Tom Melhuish 7 min read

What broadband speed do I need for my business?

Businesses without a dedicated IT department often struggle to calculate their broadband needs. Too slow a connection and your guest customers may flee in search for a faster connection; too fast and you’re probably overpaying for broadband that you don’t need.

To help business owners procure the correct internet deal, we have built this UK business broadband speed estimator, which details your speed and connection requirements based on your specific business needs!

UK Business Broadband Speed Estimator


What determines my company’s broadband speed?

Many factors determine your broadband speed, but the two most important are:

  • your local broadband infrastructure
  • your broadband use

Let’s begin by addressing the first one, largely dependent on your business location.

Broadband infrastructure

Urban businesses: Urban areas are best served by the fastest telecom infrastructure. They tend to have access to fibre optic or HFC cables and 5G antennas, giving your business access to gigabit internet.

Suburban businesses: Suburban areas tend to have FTTC broadband as the fastest alternative unless you’re lucky and a 5G provider has deployed an antenna near your property.

Rural businesses: If you own a rural business like a farm, outdoor cabin rental or an off-grid office, a standard ADSL broadband connection is likely the only tethered connection available. In this case, paying a premium for Starlink satellite internet is likely the best option.

Here’s the upper limit of speed that you can expect from each connection type:

Connection TypeTop Performance
ADSL Broadband
Up to 20 Mbps
5G Mobile Broadband (Dongle)Up to 150 Mbps (variable!)
FTTC (Part-Fibre) Broadband Up to 80 Mbps
GFast Broadband
Up to 350 Mbps
Virgin Media CableUp to 1,100 Mbps
FTTP (Full-Fibre) BroadbandUp to 1,000 Mbps
Leased Line BroadbandUp to 10,000 Mbps

You may use the Openreach fibre checker to see if fibre is available at your property.

💡 Pricey broadband is not necessarily fast: Broadband speed is not necessarily proportional to the cost of your business broadband. The price ultimately depends on the competition from different business broadband providers and not the technology being used.

💡 5G is often faster: If your business property is well served by the latest 5G antenna, 5G broadband may reach faster speeds than even full-fibre. See our 5G vs fibre broadband analysis for details.

What broadband speed does my business currently have?

Another simple way of calculating your broadband needs is by finding out your current broadband speed by running a speed test.

If you feel your broadband is fast enough for your current and future needs, you might as well compare the best deals for your current broadband technology. If not, look for something faster!

💡 Test at different times: Make sure to test your broadband speed at different times and days, including the evenings on weekdays when there is the most internet traffic.

What broadband speed do I need for my business?

If you’d rather manually calculate your broadband speed needs, you can use this step-by-step guide. It includes three factors you need to consider and a simple formula to calculate your broadband speed.

i. The layout of your business

The internet speed a device will have access to depends on what obstacles (like walls) your wireless internet needs to travel through to get to your device.

You’ll receive the maximum speed when plugged directly into your router, and then the speed will drop off the further you are away.

Here are the results our founder, Ben Brading, got when testing broadband speed with this laptop on his BT full-fibre broadband connection.

Distance from RouterObstructionsDownload Speed
0m (plugged into router)None150 Mbps
1m from router (WiFi)None130 Mbps
8m from router (WiFi)1 single brick wall123 Mbps
12m from router (WiFi)2 single brick walls51 Mbps

In summary, you should expect only to receive a third of your maximum speed just a few rooms away from your router.

ii. The number of devices connected to the internet

The bandwidth of your internet connection is shared between all the devices connected to your business broadband router.

This means that you also need to consider the number of devices connected simultaneously at peak times– these will be the times of higher stress to your bandwidth.

Most routers come equipped with a QoS (Quality of Service) setting to alleviate this issue, prioritising bandwidth for some activities over others.

This is akin to ambulances, fire trucks or police cars using loud sirens to flag for priority on busy roads.

For instance, someone in a Google Meet, WhatsApp call or VoIP connection (which needs the bandwidth to guarantee call quality) will get priority over the large file someone else is downloading simultaneously.

However, QoS will only work up to a point because too many simultaneous online activities add up, just like cars stack up to create a traffic jam. So, let’s see the bandwidth required by different online activities.

iii. Broadband speed requirements for different activities

Just like the need for a dual-carriageway may not be apparent until you’re driving on it at rush hour, the need for high bandwidth (i.e. speed) is not evident until your entire office workforce, pub customers, café workers or even hotel guests are connected to the internet at the same time.

Here are some generalised minimum speed requirements for typical activities (remember you need to add them to estimate the bandwidth you’ll need at peak times):

ActivitySpeed required (Mbps)Note
Video Streaming (HD)3 Mbpse.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube
Video Streaming (Full HD)5 Mbpse.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube
Video streaming (4k)25 Mbpse.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube
Playing Fortnite5 MbpsAt default settings
High-end online games15 MbpsAt default settings
Video meetings2 Mbpse.g. Zoom, Google Meet, Teams
Spotify0.5 MbpsAudio only
VoIP call0.1 MbpsAudio only

iv. Calculate your internet speed requirement

The easiest way to get a generalised estimate is to use our broadband speeds estimator.

This calculator adds up the internet speed requirements of the typical activities (many listed in the table above) that could happen simultaneously in your home.

This means multiplying this by the number of people using the internet simultaneously and modulating it by the number of connected devices (Note: We say modulate because most people only do their most bandwidth-intensive activities in a single device at any one time).

This is a simple estimate. As we discussed earlier, many other factors will affect broadband performance.

What are the benefits of faster broadband speeds?

There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for a PDF document to load or having your important Zoom meeting interrupted by lag. It’s these problems that may cause your usual clientele of digital nomads to look for faster internet at another café or restaurant elsewhere.

The most significant benefit of faster broadband speeds is never having to suffer these problems. A fast broadband speed also allows high-quality video streaming for meetings and an optimum experience downloading or uploading large files.

Get fast broadband deals with Business Broadband Hub comparison services:

What business broadband speed do I need – FAQs

Our business broadband experts answer commonly asked questions on business broadband speeds.

Do I need superfast broadband?

‘Superfast’ broadband is an advertising term some broadband providers use to describe broadband speeds between 30 and 300 Mbps.

Superfast covers a wide range, so calculating what broadband speed you need is worth calculating. Use our estimator to find out your exact business broadband needs.

Do I need Ultrafast broadband?

‘Ultrafast’ broadband is the next step up from ‘Superfast’ and refers to speeds greater than 300 Mbps but less than 1,000 Mbps

You can achieve Ultrafast broadband with a full-fibre broadband connection, allowing your boss to stream his instructions in HD video while the rest of the team updates the cloud in seconds.

Full-fibre broadband comes at an additional cost, so it’s worth determining whether you need these speeds. Use our estimator to find out your exact business broadband needs.

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