How do I choose an internet package?
Aug 25th 2017
Most businesses rely on internet, yet no two businesses are alike. So just how do you pin down what your specific internet requirements are?
It’s something so intrinsic to our working lives, we almost take it for granted – until, that is, we lose service. Suddenly we realise how little we can get done – we can’t email, we can’t use the cloud to access files and data, we can’t use any online tools, or Google for answers.
Of course, the extent to which businesses rely on the internet will vary – some may be based entirely online, while others may use it simply to sell wares further afield.
No two businesses are alike, and that’s why when it comes to choosing your internet package there are a variety of factors to consider to make sure you get the best deal for you.
“If you want to put the broadband through the company accounts, then a business broadband is the only option for you”
Let’s talk contracts
The first thing you’ll likely consider is the kind of contract you need – residential or business internet? If you work from home, you may be inclined to go for the residential internet, lured by the cheaper price tag.
“If you want to put the broadband through the company accounts, then a business broadband is the only option for you,” says William Goodall, acquisition manager at Virgin Media Business.
“Our business broadband also has a higher bandwidth than the residential side, so if that’s key then business broadband might also be the best option.”
The added customer service levels and increased security alone make it worth considering; it’s definitely bad for business if you leak customer data. In addition, providers will often prioritise business internet customers, so the neighbour watching Netflix all day doesn’t interfere with your speeds.
If you’re more well established, with a staff of about 50 or more employees, you might want to consider Managed Internet Access (MIA).
Sometimes referred to as leased lines, MIA essentially means you have a line that’s dedicated to you and uncontended; you don’t have to share bandwidth with anyone else. It means fast speeds, so it’s perfect for businesses uploading and downloading lots of large files.
It’s more expensive, but with faster speeds, greater reliability and enhanced customer service, it could be worth the price if your business is at a certain stage.
Nailing the basics
Once you’ve decided on a contract type, you should look at the speed and price of service.
There are some providers out there that offer significantly faster speeds, which might be worth paying for.
When a provider tells you what speed they offer, keep in mind that’s often the maximum speed, and the actual service can dip below; always check the minimum speeds offered.
And while you absolutely need to think about what your business can afford to pay, it’s wise not to cut corners in case you end up losing money due down the line.
Building your reputation
Next up: whether you need a static or a dynamic IP address.
An IP address is a number your provider uses to identify your device and your connection, but it changes every time you log on if you have a dynamic IP address.
A static IP address is great for businesses, because it means you can host your own server. This allows you to have more control over your email, create a company specific address, and even host your own website. They all make your business seem more professional and more established.
“A micro business would absolutely be able to get by with residential broadband, however without a static IP they might struggle to make full use of the connection, and they wouldn’t be able to put the connection through the company accounts, making business accounting more difficult,” explained Goodall.
It might not be something you are ready to do now, but if you think in a year or two you might want to run your website in-house, it’s worth keeping that kind of scalability in mind.
And whatever your requirements, there are benefits to discover that could help you scale up, become more secure, or go faster. Weigh up your priorities and you’ll be more likely to find the deal that’s right for you.