What does business broadband include?
Business broadband offers more generous download limits and higher speeds than regular home packages, to cater to higher levels of usage and keep service consistent.
It comes with everything you get with regular home broadband, but it also includes added features designed to help you as a business:
Better customer support: This is usually available 24 hours a day on a free phone number. Business calls take priority and problems are fixed quickly.
Priority traffic: If you use a shared line for your broadband, your connection gets priority so speed and quality are not affected by neighbours sharing the connection.
Service guarantee: Some business packages come with service guarantees which let you claim compensation if your service falls below the agreed levels.
Better security: Business broadband comes with higher levels of security, including things like antivirus, firewall protection, spam filters, and secure data backup.
Static IP address: This is like an internet phone number so when people connect to it, they always go to the same place. It is important for things like VPN networks.
Web hosting: Many packages come with tools to create a website, personalised domain and email account. This is cheaper than buying a separate hosting package.
A virtual private network is created by using a public internet connection to connect to a private portal, like an internal business network.
It lets your staff connect to the internet as if they were in the office, so they can still access shared files, operating systems, and printers when they work from home.
Who can get business broadband?
Large businesses need the higher data limits and speeds offered by business broadband, but other types of business could also benefit:
Sole traders: You may want a website to advertise your services. You may also need a professional email address to contact clients and employees.
Freelancers: Higher levels of internet security would protect work stored on your computer. Higher speeds and download limits also let you share files quickly.
Online retailers: Business broadband offers greater security for online payments and dedicated web hosting lets you run your website with guaranteed uptime.
Small businesses: You will need higher speeds and data limits. A central system where staff can access and share documents also makes communication easier.
This is the length of time your website or operating system is available and working. It lets you, your employees and your customers access everything they need on your website or network.
If a website or network goes down, your business could lose time and money.
Business broadband packages usually come with guaranteed uptime levels and better technical support to resolve problems if they do occur.
Should you get business broadband?
If losing your broadband connection could result in you losing money, you should opt for a business package.
However, if you are a small business, you may find the speeds and download limits offered by some home broadband packages sufficient for your work.
Is it more expensive than regular broadband?
Yes, but you benefit from an extensive package designed specifically for business use.
You may have to pay an upfront charge for setup and installation, and the cost of your router.
This can range from as little as £8 up to £55, depending on the supplier and the package you choose.
Which type of line should you get?
You can choose different types of connection as with regular broadband, but you can also choose different types of line:
Shared line: Some business packages supply your connection over a shared line, like home broadband. It is cheaper but you have to share the line with other users, which could affect the speed and quality of your connection at certain times of day.
Leased line: This is a dedicated line offering fibre speeds that only you have access to. It is more expensive but a low contention ratio means you do not share bandwidth with any other users, and you always get the speed advertised.
This is the number of users sharing the same bandwidth at any one time. For example, if 20 users were sharing the same connection, the contention ratio would be 20:1.
The lower your contention ratio, the higher the speed and quality of your broadband.
Business broadband packages offer a much lower contention ratio than regular home broadband, even if you use a shared line.
The most common type of broadband connection, ADSL is supplied over the BT phone network.
You will need a working phone line and the speed of your connection will depend on how close you are to the nearest telephone exchange.
You can check average speeds in your area on the Broadband.co.uk website.
Broadband is supplied to your premises over a fibre optic cable, giving you faster download and upload speeds. This lets you access the internet and share files much faster than standard ADSL.
You can get a fibre business broadband package as part of a leased line, or as a standard shared connection.
Fibre is more expensive and availability in the UK is limited, so use our postcode checker to see if you can get faster broadband for your business.
Mobile broadband works by converting mobile phone signal into wireless internet connection, known as 3G or 4G.
This lets you and your employees get online even when you are out of the office, so it could be handy if you travel or spend a lot of time in meetings.
Mobile broadband could be useful as an add on to your main broadband package, but the lower download limits and speeds are unlikely to be suitable for everyday business use.
Our guide to what broadband you should get explains more about the different types of connection available.
How to find the right package
You should shop around and compare as many products as possible, but your choice of package should not just be based on cost. Think about what you need as a business:
Speed: Consider how many members of staff access the internet at once, and whether customers rely on your broadband speed to transfer data. If you have remote offices, you may also rely on video calls which need a higher speed to run smoothly. Check what speeds are available in your area.
Download limit: If you are a large business with more than 50 employees, you are likely to need a higher download limit than an independent freelancer. Consider how regularly you share files, make VoIP calls, and how much storage space you need for emails and software updates. Read our guide to data limits for more information.
Contract length: Most providers offer 1, 12 or 24 month contracts. Consider whether your priority is to save money, or to have flexible contract terms. Longer contracts have lower upfront costs and monthly payments, but are less flexible. Shorter contracts give you the freedom to switch supplier, but cost more.
The Ofcom website offers useful information if you are just getting started building your business presence online.
You can also use our business broadband comparison table to compare products available in your area.