Broadband advice for freelancers and remote workers

Hannah Smith contributes on behalf of SimplyBusiness.co.uk, a specialist broker who offer freelancers and small businesses a range of products and services including Public Liability Insurance.

It’s all going swimmingly. You’re on schedule, it’s Friday and you’re just about to hit “send” when a red light comes on on your router. You’re offline. You restart the router, but no dice. You pick up the phone and call a helpline costing 80p a minute and spend seventeen minutes discovering they can’t help until Monday.

Not too helpful if you regularly work from home and internet access is integral to the running of your business. Sounds familiar?

Always have a Plan B

Whilst broadband services are more reliable now than previously, it never hurts to have a backup strategy. If you need to send or receive anything up to 50mb a mobile phone with one of those all-you-can-eat data packages is ideal. Just make sure you have the software to connect it to your PC and are on the right data plan. It won’t be fast, but you’ll breathe a sigh of relief when your work uploads, and at least you won’t have missed your deadline.

Alternatively, make sure you’ve a hitlist of local venues which offer WiFi - you can always go and work in a coffee shop for the afternoon. Want fries with that? Even McDonalds has WiFi these days.

Back up plans aside, what are the key things to think about when looking for a broadband package? Check out our tips for freelancers and home workers below:

Check Coverage

There are numerous places to check for broadband coverage and it pays to check now - rather than finding out after you’ve signed up to a lengthy contract. It’s also worth speaking to your neighbours - which providers do they use - would they recommend them? Nothing beats a personal recommendation, right?

The Need for Speed

Clearly speed is important, but there’s little point in spending a fortune on a package which by far exceeds your usage. If you’ll mainly be using email and doing a little web browsing then you’ll probably be fine with a regular package, however if your usage is likely to be more heavy then make sure the package you pick reflects that.

Shop Around

Once you’ve decided on the sort of package you need and have established which providers offer coverage in your area it always pays to shop around. Read the small print, compare prices and check what offers are available.

Also make sure you understand what’s included as part of the deal - for example, all the hardware and software you need should be included in the price.

Going Mobile

Finally, if you are frequently on the road it may be worth looking at a mobile broadband package. Right now mobile broadband is likely to be pretty shaky with both reception and speeds fluctuating wildly depending upon whereabouts you are, but these types of packages normally offer sufficient coverage for you to keep on top of things whilst you’re out and about.

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