Having a fast internet connection is now a critical part of running any business. No matter what sector you're in, or how many employees you have, trying to run an effective company without it will be almost impossible.
Indeed, broadband is now regarded by many people as an essential utility, just like electricity and water - something that firms simply can't function without.
A poor broadband connection is therefore hugely detrimental to any business. But we believe you shouldn't have to shell out huge amounts of money in order to secure a fast, reliable service. A good cheap business broadband deal should therefore be a top priority for any firm.
So how should you go about fiding the best business broadband deals? Here's everything you need to know.
A good business broadband connection is essential for any firm. Even if most of your activities don't take place online, you'll still need good connectivity for everything from dealing with suppliers and responding to customers to managing your finances.
Companies that are still stuck with an inadequate broadband connection suffer from a range of problems. These include - but are not limited to:
Fortunately, setting up a business broadband connection, or moving across from an existing home connection, is a straightforward process. In many cases, you may not even need an engineer to come out to your premises.
All you have to do is contact your chosen business internet provider and they'll begin the switching process for you. You can still make the migration even if you're under contract with another provider - though this may incur a cancellation fee. Otherwise, the new provider will request to take over the line on your behalf.
Typically, new business broadband packages can get up and running in a few days. Once you've signed up online - which can take as little as two minutes over the phone, the provider will handle everything for you.
In most cases, all you'll need is a new router that plugs into your existing internet port. At bOnline, we'll send you your router between 24 and 48 hours prior to your activation date, so it should arrive in time for you to plug in and get started with no interruption to your internet service.
A business broadband connection can be very different from the home broadband services you may be used to. Behind the scenes, there can be major differences that affect the quality of your service, so it pays to know what these are and how they differ between packages.
If you're running a very small firm, you may not think a dedicated business fibre broadband connection is right for you. If you're a startup or microbusiness with just one or two employees, operating out of a single premises, you may believe you can get away with using a consumer-grade home broadband connection or not even consider you'd be eligible for business broadband deals.
But this would be a mistake for a number of reasons. While the headline speeds between a business and home broadband may be similar, especially if you're a sole trader or small team, you're likely to get a much higher level of customer service.
Business-focused ISPs understand that even a short loss of service can be catastrophic for a small firm, so you're more likely to get a guaranteed service level and a dedicated customer support line.
Your broadband traffic will also be prioritised over home broadband packages, so you won't have to compete with nearby homes trying to stream Netflix or play online games at peak periods. Therefore, even if you are a small firm with just one or two employees, or are even based out of a home office, a dedicated business broadband service is a good investment.
Most residential connections also use dynamic IP addresses, with users being assigned one from a pool of options. This is not useful for many businesses, who will need a fixed 'home' online to manage many services. Therefore, a static IP address is a must, and this is often something only a business-grade deal can offer.
Most business broadband services use fibre optic technology to deliver internet services to your premises. For most deals, this technology will typically use what's known as fibre-to-the-cabinet, or FTTC technology, where the fibre cables go as far as your nearest street-level cabinet, with the final connection to your premises being made using existing copper cables.
This is a cost-effective and easy way to get online. A basic business internet connection using this technology will typically offer an average download speed of around 24Mbps. If you only have a couple of users and are mainly using your connection for simple activities such as responding to emails, promoting your business through social media, or making online purchases from suppliers, this should be adequate.
However, for growing businesses or those with more intensive data-demands, this may not be enough. In this case, you should consider a fast fibre connection. This provides download speeds of around 76Mbps and an upload speed of up to 19Mbps, as well as guaranteed uninterrupted performance. These options are ideal if you have any of the following requirements:
The third option is full fibre broadband, or fibre-to-the-premises. This replaces legacy copper cables completely and runs fibre optic solutions all the way to your front door. This offers a range of benefits, including speeds up to 20 times faster than a standard broadband plan, unlimited uploads and downloads and access to even the most data-intensive applications without interruption or slowdowns.
Full fibre is still being rolled out across the UK. While there are plans to bring this to the entire country by 2025, you should check with your provider whether superfast broadband is available yet in your area.
There's no bad time to upgrade to fibre optic broadband. With the right provider, the process is quick and seamless, so you can do it whenever you're ready without worrying about any potential disruptions to the business.
However, if you are a growing firm or a startup that has until now been reliant on a home broadband connection, there are a few key signs you should look out for that will mean the time is right to upgrade to dedicated business services. These include:
You can switch business broadband deals whenever you like if you're prepared to pay a cancellation fee for your existing contract, but if you're coming up to the end of a deal and considering whether to sign up for another minimum term to avoid a price rise, this is the perfect opportunity to look for a cheap business broadband offer.
Because an internet connection is so essential to any business, it's important to make sure you're getting it from the right provider. You need one that can not only offer cheap business broadband, but offer easy set up and management so small business owners don't have to worry about installation or maintenance.
Before you commit to any cheap business broadband contract, you should do your research to make sure the provider and the service they offer match your needs. Price is of course important to small businesses, but this shouldn't be your only consideration.
One of the benefits of selecting business broadband deals over residential alternatives is you'll receive a router fit for enterprise use. This doesn't just give you the benefit of a fast, reliable connection that can handle multiple internet users at once, but also ensures a strong level of security and a Wi-Fi signal that should reach your entire workplace.
For most small firms, the standard router supplied with your business broadband contract should be more than adequate, but if you need to extend your reach - if you have a large workspace, for example - ask your supplier if boosters are available, or what other options may work for your unique circumstances.
There are a wide range of providers out there claiming to offer cheap business broadband, but not all can provide the same level of customer support or reliability. Do your research and read reviews to see what experiences other providers have had before making a decision.
You should also consider whether you could benefit from a bundled service. At bOnline, for instance, we offer VoIP phone and broadband packages designed specifically for small firms. This ensures you can benefit from both cheap voice calls and internet in one easy-to-manage package.
Finding the right cheap business broadband provider can seem a little overwhelming. With so many options to pick from, it can be difficult to be certain you're getting the best deal. However, there are a few factors you should take into account to make sure you're making the most of your connectivity.
Start by looking at your current and expected internet usage. What types of services do you use? Will they require high levels of bandwidth? How many employees will be using the services simultaneously? These are all questions that you'll need to know the answers to when looking for a broadband provider.
This will determine what type of broadband service you should be looking for, whether you could benefit from a bundle deal that includes phone calls and how much you should expect to pay for a service.
You should also look carefully at the small print. For example, almost every business broadband package now available will offer 'unlimited broadband'. But there may be caveats to this such as traffic management and fair usage policies. It's important you're aware of these to avoid any unwanted surprises.
Cost is of course a major consideration for small business in particular. When you're running a firm on a small budget, even a few pounds can make a big difference. That's why bOnline promises that if you do find a cheaper business broadband deal for the same service, our price match guarantee ensures we'll meet it.
However, you shouldn't look solely at the headline monthly costs. There are a range of other elements that go into your decisions. These include:
Get the right deal and you stand to enjoy a wide range of benefits. Businesses with fast, reliable fibre broadband can be more productive, build closer relationships with their customers, and increase their revenue.
If you're ready to take the next step or would like expert advice on what's the right package for you, contact bOnline on 020 3697 4169.