Small Business Phone and Broadband Guide: What You Need to Know

Nicola Scoon


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    Whether you need a dedicated line with the fastest speeds possible or just want a reliable connection that’s capable of supporting voice calls over the internet, we’re here to help you find the right package for your small business.


    Small business phone and broadband


    What’s included with business phone and broadband contracts? 

    Every internet service provider will offer slightly different contracts, but on the whole, you can expect to find similar features – like dedicated support and faster speeds than home broadband. 


    Enhanced level of service

    Internet service providers (ISPs) know that you rely on your business phone line and internet to do business, so they provide a greater level of customer and technical support. 

    You won’t find yourself in a queue behind hundreds of others on the main support line, but instead, be directed to a dedicated team for commercial customers. Whether your phone line has developed a fault that needs fixing or you want to discuss your contract, you should be able to do this quickly and easily with the right service provider. 


    Higher upload and download speeds

    We’ve become used to having fibre broadband in our homes, and it’s even more essential when it comes to powering your small business. Business broadband packages often include superfast broadband, where upload speeds are up to 76Mbps and download speeds reach 20Mbps. 

    It makes sense to invest in the highest speed broadband that you can for your budget, as it’ll make everyday operations run smoother. Fast upload speeds are especially useful if you work in the creative industries, where uploading large image or video files is something that you do regularly. 

    If you want the fastest upload and download speeds possible, we recommend investing in a leased line where you can get speeds of up to 10Gbps in both directions. This type of connection also gives you greater reliability and stability, as it’s a dedicated line that serves your business premises only. 


    Unlimited data

    You don’t want to be worrying about going over your contracted amount, so most business broadband packages come with unlimited data. There may be some fair use policies applied, but in general, your allowance is more than enough for you to run your business smoothly. 

    Some business phone and broadband contracts will also offer you additional extras, like mobile SIMs with unlimited data or the ability to answer and make calls on the move within your allowance. 


    Greater reliability

    If you opt for certain types of broadband, like a leased line, you’ll benefit from greater reliability. With a leased line you won’t experience drops in speed due to heavy use from other users and you’re more likely to have a service level agreement in place to fix any issues as quickly as possible. 

    Some providers also have a backup system in place to ensure continuity if, for some reason, your broadband connection is lost. This includes 4G Assure on BT’s leased line plans, which switches you to 4G automatically while they investigate the issue and resume service. 


    Custom phone numbers 

    When you take out a phone and broadband package for your home you’re automatically assigned a phone number. It’ll be based on your local area and may not be very memorable. 

    With a business phone package, you have the opportunity to choose a number or add more than one line to your contract. This is useful if you want to create different lines for different teams in your company, or you want to invest in a freephone or non-geographic number. 


    Guest Wi-Fi

    It’s becoming more and more popular to offer customers and employees access to free Wi-Fi at your premises. This is especially true for cafes, agencies, open-plan offices and retailers. 

    Many ISPs now include guest Wi-Fi or suggest it as an optional extra, which means you can offer it as an added benefit for your employees, customers and visitors to your place of business. 


    Static IP address

    A major difference between home broadband and business broadband is that with a commercial contract you’ll be offered a static IP address. This means that it doesn’t change every time you connect, so you can run systems that rely on accessing a named location. 

    A static IP address is useful for small businesses that want to enable remote access to desktops, so you can work on files from the comfort of your laptop at home or when travelling for business. 


    Choosing broadband for small business


    What type of business broadband should you choose? 

    There are obvious benefits in switching to a phone and broadband package for small businesses, but it’s worth researching the different types before you invest. 

    Three of the most popular types of business broadband are fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), fibre to the premises (FTTP) and leased lines. Each has its own benefits, with the main difference being cost and line speed. 


    Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC)

    Most of the business broadband contracts that you see will include FTTC, a technology that uses fibre cables to the cabinet before making the last leg of the journey by copper cable. This gives you a great balance of speed and affordability, as the hardware is already in place. 

    Businesses that use a fibre to the cabinet connection can access speeds up to 76Mbps download and 20Mbps upload. The speed you’ll get depends on your distance from the cabinet, so it’s always worth checking this to make sure you’d be happy with your expected speeds.  


    How much does it cost? 

    BT’s Unlimited Infinity FTTC is available from £34.40 per month for a connection with 22Mbps upload and 3Mbps download speeds. This includes unlimited data, guest WiFi and 24/7 support. 


    Fibre to the premises (FTTP)

    This type of connection is similar to FTTC, however, the whole length of the connection is through fibre optic cabling. The advantage of this is you can access higher speeds; up to 300Mbps download and 50Mbps upload in some areas. 

    Fibre to the premises is still in the early stages of rollout, but the Government expects it to be available to 85% of business premises by 2020. This isn’t just for cities, with the government announcing a trial to provide full fibre broadband to premises in rural areas


    How much does it cost? 

    The pricing will depend on which ISP serves your area and the speed you choose. Hyperoptic offers a 100Mbps connection for £35 per month, while BT offers a 200Mbps connection for £66.49 per month. 


    leased line for small business


    Leased lines

    A leased line is a business broadband connection that connects your premises to the internet via a fibre connection from the data centre. This is a dedicated line, so you’ll be able to enjoy the security that comes with knowing you won’t experience slowdown at busy periods. 

    Leased lines are popular with businesses that need both fast upload and download speeds, which can be noticeably higher than FTTC or FTTP connections. Many businesses opt for 100Mbps or 1Gbps lines, but speeds of up to 10Gbps in both directions are available. 


    How much does it cost? 

    If it’s available in your area, CityFibre broadband is often the most affordable choice. For example, a business in the M60 2LA postcode area could get a 100Mbps leased line through CityFibre for £260 per month. 


    Should you invest in VoIP? 

    While you’re considering investing in or changing your broadband package for your small business, it’s a good idea to consider whether you want to switch to a digital service for your phone calls and voice data. 

    VoIP phone systems allow you to make phone calls over the internet, using a cloud-based system that is easy to set up and affordable to run. Many businesses are switching to IP phone systems as they’re more flexible and easier to integrate with other technology. 

    There are a number of benefits to VoIP, including: 

    • Easier to manage than a traditional phone system
    • Lower setup and ongoing costs
    • Phone calls are inexpensive – included within your allowance or unlimited 
    • Easier to integrate data with other software and applications
    • Ability to make and receive calls from your mobile or desktop 

    A number of ISPs now offer a package that includes business broadband and VoIP, so you can take advantage of a bundled deal and use one provider for both your voice and data needs. 


    How much does it cost? 

    Most VoIP providers offer several plans depending on how many users you have. Vonage Business offers an Ultimate plan for £16 per user per month which includes unlimited calls. If you don’t make many calls, CircleLoop’s PAYG package at £4.99 gives you the option to pay for only the calls you make. 


    What is the best internet provider for small business? 

    Some of the big names like BT and TalkTalk offer a lot of choice for small businesses, with different business phone and broadband packages to suit any budget. There are also providers that specialise in small businesses, like XLN. 

    If you want to opt for a standard fibre broadband connection like FTTC, you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of providers. For some types of broadband connection like FTTP and leased lines, your choice of providers may be smaller and depend on which area your business premises is based in. 

    The easiest way to find the best business broadband and phone deals is through our quick quote search. With just a few details we can help you find the best deals, including BT fibre to the premises which isn’t available direct.

    Start a business broadband search or get a quote for voice data now and start your journey towards a faster, more reliable internet connection for your business.

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