If you’re a small to medium-sized business, broadband and connectivity are going to be key to your success. If you’re not of a size or scale that requires a leased line, choice is something you have plenty of. If you’re a sole trader, Fintech startup or a small business with modest broadband requirements, this guide is for you! We’re going to discuss the ins and outs of business broadband. Its advantages, whether you need it or not and what to consider when shopping for a deal.
What is business broadband?
Business broadband is a specific product designed to deliver extra services not usually available to home users. Those services can be very useful indeed or not at all, depending on how you run your business. Business broadband will use the same network infrastructure as home broadband but will offer other advantages not afforded to home users.
Advantages such as:
24/7 customer support – Where home broadband is typically office hours, many business broadband customers receive round the clock support. Not all broadband deals offer 24/7 support, but many do.
Experienced support staff – Not only do you get round the clock support, but you also tend to get better support. Business broadband support staff will typically be better trained, have more tools at their disposal and will be much more capable of handling tough queries.
More security – Many business broadband contracts come with extra security like better routers, network firewalls, network-based malware detection, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack protection and other features.
Faster speeds – Depending on the contract you get, you can either benefit from faster internet speeds or priority traffic. Sometimes both. For busier regions, business traffic can be prioritised over home broadband traffic, so you should experience fewer speed issues.
SLAs – Service Level Agreements can make a huge difference. Home broadband fixes are usually ‘best endeavour’ whereas business broadband will have specific, measurable fix targets.
Static IP address – If you run your own email server, web server, provide cloud applications or allow people from the outside to connect to a server, you’ll need a static IP address. You can buy them without business broadband, but with a business package they are usually included as part of the deal.
Do you need business broadband?
If those key benefits of business broadband aren’t applicable to you, do you need to use it?
If you’re working from home as a remote employee — whether full time or occasionally — you probably don’t need business broadband. As long as your home broadband is reliable and has decent speeds, you should be fine. As long as your home broadband deal doesn’t have data caps or other limitations, it could work perfectly well for your needs. If you depend on your broadband connection for monitoring markets, being contactable by clients, accessing cloud applications or for using VoIP, you would probably benefit from business broadband. Faster fix times, specific SLAs and better customer support could all prove their worth when you need them most. Also, if you are running your own business and your home broadband contract limits business use (as some do), you will need to consider upgrading to a business broadband contract.
Choosing a business broadband deal
Getting the right business broadband uses the same skills you require for any business deal. It’s about assessing your needs and identifying the right product at the right price. Here are a few things to consider when shopping around for business broadband:
Assess your needs – How many people will be using the connection? Do they need lots of bandwidth? Will they be uploading or downloading large files? Do you have any plans for expansion? Is reliability important? Do you have an emergency backup if the connection goes down?
How tech savvy are you? – Do you know one end of a router from another? If so, 24/7 support may not be a priority. If you would rather have someone else keep things running while you work, identifying deals with 24/7 support is probably a good idea.
Do you need a static IP address? – Will you need a static IP address? Not all deals offer them as part of the contract so double check if you think you’ll need one.
Will you be depending on your connection? – If connectivity is important, check the SLAs and service hours of each business broadband deal. It’s worth paying slightly more for better coverage than leaving your position exposed.
What security do you need? – Some business broadband deals come with a secure router and extra layers of network security. Do you need more? Some providers can add more layers of security to keep your business safe. Check what you need and shortlist accordingly.
There’s a lot to consider when looking at business broadband. Much will depend on the size of your business, your needs and the options in your area.
Your existing home broadband may be perfectly fine for sole traders or anyone who works from home as a remote worker. For permanent use or for businesses that depend on connectivity to work, we strongly recommend a business broadband connection.