If you're running a small business or running a business from home, you may be unsure whether to stick with your standard home broadband package or look into a package created specifically for business users.
Initially it may not be clear what the differences are or how you would benefit from business broadband but be assured that the business packages usually offer some vital components to make the connection work better for you.
An immediate and obvious difference is the level of customer support that you will receive from a business package. Swapping to business broadband will usually mean that you get through to customer services more quickly, receive faster technical support and a guarantee to get your line back up and running within a smaller time frame than your standard home broadband.
As a rule, the more you spend, the faster you will receive support. Premium packages will offer guarantees such as getting your broadband back up and working within as little 2 hours. Top end packages may also offer you a named technical contact who you can speak to directly each time you have a problem.
Business broadband tends to include this promise of better service in a Service Level Agreement or SLA. If the broadband provider fails to meet any of these promises, you may be able to claim compensation. When you are running a business, time is of the essence and if you are unable to get online for any length of time this can be critical to your company.
Business broadband providers understand this and promise quicker contact times, faster speeds and limited downtime whenever there is a technical problem.
As a business broadband consumer your needs will be prioritised over those of any residential users. You'll be able to access speeds of up to 1GB. It is even possible to lease a line which serves your premises only and enables fast, uninterrupted connectivity.
As well as speedy connectivity, your upload speeds will be faster as a business broadband customer. This can be crucial when you are adding content to a website and participating in video and conference calls.
Cyber security is a major issue and an area of growing importance. When you are running a business, data security is of utmost importance. Business broadband providers recognise this and will offer an enhanced level of security.
It is crucial to the success of your business that you keep your clients’ personal details private, so it really is worth investing in this higher level of security. The security software offered by business broadband providers is usually focused around specific business needs too.
If you need remote access to your computer, host a server, manage a website or receive direct emails then you will need a static IP address. This is something that you can get with a business broadband connection but is not usually available with home broadband.
If you have home broadband, then you will usually get a phone line as standard. This might include free weekend or evening calls or free calls to friends and family using the same provider. The options for phone lines with a business broadband account are much more varied. A business broadband account will often offer the option to have a number of different phone lines, a variety of phone systems and some may even offer Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP which enables calls to be made over the internet, rather than via a phone line.
Additional online services
Unlike home broadband where you may be offered a few inclusive email addresses or a small amount of cloud storage, business broadband can open up a world of online possibilities. There are a few providers who will allow large amounts of content to be saved to a cloud and even offer domain names, web hosting and a large number of email addresses to be used by your employees and yourself.
How much does it cost?
You won't be surprised to learn that business broadband is more costly than a standard residential package. However, as you can see it offers a huge amount more. Business broadband enables you to access features that are crucial for a professionally and securely run small business or home office. Alternatively, you may conclude that you could actually manage perfectly well without these enhanced features, in which case a lower-cost residential package may do just fine.