Starting a business can be a daunting task, especially for small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners, where resources are naturally limited.
When it comes to selecting a high-speed Internet provider for your business, however, skimping on selecting the most effective services to save a few dollars can be a tactical mistake.
“Investing in faster broadband Internet service is nearly always the right choice for businesses of any size – whether you have one employee or ten thousand,” writes John Cook for Agape Press.
Benefits of High-Speed Internet for Your Business
While it might be tempting to settle for residential-quality Internet for your new business, Cook cites eight benefits for choosing a high-speed Internet service provider, especially for a SMB:
- Faster Internet Means Better Productivity
Slow connection speeds at work lead to lost work time and slow load times for your website leads to lost business opportunities.
- Faster Internet Means Lower Stress Levels
In the age of COVID-19 stress levels are high and poor Internet connections at work can add more stress.
- Faster Internet Allows More Users
Choosing a high-speed Internet business provider allows for your company to grow and add more users without a drop in productivity.
- Faster Internet Makes Certain Tasks Easier
Video conferencing, cloud-based applications and other tasks are easier with high-speed Internet.
- Faster Internet Means Smoother Uploading and Downloading
Upload and download large files with high-speed Internet without disruption.
- Faster Internet Means Lower Costs
Not only can money be saved with increased productivity, but your business can utilize high-speed Internet to lower costs with other applications such as VoIP phone systems.
- Faster Internet Enables Improved Collaboration
High-speed Internet paves the way for collaboration on shared platforms and with cloud-based services.
- Faster Internet May be Required
For some businesses, customers will expect high-speed Internet and without it your business will not be viable.
Tips for Choosing High-Speed Internet for Business
Choosing high-speed Internet for your business can be confusing with a myriad of ISP offering different levels of services.
“The real question here is whether you can afford the cost of business Internet,” says the highspeedInternet.com “Guide to Small-Business Internet 2021”. “We’ve seen business Internet prices range from $35 all the way up to $500 a month—or more. Yup, that’s no small chunk of change. But the advantages of business Internet may make the price worth it.”
When choosing high-speed Internet for your business it is important to look at the type of connection offered, the speed you will get plus the fine print, such as downtime and contract length, and services offered such as bundles.
Connection Types of High-Speed Internet for Business
There are four main connection types of high-speed Internet for business, assuming dial-up is left out of the conversation.
Yes, in 2019 some 1.9 percent of households with home Internet were still using dial-up, but in 2021 you can not properly run a business on dial-up.
- Fiber Optics: For businesses that require high bandwidths with the fastest upload and download speeds, high-speed fiber optic Internet is the choice. Data is transmitted via pulses of light.
- DSL: A step up from dial-up, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) uses traditional telephone lines and can be less expensive than other options. Speeds, however, can be limited and service can suffer because of the greater distance your business is to your Telecom exchange.
- Cable: Data is transmitted over coaxial cable TV lines. Speeds are greeter with cable than with DSL, but service can suffer when nearby businesses and homes are online at the same time.
- Satellite: Popular in rural areas without fiber optic and cable options, satellite service does not require cables or wires. This type of service is not as fast as fiber optics or cable.
Putting the Speed in High-Speed Internet
Speed is probably the No. 1 factor for most businesses when choosing high-speed Internet, but how much speed does your business really need?
“You’d think that a small business with a handful of employees could get by with less speed, but what if they’re transferring gigantic files and video conferencing all day?” asks Bill Frost in his guide “How to Choose an Internet Service Provider for Your Business”.
Remember that the FCC defines “broadband” Internet as a connection that provides at least 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload speeds.
- Basic: 25 Mbps which can support 1-2 users
- Average: 100 Mbps which can support 3-4 users
- Fast: 200 Mbps which can support 4-5 users
- Very Fast: 500 Mbps which can support 5+ users
- Gigabit: 1,000 Mbps which can support 5+ users
HighSpeedInternet.com looks at speed need differently:
- 1-2 employees (15-25 Mbps) Best for web browsing, checking email, sharing small files
- 2-5 employees (25-50 Mbps) Best for sharing large files, video conferencing, using point-of-sale software
- 5-10 employees (50-75 Mbps) Best for remote work and collaboration, sharing large files and backing up data
- 10-12 employees (75-100 Mbps) Best for sharing large files, backing up data, web hosting and ecommerce
- 12-15 employees (100-150 Mbps) Best for video conferencing, streaming and downloading and uploading files to cloud servers
- 15-20 employees (150-500 Mbps) Best for daily backup to cloud servers, web hosting and multiple ecommerce sites
Looking at the Fine Print
If you focus only on speed when choosing a high-speed Internet for your business, you may miss out on other important details, so it is important to look at the “fine print” in your service level agreement (SLA) including such things as:
- Downtime: What is the average yearly downtime for the Internet service provider you are considering? Even a brief downtime episode can lead to lost business for you. What is promised or guaranteed in your SLA and will you be compensated (such as discounts or credits) if it is not delivered.
- Contract Length: Does your ISP want to lock you into a one-year or two-year agreement? What are the termination fees if you want to get out of your contract before the agreement expires? How much flexibility do you have to upgrade your services during the contract period? Carefully consider all these options.
- Data Caps: Can your ISP limit your bandwidth usage or impose data caps. If you exceed certain data limits, will you have to pay higher rates or will your bandwidth be throttled. Choose a plan that provides you with enough bandwidth each month.
Other Services for Your High-Speed Internet
When it comes to choosing between two Internet service providers it can come down to the extra services they can offer you with your high-speed Internet.
Extras could include:
- Bundles: Your ISP may bundle other services, such as VoIP, along with your high-speed Internet which can save you money.
- VPN: Virtual Private Network (VPN) can give your business an encrypted, secure connection away from prying eyes.
- Static IP Address: Static IP addresses can cost more, but can be worth it, especially if your business is hosting servers.
- Cloud Storage: Your ISP may offer cloud storage as an add-on service.
- Email Service: Many ISP business Internet plans will come with basic email service built in.
- Equipment: Modems and other equipment may be offered by your ISP.
In the Houston area, contact PS Lightwave today to find out about our reliable high-speed Internet for your business that offers consistent bandwidth with no usage limits.