Business Broadband Comparison

Business Broadband Comparison

by Caleb James on 12 Apr, 2012

In an ideal world any given business would be receiving the best value telephone, broadband, e-commerce and mobile services from one trusted supplier who offered the best value for money. The level of service would be tailor made for the client.

In the real world most companies receive these vital commodities from a number of disparate suppliers whose products are rarely compatible with each other. The result can be an expensive mix of services, none of which really serve the business well.
The advent of digital services over the past ten to fifteen years has changed the way we do business with each other. The problem for most businesses is that the developments in technology have not been uniform. As new technology developed, new hardware arrives with additional costs.

Traditionally, businesses had no choice from where to obtain their telecommunications. It was simpler, but also costly; and inefficient. As new technologies exploded upon us with the dawn of a new millennium, so markets were opened up to innovative service providers who were market-led and customer focused. The old hands had to reorganise, become leaner and learn new ways of serving customers as the playing field levelled out.

A typical business may still receive their voice call service from their traditional supplier. Their internet service might have been bought around ten years ago from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) who uses the conventional copper wire route which gives them limited bandwidth. Their web services and mobile phones may be provided by yet more suppliers.

So, when some bright spark, or enlightened individual, suggests they shop around for their business broadband, it is difficult to know quite where to start. One provider may offer a cheap monthly subscription, while another guarantees a speed of up to 20mbs and unlimited bandwidth (subject to fair usage). Where does one look to make a fair comparison?

The key is to evaluate what you really need; not what suppliers are telling you what you need. How much do you use the internet? What do you use it for? If you just email and browse occasionally your requirements will be different from someone who needs to talk to customers and suppliers around the world via webcam. Cloud technology, or software as a service, brings enormous potential to your desktop; the demands on your bandwidth increase considerably as a result. So you need to know what exactly your supplier means by ‘unlimited data / bandwidth’.

When making business broadband comparisons, these are the factors you need to take into account.

Broadband Installation Fee

Some service providers offer free installation; you need to take into consideration the complete picture, though. It would be unwise to make a choice based on this criterion alone.

Download Speed

Download speed will typically range from 512 kb to 24Mb, depending on the package. Most broadband providers will specify speeds up to the figure they advertise; in reality, the speeds can be slower than claimed. Speed will also be subject to the contention ratio, that is the number of subscribers using the broadband service.

Usage Allowance

Some business broadband providers will specify a limit to how much bandwidth can be used per month. Other service providers will offer unlimited data. Most broadband suppliers will stipulate a fair usage policy; it is rare for unlimited broadband to be truly unlimited.

Wireless Router Included

Some broadband providers will charge extra for a wireless router while others will offer one free as part of the service.

One Off Cost and Monthly Costs

This is where a business broadband comparison can vary greatly between suppliers. Most providers will offer a two-year contract, so it is vitally important to take into consideration all relevant costs.

It is also wise to consider what telephony costs can be saved in conjunction with business broadband packages.

About the Author

Caleb James

Caleb James is a financial advisor and journalist, who contributes regularly to financial blogs and industry publications.