In a digital age where business is so often dependent on the web, choosing the perfect broadband service is of paramount importance. But while some features are obvious necessities, such as speed and reliability, do you actually know what else you should be looking for in your provider?
The answer for many smaller companies is probably not. You’ve more than likely got enough on your plate without worrying about the details of your broadband package. However it is a task that deserves your attention, as choosing a provider specific to your business’ needs can ultimately help your business grow.
Considering the amount of UK business broadband providers, and the fact that every business has unique needs, here are some of the more general factors you need to consider.
The first factor to consider is speed. Historically there has always been more emphasis on download rather than upload speeds – partly due to restrictions caused by the technology used. However with more businesses embracing remote working, a fast upload speed has never been more important.
The availability of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) in particular has allowed some businesses to benefit from upload speeds in the region of 20mb/s, while download speeds continue to be much higher with speeds of around 70mb/s often associated with fibre optic broadband packages. These are extremely quick in comparison to the average residential speed which registers at just 16.8mb/s. This velocity ensures that uploading large data files (for example to a website) no longer needs to be a painfully slow process.
While speed is valuable, equally important is security. Ensure that when picking a broadband provider you choose one that offers high levels of security and features such as anti-virus protection and firewalls. There are also providers that also offer increased security attributes such as cloud and hosting solutions, allowing you to back-up your data at off-site locations.
Static IP address
Paying a little extra for a static IP address as part of your package means that you can run your own business servers. Investing in the service will allow you to host your own website, host your own file transfer protocol (FTP) – allow you receive large files, and give you remote access to your IT mainframe. These benefits should definitely be considered by businesses that require advanced internet features.
One thing that you need to ensure when you choose a provider is that it offers high service level agreements (SLAs). Put simply, this ensures that you receive the high standards that you’d expect from your provider (as nobody wants an unreliable one). Should the worst happen and problems occur, you need to know that you’ll receive efficient support that will help minimize downtime. So look for providers that offer 24/7/365 support, helping maintain your business’ continuity.
Voice over IP (VoIP) services are becoming increasingly popular amongst businesses as they begin to realise that it’s a cheaper alternative to making landline or mobile calls. This service is particularly useful to businesses that have overseas office or customers, so if you have either of them, then check to see if your broadband provider can supply this valuable software.
And finally we come to price. Arguably the most important, but it’s last on this list simply because it’s probably one of the more obvious considerations. Make sure you’re getting exactly what you pay for and search out a package that is specific to your business’ needs. If you have other telecoms solutions, look for a provider that can do all of the services, ensuring you can consolidate all your bills into one manageable point of contact.