Affordable broadband providers for a small business
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The internet has become a must-have resource for almost every business today. From the most basic communications to core operations, the power of the internet is undeniable. For this reason, broadband services have become a necessity for organisations. Internet service providers offer three main broadband options- ADSL, which offers fast download speeds, cable that has dedicated networks and fibre optics, which gives super-fast speeds through optical fibres. When looking for the best broadband package for a small business, the type of connection in place is just one of the factors that determine the most suitable choice. The numerous service providers on the market require detailed criteria to narrow down your options.
Understand your business needs
The internet uses of one SME are not the same as the next one. Start by analysing the tasks that need the internet. Maybe your employees only need to send emails and other communications to clients. In such an instance, a basic broadband package will do just fine. For a company that has to download and upload large files, then the usage will be higher. Corporations that host their own websites require networks with superior performance. Streaming and downloading videos also tend to eat up a lot of gigabytes. A thorough evaluation of your company’s broadband needs ensures that you don’t pay for products that don’t contribute to the bottom-line. For instance, buying a premium level broadband package when your startup only has five employees who only have to send a couple of emails a day is wasteful. You have to find an ISP that responds to your specific requirements without compromising the quality of service.
How fast do you need the internet to be? Slow connections can cause your business a lot of money if most of your operations rely on connectivity. For instance, if you run a small digital marketing firm that has to handle online advertisements for clients, you cannot afford to work with slow internet. When determining your bandwidth usage, consider how many users will be on each connection since the higher the number, the more the bandwidth needed.
A majority of broadband providers have data caps for most of their packages. The increased internet speeds provided today allow users to access platforms where they can download copious amounts of data, which is very costly for ISPs. To put a limit to this usage, providers implement monthly download limits. Only a few business packages have data caps, so ask about that when choosing a vendor. You can get a package with data caps to prevent employees from misusing the office internet. Note that providers charge extra when you exceed the set capability, so make certain your estimates are accurate.
The suitability of broadband providers for your small business also depends on the service level agreement that they offer. The SLA contains the terms of service, including the performance and support availability. Not a lot of business owners think about it, but the SLA dictates the type of services you can expect. Take some time to compare SLAs from different providers before settling on one. Look at the acceptable use policy and be aware of all restrictions that may interfere with your business. A single oversight may be the difference between getting a data limit on your downloads and a truly unlimited package. If your products include any other service besides broadband, then ensure they are covered by the SLA as well.
Equipment and installation fees
When budgeting for your internet service, you have to account for the tools and installations as well. Ask a broadband provider about the type of hardware available with different products. Will you have to pay separately for the router and Ethernet ports or will the ISP include them in the package? Some ISPs offer firewall protection, inbuilt Wi-Fi routers and modems, which saves you a considerable amount. Find out about the installation and activation fees. In some instances, you may get a discount on some of these charges if you sign a long-term contract such as one for three years.
The technical support offered by an ISP is another measure of its suitability. Find out if a broadband provider has on-site assistance to avoid spending money hiring a technical team. Before you sign the contract, test the customer support first to see if it’s live or automated. You should gauge the response time as well.