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Useful information on Business Broadband
For businesses today, broadband needs to be fast, efficient, and reliable. As organisations of all sizes start to make more use of online services, hosted voice, and multiple cloud-based apps and services, they are becoming increasingly dependent on their connectivity to support every aspect of their day to day activity.
Your choice of broadband service therefore is vitally important – especially as you will almost certainly be signing-up to a two-year contract. While you may be able to upgrade to a faster service with the same provider before the end of that contract, this will commit you for a further period. You may be able to buy your way out of a contract before the end of the term, but that option is likely to be prohibitively expensive.
For this reason, it is worth considering your future as well as your current needs. If you are planning on making more use of online services – or perhaps allowing more employees to work at home on a regular basis – then you may need more bandwidth in the future.Back to top
Explaining Business Broadband
Business broadband differs from consumer broadband in several ways. It will be less susceptible to contention, provide a higher level of service and guaranteed availability, and will often (but not always) come with a number of added benefits and options. Almost all business services on offer today provide unlimited data downloads.
First and most significantly, business broadband services are less susceptible to contention. In other words, the physical line used is not shared by as many broadband connections. All broadband services are shared to a greater of lesser degree – this is how service providers make them affordable.
In consumer services, it’s common for up to 50 connections to share the same piece of fibre; for businesses, it is usually around 20 or less. As a general rule, the faster the theoretical download speed (usually stated as the ‘up to’ speed) of a service, the less potential there will be for contention occurring and the service being slowed down.
With business broadband services, you will usually be given a higher assured level of service and availability. This will usually guarantee a response or fix within a specified period of time, should a connection go down for any reason. Some services will also be provided with premium or preferential support cover.
Many broadband services for business come with additional services bundled, such as unlimited connections to the service provider’s wireless hotspots, access to a hosted voice service, the ability to offer guest WiFi, and 4G backup that will kick in automatically if the fixed broadband connection is lost at any time. If these will be are useful to you, such a package is well worth consideration.
Some specific features of a business broadband service might be really important. If you want to host a website or offer an online service through the connection, for example, you may need a static IP address. This will make it easier for external users and services to connect into your servers and the services they host.Back to top
Business Broadband Providers
There are many providers of business broadband in the UK and their offerings would, at first glance, seem to be similar. But there are real differences in terms of the theoretical speeds and service levels on offer. It is well worth looking at what is on offer in details.
Not all the services offered by a provider will be available in all areas, so even if you identify a service that you believe matches your requirements, a check will have to be run to see if the service can be provided to your business location.
Where you require the very fastest speeds offered by fibre to the premises (FTTP) services, you may be able to pay for the physical connection to be installed. But this will be expensive and may take several months to organise.
BT offers a comprehensive range of choices, from simple and affordable services offering download speeds of up to 17Mbps as part of an overall package, to ultrafast options that provide download speeds of over 300Mbps. BT, of course, has a long track record and its services are available almost everywhere in the UK.
Plusnet offers a set of business broadband options that deliver good levels of speed and reliability and are generally more affordable than many competitive offerings. It offers excellent, nationwide coverage.
Enterprise Broadband propositions are powered by either BT or TalkTalk services and are designed to provide enterprise-levels of speed and performance without any additional add-ons, which makes them more affordable.Back to top
Factors when choosing commercial broadband
In the end, your choice of commercial broadband will depend on your needs as a business. You will need to balance several factors:
- The speed and performance you need today
- Your future needs
- The levels of service guarantee and availability you require
- Other features on offer – if they are useful, combined package can be good value
- Availability of the service in your area
You may also want to consider the reputation and track record of your supplier, and the levels of service and support that they are offering. You can choose to go directly to the provider or work through a third party specialist, who will take the responsibility for provisioning and managing the service off your hands. A specialist reseller should also be able to offer you expert advice when it comes to selecting the best service for your needs and help dealing with any issues that may arise.
Finally, you will need to consider your budget. As we have already mentioned, there are more affordable, basic options on offer, and some are available offered at a fixed price for the full term of the contract. With most options, the service provider will retain the right to increase prices at least annually, by a reasonable amount.
You also need to keep in mind that with some services, there will also be a set-up cost, with others it will be free.
But it is important not to focus too much on cost. You will need to balance the initial and ongoing charge for the business broadband connection against you own needs; if you use a service that cannot meet your requirements, it is likely to cost you more in lost time and productivity than that additional expense of committing to a faster service.Back to top
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