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Business Broadband: Things to Consider

Business broadband is a topic that is less covered that home broadband. It’s an important aspect of every business operation no matter how large or small, so it’s often critical that the correct infrastructure is in place and you have the correct business broadband supplier.

It’s not always as simple as getting in touch with a broadband supplier and asking for a broadband package. The majority of broadband suppliers like Sky and TalkTalk provide broadband for residential properties but not all have options for businesses. It’s, therefore, important you consider what you need and where to get it from.

Do you work from home?

If you are self-employed and don’t work from an office, it can often be better to just have a reliable home broadband connection and put the cost of that package through as a business expense every month. The benefits to this are that you are able to take advantage of the deals that are on offer to residential customers as you will be purchasing residential broadband yourself. It is often a lot simpler to do it this way as the sign-up process is usually a lot smoother and quick. Some business broadband providers will want to call you to discuss options and make sure you are on the correct package, which for a lot of business is a time-consuming task that you can do without. An example of a broadband provider that will do this is XLN Telecom.

Need something more robust?

If you don’t work from home and require something more capable and reliable for an office space, then business broadband is the better choice. There are many benefits to business broadband that you won’t get as a residential customer. They are as follows.

Contention Ratio

This is the number of users sharing the same server, and it can really affect the speed of your Internet connection. When you are connected to the Internet, you will share the Internet with other users in your area and home users can have a contention ratio of up to 50:1 which means that 50 users could be sharing the same server at the same time which could grossly slow down your connection. You may notice this on your home broadband during the early evening when the majority of users are online after school and work. Business broadband will have up to 20:1 ratio which means that there will be less users accessing the same server at once and therefore speeds will be quicker.

Speeds

Generally, the speeds on offer will be much higher than home packages as business broadband providers understand the need for increased speed due to the capacity that your business will need at all times of the day. If you have an office with 50 people and 50 computers, you are likely to want very high-speed internet to accommodate that amount of traffic. Slow speeds will cause problems and can really damage a business.

Download Limits

It is very rare that business broadband providers will put a cap on how much bandwidth you can use. An unlimited package is quite important for a business user as you don’t want to be cut off halfway through the month if you happened t download more than usual. Often if you go over that cap, you can be charged very high fees to continue to use the internet, and it can be up to £3 per GB. This is an area where a lot of broadband providers will have their customers over a barrel. With business contracts, there is less protection so if you missed the small print you may not know that these fees exist and you'll have no recourse if you’ve already signed the contract.

Security

Business broadband users will often require higher security due to the fact that a lot of the data being transferred and accessed via the internet will be sensitive information. For that reason, many business broadband providers will offer security products as part of your package. For example, you may receive free subscriptions for antivirus and firewall software. Your business broadband provider may also offer you a more secure router to connect to the internet.

WiFi Hotspots/ Dongles

If you’re the type of person that likes to work away from home or down at the local café, you will likely want a wifi connection frequently. Some business broadband providers will offer services where you can access certain WiFi hotspots as part of your package for example BT Openzone WiFi hot spots. Other business broadband providers may also offer you a 4g Dongle and sim card in order to access the internet via a mobile connection. This is something that is likely to be provided by the likes of EE broadband who are predominantly a mobile network provider.

Customer Support

While customer support from a lot of the residential broadband providers is often great, there are occasions where you can often be very frustrated with the service you receive. Business broadband providers will often provide superior service to their business customer for a premium. This can be quite important when an issue arises with your broadband connection, and you need to get it fixed quickly in order to continue with business operations. It’s important that the broadband provider can provider answers and fixes quickly for their business broadband customers.

Be careful with contracts

As mentioned earlier, when you sign up as a limited company you are less protected than a residential customer. This is down to UK law. Under UK law consumers are protected from certain aspects of contract law under the Consumer Rights Act. This doesn’t always apply to business, although there are sometimes some provisions to micro businesses. Always check the contracts thoroughly, and if you are not happy with any of the contents, it is wise to run it by a lawyer and take it up with the broadband provider to see if you can remove certain clauses.



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