Choosing a business broadband connection
Types of broadband connections
There are several types of broadband connections available. The location of your business may determine the type of connection you can access.
ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line)
ADSL is the most common broadband technology in the UK. It uses existing analogue telephone lines and can deliver download speeds from 0.5 Mbps up to 24 Mbps. Maximum upload speeds generally range from 0.25Mbps up to 1Mbps.
The exact speed of ADSL connection will depend on:
- length and quality of the phone line between your premises and the telephone exchange
- if the exchange has been upgraded to offer newer, faster services
If you are a small office or sole trader, a basic business ADSL line may be enough to meet your needs. Growing businesses or those relying on, for example, online sales or cloud storage, may want to consider faster connections such as fibre broadband for business.
Broadband services are often available via cable TV operators using high-speed fibre optic networks. Most cable companies offer bundled packages that include telephone, broadband connection and TV channels.
In areas where broadband is not possible via telephone or cable, it may be available using wireless technology. Local Wi-Fi hotspots are common in airports, hotels, cafes, pubs and motorway service stations. Some operators also offer mobile phone style 'roaming' facilities.
Worldwide interoperability for microwave access (Wi-max) is a fast-emerging alternative to Wi-Fi and makes it possible to provide broadband to areas where other technology is unsuitable.
Businesses in remote areas where ADSL, cable or wireless are not possible can access the internet by satellite. Download and upload speeds may vary, but faster speeds and more competitive deals are increasingly becoming available. There are also new satellite internet services using clusters of low earth orbiting satellites offering fast speeds and low latency.
Mobile broadband enables you to wirelessly connect a portable computer to the internet using the 3G, 4G or 5G mobile phone network. Mobile broadband can be useful for those working on the move. However, download speeds can be slow and coverage is not universal, especially in rural areas.
Larger businesses or those with specialist data needs may want to think about a dedicated 'point-to-point' leased line connection. This can provide higher bandwidths for both uploading and downloading, and better security and privacy over a line used exclusively by the purchasing business.
Each type of connection has its advantages and disadvantages. You should consider your options carefully and think about:
- your location, as not all broadband deals will be available in your area
- your current and future usage needs, including bandwidth and speed
- your budget, including setup fees, monthly line rental and contract terms and fees
Read about the advantages of business broadband and see how to choose an internet service provider for your business.