Guide to Business Broadband
Many broadband providers now offer packages aimed at businesses. Small and large businesses, along with home office entrepreneurs are catered for. However, what makes these packages different to those available to regular home users? And are they really worth the extra monthly charge?
This guide to business broadband will help you decide.
What is business broadband and why is it important?
If your business relies on the internet, then you need to ensure you have a broadband service that is not just dependable and trustworthy, but that helps you get the most out of your internet use.
This is where business broadband comes in, as many internet service providers (ISP) now offer exclusive packages that address many of the concerns about running a business online, or being reliant on the web for information or communication purposes.
A good business broadband deal can help your business grow in a number of ways:
- Communication – A good business broadband deal will allow you to interact between offices. If you only have one office, business broadband should still assist you with communication to your clients and customers.
- Enhance processes – Broadband opens numerous opportunities to businesses. Not only does the internet itself allow you to use email and surf the web, but it is tailor made for business use as you can use it to set up your own website as a promotional tool or even to make cheaper phone calls over the internet via voice over internet protocol (VoIP).
- Improves security – A good business broadband package will offer you enhanced security. Possibilities include backing up your files online so that if you suffered PC or laptop problems you would not lose backlogged data. There should also be enhanced anti-virus and spyware protection.
- Priority service – Business broadband should offer you prioritised technical support. Being offline for a lengthy period of time could cost you serious amounts of money. As a consequence, most business broadband providers offer their clients a priority service so you can be sure your provider will do its best to get you back on track as soon as possible.
You should think about how important the web is to your business. Could you cope without it? What would happen if you were offline for a period of days or even just hours?
Though business broadband deals are usually more expensive than those for regular home use, they are generally considered to be a worthwhile investment.
There are many business broadband deals available in the UK, but how do you choose between them? This section of the business broadband guide will help you make your choice.
What you require from a business broadband deal is for you to decide, as each business has varying needs. However, here are some aspects you should consider before making your choice:
- Speeds – You will want to be able to complete downloads as quickly as possible and so you should look for fast speeds (probably 2Mb as a minimum, 8Mb for typical use, though speeds up to 24Mb are available). However, you should also consider upload speeds too as you may need to place information online, such as on to a company website. Most business broadband providers utilise technology that allows for faster uploads through processes such as symmetric DSL and optical carrier lines (that can transfer data at speeds up to 600Mb).
- Contention ratios – Broadband speeds can vary and are dependent on a number of factors including the volume of traffic being carried when you are logged on. The higher the contention ratio, the larger number of people that are using the service at any one time. Look to lower contention ratios to enjoy faster speeds.
- Security – Nearly every business broadband package on the market will offer enhanced levels of security such as anti-virus and spyware protection. Also look for additional elements such as firewalls and the ability to back-up your data online.
- Support – Is there a dedicated 24hr helpline and will your call be prioritised? Is there a guarantee to fix services within a set period of time?
- Networking – Does the business broadband package allow for networking – which is two or more computers sharing information and resources. If so, how many computers will it support and is there room for growth? Also, is wireless networking available?
- Static IP address – Receiving a static IP address as part of your package will allow you to enjoy remote access, pick up emails direct to your PC and more. Most business broadband deals include at least one static IP address.
- VoIP services – VoIP allows you to make calls over the internet as a cheaper alternative to a regular landline or mobile phone. See if you can get VoIP software from your broadband provider and are there a range of services available? VoIP is particularly useful for businesses with customers overseas as international calls are free to select countries.
- Price – As with any broadband deal you should pay close attention to the price and think about whether you are getting value for money. Consider the length of the contract and don’t be fooled by introductory rates.
By reading the earlier sections of the business broadband guide you should have a better understanding of what’s available and what you should look for from a good business broadband provider. In this final section we’ll explain how to secure a business broadband contract.
Where can you find business broadband?
There are a host of broadband providers in the UK that now offer business broadband deals. These include BT, Demon, Eclipse Internet, Pipex, PlusNet and Tiscali.
Many of these providers offer additional incentives, such as freebies to win your business. These may include free wireless routers or modems, access to Wi-Fi hotspots, free webspace, free anti-virus software and more.
As there is so much competition in the market, it’s well worth using a broadband comparison tool to compare the packages available. Remember to look beyond price and think about the requirements of your business and the features you require.