Ben Brading 8 min read

Business broadband contracts

Strong connectivity is essential for any modern business, and choosing the right broadband service can be as crucial as the business model itself.

This comprehensive guide will explore everything you need to know about business broadband contracts. We cover:

No contract business broadband

No contract business broadband contracts are uncommon.

Business broadband providers incur significant costs to connect new customers; hence broadband contracts are typically offered for a minimum period of one year.

However, there is one exception – Hyperoptic business broadband. Hyperoptic pioneers in offering no-contract business broadband to new customers. Their full-fibre broadband service is available in most major UK cities.

💡No contract broadband is more common for home broadband contracts. These may be a suitable alternative for small businesses. Check out our guide to business vs residential broadband.

Here are the features of a no-contract business broadband contract:

  • Installation fee – There is usually a high upfront cost for the initial connection of your property and delivery of the router. In contrast, longer business broadband contracts may offer cheaper or free installation.
  • Rolling contract – The rolling broadband contract will start with an initial term of one month and then continue on a rolling basis, requiring 30 days’ notice to terminate.
  • Router lease – The business broadband provider will deliver a business broadband router, but it must be returned when you end the rolling contract.

💡When the fixed term of a normal business broadband contract expires, it usually reverts to a rolling contract, which also requires a 30-day notice period. For more information, read our section on when business broadband contracts end.

Business broadband mid-contract price rises

A mid-contract price rise occurs when your broadband provider increases the monthly cost of your service during the contract term.

Business broadband deals are typically advertised with a single monthly cost. However, this typically hides a contractual clause allowing your provider to increase this cost partway through your contract.

Here’s an example of a mid-contract price rise clause:

Your monthly charges may increase each year from 2025 on or after 1 April by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation plus up to 3%. For example, if you‘re paying £30 per month, and the January 2024 CPI figure is 2%, we may apply an increase of up to 5%. At 5%, your monthly price would increase to £31.50 after 1 April 2025.

💡 Due to COVID-19 and the conflict in Ukraine, the CPI inflation rate rose above 10% during 2022, making contractual mid-contract price rises significant.

The best business broadband providers now advertise business broadband contracts with no automatic price rises.

We recommend reviewing these terms carefully when comparing business broadband contracts.

What happens at the end of a fixed business broadband contract?

Typical business broadband contracts start with a fixed commitment period of several years at an agreed price, subject to mid-contract price rises.

At the end of the fixed term, business broadband contracts automatically continue, but there are important changes to note:

  • End of contract price notificationOfcom requires that broadband providers notify business customers as their fixed term concludes. This communication must include advice on the best annual tariffs the provider offers.
  • Reversion to a rolling contract – If you do not terminate the contract or switch to another provider, your business broadband contract will automatically continue on a rolling basis. Typically, you must provide one month’s notice to terminate the contract after the fixed term ends.
  • No exit or cancellation fees – There are no exit fees associated with terminating the contract once the fixed term has concluded.
  • Expensive out-of-contract costsBusiness broadband prices typically increase significantly at the end of the fixed term and can be needlessly expensive. Unless your business requires the flexibility of a rolling contract, it is advisable to compare providers as your fixed contract draws to a close to secure the best deal.

Terminating a business broadband contract

Businesses typically terminate a business broadband contract when switching to another provider or moving premises.

You can usually contact your provider’s customer services department to give termination notice.

Here are the typical consequences of terminating a business broadband contract:

  • Early Termination Fee: If you terminate your business broadband contract during the agreed fixed term, you will likely incur expensive early termination fees. These fees are usually a significant portion of all your contracted remaining charges.
  • Return of Router and Other Equipment: Most business broadband providers require that routers and other equipment be returned. They will send your business a pre-paid envelope for this purpose. A “non-return” fee may be charged if the equipment is not returned.

Your Wi-Fi connection will cease on the agreed final date of your contract, and your provider will send a final bill to your business.

For more detailed guidance, check out our full guide to switching business broadband providers.

Speed commitments on business broadband contracts

When you sign up for a new business broadband contract, a key consideration is the connection speed that the provider will deliver.

It’s important to understand the difference between the estimated and the promised speeds in a business broadband contract. Here’s how to distinguish them:

  • Headline estimated speed – Broadband deals typically quote an ‘estimated’ or ‘average’ download and upload speed. This speed reflects the type of broadband connection but is not a contractual guarantee of the speed you’ll receive.
  • Minimum guaranteed download speed – Some business broadband contracts will specify a minimum guaranteed speed for their packages. If your broadband service fails to meet the minimum speed stated in your contract, you may be able to terminate the contract without paying an exit fee.

We recommend reviewing the minimum guaranteed speed included in your business broadband plan before finalising the contract.

💡Use the Business Broadband Hub speed test to discover your current broadband connection’s upload and download speed.

Traffic management in business broadband contracts

A typical domestic broadband contract includes a provision that allows the provider to manage or ‘throttle’ traffic, slowing your connection speed during times of high demand.

This arrangement is far from ideal for businesses where speed restrictions could impact operations.

Major broadband providers, like BT, do not impose speed restrictions on business broadband contracts.

We recommend checking the terms and conditions when signing up for a new business broadband deal to ensure your connection speed cannot be throttled.

💡For unparalleled bandwidth and speed, larger businesses might consider leased line broadband, where your connection does not share any infrastructure with other businesses or homes.

Service promises on a business broadband contract

A business broadband contract will always outline your provider’s obligations in the event of a connection problem.

Basic business broadband contracts typically specify a timeframe for the provider to fix any faults. However, these contracts often do not stipulate penalties or consequences if the provider fails to meet these aims.

If a reliable broadband connection is critical for your business, we recommend enhancing your broadband contract with Service Level Agreements (SLAs). An SLA stipulates specific performance metrics, such as:

  • Uptime Percentage: The time the service is expected to be operational.
  • Network Latency: The time it takes for data to travel between its source and destination.
  • Time to Restore Service: The maximum time allowed to get back online in case of a fault.

A service level agreement also provides for compensation in the event of service failure. For more detailed information, refer to our complete guide to service level agreements.

Business broadband contract add-ons

The cheapest business broadband deals often occur when multiple products are bundled into a single contract.

A business broadband contract can encompass various additional services, which may include:

In the list above, we’ve linked our comprehensive guides to each contract add-on to help you assess their suitability for your business.

How to negotiate a business broadband contract?

Negotiating your broadband contract is crucial for securing better terms, lower costs, and enhanced service.

Our business broadband experts offer three tips for negotiating a business broadband contract:

Understand your broadband requirements

Understanding your business’s broadband requirements is key to finding the right contract. Form clear expectations regarding required bandwidth (number of users), speed, uptime guarantees, and desired contract length.

For guidance in making this assessment, refer to our article on what broadband speed does my business need.

Business broadband market research

Numerous business broadband providers compete for new customers in the UK.

Some offer low prices but poor customer service, while others deliver consistent, high-quality service but at a higher cost.

Review our latest best business broadband provider report to see how the top providers compare.

Compare business broadband deals

The best business broadband deals are time-limited offers made by providers to attract new customers.

Our business broadband experts can assist you in quickly discovering the best business broadband deals currently available in the market.

Visit our business broadband deals page to find out more.

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