Best UK business phone and broadband deals – how to choose

You need to understand your business and its internet needs before deciding on the best broadband and phone deal for you

Just as energy smaller energy providers have gone under in recent months, the same threat stands for smaller broadband providers due to rampant inflation.

According to The Telegraph, Ofcom is in the process of talks with BT who could potentially take on “thousands” of customers as smaller suppliers go bust. Moving broadband would be the same as moving energy in that customers from a defunct company would be automatically moved to another one.

Challengers came on to the market to take advantage of ultrafast broadband speeds, but now there are concerns that with so many competitors on the market, some of the less popular ones will fail in trying to compete with BT Openreach and Virgin Media O2.

Business Broadband Suppliers

  1. Vodafone
  2. Virgin Media Business
  3. Plusnet
  4. BT
  5. Sky Connect
  6. Zen
  7. TalkTalk Business
  8. bOnline
  9. XLN
  10. Onebill
  11. Trooli

Switching broadband provider is trickier than switching other services as you may have to physically switch to a different network. With that in mind, we’ve asked the experts what you should be factoring in when you choose business broadband and some of the best providers in the UK market.

Speed

Speed is all-important in your broadband decision making. Broadband packages for business are much faster than home broadband solutions and also provide greater choice; you can opt for either ADSL or fibre and can even choose a leased line. Leased broadband is a business option for a faster connection where you won’t share your bandwidth with anyone else. This dedicated line will ensure your connection runs at the speed you want.

It can be tempting to opt for the highest speeds available, with some providers offering up to 900mbps (that’s megabits per second), but it is worth being mindful that coverage may be limited. Most providers have an online tool which will tell you how good coverage will be in your postcode area before you commit to anything.

Then you’ve to choose between fibre and standard broadband. But which one should you go for? Alasdair Wright, chief marketing officer at Broadway Partners, said: “Small businesses should be looking to choose ultrafast, fibre broadband to meet their everyday needs. Fibre is capable of transmitting data much faster than traditional copper connections. Fast broadband speeds are essential for businesses who need to download large files, access cloud platforms and jump from one video call to the next.”

Stability is also key, wherever your business is based: “Whilst small businesses have differing workspaces, stability and coverage should be a strong consideration for all. Home-based businesses will want to assurance that their connection won’t drop out throughout the day, whereas those in larger office spaces will also need to ensure coverage is maintained across the entire space. It’s also important to think about how the installation of broadband may affect the business,” Wright told Small Business.

He also advised to think about installation. Quick and easy installation is best for minimal disruption and fibre broadband only takes a couple of hours to install, for example.

The level of broadband comes into play too. “Just as mobile broadband is working its way through to 5G, home/office WiFi is also progressing with greater speeds than ever before, also supporting more devices than ever before and with a signal power beaming directly to devices for maximum efficiency. Most new routers on fibre networks come with 6.0 as standard for ultimate reliability,” said Wright.

Cybersecurity is crucial too. “Fibre connections are far more secure as their optical signals are harder to intercept than traditional electric transmissions, so businesses can be reassured their data is protected and they aren’t at risk of an attack or breach.”

>See also: What broadband options are available for my business?

How you connect

Take how you connect into consideration. Basic broadband connects through the asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) and uses the existing phone line infrastructure known as the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to connect to the internet. But BT, who owns and runs the PSTN, is switching off the network from December 31, 2025. “So, if you’re planning on making the switch in the next couple of years, opting for a broadband connection that connects using fibre optic cables, such as full fibre broadband, offers you a futureproofed service,” said Kristian Torode, director and co-founder of Crystaline.

Dynamic or static IP

You are likely to be familiar with dynamic IP addresses as these form the basis of home broadband services. A dynamic IP address changes frequently, meaning that you are not assigned a specific IP address. While this solution is fine for smaller, simple business operations, those which are more complex or have specific needs may find that a fixed IP address becomes a necessity. Such requirements include running CCTV systems, servers for websites, email management or the need to access a desktop remotely.

There are some disadvantages to static IP addresses though, most notably, the increased security risk from cyberattacks. Because the IP address remains constant, it is much easier to track the computer which is linked to it, making it a prime target for hackers. It is also more difficult to change a static IP address once it has been assigned. For most businesses, the pros of switching to a fixed IP address outweigh the cons, it will just require more emphasis on IT security and protection.

> Want to keep up-to-date with your business tech? Download this guide on digital transformation for small businesses [pdf].

Customer support

Having a business continuity plan in place is essential for managing the unexpected, and this includes what to do in the event of an IT failure. Ensuring that you opt for a phone and broadband provider with a good track record of customer service is essential, so that you can rest assured that help will be on hand if you need it.

Most business packages will provide enhanced support teams, and some will provide 24/7 availability, through a combination of phone, email and live chat facilities.

If your business requires a certain level of response or you need to place a limit on downtime periods, it is worth considering implementing an SLA (Service Level Agreement) with your chosen provider. This will ensure that you are able to maintain a connection even if there is a fault with their broadband. A smart move would be to opt for a package which offers 4G as an automatic back-up, giving you continued coverage in the event of complete broadband failure.

Note when customer service hours operate. If you run a restaurant, for example, a provider which only offers customer service during standard business hours isn’t going to be able to help in a crisis.

Reviews

Customer service is a vital component of your broadband package, but you should factor in how the whole shebang shapes up.

“Examine reviews before making your decision and see how customers have experienced the business broadband you’re considering,” said Love Energy Savings CEO, Phil Foster.

Torode added that it’s a good idea to look out for awards to back up providers’ claims of excellence. If they’ve got recent awards from the likes of Uswitch, Expert Reviews and Choose, that’s a positive sign.

“It’s also worth looking at customer review websites like Trustpilot, to see how each provider ranks for customer service. It’s all very well having a broadband connection with a low price point, but if the provider doesn’t respond quickly in the event of a connectivity issue, it might be worth paying that little bit more for a better quality of service,” said Torode.

>See also: Rural broadband: how to improve your speed

What’s the best broadband for my business?

Now that you have a better understanding of what to look for, the next step is to consider how your business type may affect your decision.

“It’s important to calculate what your usage is going to look like. If you’re a small business with just a few devices, your data needs will be significantly less than a larger office with hundreds of connected devices, which might be best suited to an unlimited data package,” said Torode.

Below are some example business to give you an idea of what you’ll need.

>Home-based business

A small home-based business is likely to need a stable internet connection, particularly if conference calls are a frequent occurrence. If usage is fairly low and limited to browsing and emailing, then an ADSL line is likely to be sufficient. For more frequent conference calling or if there are multiple devices used in the household, a fibre optic solution will provide a faster, more stable connection.

>Small retailer

For small retailers, salons and shops who are only using the internet to process card transactions and send emails, an ADSL line is likely to be the most cost-effective option. If music is likely to be streamed into the shop, it is worth opting for unlimited downloads to avoid any additional charges.

>Cafe and restaurant

For cafes and restaurants, fibre optic broadband with unlimited downloads is a must have to ensure customers can enjoy hassle-free usage of the WiFi; this is now an essential selling-point as many more freelancers and remote employees opt to work from coffee shops and similar venues. This will ensure multiple people can use the internet at any time, providing both customers and staff with a reliable and fit for purpose solution.

>Small office

Small offices would also be wise to opt for fibre optic broadband with unlimited downloads and for those with multiple employees, additional phone lines and a static IP address. Where growth is expected, it is also important to opt for solutions which can easily be scaled up and down as business dictates.

>Larger office

Larger offices are likely to need a leased line or ethernet solution to help service the needs of multiple users, maintain a high-speed service and support remote servers, conference calls and other essential business functions.

Which business broadband providers are still out there?

Now, on to the real stuff. Here’s a breakdown of business broadband providers in the UK and what their offerings look like.

Bear in mind that prices will exclude VAT and contract lengths will be 12, 18 or 24 months. Plus, the Trustpilot score for the larger companies may also cover their broader offering such as TV and phone.

Vodafone

Fibre or broadband: Broadband

Upload/download speed: Download speed up to 76mbps; 18mbps upload speed

Dynamic or static IP: Static

Customer service: Phone – Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm, live chat – Monday- Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday-Sunday 9am-6pm (these are for customers with 1-9 employees – find phone numbers and times for bigger businesses on the contact us page)

Trustpilot score: 1.3

Pricing: 24-month plans from £18.33 a month – plus 20 per cent VAT.

The phone network has made something of a name for itself in the broadband world. It has a minimum speed guarantee and if that speed isn’t satisfied, you can leave your contract early with no termination fee. The service offers 14-day returns with no cancellation fee. A hub will be sent to you that you can plug in and use straight away.

Virgin Media Business

Fibre or broadband: Fibre

Upload/download speeds: Up to 1000mbps download speed; up to 50mbps upload speed

Dynamic or static IP: Either

Customer service: 24/7 telephone customer support

Trustpilot score: 1.2

Pricing:

Voom 400: £33 – up to 400mbps download speed and up to 40mbps upload speed

Voom 600: £42 – up to 600mbps download speed and up to 50mbps upload speed

Voom 800: £51 – up to 800mbps download speed and up to 50mbps upload speed

Voom Gig1: £60 – up to 1000mbps download speed and up to 50mbps upload speed

All contracts are 24 months and exclude VAT.

Virgin Media Business claims that its broadband offering is 99.9 per cent reliable and 13 times faster than BT and Sky’s widely available offerings. While the technician sets up you up, you can get online straight away with Instant Connect, powered by a 4G start-up dongle.

Plusnet

Fibre or broadband: Either

Upload/download speeds: Download speed of up to 76mb; upload speed of up to 19mb

Dynamic or static IP: Static

Customer service: 24/7 customer support

Trustpilot score: 1.9

Pricing:

Ultimate Business Fibre Broadband – 76mb – £22 a month

Unlimited Business Broadband – 17mb – £18 a month

Both 24-month contracts with line rental included. Extra £4.99 plus P&P for the router.

Plusnet’s package comes with new Hub Two router which the provider said is more reliable. Plusnet can also connect multiple premises so if you have more than one café, for example, you’re covered. Your contract will be reviewed after the 24-month contract period to make sure you’re on the best deal.

BT

Fibre or broadband: Either

Upload/download speeds: Up to 900mbps downloads; up to 104mbps uploads

Dynamic or static IP: Static

Customer service: Telephone support 9am-5pm Monday-Friday

Trustpilot score: 2.0

Pricing:

Broadband Only – £22.95 – up to 76 mbps of downloads 19mbps of uploads.
Essential – £25.95 – 900mbps, 104mbps upload, smart hub and digital phone line – basic features plus make and take landline calls on the go
Halo for business – £36.95 – up to 900mbps download, 104mbps upload.
Halo for Complete WiFi – £43.95 – up to 900mbps upload and 104mbps upload

BT has teamed up with phone provider EE to give customers wider access to services. Some hardware is available in the packages above, but you can also purchase the BT Business Hub, Complete Wi-Fi, Hybrid and Digital phone line separately.

All the packages come with minimum speed guarantee, guest WiFi, content controls and web protect. More features are included in the Essential and Halo packages.

Sky Connect

Fibre or broadband: Either  

Upload/download speeds: Download speeds of up to 500mbps; upload speeds of up to 28mbps

Dynamic or static IP: Static

Customer service: Complaint details can be found here

Trustpilot score: 1.6

Pricing:

Essential -76mbps – £29.95
Pro – 150mbps -£24.95
Plus – 150mbps – £49.95

All of the above are 24-month contracts. There’s also a £79 4G installation fee on Pro and Max packages. Full fibre is available to 9 per cent of all UK businesses.

Sky offers a fixed price package during your contract plus a 30-day money back guarantee. It comes with a 4G automatic back-up as standard.

As for your phone, Sky has a VoiceEdge service which diverts calls to another number or passes calls to someone else if you can’t pick up on the Pro package and has two lines and three-way calls with Plus.

Zen

Fibre or broadband: Either

Upload/download speeds: Average 67mbps download; average upload speed of 18mbps

Dynamic or static IP: Static

Customer service: Telephone support 8am-8pm Monday- Friday; 9am-5pm at weekends

Trustpilot score:4.3

Pricing:

Fast – ADSL broadband – £27 a month – phone line rental fees included in the price – free activation
Superfast FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) broadband – £41 a month –  phone line rental fees are included in the price – £45 activation
Ultrafast – FTTP (fibre to the premise) and G. Fast broadband – full fibre data only prices – £38.50 a month – £40 activation

Zen’s packages are specifically made for small businesses and it offers 12-month contracts with a free static IP address. It comes with a free Fritz!Box router and it’s a Which? Recommended Provider for 2022.

TalkTalk Business

Fibre/normal broadband: Either

Download and upload speeds: Dedicated leased lines have scalable speeds up to 10gbps or up to 900mbps on full-fibre

Dynamic or static IP: Either

Customer service: Monday-Sunday 8am-6pm

Trustpilot score: 4.5

Pricing:

Standard Business Broadband from £17.95 a month

Superfast Fibre Broadband from £19.95 a month – superfast speeds of up to 75mbps

Ultrafast full fibre – up to three months free – from £23.95 a month. Speeds of 80mbps to 900mbps, £24.95 activation fee,

TalkTalk has a ‘market-leading’ service level agreement as well as offering 12 or 18-month contracts with free static or dynamic IP.

TalkTalk runs a business referral scheme where you’ll both get up to in £200 Amazon vouchers for a referral.

bOnline

Fibre/broadband: Either

Upload/download speeds: Up to 76mbps for downloads; up to 19mbps for uploads

Dynamic or static IP: Static

Customer service: 9am-6pm Monday-Friday; 10am-2pm Saturday

Trustpilot score: 4.5

Pricing:

Unlimited business broadband – £17.95 a month (reverts to £21.95 a month after the first 12 months), speed up to 24mbps, unlimited downloads and a wireless router.

Unlimited Business Fibre 76mbps – £26.95 +VAT (reverts to £29.95 after six months) – speed up to 76mbps, line rental and unlimited downloads.

Supersaver bundle – £31.95 + VAT (price reverts to £35.90 after 12 months) – unlimited downloads, digital phone line with features including voicemail to email.

Small business specialists bOnline have a price match guarantee and you get a free wireless router. It uses the BT Openreach network but charges customers less. Line rental included is also included in the above prices.

If standard packages don’t suit, you can create a bespoke solution from 50+ features to fit your business needs.

XLN

Fibre or broadband: Either

Upload/download speeds: Up to 76mbps

Dynamic or static IP: Static

Customer service: 8:30am-6pm Monday-Thursday; 8:30am-7pm Friday; 10am-2pm Saturday

Trustpilot score: 4.5

Pricing:

Broadband and phone – £27.95 per month – 18 month contract

Fibre broadband and phone from £29.95 per month – 18-month contract

Free public WiFi Service – from £15 per month 18-month contract – lets customers surf for free, no set-up cost, no password sharing, simple guest registration

XLN works exclusively with small businesses and also uses BT Openreach as well as TalkTalk business networks to provide its services. Line rental, unlimited UK calls and a free plug and play router (£9.99 P&P) is included in both packages.

Onebill

Fibre/normal broadband: Either

Upload/download speeds: Up to 76mbps

Dynamic or static IP: Dynamic

Customer service: Monday-Friday 8:30am-6pm; Saturday 10am-2pm

Trustpilot score: 4.4

Pricing:

Business Fibre Broadband and unlimited UK calls – £29.95 per month for 12 months. Free plug in and play super router

Broadband and unlimited calls – £27.95 per month for 12 months. Unlimited UK calls – mobile and landline, free plug in and play router.

Onebill is another provider for small businesses, promising simple fixed pricing.

Trooli

Fibre/normal broadband: Fibre

Upload/download speeds: Upload and download speeds of up to 900mbps

Dynamic or static IP: Static

Customer service: Monday-Friday 8:30am – 6pm, Saturday-Sunday and bank holidays 9am – 5pm

Trustpilot score: 3.9

Pricing:

Boost 300 – Targeted at small businesses working from home. 300mbps upload and download speed. One static IP address with chance to upgrade to five. Unlimited data. £50 a month.

Boost 500 – Ideal for SMEs transferring files regularly. 500mbps upload and 500mbps download speed. Upload and download large files in seconds. One static IP address with chance to upgrade to five. £65 a month.

Boost 900 – Ideal for businesses who want to maximise efficiency. Everything on other packages but with fastest speeds available. 900mbps upload and download speed. One static IP address with chance to do up to five. £90 a month.

Trooli is a business provider that has ben around for 20 years. It offers fast file transfers, unlimited data and a network that’s reliable 99.9 per cent of the time.

Obtain several quotes for your business broadband

In summary, while there are a variety of different business phone and broadband packages on offer, understanding your business and your usage needs will help to cut through the clutter and identify the best solutions for your individual requirements. Remember to obtain several quotes from different providers before deciding and reach out to your networks to see if others have had positive or negative experiences with your preferred providers prior to signing on the dotted line.

Nathan Hill-Haimes is founder of Amvia, a privately-owned, voice, data and cloud application provider based in Sheffield, which supplies services to companies of all sizes.

Further reading on broadband

Why your business should switch to a broadband-based phone network

Related Topics

Broadband
Telecoms