What is a Site Survey and Why Do I Need One?

To boldly go where no man has gone before. Trekkies recognize this challenge from the popular TV series Star Trek. But it might also apply to small businesses located in an area that may not be wired for internet service yet. But fear not, the key to exploring these strange new worlds is as easy as a site survey. It’s a quick and easy way to see what service is available in your area or determine what it will take to get you service.

Reliable internet service is critical for small businesses today. With such widespread accessibility, it’s hard to imagine a place that doesn’t have it. But those areas do exist. It might be an older building that’s being remodeled, a promising new area of town that’s rapidly-growing, or a rural area.

A Simple Process

Determining if internet service is available typically starts when you contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Often the company’s representative can answer that question over the phone, and all you do is provide your business address. If you don’t have an address yet, you can give addresses of occupied buildings surrounding your property.

With sophisticated mapping technology, the ISP can look to see what’s available down to the street level. Sometimes one side of the street has access but the other side does not. If service is available, the ISP will immediately schedule a time to connect your business.

If your business’ address is not yet serviceable, a site survey is ordered.  That means the ISP will send a tech rep out to determine what it would take to get service to your business. There’s no charge for it, and the process is complete in as little as 1-3 days.

The site survey will include an estimate of any charges to bring service to your business and when the work can be completed. Service for new construction will likely require more effort than an existing structure. It may involve getting permits, arranging for road closures and other construction considerations.

If you haven’t decided where to locate your business, you can request a site survey to help you choose a location that already has existing service. That could help you avoid having to establish new service.

Who Pays?

So, who pays if new service needs to be built for your business? In some cases, the ISP will absorb the cost. For example, say you’re the first to open a business in a new strip mall that has spaces for five other businesses. The ISP may already have service across the street and extending it to your side makes good business sense for them, especially if there’s the potential to add the five other businesses in the mall.

In other cases, you may be asked to contribute to the cost of digging a new line. In a new build, the property developer may work directly with the ISP to ensure its tenants have service.

Internet service may be the final frontier for new businesses, but the site survey gives you the information you need up front to make an informed decision and successfully steer your starship into its new orbit.

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