What is business broadband?
Business broadband deals are internet packages designed for companies and individuals using broadband for work.
Although these may provide very similar speeds to home internet deals, they also offer extra features that business users may find useful.
Please note that the types of broadband services you’ll find discussed here are aimed at small to medium businesses. Larger corporations or firms with specific requirements or large numbers of employees will usually need specialist or bespoke services that fall outside the remit of these deals.
What makes business broadband different to home broadband services?
Dedicated business support
Most business broadband providers offer a higher level of support compared to their home broadband offerings.
They may have a dedicated support team, and different opening times to suit business users. And where there is not a dedicated business support team, your calls may be prioritised over home users so you won’t be stuck waiting in a queue.
Static IP address
This is a must if you’re planning on hosting file or web 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.
Broadband is of critical importance to many businesses. In recognition of that business broadband deals can have a service level agreement (SLA) that includes uptime guarantees and promises to repair faults within a particular timeframe.
In some cases, you may be entitled to compensation if the ISP fails to hit these targets.
Some providers will prioritise business traffic over their home broadband customers. And business customers may not be subject to the traffic management policies which can impact home users at peak times.
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 with a business broadband deal?
The business broadband providers you’ll find listed here on Broadband Genie offer a similar choice of speeds as residential customers. This can include cheap entry-level fibre that will suit individuals or small businesses, up to very fast gigabit broadband for more demanding tasks.
Sometimes they quote slightly higher maximum speeds due to the prioritised traffic. So on an Openreach (BT) telephone line, you may see deals offering ADSL up to 24Mb, and FTTC fibre optic up to 40Mb or 80Mb.
As always though this is a theoretical maximum and the actual performance will differ, though the provider should always give an accurate estimate when signing up.
Is business broadband unlimited?
Most business broadband deals are unlimited. But always read the small print to check that the service does not 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 may not be a phone line.
Many business deals require an Openreach (BT) telephone line. However, you can also get business broadband from Virgin Media, which uses a Virgin Media cable network connection.
If you do not need a landline phone service, Virgin also offers broadband only packages.
Another option is an FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) service, which uses a fibre optic line that runs all the way into your building. This type of broadband is offered by various providers and networks, and like Virgin, these deals are available as broadband only without any voice call capability.
How do I get business broadband Wi-Fi?
Just like home broadband packages, most business broadband deals include a broadband Wi-Fi router that provides internet access and creates a wireless network to connect Wi-Fi devices.
There is often no charge for the Wi-Fi router, though there may be an option to upgrade to a higher-end model if your business requires more robust hardware.
Do I need business broadband?
Many business broadband providers are offering 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 mentioned above, and this could end up costing more in the long run.
Not only will you not have access to business support and guarantees — which may be of critical importance — a home service might not be suitable for your needs if the requirements go beyond simple internet access. Lacking a static IP or the ability to host a server (something that is prohibited on many home services) may mean you’re forced to switch to a business deal at a later date.
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 are not sharing a connection and therefore your bandwidth remains fixed and your speeds should be even more consistent.
Business broadband and working from home
It is probably not necessary to have business broadband if you're an individual working from home, whether full-time or part-time.
A regular home broadband package will provide the same speed as most business packages, so it's not worth paying the higher price for business broadband unless you are going to 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 postcode checker to see what services are available in your location.
The price shown on our comparison table includes broadband and phone line but does not include VAT.
Most business broadband is unlimited, but if you see “restrictions apply” it means there’s a traffic management policy, so check the small print.
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.