Best broadband and landline phone packages for your small business

  • Online presence crucial to modern small businesses
  • Business plans for mobile and fixed
  • VOiP a valuable tool for keeping costs down

There aren’t too many businesses or community organisations who survive without the internet, especially with most boasting a strong online presence. If you need to get your small business online, we’ve asked all the questions so no area of your company’s telco needs goes uncovered. We’ve even recommended some broadband and phone packages with your small business in mind.

•    How many employees will be accessing your broadband connection?

The more people you have accessing your broadband connection, the more data you will need. You may notice your connection speed slows down when a number of people are using the connection at the same time. If you have more than 5-8 people using your broadband connection, you may want to consider a “Bonded DSL” connection or two ADSL2+ broadband plans so that employees don’t experience slow download and upload speeds.

Setting up the broadband network at your address can either be done wirelessly or via Ethernet ports. If you don’t have a number of ports for each computer already installed in the walls you can either set-up a Wi-Fi connection or get these installed by a technician. A Wi-Fi connection will mean your employees’ BlackBerrys or other wireless devices can also access the connection.

•    Do employees need access to internet on the go?

If you have employees that need access to the internet on their laptops outside of the office, you may also want to consider a wireless mobile broadband plan employees can take when they’re out on the road. There are USB modems you can purchase which will connect up to three employees to the connection at the same time. Mobile wireless broadband isn’t as fast as cable or ADSL, and connections are not as stable. However, it’s a great option if some employees do a lot of telecommuting with their laptop. For mobile broadband plans, try the following carriers:

Virgin mobile – Virgin mobile uses the Optus network to provide coverage, and they offer cheap prepaid, month-by-month and long term contracts. Call them directly on 1300 106 571.

Optus – Optus offers good coverage and plans with lots of data. Call them on 1300 137 897.

Bigpond – While a bit more expensive, Bigpond offers the fastest speeds and widest coverage via the Next G network.

•    How much data allowance does your company need each month?

This figure will depend on how many staff members you have accessing your broadband connection, as well as the types of online activities you undertake. While surfing the web, online banking, sending and receiving emails and accessing online documents doesn’t use much data, the last thing you want is to exceed your data allowance and have your speed slowed for the remainder of the billing cycle.

Businesses should also be particularly wary that many broadband plans count uploads as well as downloads towards the monthly data quota. This means adding attachments to emails, using Skype and updating your website will all count toward your data quota.

Taking into account that most businesses run from 9am-5pm, most off peak data allowances included in plans will be unnecessary. Therefore, you need to ensure your plan either includes enough on peak data or has no peak or off peak time restrictions.

•    Keep your company information private and your email boxes free of spam

Keeping your data safe is one of the most important things a company should be wary of when joining the online world. This means keeping your network secure, and using up-to-date anti-virus software. Many Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) offer discounted or complimentary antivirus and anti-spyware software.

•    Will your company be using a landline phone for incoming or outgoing calls?

If making a lot of outgoing calls will be a part of your everyday business, there are plans which include unlimited calls to certain types of numbers (local, STD, etc). Many businesses are making the switch to VoIP phones as opposed to the traditional home phone line to take advantage of cheap call rates, lower phone line rental and no need for multiple phone lines. VoIP phone lines do not support a fax connection.

•    Will you need web space and a static IP address to host your business’ website?

If you want to market your business across wider geographical and demographical boundaries, a company website is an essential. Your chosen ISP can host your website once you have registered a domain name and you have designed the site. Some plans include web space and a free static IP address.

Recommended plans:

iiNet ADSL2+ Home-2 100GB (peak) + 100GB (off peak) + home phone + Netphone2 (VoIP) $89.85

Pros: plan includes a large amount of on peak data, you can port your existing business number over to the iiNet home phone and use VoIP for outgoing calls, unlimited local and national calls to landlines, cheap international call rates, 10 email addresses and 1GB of web space included, complimentary premium virus & spam email protection, 24/7 customer support and a backup dial account (just in case!)

Cons: $89.85 per month, doesn’t include calls to mobiles, choice between 24-month contract or high set-up fee ($150), off peak time from 2am-8am, only available in metro areas.

For more information on how iiNet can help your business, call 1300 106 571.

iPrimus NakedDSL Unlimited broadband + iPrimus Lingo (VoIP) $99

Pros: unlimited broadband, unlimited local, national and mobile calls, 200 minutes to top 15 international destinations (including China, India, the UK and USA), cheap international rates for other destinations, low set-up fees, 10 email addresses included, renowned for good customer service, affordable modems and set-up fees.

Cons: $99 per month, only 10MB of web space, not compatible with a Fax, only available in metro areas.

For more information on how iPrimus can help your business, call 1300 137 794.