If your business relies on the internet, then you need to ensure you have a broadband service that is dependable. Many small businesses simply look for the cheapest option and that usually translates to a broadband package designed primarily for residential use. Business broadband packages generally offer a more reliable and more secure service.
Choosing the right package can be daunting but 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 internet for information or communication purposes.
Here are some aspects you should consider before selecting a broadband package for your business:
Not all broadband providers operate in every area. Your local broadband exchange will determine what business broadband providers are available in your area, and what download speeds you can expect. You can use an online service such as broadband checker at Sam Knows to find out more about your local broadband exchange and the packages available.
You will want to be able to complete downloads as quickly as possible and so you should look for fast speeds (typically 2Mb as a minimum and ideally 8Mb, though much higher speeds are available from some providers). If you tend to send large documents or images then you should also consider the upload speed which is typically a lot less than the download speed.
The broadband you choose may have a maximum speed (often the speed shouted about the most) but this can be massively affected by how many people can use the service at the same time. The higher the contention ratio, the greater the number of people that can use the service at any one time. Look for lower contention ratios to enjoy faster speeds.
Static IP address
Your IP address is a set of numbers that identifies your business internet connection. If you want staff to be able to easily connect to your network from home or other locations then you need a static IP address and some broadband services only use dynamic (regularly changing) IP addresses. Check the service uses the right type for your needs.
What sort of support is provided with the package? Many residential packages keep costs down by keeping support to a minimum and sometimes only provide online support with no option to speak to a real person. If your business broadband isn’t working it’s essential you can find out what’s happening and get urgent assistance if required. 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?
Does the business broadband package allow for networking (i.e. two or more computers sharing information and resources). If so, how many computers will it support and are there options for growth?
It’s important to think about security when choosing your business broadband. Nearly every business broadband package on the market will offer enhanced levels of security as standard, make sure it meets your needs. It may cost a little more but there is a much higher cost to pay if your business network security is breached.
It may be obvious but you should pay close attention to the price and ensure you are getting value for money. In particular consider the length of the contract and don’t be fooled by introductory rates.
There are a number of broadband comparison websites that let you easily compare the latest business broadband deals available in the UK.
One of these websites is BroadbandDeals.co.uk. It has a business section where you can enter your office postcode and see the latest deals in your area.
If you’re unsure about which provider to choose then you should contact a trusted IT support company such as The PC Support Group who will be able to advise you.