Choosing Suppliers

Best business broadband providers in the UK, compared

10 min read

23 November 2018

Deputy Editor, Real Business

Real Business compares the UK's major business broadband providers - and their deals.

The internet is one of the most powerful tools of the 21st century. It allows businesses to tap into a wider pool of customers, so speed and reliability are necessary for broadband connections.

Many people assume they can use the same broadband they use at home for business. But there’s a reason why business broadband comes at a higher price – for one, it won’t grind to a halt at peak times.

You can’t afford the same sluggish pace that comes with everyone tuning into their favourite TV drama. For a business, a slow website means a loss of customers.

In a sense, business broadband is more geared towards driving online performance, offering increased speed and around the clock support.

Here we discuss the benefits of business broadband and take a look at the main UK providers.

Main benefits of business broadband

While some providers charge extra for business broadband packages, it’s not often obvious what the advantages are. We outline six key benefits below:

  • Business broadband providers typically offer faster upload speeds compared to consumer counterparts.
  • Another reason for its quicker speed is a low contention ratio – the number of people using the line at the same time. Some 20-50 people share the same consumer bandwidth. This number decreases to 1-5 for business services.
  • You’ll be privy to better security, to help combat the likes of malware and trojan viruses.
  • Support lines are open 24/7, with providers offering access to specialist contact centres and engineers.
  • Most business broadband packages include web hosting, emails and domain names.
  • You get a static IP address. With consumer broadband, you’re allocated a new one every time you connect. The benefit of having a static IP address – one that doesn’t change – is that you can run in-house services.

Main things to consider when signing up for business broadband?

Network provider Lumitri suggests “you’ll want to be confident that the line you use is able to deal with your data requirements. The most common metric used to measure such things is bandwidth. Typically, higher bandwidth connections cost more, so you’ll want to investigate all the options.”

A lesser-known consideration is that of latency, according to Lumitri.

“Latency is the amount of time required for packets of data to move from one location to another. In other words, latency can be considered just as important as bandwidth for choosing a lightning-fast business broadband connection.

“Also, the best broadband in the world is useless if it takes months to connect. While many consumer lines may take two to four weeks to connect, business lines can be far more variable.”

There are two factors that could impact speed of installation. The first is your chosen package and the second is the provider – leased lines can take longer to install, for example. Know what the lead time is between sign-up and connection.

Breakdown of the major business broadband suppliers

Picking a broadband provider isn’t easy. So to help you make a decision we compare some of the biggest UK business broadband suppliers – and the packages they have to offer.

plusnet

Sheffield-based plusnet is known for its affordable and straightforward packages. While it’s owned by BT, the company runs independently. It has a multitude of offerings, from broadband, fast fibre optic broadband to mobile.

Pros

  • There’s unlimited broadband, with no download limits.
  • Special offers can be found on a regular basis.
  • The company is known for its good customer service.

Cons

  • Fibre optic broadband isn’t readily available everywhere.
  • There are limited extras as it favours simple and affordable.

One of the best packages

Package Name Download Speed Upload Speed Price per Month Contract Length
Unlimited∞ Business Fibre Broadband 76Mb 19Mb £28 - no setup cost 24 months

TalkTalk Business

TalkTalk Business broadband packages are ideal for smaller companies. Its offerings fall under two categories: ADSL and fibre optic. The company zones in on VOIP and mobile services – and allows you to manage data through hosted data centres.

Pros

  • Its prices are fixed for 18 months, so you won’t face sudden price increases.
  • Phone plans offer unlimited calls.
  • Static IPs are a standard.

Cons

  • There’s a lot of flexibility within the packages, making some a bit complicated in nature.
  • Ethernet offerings are limited in location.

One of the best packages

Package Name Download Speed Upload Speed Price per Month Contract Length
Complete Business Broadband and Phone 17Mb 1 Mbps £24.50 - no setup fees 12 months

BT Business

BT Broadband has numerous offerings, going so far as to present premium infinity packages. Each of its options can be taken as broadband only, or bundled in with line rental.

Pros

  • It gives you better flexibility. You get free access to public WiFi hotspots.
  • Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials is included with premium broadband.
  • BT Smart hubs are come free.

Cons

  • The basic packages have small download limits.
  • Its packages can be on the pricey side.

One of the best packages

Package Name Download Speed Upload Speed Price per Month Contract Length
Premium Broadband 17Mb 1 Mbps £34.90 - £8.50 delivery 24 months

Virgin Media Business

SMEs can choose from two primary packages: Essential or Voom. The former is dedicated to businesses with only a few people in the office. Voom, on the other hand, is more pricey, but offers greater speeds.

Pros

  • There are unlimited downloads for all available packages.
  • It’s been lauded for its fast fault response.
  • You can get managed internet access – a connection that you don’t have to share.

Cons

  • Costs can wrack up when you add extras.
  • You can only get a 24 month contract.

One of the best packages

Package Name Download Speed Upload Speed Price per Month Contract Length
Essential Business Internet 50Mb 5Mbps £22 - £50 setup fee 24 months

Onebill

Onebill has a penchant for the “unlimited,” offering unlimited calls and downloads. The company has mostly geared its packages towards SMEs. Each includes a free router and comes complete with a 24 month contract.

Pros

  • It offers cheap and unlimited calls on mobile and phone landlines.
  • Low-cost packages are specifically geared towards businesses.
  • Technical support and customer service is said to be outstanding.

Cons

  • Fibre optic options aren’t available at all locations.
  • Business features such as cloud storage is missing.

One of the best packages

Package Name Download Speed Upload Speed Price per Month Contract Length
Broadband Unlimited 17Mb 1Mbps £29.45 - £9.99 setup fee 24 months

bOnline

bOnline offers three packages for businesses: normal business, business plus and fibre. Where the first is for small office use, the fibre package caters for multiple people being online at the same time.

Pros

  • You get access to your invoices and accounts through a mobile app.
  • SEO tools are available to boost your search engine rankings.
  • It offers web design help.

Cons

  • Fibre optic options aren’t available at all locations.
  • Fibre optic packages only come with 18 month contracts.

One of the best packages

Package Name Download Speed Upload Speed Price per Month Contract Length
Fibre Unimited 76Mb 19Mb £26.95 - £9.95 setup cost 12 months

xln

Whatever option you choose from xln, you’ll get 24/7 customer service and tech support, as well as a subscription to xln’s security software. more importantly, its packages won’t break the bank.

Pros

  • xln is more affordable than most business broadband providers.
  • You can pick from landline only or broadband only options.
  • Technical support and customer service is said to be outstanding.

Cons

  • Its mobile deals are quite limited.
  • Business features such as cloud storage is missing.

One of the best packages

Package Name Download Speed Upload Speed Price per Month Contract Length
Business Broadband and UK Calls 17Mb 1Mbps £19.95 - £9.99 setup fee 12 months

Toople

Topple does basic and straightforward business broadband really well – for the new startup or small business. It’s easy to use, coming without all the bells and whistles that other broadband providers offer.

Pros

  • Free routers are included.
  • Unlimited and international call packs are on offer.
  • There’s a super fibre optic package.

Cons

  • It’s more suited for smaller companies than medium ones.
  • Many common business broadband features are missing.

One of the best packages

Package Name Download Speed Upload Speed Price per Month Contract Length
Business Fibre Essential 40Mb 10Mb £28.25 - no setup fee 24 months