Business broadband needs to be fast and reliable enough to handle the huge amounts of data modern communications demand. Those demands could be stretched even thinner with a cloud phone system. If your business is running on a consumer broadband connection with average speeds, you might find your connection struggle if you move to a cloud phone system.

In 2025, the existing analogue PSTN phone lines will be switched off, meaning a mass shift to cloud-based VOIP phone systems is just a few years away. Are you ready for the move? And is your business’ broadband suitable to handle the communications you’ll be using soon?

Does your business use consumer broadband or a dedicated business broadband line?

Your business’s broadband likely runs on one of two connections:

  • A consumer broadband line
  • A dedicated business broadband line

Consumer broadband

Consumer broadband is designed for households using the internet for browsing, watching smart TV and streaming content. Speeds vary but can, usually, offer the bandwidth needed to sustain a family’s broadband needs – maybe with some declines in service during peak periods.

But these lines aren’t designed to cope with the higher demands of a business. While you might be competing with a family member streaming content on an iPad at home, in an office you’re competing with dozens, potentially hundreds of other users who are running data-heavy applications like video conferencing and file transfers.

Consumer broadband simply can’t handle this level of data, which becomes an even bigger problem during peak times when you’re also competing for bandwidth with every user on the same exchange you’re using. Plus, consumer broadband connections heavily favour download speeds over upload speeds (as most users will be downloading content rather than sending it).

In a business setting, this can cause problems if you’re trying to upload and send large files.

Dedicated business broadband

Business broadband is a dedicated “private” internet connection just for your company. This means only your employees are using the bandwidth, greatly reducing the pressure on the connection and ensuring speeds remain high even during busy periods. Business broadband also provides much higher speeds.UK business broadband providers offer average speeds of 76mbps, which can reach as fast as 10gbps (gigabytes per second). Business broadband connections offer equally fast download and upload speeds, perfect for businesses using cloud phone systems or those who transfer large files regularly.

You may already be working on a dedicated business broadband connection and it may have worked for your needs up to this point. But if you’re planning to move a cloud phone system on the connection, it could be worth investigating what (if anything) this will do to the available bandwidth.

What are the minimum internet requirements for a cloud phone system?

As cloud phone systems are powered by the internet, businesses need to ensure their broadband can handle the increase in data usage these services bring. The minimum bandwidth required to run a cloud-based phone system successfully is 25Mbps of download speed and 3Mbps of upload speed. However, this only accounts for a very limited number of devices. Businesses with more employees and devices connected simultaneously will certainly need much faster speeds to maintain a cloud phone system.

For businesses with around 20 employees, utilising services with large data requirements like cloud phone services and video conferencing, it’s recommended to have a minimum speed of 1gbps.But all businesses are different and the more people there are working within your business, the greater speeds and bandwidth you’ll require to meet your data demands. When upgrading your business broadband, you should speak to your chosen provider about your specific needs and make sure they’re able to offer you the service you need.

Other things to consider when upgrading your business broadband for a cloud phone system

What broadband speeds are available in your local area?

The broadband speed you have access to is often dependent on geographical location. For example, if your home or office is located quite far from your nearest street cabinet (boxes which share traditional phone connections and fibre connections) you may suffer slower speeds than neighbours who are closer to it. Right now, your broadband speeds might not match what your business needs to move to a cloud phone system. It’s worth discussing your needs with a business broadband service provider to see what services and speeds are available to you at the moment. However, with the rise of ultrafast full-fibre broadband, or FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) there’s a good chance your broadband speed prospects will improve soon if they haven’t already.

Do you have access to ultrafast full-fibre broadband?

If your business data needs are heavy already, switching to a cloud phone system will add even more pressure to the network. This is why ultrafast full-fibre broadband could come in handy. Full-fibre broadband is being rolled out across the UK and will reportedly be up to 10 times faster than the average internet connection. This will allow businesses to move data quicker and more efficiently. It’s worth checking if full-fibre broadband will be available in your business location. The added speed and bandwidth could be a game-changer for your communications and will undoubtedly improve productivity thanks to lightning-quick file transfers.

Consider upgrading your business broadband to avoid communication losses and keep your business movingA rugged business broadband connection will provide the speeds necessary to uphold a cloud phone system and deal with the hefty data transfers your business already handles. If you don’t have this in place at the moment, consider upgrading before 2025 to keep your communications and productivity moving. And don’t forget to look into the best cloud phone systems for your business. Making the switch sooner rather than later will let you experience all the great benefits long before you’re forced to change your system.