Starting or running a business can be a daunting task and not everyone can be an expert on connectivity and communication products and needs. There are many things that need to be considered when starting a business for example:
- How can customers contact and connect with you?
- Do you want to take calls?
- Do you need a website or email address?
- Are you processing online orders?
With this in mind there are many different products that you will need to consider when setting up your business so that your customers are able to keep in constant contact with you.
Business fixed voice
A business fixed line is an important aspect for any business if you want your customers to be able to phone you. By having a landline number, it allows costs to be kept to a minimum for customers trying to contact you. A fixed line is a wired connection between your business premises and your nearest exchange with the most common example being a standard phone line.
Business mobile phones function in the same way as residential mobile phones, however business mobile pricing and tariffs may be more beneficial and come with additional support as part of the contract. Mobile phones allow businesses to still operate whilst on the move or away from the office and many providers are able to offer faciliaties and products that allow you to pick up phone calls to your office on your mobile phone (or vice versa).
The Ofcom interactive tool allows you to check the coverage of EE, O2, Three and Vodafone mobile coverage for any postcode in the UK. Witht his tool you can check voice and data coverage by operator, coverage inside and outside of buildings and information identifying areas where there are natural obstructions to coverage.
Broadband allows you to connect to the internet, and allows for information to be carried at a high speed to your computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone or any other web enabled device. Broadband technology is the same for both residential and business customers however you may not always be allowed to use a residential package for business activity. Different types of broadband include:
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)
This is the most commonly available type of broadband, delivered through copper wires of your phone line. It is usually capable of up to 24Mbit/s. Speeds on ADSL lines will vary depending on how far away you are from the nearest telephone exchange. When looking at ADSL packages you must consider that is it says the package contains ‘up to’ speeds you may not get the fastest speed advertised. To find out what the line to your premises is capable of, ask the provider to conduct a speed test.
Cable broadband uses fibre optic and coaxial cables to deliver superfast broadband services as well as TV and phone services. Unlike ADSL speeds don’t tend to degrade with distance. Fastest cable broadband packages can offer ‘up to’ 200Mbit/s.
Fibre broadband is delivered via clusters of fibre optic cables and has faster speeds than ADSL. There are two types of superfast fibre broadband, ‘fibre-to-the-cabinet’ (FFTC) and ‘fibre-to-the-premises’ (FTTP).
FTTC has fibre optic cables between the exchange and the street cabinet and then copper into your business premises. Speeds can be up to 76Mbit/s but speeds can still degrade over long distances. FTTP has fibre optic cables right into your premises and is therefore faster and usually capable of up to 1Gbit/s.
Business location: what’s available and where?
Connectivity is constantly improving in the UK, but for some rural business there may be service limitations. Most premises in the UK can get ADSL broadband over Openreach operated copper network (and from KCOM in Kingston upon Hull). Superfast services (cable and fibre) are being extended to an ever increasing number of business premises. See our blog post about choosing the right service and provider for more information.