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BT has launched a new service to enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to stay online during a broadband outage.

4G Assure will automatically switch SMEs to 4G if their fixed broadband service is interrupted, thereby reducing the impact of any temporary loss of service.

BT is incorporating 4G Assure - billed as the first business-grade product of its kind - in its latest hub, which is capable of proactively detecting whether a customer's fixed broadband connection has been lost.

Upon detecting an outage, the hub will connect to a mobile broadband dongle provided by BT to maintain the internet connection.

The hub will then monitor the status of the fixed broadband line and automatically switch back when it becomes stable.

If a fault is detected, BT will be informed and take steps to repair it, which means the broadband customer does not have to get in touch and request a fix.

BT believes this provides SMEs with a "reliable back-up service" in the event of a fixed broadband connection being lost, which means they can avoid the "inconvenience, productivity and financial impacts which can result from prolonged periods of broadband downtime".

Mike Tomlinson, Managing Director of BT's SME division, commented: "A reliable, always-on broadband connection is essential for businesses, so we’ve packed even more innovation into our award-winning Smart Hub to provide SMEs with a failsafe method to stay online."

He said BT is "very excited" about the new service, as it combines the strengths of its fixed broadband network and the most powerful Wi-Fi signal in the UK with the country's most extensive 4G network.

"This delivers a highly resilient broadband service which will keep SMEs - the backbone of the UK economy - up and running," Mr Tomlinson added.

Customers who sign up for BT's standard business broadband packages can purchase 4G Assure for an extra £8 a month, while it comes at no extra charge with Ultrafast, Infinity Premium or Broadband Premium business broadband packages.

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