.What speed do you need to run your website?

What sort of a business do you run? Do you use your website as an online store? Is it for marketing and advertising only? The size and demands of your website will dictate what speed connection you need. If you are constantly adding or updating content you will benefit from a connection with a fast upload speed.

2.How much do you use your landline?

If you do not need a landline and rely largely on your mobile phone for business calls, then it’s worth considering a broadband-only deal. If, on the other hand, you use your phone a lot, then look for a broadband and inclusive calls package.

3. How many computers or devices do you use?

If you are a one-man-band then a standard broadband connection should be adequate, but if you run more than one or two devices – including computers, tablets, and phones – then a fibre connection is your best bet.

4.Are you heavily reliant on your website or could your business survive without it in the short term?

If all your business is conducted online, then choose a package with a strong customer support (and service record) as every minute without connection is lost revenue.

Also, it might be worth investing in tech support for your hardware, as even if your internet connection is fine, if your computer dies, you are just as stuck.

Other things worth thinking about are free cloud storage and web space. Some business broadband companies include these, and some do not. Think about what you need and consider your budget before making your final decision.

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