How much should I spend on business broadband?
No two businesses are the same, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to your business broadband. It’s important to consider the size of your business, what your employees use the internet for, and how much you rely on the internet to keep your business operational.
In this article we’ve broken down the different factors that influence cost, helping you to decide what is the most important to you. We are focusing on business broadband products SoGEA and FTTP. If you want to know about the cost of a fibre leased line, click here.
Factors that will affect the price of business broadband:
An FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) connection will cost more than SoGEA, as it is comprised entirely of fibre optic cables – right to your premises. Fibre is capable of carrying data at the speed of light, unlike copper cabling used by SoGEA. Achieving higher speeds means it will take less time for you to download or upload files, but you will probably pay a higher monthly price for FTTP.
A crucial element to consider when purchasing business broadband is bandwidth. This is the maximum volume of data that can be transferred from one point to another in a specific amount of time. A common analogy to help understand bandwidth is to liken it to cars travelling on a road – more cars will be able to travel for a mile on a 4-lane motorway than a single-track country road.
Businesses are more likely to be uploading or downloading larger amounts of data than home users, so having a higher bandwidth that is consistent is important.
At peak times, as more devices are connected to the internet, you’ll be competing for bandwidth, and you might notice a drop in internet performance (think traffic queues in rush hour!) This is known as contention. Business broadband providers, like Beaming, are likely to provide low contention ratios, meaning you will get more consistent broadband performance than if you are using a residential broadband product.
If your business relies on fast, reliable connectivity, a fibre leased line is a dedicated connection solely for your business – so you’re never competing for bandwidth, and won’t experience a drop in performance at peak times. Naturally, this will come at a higher cost, so again must be balanced out with the needs of your business.
Business-grade routers are, by design, more powerful and resilient than those used for home broadband. They are built with higher quality parts, and capable of managing the higher traffic levels of a business. Talk to your ISP about the features of the router included in your broadband deal, so you can be sure that you are benefiting from a business-grade router.
Fixed/static IP addresses
A fixed IP address brings with it a number of benefits compared to a dynamic IP address. These include stability, hosting ability, remote access, site-to-site VPN terminations, and IT support. Some providers will automatically include this is the monthly broadband cost, or some it will be an additional charge you will have to add on. Learn more about the benefits of a fixed IP address for businesses here.
It is common for ISPs to incentivise customers to sign up for longer-term contracts by offering slightly reduced rates. If your business isn’t sure of its future plans, you may opt for a shorter contract, but it may be at a higher rate.
Be careful of ISPs trying to tie you in to contracts that are unsuitable for your business – for example, Ofcom has advised that small business customers (with 10 or fewer employees) should not have contract durations which exceed 24 months.
SLAs – or ‘Service Level Agreements’, set out the level of service you can expect from your ISP. These involve aspects such as fix times, the times between which you will be able to reach customer support, and percentage of guaranteed uptime. They will also include details of any remedies or compensation you’ll be entitled to, should the ISP fail to meet this agreement. SLAs for residential broadband are far less common, and will have much longer fix times than business broadband.
It’s important to check the small print, and when you’re comparing providers, make sure you’re comparing like-for-like SLAs. The best SLAs are from dedicated fibre leased line connections – find out more here.
Do you want to be able to get straight through to a friendly expert if there is ever a problem with your connection? ISPs that hire technical experts as their staff members will naturally have higher costs than those sub-contracting call centres, or hiring less-skilled staff, to deal with any issues that may arise.
Specialist ISPs like Beaming have technical experts in-house, that are able to support businesses with a wide range of products and solutions. They are ready to fix issues promptly – there’s no need to wait for hours in a call centre queue, so you can concentrate on running your business.
How much you should spend depends on how important fast, reliable connectivity is to your business operations – and how much it would cost you were things to go wrong. Some ISPs – like Beaming – are also able to offer additional business-focused solutions such as bill consolidation and cost centre billing, to save you time and administration costs.
A specialist business ISP will tailor their service to your business, so t’s best to contact them directly to get a quote.
Find answers to more questions in our knowledge base
Can I switch business broadband provider?
How you can switch provider without the hassle.
FTTP broadband equipment
Switching from FTTC to FTTP requires new hardware – but what equipment will you be given for the upgrade?