You need to take on the task of choosing business broadband with great care and attention to detail, because this can be an important decision, the gravity of which many business owners underestimate.
Locking your business into a broadband package that turns out to be unsuitable can be a costly and long-lived mistake, so it is imperative to get things right first time.
Here are a few things to look for when choosing business broadband so that you do not fall at common hurdles.
Businesses will be able to select a broadband package from a number of prospective providers, some of which will be offering different types of connectivity from their rivals.
While you can still use ADSL services operating over copper landlines, it is often a better move to go for a fibre-based connection, since this modern technology allows for network access that is not only faster but also more consistent.
FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) is becoming widely available because it is cheaper and quicker to install than full FTTP (fibre to the premises). Businesses may have the option to choose an FTTP connection if they really need lightning-fast speeds, so you need to assess just how quick you will want to go before you decide on a package.
Download speeds vary from place to place and connection to connection, with various factors determining how quickly a broadband service will deliver data.
From a business point of view it is also vital to consider the upload speed that is offered by a connection. If you want to run a server on site and host certain IT services internally, while still making them available to outside users, it might be worth choosing either a high-speed fibre connection or SDSL, which matches the download speed to the upload speed in a symmetrical arrangement.
It is best to ignore the theoretical maximum speed advertised by providers and instead insist on finding out just how fast you can expect your broadband service to be in real-world conditions. This information should be made available to you from the outset, helping to shape your decision.
Business broadband packages can feature usage limits that cap the amount of data you can download in a given month. While a capped service may be more affordable, it could also limit productivity if it turns out to be overly restrictive and not the right fit for your firm.
In this instance, an unlimited bundle might be more appropriate. But pay close attention to the small print of a provider’s fair use policy, which can make a package that is advertised as unlimited into something that is far less lenient.
A growing group of providers have caved to customer pressure and scrapped fair use policies altogether, but scrutinising the specifics of any business broadband contract will put you in a stronger position to make the right choice.
Businesses cannot be without broadband access for long before they start losing money, so you will want to choose a bundle that has the right level of support to keep you online.
This can vary depending on the size of your operation and the type of service you require, but you should make sure that your potential provider has a good track record for support and is also able to give you assurances about the types of care you can expect to receive.
It does not take a genius to choose the right business broadband package, but it is also surprisingly easy to make a mistake if you are too complacent, so be vigilant and buy with discretion.
The author, Jamie Garner, works for Daisy Group, an independent provider of business broadband solutions.