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Internet Service Providers Tips

To be competitive in today's economy, your business requires a dependable high speed internet connection with the right networking attributes. According to the FCC, the total number of internet connections in the US grew from 9 million in 2001 to 87 million in 2011.

Your Business Requirements

Depending on the size of your business and how you use your internet connection, you’ll have specific requirements regarding the bandwidth and speed of your internet connection.

There are several types of internet connections that you can purchase for your business.

  • Dial-up connections over a phone line are the least expensive option, but also have the slowest connection speed and available bandwidth.
  • DSL and cable are much faster and offer a variety of service levels and tiered pricing options.

However, the location of your business – rural, suburban, or urban – may limit the options available to you.

If setting up internet in your office, you may want to check out networking equipment, as well. 

Internet Options

When shopping for an internet service provider, determine what kind of bandwidth and connection speed your company needs, and make sure the ISP you choose can deliver it.

  • Bandwidth: how much data you will download over the course of the month. If you plan to use your internet only for simple email and searches, you won’t need much bandwidth. However, if you plan to spend a lot of time streaming music or video, using social networks, or making voice-over-internet calls, you will have much higher bandwidth requirements and will need to pay more.
  • Connection speed: Your business can’t get much done on the internet if the connection is too slow for your needs. Speed is partially determined by what kind of connection you use: dial-up signals are slower than digital, for example. How you plan to use the internet will determine what speed is appropriate for your business.
  • Ratio: How many people use the connection. An office with five computers will have different requirements than an office that uses fifty.

Plan ahead in your search for an ISP to determine what your needs are. In addition to details on how you’ll use the connection and what bandwidth you need, consider whether your business needs to take advantage of features like business email, website and domain, or internet phone. Many of these services can be purchased through your ISP in a package deal.

Look for an ISP that offers meaningful and effective customer support, including 24/7 phone service. Make sure that your ISP has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) as part of your contract. The SLA should outline, in specific terms: how to report a problem with the internet connection and how quickly they will fix any problems. It should also list maximum acceptable downtime and the refund process for internet downtime that exceeds those parameters – in effect, how long you can be without internet before they will start to refund you for the service. 

If you are looking for the right internet service provider, you should also check out web hosting and internet security