How to find the right business internet provider
Purchasing an internet plan for your business is a little different to purchasing a plan for your home. You’ll be using the internet for different purposes, and you’ll have different expectations of what it can do.
In Australia, there are plenty of small business internet packages available – almost too many, in fact! This can make finding the right plan a real challenge.
What you need to know first
Chances are that the nbn™ is available in your area by now. If not, it will be very soon. Once installed, the nbn™ becomes the core piece of communications infrastructure in your business. It will replace the phone lines, for example, so if you wish to continue to have a landline phone number for customers to call, you will need to get it delivered through the nbn™. In fact, your existing landline number can be transferred to the nbn™ – to do this, speak with your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
The benefit to this is that you no longer need to select what kind of internet service you want. There was a time where you’d have to work out whether you wanted Fibre, Satellite, Cable or DSL connections, each with their own pros and cons. With the nbn™, you just need to find a business plan to use.
The difference between business and residential internet plans
When opting for a small business nbn™ plan compared to a residential nbn™ plan, the key two features you gain with Aussie Broadband are:
- A static IP – a static IP address means that your IP address remains the same for the location you set it up at. For example, at your place of work. By having a static IP, you can host a website, have a DNS server, have a file server in your network, use networked printers, and more.
- Priority ticket handling – we understand that the internet is crucial for most businesses today, which is why we offer priority ticket handling and support to those on our small business nbn™ plans.
The difference between small business and enterprise internet plans
One of the key differences between a small business and enterprise internet plan is the contention ratio. A contention ratio refers to the number of users who are connected to each server – the more people connected to a server, the slower each individual person will experience the internet, as the bandwidth is spread around.
Enterprise services have a 1:1 contention ratio, meaning that speeds closer to your maximum on the plan will be delivered – even during peak hour.
Another key benefit that comes with enterprise internet services is the greater access to technical support and service level agreements that will guarantee uptime. Nothing can hurt a business quite like the internet going down for a period of time, and while residential internet plans are only covered by “best effort” resolution, meaning that the internet might be down overnight, or even for a couple of days, technicians will prioritise addressing outages that are affecting business plans.
In short, an enterprise nbn™ package will give you faster speeds and increased support.
The other benefits of business nbn™ plans
Most broadband providers also offer additional services and ‘add-ons’ designed with businesses in mind on their internet plans. Aussie Broadband, for example, offer phone systems, SIP Trunks (important for running modern VOIP-based voice and data communications), business-focused modem technology, and mobile broadband and phones. With workers being more mobile than ever, being able to provide them with internet that they can access on the road is a big boost to company productivity.
What will it cost me?
As with home internet plans, you still get a lot of choice with business plans. With Aussie Broadband, a business that only has a light requirement of the internet can invest in a business nbn™ plan for just $65/month. This provides them with 100GB of data per month, and nbn™ 25 speeds (meaning up to 25Mbps download speed). This plan also includes the benefits mentioned above – priority ticket handling for support, and a static IP address for the business.
The top plan, for small businesses that need video conferencing and other advanced tools, is priced at $109/month, with unlimited data and nbn™ 100 speeds, meaning a maximum speed of 100Mbps downloads. Some small businesses may have access to Aussie Broadband’s nbn150 and nbn250 plans.
These plans all come with the option of bundling phone services in (for anything from free to $20/month, depending on what you want covered by the phone plan). There are a range of options to suit any business, including VoIP, SIP Trunk, Hosted PABX/PBX, etc.
Choosing the right business plan for you
For something as central to the smooth running of a business as the internet, there are plenty of low-priced, feature-rich packages available. For a typical small business we recommend a nbn™ 50 plan, as that will provide sufficient bandwidth for a couple of staff to be using the internet simultaneously.
You should also keep in mind that even if you consider yourself a small business, you may need an enterprise-grade plan to service your business needs.