If you are thinking of switching to another business broadband service, there are several things you will need to consider. In theory, it should be a simple enough process; in practice, it can be fraught with difficulties. But for plenty of good reasons, it may be worthwhile. Super-fast and ultra-fast broadband services are available in most parts of the country now and the chances are that there will be a faster and better service available to you than the one you have in use today.Back to top
Check your existing contract
As a first step, you should check over your existing contract. Most broadband contacts are for two years, but that varies and while you should have been asked to confirm any renewal, if the minimum term has already been passed, you are free to switch whenever you wish.
If you still have some time to go, you may still be able to switch – but there may be conditions attach, namely a fee – and this is usually set at a level that is likely to put you off switching.
You may be able to switch anyway, if you think your current provider has not met the terms of the contract i.e. it’s service, speeds and uptime are not up to the guaranteed service level, or if it has imposed a price increase that can’t be justified. Keep in mind that they are likely to dispute such points, but if you go to them with a grievance, it’s in their interests to respond in some way – unless they want to be sure of losing you when the contact expires.Back to top
What broadband limit should you choose?
While many broadband services today are unlimited, there are still plenty of lower priced options that do limit the amount of data you can download each month. Of course, this does mean that if you hit the limit, you will either have to stop downloading data until the end of the month or buy a top-up.
It’s important to remember that the allowance will include both uploads and downloads, so if you do upload a lot of big images or videos for example, you are more likely to run up against your limit over the course of a month. This is where you do need to be careful, because with some providers you will be allowed to simply sail past the limit but in doing so, you will incur extra charges and they are often quite high.
It is also worth checking the fair usage policy of any unlimited package. This will allow the service provider to restrict your download speeds or how much data you can consume over a given period, in the event that demand becomes exceptionally high and services get really busy.Back to top
What broadband speed do you need?
Broadband speeds have been getting higher and in most areas of the UK now you can get ‘superfast’ speeds of up to 100Mbps and in some places even higher ‘ultrafast’ speeds of up to 300Mbps. While generally speaking, the rule that faster is better is certainly true, there are other factors to consider.
Cost is other obvious consideration and of course, you should expect to pay more for a faster connection. That said, relative cost per Mbps has been coming down as providers have introduced faster services, so you can get quite fast services now at a relatively low price.
But the starting point is looking at what you need. If you are a fairly modest user of online services and email, a standard ADSL connection might be enough. However, do keep in mind that we are all tending to use more and more bandwidth these days – to download high definition video and run collaborative business applications like Teams and Zoom. You will want to consider your future as well as your present needs.
Of course, depending on where you are located, there may only be a limited number of services available. Even if you are in a city or town centre, or any other urban area, you may not be able to get all the services that are being marketed in your area. If you are in a rural or remote location, it is probable that your choices may be fairly limited.Back to top
Should you choose a bundle?
Broadband is often offered alongside hosted voice phone systems – and in the consumer market with mobile phone contracts and TV services. The simple answer to this question is that, if it makes sense for you, it is a good option. But do keep in mind that what these companies are trying to do is persuade you to sign-up to more of the services they offer, that’s fair enough and they will offer you a better deal if you sign up for two or more.
If you were planning to sign up for one of the other services anyway, a bundled deal will definitely be the best choice for you. You just need to be careful to read and understand the terms and conditions carefully, so that you know exactly what you are signing up for and that it is the right package your business.Back to top
What is your budget?
Everyone has a budget, but for many businesses, it is not always fixed. You should have a top-level limit that you might be prepared to pay for broadband connectivity, but the service also has to meet your needs. It is certainly no good having a slow connection with a relatively low data allowance if you are going to find that frustrating or restrictive in any way.
At the same time, you do not want a service that is extremely fast but also beyond your realistic budget. You need to look carefully at your current needs and what you are likely to needs for the contract term. Thinking about your mid-term needs is important. All businesses are doing more online now and that means you will probably want more speed and a higher data allowance in the not-too-distant future. You should also take that into consideration.Back to top
Think about customer service
It is surprising how few businesses or consumers give to customer service and the reputation of a supplier. This is often something that they regret later, when something goes wrong and they cannot get it fixed – or even get a response from the supplier. It is worth looking at what assurances and guarantees the provider gives you and in particular at the service level agreement (SLA) that comes with the contract. The guarantees with respect to downtime will be particularly important.
Checking out the company’s track record and reputation is also worthwhile. You will already have your own perceptions and that certainly counts, but you should not rely on that alone. Every supplier will, as you’d expect, tell you that they give great customer service, but that may depend on the kind of service you are signing-up to and paying for – that is why it’s worth checking the terms and conditions. By all means check out social media posts but remember that there will be a tendency for the most divergent of views to be expressed on such forums.Back to top
Research the best options for you
By reading this article, you are already starting the process of seeking out the best broadband options for you, or for your business. You need to consider all of the factors above and give yourself time to consider and check each of the options out properly. You will already be saving yourself a lot of time and effort by looking at the options available here, on the Broadband and Phones website.Back to top