All you need to know about business broadband
Welcome to Broadband Genie’s business broadband page. Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about getting broadband for your company.
What's business broadband?
Business broadband deals are internet packages designed for companies and individuals using a broadband connection for work.
Although these may provide very similar speeds to home internet deals, they also offer extra features that UK-based business users may find useful.
The types of broadband services you’ll find discussed in this guide are aimed at small to medium businesses. Larger corporations or firms with specific requirements will usually need a specialist or bespoke service.
What makes it different to home broadband services?
There are a few ways business broadband is different to home internet.
Dedicated support for business broadband
Most business broadband providers offer a higher level of support compared to their home broadband offerings.
They may have a dedicated care team and different opening times to suit business users. Alternatively, your calls may be prioritised over home users so that you won’t be stuck waiting in a queue.
Static IP address
Most home broadband services issue a dynamic IP address that can change. This isn’t a problem for most home users, but some businesses will need a static IP address. For this reason, many business broadband services offer a static IP that's permanently assigned to your connection.
This is a must if you intend to host files or operate servers, and makes it easier to use services such as remote desktop applications. A static IP address can also be useful for improving the security of remote systems by limiting access to a specific address.
Business broadband deals can have a service level agreement (SLA) that includes uptime guarantees and promises to repair faults within a particular timeframe. This means that if you lose your service, you shouldn’t have to be offline for too long.
If the provider doesn’t provide you with this, you may be entitled to compensation if the provider fails to hit these targets.
Some providers will also prioritise business traffic over their home broadband customers. And business customers may not be subject to traffic management policies that can impact home users at peak times.
And this will be aided by the tech you receive as part of your package.
A business broadband package will often include a higher-quality wireless router that can provide better security, improved wireless signal strength, and support for more Wi-Fi devices.
What speeds can I get?
The business broadband providers you’ll find listed here on Broadband Genie offer a similar choice of download speeds and upload speeds as residential customers. This can include cheap entry-level fibre to suit individuals or small businesses, right up to ultrafast or gigabit broadband for more demanding tasks.
Occasionally, they quote slightly higher maximum broadband speeds than home broadband due to the prioritised traffic. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s much faster, but that you should always have a good connection. On an Openreach telephone line, you may see deals offering ADSL up to 24Mb, and FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) fibre optic up to 40Mb or 80Mb.
As always, this maximum is theoretical, and the actual performance will differ. But the provider should always give an accurate estimate when signing up.
What speeds are right for my business?
Just like home broadband, choosing the right business broadband speed comes down to the number of people you have sharing the connection and its intended usage.
If you’re a sole trader or running a small business with just a couple of employees, then an entry-level fibre optic service (a speed of around 35Mb) may be good enough. But the more people you have, the faster the broadband will need to be.
How the broadband is being used will also greatly influence your choice of speed. Web browsing, email, and social media are generally low-impact, requiring very little bandwidth. So, you could get away with a cheaper and slower deal if that makes up the bulk of your online activity, even if you have a few employees.
But if you are doing things like regularly downloading large files, sending data to clients, streaming video or audio, or backing up data to the cloud, then your bandwidth requirements are going to be much higher. This could mean you need very fast broadband, regardless of how few people you have sharing the connection.
It’s also best to overestimate your requirements; trying to cut corners by getting the cheapest possible broadband could prove frustrating for everyone and might even affect your business. Better to have more bandwidth than you require than not enough.
And don’t forget to account for future growth. If you’re expecting to take on new employees or explore new opportunities, then you’ll want to make sure the broadband can cope. Upgrading the current service may be possible, though it might also mean switching providers, resulting in downtime and disruption.
Is business broadband unlimited?
Most business broadband deals are unlimited. But always read the small print to check that the service doesn’t have a traffic management policy that could impact you.
Do I need a phone line for business broadband packages?
All business broadband deals listed here require a fixed line to function, but this doesn’t have to be a phone line.
Many business deals require an Openreach telephone line. However, you can also get business broadband from Virgin Media, which uses a Virgin Media cable network connection instead.
If you don’t need a landline phone service, Virgin also offers broadband-only packages.
Another option is an FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) or full fibre broadband service, which uses a fibre line that runs all the way into your building. Fibre connections are offered by various providers and networks, and like Virgin, these deals are available as broadband only without any voice call capability.
It’s worth noting that almost every business broadband package will require a line of some description going to your property.
Should I bundle my business broadband and phone line?
Bundling your broadband and phone line together can certainly save you money. But it depends on what you mean when it comes to a phone line.
If you’re after a phone package so your business can have a landline number, it can definitely be a good idea to bundle them together. With most broadband packages, you’ll be paying for line rental anyway.
For companies who want to have a business phone, you’ll want to have a specific number for customers and enquiries. So paying for a phone package can definitely be practical. A package can also mean that you only have to pay a specific amount for all the calls. This is going to save you money if you need to make a lot of them.
However, if you aren’t going to be using a landline phone, you’ll probably be better off only paying for line rental.
How do I get Wi-Fi?
Just like home broadband packages, most business broadband deals include a broadband Wi-Fi router. This provides internet access and creates a wireless network to connect Wi-Fi devices.
There is often no charge for the router, though there may be an option to upgrade to a higher-end model if your business requires better hardware.
How do I maintain a good internet connection throughout my office?
There are ways to improve the coverage of your internet connection if the Wi-Fi router is struggling to supply your premises.
One option is to move devices closer to the router, although this might not be practical. So what you can do is invest in other equipment.
One easy solution is to boost the reach of your Wi-Fi with a mesh network. A Wi-Fi mesh network uses nodes to expand fast wireless broadband to a wider area than your router alone can manage. Install mesh nodes in different parts of the office, and you can get roughly the same speeds no matter where you are in the building. Mesh networks are relatively affordable and can be something you can set up yourself with a little technical knowledge.
You can also run wired network cables from your router. Wired networks can be much faster and more reliable than Wi-Fi, and once you have a network cable in place, you can add a wireless access point. But you’ll find that most routers only include four network ports, and adding more network points will require extra equipment.
However, your requirements may demand specialist attention. Perhaps you want to get internet to multiple buildings, you need a Wi-Fi network that can cope with many devices, or you’re looking for a fast and robust wired network to reach every corner of your premises. While these can be DIY projects, many businesses will find it makes sense to invest in the services of a network expert.
Do I need business broadband?
Many business broadband providers offer the same speed as a residential service but at a slightly higher price. So it can be tempting to save money by opting for a cheaper home deal.
But by doing so, you’ll miss out on the extra features and customer support mentioned above, and this could end up costing more in the long run.
Business broadband means that you’ll have access to business support and guarantees, something that’s critically important to most companies. So that means a home service might not be suitable for your business if you need more than simple internet access. And lacking a static IP or the ability to host a server (prohibited on some home services) may mean you’re forced to switch to a business deal at a later date.
Leased line broadband
If you do want to really invest in your business broadband, you may want to consider a leased line. This is a dedicated broadband line for your business, which means you’re not sharing a connection. Bandwidth remains fixed, so your speeds should be even more consistent.
Business broadband and working from home
It’s probably not necessary to have business broadband if you're an individual working from home.
A regular home broadband package will provide the same speed as most business packages. It's not worth paying the higher price for business broadband unless you’ll benefit from the additional support or any other features found with a business service.
For more information, read our guide to broadband for working from home.
What should I look for when comparing business broadband deals?
Enter a postcode into the checker to see what services are available in your location.
- Monthly price
The price shown on our comparison table includes broadband and phone line (when applicable) but doesn’t include VAT.
- Data limit
Most business broadband is unlimited, but if you see “restrictions apply”, it means there’s a traffic management policy, so check the small print.
- Contract Length
You’re committed to paying the monthly price for this length of time. If you have to move offices during this period, the service can be transferred to another address.
Click ‘offer details and pricing’ to view the included extra features. Look out for static IP addresses, free setup broadband, or details of the support and the free hardware.
Business broadband deals often use the same broadband infrastructure as home internet with a higher price attached. You might wonder if you really need one, but they come with a host of benefits that most small and medium-sized organisations will appreciate.
Business broadband extras include essentials such as a static IP address, service level agreement, and, vitally, dedicated business support.
Broadband Genie’s business broadband deals provide speeds that will suit the majority of SMEs, from cheap entry-level ADSL up to ultrafast gigabit internet, including full fibre where it’s available. When selecting your business package, make sure to consider both the number of employees who’ll be sharing the connection and the intended usage of the broadband to ensure you get the right speed.