Understand your broadband needs
It is recommended that all care homes have fixed-line broadband with a download speed of at least 40 megabits per second (Mbps). Medium homes with 10 - 50 beds may benefit from 100 - 300Mbps, and larger homes with 50 beds or more may benefit from a download speed of 300Mbps or more.
If you already have broadband, test your current speed using an online speed checker. The exact speed you need depends on how many devices you need to connect, whether you need to hold video calls, or download large files.
What you can do at different speeds
If you provide residential care, you should ideally have a suitable fixed-line broadband. However, if a good fixed-line broadband connection isn’t available at your location, mobile broadband offers an alternative.
Mobile broadband may also be a useful back-up if you rely on fixed-line broadband.
If you provide home care or other care across multiple locations, you may need a mobile internet connection.
Upgrading your broadband
Find out whether faster broadband is available at your postcode using Ofcom's broadband checker. You can also see which networks are available.
Visit the network websites (such as Openreach or Virgin Media) or use an online comparison tool to find out which providers you could use. Look at the minimum and average speeds they provide, whether you get unlimited data, and the customer satisfaction scores.
Your local authority may have negotiated special deals for care homes in your area, so contact them to find out.
Getting the broadband speed you need
If you can’t get a connection with a download speed of at least 10Mbps, you have the legal right to request a broadband upgrade. If you need further support, contact your local authority.
If your care home is in a rural area, you could apply to the government’s Gigabit Voucher scheme to get up to £3,500 towards the cost of installing ‘ultrafast’ broadband.
You could also look into mobile broadband. Over 98% of properties in the UK can now get good 4G coverage from at least one operator.
If you cannot get suitable fixed-line broadband or mobile broadband, you could consider satellite broadband as a last resort. Satellite broadband speeds have improved in recent years, but this is a more expensive option.
Your Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) may be able to advise you if you are having connectivity problems in your local area. Find an LEP in your area here.