Budget broadband for business: TalkTalk deals reviewed
TALKTALK are best known as the UK's biggest budget broadband providers: can you trust them with your business connection?
We'll answer that question in this review, as well as taking a look at TalkTalk Business prices, security and customer service along the way.
TalkTalk business deals: the basics
Let's start with how the deals break down.
TalkTalk offer unlimited standard and fibre broadband and landline phone, which all their broadband customers must take.
Standard broadband: up to 17Mb, 12 month contract
|Simply broadband||1 static IP
No inclusive calls
|£14.50||£4||Visit TalkTalk Business|
|Complete broadband||4 static IPs
Inclusive anytime UK calls
Call features included
|£14.50||£10.50||Visit TalkTalk Business|
These are some of the cheapest business broadband services around, significantly cheaper than BT's business prices, though similar to Plusnet business broadband.
However, as with other business broadband prices but unlike the home broadband prices shown elsewhere on our site, the quoted prices don't include VAT. If your business must pay VAT, you'll need to add an extra 20%.
Fibre broadband: up to 76Mb, 24 month contract
TalkTalk use BT Openreach's fibre network (more here), which offers speeds of up to 76Mb, though some fibre enabled premises may only get up to 38Mb.
Search by postcode and phone number here to see whether fibre is available at your premises:
Enter your phone number and / or postcode above to check availability in your area.
|Simply fibre broadband||1 static IP
No inclusive calls
|£14.50||£19||Visit TalkTalk Business|
|Complete fibre broadband||4 static IPs
Inclusive anytime UK calls
Call features included
|£14.50||£25.50||Visit TalkTalk Business|
The advantages of higher speeds for businesses are clear: a faster service minimises the problems of a network shared by several people, and speeds up high bandwidth activities like downloading files, watching video or using VoIP services like Skype.
Note that as well as faster download speeds, fibre offers significantly higher upload speeds than standard broadband - a real bonus for businesses sending a lot of files or backing up company data online.
Phone: Simply or Complete?
The main difference between the Simply and Complete deals is their landline services.
Simply customers pay for every call, and for call features like voicemail; Complete customers have all calls to UK landlines and mobiles included and get features like call waiting, caller display and three-way calling for free.
Here's how much Simply customers will pay for those key services:
|UK landlines||UK mobiles||Call Diversion, Call Waiting and Caller Display||Three-way Calling||Ring Back|
|5.5p/min + 8p connection fee||9.95p/min, 15.95/min to 3 Network||55p for each service per month||55p/month and 38p/call||55p/month and 7.6p/call|
Simply customers can add bolt-ons to their package on a rolling monthly basis as can TalkTalk residential customers. They are:
- International Calls Boost: 500 minutes to any of 24 countries (India not included) - £5/month
- Up to four static IPs - £5/month
- Mobile 500 Builder Boost: 500 anytime minutes to any UK mobile - £5/month
These give a little more flexibility over the course of the contract, but anyone who thinks they might need more than one of the boosts will find it cheaper to upgrade to the Complete package.
As we noted above, all TalkTalk business customers must take the provider's line rental. That's not unusual, and the price here is fairly standard.
How's the broadband?
Traffic on the TalkTalk business network is prioritised over the residential network, which should make the service marginally more reliable than home broadband services.
However, as always, the advertised speed is an "up to", and actual speeds will be lower. See our TalkTalk home review for the average speeds residential customers get.
While we only cover showing the provider's basic deals in this review, do note that TalkTalk offer some prioritised business services including a variety of Ethernet options - Ethernet over FTTC, Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM), and pure Ethernet.
These offer much more reliable leased (dedicated) line services with guaranteed speeds, although with prices from £120 a month for the cheapest option, Ethernet over FTTC, they're a much more serious proposition.
As you may know, TalkTalk are among the industry leaders when it comes to providing their residential customers with extra security, including parental controls.
They continue this commitment to security with their business broadband, by including a cyber security package called Worksafe free of charge with their broadband packages.
Like HomeSafe, it's a network-level security system - meaning every computer that accesses the wireless network is protected. It also updates automatically to block malicious or suspect sites, and business owners can choose to block individual sites or categories of sites if they want to.
Can you trust them? Customer service
As we've seen, TalkTalk are a well established business broadband provider offering good prices, a clear if inflexible range of phone and internet products, and extra security.
The big question with this provider, though, is the one we asked right up at the top: can small business owners trust them?
TalkTalk have had a rough few years in terms of reputation: after taking over Tiscali broadband in 2009 they made a huge number of billing errors, which they were then slow to put right. Even now few customers rate them on service in big surveys, despite making a real effort to raise their game in recent years.
Things are slightly different on the business side. Call centre staff are trained to deal specifically with business issues; tech support is available seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm; and the service is generally considered pretty reliable.
However, in February 2013, TalkTalk moved "thousands" of business broadband customers over to residential deals, a cost-cutting measure that left many small businesses with a significantly reduced service, as was reported here.
Many businesses use TalkTalk without any hint of problems, but these issues are worth being aware of before signing up: those low prices could well have a downside.
TalkTalk Business: overview
All in TalkTalk still have some problems with customer service that businesses looking to move to their service need to be aware of.
On the other hand, however, they also offer clear and low prices, good reliability and the opportunity to upgrade to dedicated services as the business expands. Those features make taking the plunge attractive.