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What are my options?

You might be wondering, what are my options for small business internet services? What providers should I be evaluating? If your goal is to spend less than $100 a month on your high-speed internet, your options are somewhat limited. You have 2 and sometimes 3 choices - local cable company (i.e. Comcast, Charter), the telephone company (i.e. AT&T, Centurylink, Verizon) and perhaps a wireless ISP. Remember, telephone and cable companies generally don’t compete in your local area. Example, if Verizon is your local phone company, AT&T won’t provide a competitive service, likewise if Comcast is your cable company Charter can’t provide a competing service. At Authorized Offers, the first thing we do when helping our customer is to identify your local phone and cable provider.

So let's look at these options individually.

Starting with cable. Your cable company has a commanding share of the small business internet market. They have a distinct technology advantage over their telephone company competitors. The "Coaxial" lines in the ground, that for years powered your home television, can carry significantly higher speeds than the telephony companies copper lines that have powered your home phone service. This means that the cable companies can deliver more bandwidth at a lower cost to you. One of the challenges we see with cable is that the wires aren't built to small businesses. Remember the cable company started out by providing residential cable services, it was only in the early 2000’s they started offering services to businesses. But in order to provide Business Service they have to extend the wiring to offices, sometimes this can carry charges to the customer and often times lead to lengthy installation times.

Cable internet services on average promise higher levels of bandwidth than telephone internet services. Cable technology currently supports approximately 300 Mbps of bandwidth in many areas, whereas most forms of telephone services reach speeds of only up to 100 Mbps.

The telephone companies, which today rely on decades-old copper lines in the ground. In an effort to better compete with the cable companies, they are working feverishly to lay the foundation for high-speed internet through fiber-optic cables. This, however, is very expensive and slow to develop, as of this writing, ATT “Fiber U-verse” is available in less than 50 markets which is a small percentage of their total footprint. If Fiber U-verse is available in your office, this is typically a very good option over Cable. If fiber is not available, DSL is typically much slower than cable speeds and is sensitive to the distance from the local central office. In simple terms, the farther out you are the slower the speed.

Last is wireless internet. There are hundreds of small Wireless ISPs, these are typically small companies that are local to your area. There are very few nationwide Wireless ISPs. This could be a good option depending on The Local Company in your Market, be wary of companies that could go out of business or companies that oversubscribed their service, meaning they may advertise a high-speed, but their Network can only support a fraction of what they advertise. Wireless ISPs depend on line of sight between your office and the transmitter. Sometimes in heavily wooded areas, you can't find the line of sight to your local Wireless ISP. Or if the line of sight is limited you may have spotty service.

As a small business you really only have 3 options for low-cost high-speed internet, your cable company your phone company and any local ISPs that are Wireless providers. But the good news is there are new technologies on the Forefront that could provide low-cost alternatives to the options listed in this blog. Those options are satellite and the forthcoming 5g Wireless. Stay tuned.