Shopping for high speed Internet access is not an easy task – particularly when there are so many internet providers vying for your attention and asking for your business. Wherever you work (or live), Internet providers offer an overwhelming number of different packages, speeds and security features. Prices vary wildly depending on whom you speak with and what they try to convince you that you need.
Lowest price usually means shared bandwidth and mediocre customer service
For most small businesses, lowest price for the speed is the primary decision-making factor. Internet providers promise low pricing for predetermined Internet speeds, but in reality speeds are calculated on educated guesses. In order to keep costs down for both you and the provider, most will oversubscribe customers on shared bandwidth. The prices for this kind of service are relatively low, but speed tests show that during business hours and peak usage times, Internet speeds fluctuate significantly and usually below promised levels. The heavy usage is particularly noticeable where the service is asymmetric and the slow upload speeds make the service unusable. –And when you contact customer service to inquire about the discrepancy in speeds, you are often referred to the small print in the contract stating that speeds are “a best effort service”.
Dedicated Internet gives you the best quality and consistency, but costs more
In contrast to the type of small business packages described above, carriers also offer “dedicated” Internet service. This type of service provides a dedicated Internet circuit to one business only, which connects the business’s office directly to the provider’s network. This type of service prevents other companies from sharing your bandwidth and the Internet speeds actually match the contracted Internet bandwidth.
Always consider customer service
Another important consideration is the customer service you get with different prices. Buying a small business package means you are at a level just above residential service. Most users encountering a problem experience long wait times and sometimes even days before their problems are resolved. Dedicated Internet packages will usually provide better customer service quality with quick response times and problem resolution within hours.
The difference between copper and fiber
Internet service can be offered on either copper platforms or fiber optic lines. If fiber is available in your building, it’s the best way to go, since it has a greater capacity for higher speeds, and can therefore, grow as your business’s data needs expand. Copper platforms are basic, and often have limitations that reduce the availability of those higher speeds.
Benefits of bundling services
Lastly, it’s no surprise that some providers may offer better pricing if you bundle the Internet service with voice lines or a hosted PBX service. What you may not expect is that you often also receive better quality customer service, assistance in finding a holistic solution to multiple needs, and the simplicity of working with one vendor to address those multiple needs.
Questions to ask a provider or carrier before getting Internet service
- How do speeds differ between business and non-business hours?
- What kind of speed do I specifically need for my type of business?
- What is the cost difference between sharing a network and having a dedicated Internet circuit?
- How would you describe your customer service?
- On average, how quickly do issues get resolved with your customer service?
- Is your customer service local or overseas?
- Can I get fiber in my building? -And what is the cost to benefit ratio?
- How will bundling my services affect my pricing and customer service?
How GTB can help
GTB makes sure you receive the best Internet option for the lowest cost possible. As one of Maryland’s few local high speed Internet providers, our services are designed to support multiple users with a single connection with speeds ranging from 10MB to 100MB. When your service is provided over our privately managed network, you also receive faster and more efficient use of email, file transfers, and web browsing, as well as, 24/7 monitoring. Learn more by visiting our High Speed Internet page.