How to Choose Business Internet Service Providers
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Choosing a Business ISP
The Smart Way to Get the Right Business Internet Plan
The "Clicking on all Cylinders," series is designed to help small businesses run more efficiently by making the most of their online and digital efforts. In this piece, we look at ways to evaluate the right business ISP package for your business. It's a small commitment to research that will make maximizing your online and digital efforts easier.
Going into a buying decision without being prepared can be risky. Unlike big corporations that might shrug off the monetary consequences of a poor decision or two, every dollar counts when you run a small business. Fortunately, there's a way to make even the complicated process of choosing a cost-effective Internet plan that's right for your business easier.
Here's how it's done.
Understanding Business Internet Packages
While all plans enable Internet connectivity for a price, not all of them work the same way. In cities and urban areas, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and Cable providers are common. Businesses in less populated areas tend to rely on satellite service. Find out what's common in your area so you know what you're dealing with.
Next, consider what you need in a plan to run your business successfully. This will have a direct impact on the amount of bandwidth your plan will have to provide. A short list of considerations include:
- If you will be sending and receiving e-mail
- Whether you'll be downloading and uploading files into the cloud
- The size of files you'll be dealing with
- How often you will need to stream videos or Skype
There are usage calculators available online that can help you determine your bandwidth needs, including one from Sparklight. An IT or telecommunications professional can also be of service.
Most ISP packages represent perfect-world scenarios, where nothing breaks down, falters or fails to work. Yet things don't always pan out this way. Drop-offs in service or outages occur, and it's you're right to know how a Business Internet provider handles these types of situations before you commit.
A checklist of questions to ask a provider includes:
- What is the average hold time for customers needing help
- What hours are their customer service centers open
- Do they have local service technicians
- How many hours do they lose to downtime in a year
- How many subscribers share a connection (this can impact speed)
Another important issue to discuss is called the Data Cap – the threshold at which an ISP might begin charging you if you go over your usage maximum in a billing cycle. Those who don't charge may opt to slow your connection, which can impact productivity. Some ISPs have Data Caps, others don't. Be sure to find out before committing to any plan provider.
Finally, don't forget to consider additional expenses, like hardware and equipment. Many commercial Internet providers offer them as part of the package while others cost them out. Your job is to make sure you understand what's offered at what price. Reputable providers will be up front with this information.
Compare Business Internet Plans
While it goes without saying, you should always compare prices. At a minimum, check out at least three providers to make sure you choose one that gives you the best deal on the package you need.
Sparklight Business Internet
Having an online presence and reliable internet connection are essential to the success of every business. At Sparklight Business, we provide the tools and technology you need to successfully get online and manage your business communications with business-class Internet services with speeds up to 1 Gig download / 50 Mbps upload. With 24/7 Technical Support we're dedicated to getting you back up and running within 4 hours. Need faster speeds for your growing enterprise, get symmetrical speeds up to 10 Gbps with our Enterprise Fiber dedicated internet access services. Now that's speed that can quickly boost your bottom line.