Business Broadband

If a homeowner is shackled to a telecommunications or internet service which is not fit for purpose, it can be a daily annoyance.

But for businesses, a similar situation is significantly more problematic, because if inadequate connectivity causes productivity to take a hit then you can also anticipate plunges in sales and the reputation of the company as a whole.

Many organisations may be sticking with a broadband and telephone package that does not meet their requirements because they fear that changing to a different provider will be an even greater headache. But the reality is that the switchover process is actually straightforward, with regulations in place to ensure that there are minimal hiccups. There are still a few hoops that you have to jump through and some things to keep in mind when picking a new provider and deal, so here is a look at the best way to go about changing your broadband and telephone service operator.

New Deal Dilemma

Before jumping ship from your current provider, you need to work out whether the grass really is greener on the other side. This involves establishing exactly what type of telephone and broadband bundle your business needs to adopt in order to thrive. There are many variables governing the suitability of a package, so it is sensible to look at telephone and broadband individually and with a degree of depth to avoid making a mistake when migrating.

For telephone solutions, businesses need to ensure that the deal they choose will not only support the number of extensions and users, as well as the amount of daily traffic required in the short term, but also be flexible enough to expand to meet future needs. Analogue telephone services are still available, although for lower costs and improved scalability it is better to select a solution which includes VoIP. This will tie the quality of your telephone service to that of your broadband connection, so it is doubly important to ensure that the deal you are switching to is capacious enough to live up to expectations. You may be lured to a broadband service based on the download and upload speeds that it offers, but the advertised maximums should always be taken with a degree of scepticism, since real world performance is unlikely to hit theoretical peaks.

Before changing provider, check up on the broadband speeds that can reasonably be expected to be achieved at your location with any prospective firm. All sorts of limitations may alter the actual speed of a connection when compared to its upper potential, so do not blindly change to a new package under the assumption that faster speeds will follow, since this may be down to the infrastructure rather than differences in providers.

Usage allowances are important to keep in mind after speed, because the fastest broadband service in the world will be rendered impotent by a download cap that stops your business making the most of it.

Getting the right amount of allowance will require further analysis of your needs, or you could choose an unlimited package, depending on the terms and conditions which govern this often ambiguous and evasively deployed marketing phrase.

For businesses that want to switch to a new telephone and broadband provider, another roadblock may lie in the way in the form of the current contract to which you are committed. When you sign up for a particular telecoms deal, it is often cheaper to secure a lengthier minimum term. However, the contract may come with a few caveats, including an obligation for you to pay a cancellation fee if you want to duck out early before the terms have been satisfied. This fee can vary and is often at the discretion of the provider in question, so if you are close to the end of your contract or under particularly unusual circumstances, it may be waived. If you cancel shortly after signing up to a deal you also have the right to step away from the contract without penalty, but this term during which this is applicable is limited, so acting fast once you realise you have chosen an inappropriate package is vital.

You could end up paying the equivalent of the cumulative monthly costs left on the remainder of your contract if you cancel before the minimum term expires, so you may either decide to hold on and terminate your association with a provider further down the line, or bite the bullet and cut all ties sooner rather than later. This decision could be based on how much of a financial impact your current telephone and broadband deal is having on your business, which on balance might make any early cancellation costs easier to swallow.

The Big Switch

Once you have worked out the best course of action and found a new provider which is better able to deal with the demands placed upon it by your business, the time to switch will have arrived. Thanks to the seamlessness of modern systems, along with the fact that most providers use the same underlying network infrastructure as one another, switching should be painless.

You will need to get in touch with your current provider to let them know of your intentions and meet any obligations that may be required to end your contract. During this process they may actually give you a better offer to tempt you to stay, which you have every right to take, although being firm in your convictions will also help you to get past this last ditch attempt at customer retention.

The next step is to get in touch with your prospective new provider and let them know of your intention to sign up to one of their service plans. Your old provider will have delivered the necessary information for you to pass on to your new provider so that the switchover can happen as smoothly as possible.

Business users can expect that if they are investing in enterprise-grade telecommunications and broadband services, there will be minimal downtime involved in changing providers. But you should always check to see what your current and subsequent provider has to say about the switchover to avoid disappointment. Most of the hard work will go on behind the scenes and once you have set the ball rolling, your business will not necessarily have to get involved.

Of course the complexity of your systems, the size of your operation and the nature of the new package that you are adopting may change all this. If you are migrating from an ADSL broadband service to a FTTC or FTTP fibre connection, for example, there may be on-site installation requirements.

But with careful planning and conscientious providers, changing your business broadband and telephone service does not have to be a headache.

This guest article was supplied by Jamie Garner, who works for the business telecoms provider Daisy Group.