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Complete Guide To Business Broadband

Whatever the size of your business, a reliable, fast and stable internet connection is essential. Read the in depth guide to sourcing the very best internet access for your business here. 

business broadband

What is business broadband?

To describe what Business Broadband is, it is helpful to understand what broadband is itself. Broadband is a term used to describe any high-speed Internet access service that is highly available and, essentially, faster than the long-outdated dial-up services of the very early 1990s.  

Today, the term broadband is used to describe any Internet services supplied by fixed line (ADSL, VDSL, FTTC, Gfast, FTTP and Fibre Ethernet or GPON), satellite or radio.

Do I need business broadband?

Despite the name, business broadband isn't just for businesses. Many people who work from home have the same requirements as a small business regarding their broadband needs. As a result, the most basic business broadband packages tend to be quite similar to the residential packages we all use at home. The main difference is usually that they offer priority technical support, so if you do lose your connection, you can get back online as fast as possible.

What is the difference between home and business broadband?

There are a few core differences between home and business broadband services. Mainly, this is down to the nature of the two groups of users and their needs for a service.  

During core business hours, highly available and high-speed Internet is critical to a business. It is a service that almost all companies cannot do without, and as such, business broadband connections come with some benefits that domestic users don’t need to the same degree as a business.  

Speed – business broadband services will be faster than residential or domestic broadband services. The reasons are that your telecoms provider will prioritise the data traffic passing across a business broadband connection over that of a domestic link. There will be a larger pool of bandwidth made available to business broadband connections, showing them having much better speeds at peak usage time than domestic broadband. 

Support – businesses do require more one-to-one and in-depth support. Business broadband connections can often be more expensive, and this is partly why. When issues occur affecting a business connection, then quick and practical support is a high priority. Being in a support queue for hours on end when your business has come to a stop is not an option, and as a result, enhanced support is required. 

Static IP Address – most business broadband packages come with a static IP address, which is vital for businesses who want to maintain a secure network or host services accessed by external parties (e.g. employees, customers or suppliers). With many companies moving to cloud services such as Microsoft 365, having a static IP for smaller businesses is becoming less important but still a requirement for most.  

SLA (Service Level Agreement) – business broadband services come with some form of SLA that is above and beyond “best endeavours”. Best endeavours are the service levels under which a telecom provider will provide a domestic service. Target fix times for business broadband services start at 40 clock hours as standard but can be improved by applying enhanced care services such as Critical Care, which reduces the target fix time to 7 clock hours.

So why does business broadband need a classification of its own?

There are several reasons why a business would need business broadband services. The need for business broadband is determined by the level of operational criticality that exists in that company. Often these critical requirements do not live with consumers who access consumer broadband.

For a business to operate effectively, a highly stable and fast connection is often required to communicate and transact effectively with each other and the wider community. Whilst catching up on the latest Netflix box-set might seem critical to a home user at the time, it doesn’t compare well with a Solicitors firm being able to complete a property sale for a first-time buyer that needs to get into their home.

Business broadband is different from that provided to the general public in their homes in the levels of availability, speed, and support that it receives, something reflected in its cost versus a domestic broadband service. 

There are many types of Business Broadband services; a business may select their service for a few different reasons. The reasons are broadly linked to geographical availability, data transmission capacity and resilience. In the UK, the primary business broadband services that are available are: 

ADSL - Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line 

Description: This is the original business broadband service and the one that is on its way out of service in the next five or so years following the copper switch off. It is asynchronous because the download speed is different to the upload speed (e.g. 20Mbps download and 1.5Mbps upload) 

Price Range: £20-£30 per month 

Pro’s: Is the cheapest of all services and if all you need is email and a bit of surfing, or to run some tills. It is also the most widely available of all business broadband services.  

Con’s: It requires a copper phone line, and BT will switch off the copper network somewhere around 2025. Also, the main speeds average around 10-14Mbps download and 1Mbps upload, so not an excellent service for a large office with multiple users or for supporting video conferencing type services.

FTTC – Fibre to the Cabinet (sometimes referred to as VDSL) 

Description: To boost speeds above the speeds ADSL business broadband services could deliver, it is necessary to run fibre optic cable out further from telecoms exchanges to reduce the length of the copper line used to serve the end-users or businesses. Hence telecom providers deployed fibre to the street cabinets. 

Price Range: £30-£40 per month 

Pro’s: It is a cost-effective service and can provide up to 80Mbps download speed and 20Mbps upload speed. It is widely available to most businesses and can support a small office environment (e.g. 5-10 employees). 

Con’s: The last stretch from the street cabinet is still a copper phone line, so it will still be getting switched off circa 2025, and speeds depend on how close you are to the street cabinet, which can often be an issue for rural people business customers.  

G.fast

Description: G.Fast is a type of business broadband that boosts speeds up to 330Mbps download and 50Mbps upload. It uses the same infrastructure as FTTC.  

Price Range: £45-65 per month 

Pro’s: Offers fantastic speeds for many medium-sized businesses and would work well for VoIP and Microsoft Teams type applications and services. Gfast is still very competitively priced for the level of speed available. 

Con’s: The last distance is a copper connection, so that speeds will vary based on proximity to the fibre enable street cabinet. Availability is also minimal currently, and with the copper switch-off happening shortly, further roll-out of the technology is uncertain.  

FTTP – Fibre to the Premises 

Description: This is the new wave, or holy grail of business broadband service and is a full-fibre connection into business premises and currently offers speeds up to 1Gbps.  

Price Range: £30-£70 per month 

Pro’s: Download and upload speeds go up to 1Gbps (that’s 1000Mbps) and just over 100Mbps upload. This business broadband service would support medium to large offices adequately for a very reasonable cost.  

Con’s: It is being rolled out at speed but is still limited in its availability. Using the FTTP on Demand variety can come with a hefty installation fee (albeit potentially subsidised by the Gigabit Voucher Scheme if in a rural location). 

Why is business broadband more expensive?

Business broadband is more expensive for various reasons, but mainly due to the difference in the demand of availability, speed and support as previously described. 

ADSL Service 

Domestic* £20.00/month

Business £22.00/month

Price Difference 10%

 

FTTC Service 

Domestic* £32.00/month

Business £37.00/month

Price Difference 16%

 

GFAST Service 

Domestic* £40.00/month

Business £55.00/month

Price Difference 37%

 

FTTP Service 

Domestic* £60.00/month

Business £63.00/month

Price Difference 5%

 

*based on BT & TalkTalk domestic packages 

Do you need to be a business to get business broadband?

In short, no, you don’t, but there will be an added cost as if the business you take the service from is VAT registered, then as a residential customer, you may not be able to claim the VAT back.  

However, suppose you work from home and need a better connection with increased support or enjoy gaming and want to have a static IP with your service. In that case, nothing is stopping a domestic user from buying a business broadband connection. The service installation may be delayed to ensure that your rights as a consumer when purchasing the service are protected, but this would only ever delay an order by 14 days at most.  

What business broadband deals do leading providers offer?

Since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, the number of people working from home has exploded. The pandemic massively accelerated a slow and gradual shift away from the traditional office working, favouring more flexible remote working arrangements. As a result, interest in business broadband is at an all-time high, and many significant providers have sweetened their offerings over the last year to attract new customers.

Below you will find information about the latest business broadband deals from the UK's leading providers and some tips on how to get the best deals when shopping for broadband packages.

BT Business broadband packages

BT offers four broadband packages for businesses:

Essential superfast broadband + digital phone line

Speed: Up to 76 Mbps download / 19 Mbps upload

Features:

- Minimum speed guaranteed

- Unlimited broadband data use

- Can act as a password-free Wi-Fi hotspot for customers. BT says this won't affect the speed or security of your network

- Access to 5 million+ BT Wi-Fi hotspots around the UK

- Complete Wi-Fi is available as an optional add-on for £10. Complete Wi-Fi creates a seamless network around your business premises, eliminating black spots and guaranteeing connectivity throughout the building.

Price: £24.95/month + £9.95 delivery

 

Halo for business Superfast + Digital Phone Line

Speed: Up to 76 Mbps download / 19 Mbps upload

Features:

- Unbreakable Wi-Fi automatically switches to EE's 4G network if there's a connection issue

- Access to enhanced IT support 24/7

- Free expert setup

- 1 free static IP included

- Price guarantee for the duration of your contract

- Complete Wi-Fi available for £7

Prices: £33.95/month + £9.95 delivery

 

Halo for Business Full Fibre 150 + Digital Phone Line

Speed: Up to 152 Mbps download / 29 Mbps upload

Features:

- Unbreakable Wi-Fi

- Access to enhanced IT support 24/7

- Free expert setup

- 1 free static IP included

- Price guarantee for the duration of your contract

- Complete Wi-Fi available for £7

Prices: £40.95/month + £9.95 delivery

 

Halo for Business Full Fibre 900 + Digital Phone Line

Speed: Up to 900 Mbps download / 104 Mbps upload

Features:

- Unbreakable Wi-Fi

- Access to enhanced IT support 24/7

- Free expert setup

- 1 free static IP included

- Price guarantee for the duration of your contract

- Complete Wi-Fi available for £7

Prices: £55.95/month + £9.95 delivery

O2 business broadband packages

O2 has six broadband plans available for businesses. Each package is sold as a bare-bones deal, and customers can choose which extra features and services they want.

Homeworker standard

Speed: Up to 20 Mbps download / 1.2 Mbps upload

Data cap: 150 GB

Price: £14.50/mo (£10.00 O2 customers)

 

Branch office standard

Speed: Up to 20 Mbps download / 1.2 Mbps upload

Data cap: 300 GB

Price: £20.50/mo (£18.00 O2 customers)

 

Fibre Start

Speed: Up to 40 Mbps download / 2 Mbps upload

Data cap: 150 GB

Price: £29.00/mo (£26.50 O2 customers)

 

Fibre Worker

Speed: Up to 40 Mbps download / 10 Mbps upload

Data cap: 300 GB

Price: £30.50/mo (£28.00 O2 customers)

 

Fibre Office Standard

Speed: Up to 55 Mbps download / 10 Mbps upload

Data cap: 300 GB

Price: £32.00/mo (£29.50 O2 customers)

 

Fibre Branch

Speed: Up to 80 Mbps download / 20 Mbps upload

Data cap: 300 GB

Price: £33.50/mo (£31.00 O2 customers)

Additional features

Every O2 business broadband package comes with the following services included:

- Free access to O2 Wi-Fi hotspots

- Priority access to gig tickets and other exclusive discounts

The following products and services are available as optional extras:

- Phones and tablets for businesses

- Microsoft Office 365 subscription

- Landlines

- Smart devices and IoT services

- Mobile broadband via 4/5G

- Integrated communications

- Cloud services

Sky business broadband

Sky's superfast business broadband packages are currently available in three tiers. Sky's core audience is domestic users rather than commercial, and their broadband packages for businesses reflect this. They mainly cater to pubs, cafes, care homes and other companies that also serve as residential properties.

Superfast and unlimited business broadband

All Sky's business broadband packages provide the same speeds: Up to 76 Mbps download / 19 Mbps upload. They are available on either 24 or 36-month contracts.

Note: Prices do not include VAT (20%) or postage (£12). If an installation is required, customers will need to pay a fee of £79.

The Advantage tier consists of broadband and a digital phone line. It costs £39 a month and includes a £75 prepaid Mastercard gift card.

The Advantage Pro tier includes broadband, a digital phone line, and an always-on guarantee. If you can't connect to the internet, your router will automatically switch to 4G instead. Auto 4G failover costs £55 a month and includes a £150 prepaid Mastercard gift card.

The Advantage Max tier includes the same features as the Advantage Pro tier but supports four digital phone lines. It currently costs £76, down from £95 a month and comes with a £200 prepaid MasterCard gift card.

EE business broadband packages

EE's business broadband packages are now provided via BT. See the BT business broadband packages for more details about what they have to offer. EE themselves sell mobile broadband routers for businesses that provide an internet connection through EE's 4G and 5G networks.

4G EE Wi-Fi packages:

EE's 4G Wi-Fi Mini routers enable you to access the internet as usual on all your devices. But instead of connecting to a broadband network, it connects to EE's 4G mobile data network. The speeds you receive will depend on where you use the router, but EE advertises average rates of up to 31 Mb/s in some places, making it faster than a basic fibre broadband connection. There are different packages available depending on whether you want a 12 or 24-month contract. Every plan includes 100 text messages every month. In addition to the monthly cost, there is a one-off fee of £8.33.

12-month contracts:

1GB Data: £9 / month

2GB Data: £11 / month

4GB Data: £14 / month

8GB Data: £17 / month

25GB Data: £20 / month

50GB Data: £25 / month

 

24-month contracts:

1GB Data: £7 / month

2GB Data: £9 / month

4GB Data: £11 / month

 

Unlimited Data: £42 / month

 

5G EE Wi-Fi packages:

While 5G is not as widely available as 4G, it is considerably faster. As with their 4G router, the speeds you receive from the 5G version will depend on where you use it. All EE's 5G packages are available as 12-month contracts and include 100 free texts every month.

1GB Data: £19 / month + £50 upfront

2GB Data: £21 / month + £25 upfront

4GB Data: £24 / month + £8.33 upfront

8GB Data: £27 / month + £8.33 upfront

25GB Data: £30 / month + £8.33 upfront

50GB Data: £35 / month + £8.33 upfront

 

Unlimited Data: £48 / month + £8.33 upfront

Virgin Media business broadband packages

Virgin Media supplies broadband for SMEs under its Voom brand. There are 4 Voom packages to choose from, depending on your requirements. Virgin includes some features as standard in all its packages, in addition to optional bolt-ons customers can choose from.

 

Voom fibre 1

Speed: Up to 350 Mbps download / 20 Mbps upload

Features:

- No download limits

- 24/7 support service

- Guaranteed resolution of technical issues within 48 hours

- Dynamic IP only (no static IPs)

 

Bolt-ons:

- 4G startup to get online instantly (£40/month)

- 4G Back-up if there are connection issues (£7/month)

 

Price: £32/month (£39 with unlimited UK calls)

 

Voom fibre 2

Speed: Up to 350 Mbps download / 30 Mbps upload

Features:

- No download limits

- 24/7 support service

- Guaranteed resolution of technical issues within 24 hours

- Dynamic and static IPs supported

- Discounts on mobile handsets, SIM cards, and cloud apps

 

Bolt-ons:

- 4G startup to get online instantly (£40/month)

- 4G Back-up if there are connection issues (£7/month)

- 5 static IPs (£5/month)

- 12 static IPs (£10/month)

- Priority support within 12 hours (£7.50/month)

 

Prices: £47/month (£54 with unlimited UK calls)

 

Voom fibre 3

 

Speed: Up to 350 Mbps download / 40 Mbps upload

Features:

- No download limits

- 24/7 support service

- Guaranteed resolution of technical issues within 24 hours

- Dynamic IP or up to 5 static IPs supported

- Discounts on mobile handsets, SIM cards, and cloud apps

 

Bolt-ons:

- 4G startup to get online instantly (£40/month)

- 4G Back-up if there are connection issues (£7/month)

- 5 static IPs (£5/month)

- 12 static IPs (£10/month)

- Priority support within 12 hours (£7.50/month)

 

Prices: £50/month (£57 with unlimited UK calls)

 

Voom 500

Speed: Up to 500 Mbps download / 50 Mbps upload

Features:

- No download limits

- 24/7 support service

- Guaranteed resolution of technical issues within 24 hours

- Dynamic IP or up to 5 static IPs supported

- Discounts on mobile handsets, SIM cards, and cloud apps

 

Bolt-ons:

- 4G startup to get online instantly (£40/month)

- 4G Back-up if there are connection issues (£7/month)

- 5 static IPs (£5/month)

- 12 static IPs (£10/month)

- Priority support within 12 hours (£7.50/month)

 

Prices: £62/month (£69 with unlimited UK calls)

Vodafone business broadband

Vodafone made headlines at the beginning of 2021 when they announced they would be offering small businesses 12 months of free broadband. The offer was available to both new and existing Vodafone customers with a setup fee of only £20. Vodafone is a popular business broadband provider among small businesses, thanks to its affordable prices and relatively short 18-month contracts. They offer two broadband-only packages and a range of packages that include both broadband and landline services.

Broadband only plans

Essential Superfast 1

Speed: Up to 35 Mbps download (upload unspecified)

Features:

- Guaranteed minimum download speed of 25 Mbps

- No data caps

- Includes 1 static IP address

 

Prices: £18.33/month

 

Essential Superfast 2

Speed: Up to 63 Mbps download (upload unspecified)

Features:

- Guaranteed minimum download speed of 55 Mbps

- No data caps

- Includes 1 static IP address

 

Prices: £22.50/month

 

Premium Superfast 1

Speed: Up to 38 Mbps download (upload unspecified)

Features:

- Unlimited minutes to any UK landline or mobile number

- Unlimited downloads

- 1 static IP address included

- Access to Vodafone's support plus service for technical support

- 24-month contract term

- Free Mobile router with 4GB/month

- Installation and line rental are included in the price

 

Price: £34.82/month

 

Premium Superfast 2

Speed: Up to 76 Mbps download (upload unspecified)

Features:

- Unlimited minutes to any UK landline or mobile number

- Unlimited downloads

- 1 static IP address included

- Access to Vodafone's support plus service for technical support

- 24-month contract term

- Free Mobile router with 4GB/month

- Installation and line rental are included in the price

 

Price: £39.82/month

 

Vodafone also offers enterprise broadband packages for larger businesses. These are bespoke solutions tailored to individual customers and their businesses. If you'd like to find out what enterprise packages Vodafone can offer you, you must contact them to discuss it.

How to make sure you're getting the best deal possible

With so many broadband providers in the UK offering residential and commercial broadband packages, it can be hard to know where to begin your search. Matters are made more complicated because not everybody has access to the same infrastructure in their home or place of business. Some providers won't serve your area, while others may only offer a small selection of their packages to you. While broadband providers have a legal obligation to ensure their services perform reliably at the advertised levels, the quality of service can vary from place to place, even with the same provider.

Rather than spending hours, even days, trying to work out which providers operate in your local area and what packages they can offer you, you can save yourself a lot of hassle by using a price comparison service. Amvia is a specialist service that compares business broadband deals from leading providers for you. All you have to do is tell Amvia where you live and what you need out of your business broadband service, and it will generate a report detailing which packages available in your area fit the bill. Amvia makes it easy to see what different providers are offering and choose the service best suited to your needs.