Guide to choosing a broadband provider for your small business
Even if you don’t consider yourself an online company, the chances are you will still see online communication as a fundamental part of your business.
When choosing your connectivity partner it can be easy to get distracted by big money saving offers and promises of high speeds but what you get from one broadband provider could be very different to the next. If you’re looking for connectivity for a new business or considering changing suppliers, read our guide to choosing a broadband provider to help you select the right service for your business:
1. Residential Vs Business Networks
Each Internet Service Provider will have different ways of running their core network and this can be a contributor to slow broadband speeds. With networks targeted at the residential market, gaming, for instance, may be given precedence over business applications, something which could seriously slow down the ability of a company to operate outside of school hours.
If you rely on broadband to operate your business it would be beneficial to just consider specialist business providers and those which offer either uncontended or low contention rates. (If you want to understand more about contended vs uncontended broadband read our previous post on uncontended internet connection).
2. Support Levels
Choosing a business specific product could benefit you if something goes wrong, essential if connectivity is vital to your business. Fix times and service level agreements (SLA’s) will vary depending on whether you are paying for a business product as these will have priority e.g. premium telephone line. If your connection to the internet is essential, you can pay for higher service levels on the telephone line, even a guaranteed fix within six hours. You can also discuss with your ISP ways of making the connectivity more resilient by using a backup connection. Consider whether your supplier understands your business.
A legitimate broadband provider will tell you exactly what speed you can expect from your service – and that is what you should pay for. Make sure the product you choose is suitable for business if you are running your office over that connection. If you don’t currently have access to the high speed products, keep an eye on the latest updates about green cabinets going live as a lot of government money has been invested to roll this out.
Safeguarding your online security is essential to prevent data loss or costly phishing scams damaging your company. Most business ISP’s will provide clients with appropriate anti-virus, spam filtering, spy ware protection and firewall software. Making sure you choose the provider who will protect you could prevent damage to your business in the long-run.
5. Additional Extras
When comparing different providers also consider extras that might be included such as a static IP address. This means the address you use to connect to the internet will be fixed and permanent, and is essential for connecting remotely, setting up a VPN, running a website, or running CCTV off your network. You may also get domain name registration, email address(es), webspace and equipment such as preconfigured routers as part of a package which may help one provider stand out over others.
It’s important to not only pick the right provider, but the right kind of connectivity for your business. Use our comparison table to check that the broadband product you have in mind is a good fit for your business.