INSIGHT

Want a harder working broadband bundle?

Many internet providers offer broadband bundles, or package deals, loaded with enticing extras. So, just what’s out there, and what can they do for your business?

Choosing a broadband bundle can mean sifting through a plethora of extras. Trying to work out which providers offer what benefits, and which ones your company would gain from, can be tricky.

A lot of people may be used to purchasing bundles including TV, broadband and telephone connections, but for businesses the extras can be more specific.

Some benefits, such as being able to access free WiFi at hotspots around the country, are fairly self-explanatory, while others – things like unified communications or call centre solutions – might be less clear.

One thing is certain though: if your business relies on broadband, there are likely to be some surprise extras that could make a difference.

“Broadband is only a means to an end. As the digital age progresses it’s what you can do with it that’s important,” says Melvin Griffiths, broadband product manager at Virgin Media Business.

“PAYG cloud applications, flexible working, collaboration tools, the internet of things – and whatever the future may bring – will all be dependent on fast, reliable, secure internet connectivity. Its these extras that meet the needs of small businesses and deliver the step change in performance.”

So just what are the most useful extras available on the market today?

“Broadband is only a means to an end. As the digital age progresses it’s what you can do with it that’s important”

 
 

The classic: communications

First and foremost, your broadband connection is about communication, and there are lots of broadband extras geared around improving your telephony.

Some providers now offer VoIP products as part of the package deals. VoIP, or Voice over IP, simply means taking calls over the internet, but it has its advantages over a traditional landline.

For a start, you aren’t tied to a desk – you can make calls from anywhere you have a connection, and your number will remain the same. VoIP services are also typically cheaper, more scalable, and offer a range of features such as call recording that can be useful for training.

In addition, some providers offer unified communications services, which integrate options such as phone, video conferencing and email. It makes for a more collaborative approach, anywhere, anytime. 

Looking suave: professionalism

One thing you might consider is getting a static IP address. An IP address is a number that your provider uses to identify your computer when you go on the internet. Usually they change every time; these are known as dynamic IP addresses.

Having a static IP gives you better remote access to your data, and more reliable VoIP calls. It also allows you to run your own server so you can host your own website and have personalised business email addresses.

It’s more professional and, used correctly, can give an impression of scale to an outsider.  

Some providers will give you a static IP address automatically when you sign up for a business account; with others you may need to request it.

You’ll also find some providers offer call centre solutions. Again, this can offer the impression you’re a much larger business, and help your business out if you’re short-staffed. 

Making it work for you: flexibility

Look out for cloud business application extras in broadband bundles that allow you to take your business with you. For example, Microsoft Office 365 uses the cloud to give business owners easy access to programmes like Word, Excel and Outlook – no matter where they are.

Not all of these extras will be right for you, but chances are, something will strike a chord.

“We use size and industry amongst other factors to help guide customers towards the solutions that are right for them,” explains Griffiths.

“Every customer gets 350Mb, and then they can tailor the service by adding phone lines, SIM-only plans and cloud apps as incentivised elements of their bundle.”

If your business could be improved by accessing files in the cloud, anywhere in the country, or by hosting your own website to build a stronger reputation, the first place to look is your broadband contract – make it work for you. 

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