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Business broadband deals

Finding the right broadband plan for your business can be tough. Let us help you make the right decision.

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There are a lot of different business broadband plans out there and it can be tough to determine which one is right for your unique business needs. We’ve put together this guide to help you compare the many Internet service providers (ISPs) out there and find the plan that will save you money and help your business bloom.

Why should I choose a business broadband plan?

In this era of always-online smartphones and fast-paced social media, a solid Internet connection is more important than ever. This is even more true if you’re a business owner, since flaky Internet can directly impact your ability to serve customers and consequently keep the lights on.

Due to these more advanced requirements, many ISPs offer dedicated business broadband plans with increased uptime and reliability. This ensures that you won’t have to suffer a choppy connection during a crucial video conference, or constant drop-outs as you’re trying to upload an important file to your clients across the globe.

Some businesses may require a more complex office phone system, which can often be bundled with an eligible business broadband plan. Most ISPs have dedicated business support members who can help you customise your phone and business broadband package to the needs of your business, and provide a fast response if there are any issues.

Note: to be eligible for any business broadband plan, you’ll need to have a valid New Zealand Business Number (NZBN).

What type of broadband connections are available?

There are three main types of broadband Internet currently available in New Zealand for businesses: Fibre, ADSL/VDSL and wireless. Depending on where your business is located, you may have one or more options to choose from.

Fibre

Fibre, or ultra-fast broadband (UFB), is the most future-proofed solution. While fibre is the fastest and most flexible broadband on the market, it’s still in the process of rolling out across New Zealand, so it may not be available at your place of business just yet.

Built on a backbone of high-speed fibre optic cables, fibre is split into different speed tiers. Fibre 30, Fibre 100 and Fibre 200 are the entry-level and standard speeds, but some providers offer plans with download speeds of up to 950Mbps.

Hyberfibre is also currently being rolled out across the Chorus network, which promises speeds of up to 2000Mbps or 4000Mbps.

Thanks to its multiple speed tiers, fibre can service businesses of all shapes and sizes. Small businesses looking to teleconference with clients around the world will find standard speed fibre plans suitable for their needs, while bigger organisations with always-online point-of-sale (PoS) systems will likely want to spring for a faster plan for low-latency. Hyperfibre and the fastest fibre plans of up to 950Mbps download speeds ensure that the time it takes to send large files across the Internet is dramatically reduced.

ADSL/VDSL

ADSL and VDSL are forms of copper broadband that use the same cables as your phone lines. At best, ADSL speeds typically go up to 5–24Mbps for downloads and 0.12–1.0Mbps for uploads. VDSL is slightly faster with speeds of 15–100Mbps when downloading and 5–20Mbps for uploading. Even though VDSL can reach speeds of up to 100Mbps, most providers advertise their maximum speeds at up to 70Mpbs.

The speed that you actually experience with ADSL and VDSL can vary depending on a number of factors such as:

  • The distance from your place of business to the nearest telephone exchange
  • The number of other users accessing the same network at any particular time
  • The quality of the phone lines installed at your place of business

Slow speeds and the prospect of imminent disconnection make ADSL a poor choice unless your Internet needs start and end with basic email and web browsing capabilities. If you’re going to have more than a couple of employees online at once, or you’re planning on downloading and uploading a lot of data, you’ll want to go with something faster.

Since fibre is not available everywhere just yet, VDSL is still a viable option in the meantime.

Wireless

Wireless broadband is delivered over the mobile phone networks to make a connection from the modem in your business to the nearest cell tower. Since there are no cables involved, getting connected is as easy as plugging a modem in and connecting your devices.

There are three generations of wireless broadband currently in New Zealand. 4G is the standard network but in some places, the older 3G is the best available option. 5G was introduced at the end of 2019, and while it’s only accessible in a few places in the South Island at the moment, it will be rolled out further over the next couple of years.

When it comes to speed of 4G, you can expect to see download speeds of up to 100Mbps. Spark, currently the only ISP with 5G broadband plans, says that 5G has the capability of 10Gbps, but we should expect to see download speeds of up to 3Gbps.

How to compare business broadband plans

The size and scope of your business is a key factor in choosing the right broadband plan. If you’re operating a small startup with just a couple of employees, your Internet needs are going to differ significantly from that of a large, 50-plus person organisation.

A startup might have little need for corporate firewall services and denial-of-service security packages, whereas bigger businesses that deal with confidential customer data will almost certainly want to invest in such measures.

Connection type and speed

To find out what type of broadband connection is available at your place of business, you can enter your address into the Broadband Map. This will show you what broadband you can get and the expected speeds.

While the faster fibre speeds are certainly appealing, they may not be necessary for a small business that only uses the internet for sending emails and basic browsing. However, a design studio that is regularly sending and receiving large files will benefit from quicker upload and download times.

How much data do I need?

After speed, data allowance is the next big factor to consider. How much data you’ll need every month depends on what kind of online activities your business will be engaging in along with how many employees will be using the Internet on a regular basis. The data needs of a 20-person company are going to be significantly higher than a sole-trader.

At the low end, some business broadband plans offer just 200GB–300GB of data every month. For a business that only employs a couple of people and uses the Internet mainly for email and web browsing, this might be sufficient, but bigger and more online-focused businesses are going to need something more substantial.

Fortunately, many ISPs offer plans with unlimited data every month. Most businesses should choose this option to avoid dealing with throttled Internet speeds or excess usage charges from exceeding their monthly limit.

Business support

If you’re a small business, paying a full-time tech-support team to keep your Internet running smoothly might not be on the cards. That’s why you’ll want to consider what kind of business support you’ll be getting from an ISP before signing up with them. Availability 24/7 a is a must, because the last thing you want to hear when you can’t access critical documents in your cloud storage is a recorded “out of office” message from your ISP’s support line.

Phone line

The speed and reliability of business broadband doesn’t come cheap, but you can still save yourself some cash if you bundle a phone service in with your Internet plan. Bundle plans typically work out cheaper than paying for phone and broadband separately, especially if you go with a voice over IP (VoIP) phone service instead of a traditional landline.

Since VoIP uses your Internet connection to make and receive calls, you won’t have to pay line rental and you’ll often enjoy cheaper call rates to boot.

You may also be able to get a discount on your broadband if you take out a plan with the same company you have your company mobile phone plans with.

Contract terms

The business world never stands still and what’s right for your business today might not be what’s right for it tomorrow. That’s why it’s important to look for a broadband plan that won’t tie you down with long-term commitments if you are unsure of what the future holds.

Many ISPs will lock you into 12- or 24-month contracts, hitting you with hefty cancellation fees if you decide their service is no longer satisfying the needs of your business. To avoid this problem, look for an ISP that offers no-lock-in, month-to-month contracts, since they give you the freedom to cancel at any time without paying through the nose for the privilege.

Account fees

While you’re comparing contract terms, it’s also worth looking at the various fees different ISPs charge on top of your standard monthly bill. When you first sign up for a business broadband plan, you’ll likely have to pay a one-off activation or setup fee to get your service switched on. A deposit may also be required.

Additionally, if you need assistance in setting up your modem, or your place of business requires cabling work to support your new Internet service, you’ll have to cover the cost of having a technician come out and take care of it.

Modem

Speaking of modems, some ISPs will charge you for this crucial piece of hardware necessary to get your Internet up and running. Others might bundle a modem in for free but charge extra for a modem-router capable of sharing your new Internet connection among multiple users. Since a low-quality modem can slow even the fastest Internet connection to a crawl, it’s worth spending a little extra for hardware that won’t fall over at the first sign of heavy use.

Extra features

At their core, business broadband plans don’t differ dramatically from residential broadband plans. It’s the extra features companies tack on to distinguish themselves from the competition that makes these plans attractive to businesses. Features to look out for include:

  • Static IP address. A static IP address is vital if you plan on running a private server on your business network. For example, you may want to host important company documents on a file server at your place of business. By assigning that server a static IP address, you’ll be able to share that address with employees so they can access it remotely over the Internet. In comparison, a regular dynamic IP address would mean you’d need to update employees with the new server address every time you rebooted your modem.
  • Unlimited calls. Unlimited phone calls are another perk to keep an eye out for. Rather than charging you for every call your business makes, ISPs offer phone packages that come with unlimited local, national and mobile calls every month. This can save you a lot of money if calling customers and clients is something your business regularly engages in.
  • Dedicated webmail services. If you don’t want to rely on services like Gmail or Outlook to manage your business’ emails, some ISPs provide dedicated webmail services with their business broadband plans. While this grants you greater flexibility over features such as custom email addresses as well as better customer support should anything go wrong, you’ll want to check how many email addresses each plan comes with and the total storage space. You’ll also need to consider an anti-spam filter, unless you want your employees inundated with messages from Nigerian princes.
  • Backup network. A broadband backup service can be a lifesaver for businesses that rely on being online all the time. In the event your fixed broadband service is disrupted, ISPs will switch you automatically to their mobile broadband network to keep you connected while the outage is resolved. As soon as your fixed broadband service is available again, you’ll be switched right back.
  • Security. Security is one factor of the online world businesses can’t afford to ignore. You don’t want unauthorised users prying into your business’ private files, which is why it pays to look at the security services different ISPs provide. From anti-spam filters to anti-virus software, you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your business.

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