Why businesses need reliable internet
When the internet goes down at home, it’s inconvenient. When internet access at a business goes down, it can be a financial disaster. For some small businesses, unreliable internet may irritate customers and drive them away. Businesses affected by internet downtime include:
- Coffee shops
- Sports and cultural venues
For others, interrupted internet connections interfere with essential business functions, like:
- Sending and receiving emails
- Browsing the internet
- Accessing cloud-based software
- Videoconferencing (like Facetime, Skype, or Zoom)
- Transferring files
- Backing up important records
Benefits of good business internet
Having reliable internet boasting fast speeds clearly prevents a lot of problems. But choosing the right business ISP (internet service provider) can also have a lot of benefits:
- Greater staff productivity (less time spent waiting for pages to load, files to transfer, etc.)
- Improved employee morale (poor connections cause frustration)
- Venues with a reputation for good wireless internet can become local hubs, meaning more revenue
- Uninterrupted, high-quality video conferencing with clients keeps the focus on business, not tech problems
- Added extras can cut costs and make financial planning easier (phones and TV included in one affordable payment)
- Some ISPs provide extra online services like domain names, static IP addresses, custom splash pages for customer WiFi, and internet security with business internet plans
Choosing the right business internet plan
Businesses should consider:
- What they use the internet for (just browsing the internet and checking emails, or video conferencing and backing up large files)
- How much speed (in mbps) they need for those tasks (simple internet browsing doesn’t require much speed; less than 15 mbps can be okay. But streaming HD video might require 30+ mbps)
- How many employees will be using the internet at once (more employees put greater demand on the internet connection, meaning a faster plan may be necessary)
- How much data will be needed (data caps might be okay for some businesses, but harmful to others who use more)
- Any useful extra features included (an office-based business might not need a welcome splash page for customer WiFi, but a coffee shop might benefit from an ISP that throws it in for free)
- Local availability (if they don’t offer coverage in a small business’ area, it doesn’t matter how good the plan is)
Business owners can check the details of each plan to see advertised speeds and check it against their likely needs.
However, it’s worth remembering that ISPs typically advertise the maximum speed provided by each plan, not the average speed users will receive.
Businesses who suspect they’re not getting the speed advertised can use a free internet speed test (Google has one in their search engine). If it doesn’t meet expectations, it may be worth contacting the provider to find out why, and if nothing can be done, considering another provider.
There is a wealth of internet options available to businesses, so let’s breakdown the best internet service providers based on the individual needs of businesses.
Verizon Fios: Best internet provider for a reliable connection
Verizon Fios guarantees internet 99.5% of the time. That’s great for small businesses who need reliable connections, like:
- Businesses using cloud-based software (Brick-and-mortar stores with cloud-based point of sale (POS) software, sales companies using cloud CRMs, or projects being coordinated through online management systems like Asana or Trello)
- Companies using the internet to communicate (for online chat support, internal communication with email or video conferencing, or outbound sales, like recruitment companies using the internet to make calls to clients and candidates)
- Businesses offering services online (media companies, marketing agencies, social media managers, or web services companies)
For these companies, the internet is essential. For example, an eCommerce business needs the internet to manage ad campaigns, update product details, and communicate with customers. No internet means money is lost.
Verizon Fios’ Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for small business services (their 99.5% guarantee) incentivize them to provide reliable internet.
Verizon Fios plans and pricing
2-Year Term Packages
- Fios Internet (75/75 mbps) – $84.99/mo first year, $94.99/mo second year
- Fios Internet (150/150 mbps) – $114.99/mo first year, $124.99/mo second year
- Fios Internet (300/300 mbps) – $189.99/mo first year, $199.99/mo second year
- Fios Internet (500/500 mbps) – $219.99/mo first year, $229.99/mo second year
- Fios Internet (940/880 mbps) – $219.99/mo first year, $229.99/mo second year
No Term Packages
- Fios Internet (75/75 mbps) – $89.99/mo
- Fios Internet (150/150 mbps) – $119.99/mo
- Fios Internet (300/300 mbps) – $194.99/mo
- Fios Internet (500/500 mbps) – $224.99/mo
- Fios Internet (940/880 mbps) – $219.99/mo first year, $229.99/mo second year
Spectrum Business: Best for bundles
Spectrum Business offers impressive bundles for businesses to choose from depending on their needs.
Businesses needing other services like television subscriptions or phones can combine them into a single monthly payment, simplifying financial planning and saving money.
Packages combining these services can help:
- Businesses offering entertainment to visitors (sporting venues, bars, beauty salons, and hairdressers)
- Businesses needing a dedicated phone line (marketing agencies, recruitment agencies, and brick-and-mortar stores)
Bars can save money on a TV subscription and organize sports screenings, raising extra revenue. For example,with World Series events.
WiFi and TV can make businesses like diners and salons more entertaining and convenient for customers, who can watch TV while waiting to be served, or work using the free WiFi
Getting a phone as part of a bundle makes a business look more professional, as mobile numbers for listed businesses can make customers distrustful.
A landline also means a single number can be associated with the business, useful for businesses like restaurants, where patrons call to make reservations.
Spectrum Business plans and pricing
Internet only plans
- Business Internet 60 – $59.99/mo – download speed 60 mbps/uploads 10 mbps
- Business Internet 100 – $59.99/mo – download speed 100 mbps/uploads 10 mbps
- Business Internet 200 – $59.99/mo – download speed 200 mbps/uploads 10 mbps
- Business Internet Ultra 300 – $109.99/mo – download speed 300 mbps/uploads 20 mbps
- Business Internet 400 – $109.99/mo – download speed 400 mbps/uploads 20 mbps
- Business Bundle – $74.98/mo (12-month contract) – 100 mbps internet + unlimited long-distance phone, free Modem, custom email addresses and domain, security suite, cloud backup, and customer WiFi
- Business Bundle Ultra – $119.98/mo (24 months) – 300 mbps internet + unlimited long-distance calling, internet security, email, domain, backup, and public WiFi
- Business Triple Play – $99.97/mo (12 months) – 100 mbps internet + unlimited long-distance phone + TV (40+ channels), free Modem, custom email addresses and domain, security suite, cloud backup, and customer WiFi
Comcast Business internet: Best for extra features
Comcast’s innovative features come under two headings:
- Comcast BusinessWiFi Pro – Includes a customizable WiFi ‘splash page’, management tools with functions like restricting guest bandwidth, and analytics in areas like storefront conversions, unique users, and customer characteristics.
- Comcast Business Connection Pro – Features automatic 4G LTE wireless backup, easy digital management, simple setup, and a cellular router with auto-failover and fallback, 8-hours of battery life, and power-surge protection for up to four devices.
These features are useful for:
- Businesses with on-site customers or clients (coffee shops, cafés, bars and restaurants, hotels, guest houses, and even offices where visitors may be expected to wait before meetings
- Businesses providing services around the clock (medical practitioners, disaster relief services, lobbying organizations, political campaigns, public relations firms, advocacy groups.
- Organizations providing time-sensitive services (outsourced HR operations, project management, or tax assistance)
Dropped internet can be inconvenient or even harmful to clients of businesses like these. Comcast’s 4G LTE backup helps address this.
Being able to limit access, speed, and total bandwidth available to each visitor can also be useful to these businesses, who may have thousands of guests consuming bandwidth.
Comcast Business plans and pricing
Comcast Business HFC internet plans
- Starter Internet – $84.95 – 25 mbps downloads, 5 mbps uploads
- Deluxe 50 Internet – $124.90 – 50 mbps/10 mbps
- Deluxe 75 Internet – $164.90 – 75 mbps /15 mbps
- Deluxe 100 Internet – $214.90 – 100 mbps/20 mbps
- Deluxe 150 Internet – $264.90 – 150 mbps/20 mbps
- Deluxe 250 Internet – $364.90 – 250 mbps/25 mbps
- Deluxe 500 Internet – $414.90 – 500 mbps/35 mbps
- Business Internet 1 Gig – $514.90 – 1,000 mbps/35 mbps
Comcast Business pure fiber internet plans
- Starter Internet – $69.95 – 25 mbps
- Deluxe 50 Internet – $109.95 – 50 mbps
- Deluxe 75 Internet – $149.95 – 75 mbps
- Deluxe 100 Internet – $199.95 – 100 mbps
- Deluxe 150 Internet – $249.95 – 150 mbps
Viasat Business: Best for small towns and rural areas
The extensive coverage of satellite-based providers like Viasat is a big advantage for businesses outside big cities, as many ISPs skip over large parts of the country entirely.
Small businesses in the following states usually underserved by other ISPs may want to consider satellite internet from Viasat:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Rural businesses rarely have access to high-speed internet, with some paying $30+ per month for download speeds below 5 mbps and uploads of less than 1 mbps.
For these businesses, the faster speeds provided by Viasat may make online business activities much easier.
Viasat internet plans and pricing
Viasat metered business internet plans
- Metered Broadband 1GB – $50/mo – 35 mbps downloads/4 mbps uploads, 1GB usage limit, $10 for each additional GB of data.
- Metered Broadband 10GB – $80/mo – 35 mbps/4 mbps, 10GB usage limit, $10/additional GB
- Metered Broadband 20GB – $100/mo – 35 mbps/4 mbps, 20GB usage limit, $6/additional GB
- Metered Broadband 50GB – $150/mo – 35 mbps/4 mbps, 50GB usage limit, $3/additional GB
- Metered Broadband 200GB – $400/mo – 35 mbps/4 mbps, 200GB usage limit, $2/additional GB
Viasat unlimited business internet plans
- Unlimited 35 – $175 – download speed 35 mbps/upload speed 4 mbps, soft cap 75GB
- Unlimited 60 – $300 – 60 mbps/4 mbps, soft cap 150GB
- Unlimited 100 – $500 – 100 mbps/4mbps, soft cap 200GB
Unlimited plans are not available everywhere, so check availability in your area. Businesses can check Viasat’s website for local availability.
Google Fiber: Best business internet user experience
Some ISPs have hidden fees for essential features like routers and complicated price structures.
Google Fiber offers transparent and simple pricing, minimal terms and conditions, and no restrictive contracts.The end-to-end experience is far easier than with most other ISPs.
As a Google company, Google Fiber are also easy to contact in emergencies. While most ISPs have customer phone support, few have a chat box like Google Fiber.
By making it easy to contact customer support, Google Fiber make the user experience even better.
This is great for:
- Small teams and solo entrepreneurs (fast-growing tech and media startups, tight-knit sales firms, and part-time side projects staffed by people working evenings and weekends)
- Local businesses with simple needs (mom and pop shops, hardware stores, fashion boutiques, grocers, and liquor stores)
For these businesses, Google Fiber’s simplified user experience frees time for spend on more important tasks, like product development, sales, or project management.
Google Fiber plans and pricing
- Fiber Business 100 – $70/mo – 100 mbps
- Fiber Business 250 – $100/mo – 250 mbps
- Fiber Business 1000 – $250/mo – 1,000 mbps (1 gbps)
Frontier: Best for cheap but fast uploads
Frontier offers fast, fiber optic ‘symmetric’ connections at the cheapest price available ($29.99).
Symmetric internet has upload speeds as fast as download speeds.
Businesses who can benefit from accelerated uploads at a good price include:
- Businesses that handle large documents or files (pitch documents for clients, scanned images, text rich documents, and software or multimedia)
- Businesses that make lots of video calls (for internal communication between locations, sales calls and pitches via video, or delivering training online)
- Businesses producing and distributing media online (online ad agencies, media production companies, or small businesses boosting their social media performance with video)
Businesses with fast upload speeds can avoid headaches like missed production deadlines for clients, or failing to share a piece of content on social media until the right moment has passed.
Frontier plans and pricing
Frontier high-speed internet business plans
- Internet 12 (12 mbps down/1 mbps up) – Frontier recommend this plan for standard streaming, file sharing, and online banking
- Internet 25 (25/2) – Suggested for HD streaming, point-of-sale software, and cloud-based applications
- Internet 70 (70/3) – Frontier claim it handles office Wi-Fi, E-commerce, VoIP phones, video conferencing
For these plans, prices vary depending on factors that can change from business to business. For a quote, contact a Frontier sales representative.
Frontier business FiOS plans
- FiOS 75 Mbps (75/75) – $79.99/mo (currently on sale for $54.99) – Frontier recommend this plan for guest Wi-Fi networks, voice and video conferencing, and digital phone systems
- FiOS 100 Mbps (100/100) – $94.99/mo (on sale at $69.99) – As above, but Frontier suggest this plan for large file sharing
- FiOS 200 Mbps (200/200) – $114.99/mo (sale price $89.99) – Frontier list this plan as good for business tools and software, cloud apps and storage, and high-definition streaming
See the full review of Frontier here.
AT&T: Best for gigabit internet with clear pricing
AT&T’s unique strength is offering gigabit internet (meaning speeds up to 1,000 mbps) with consistent nationwide prices.
AT&T’s prices for gigabit internet are clearly listed online, with no need to enter a ZIP code to check prices, and no variation by location despite widespread coverage.
Transparent and consistent pricing makes it easier for small businesses with locations in different states to plan financially.
It’s also reassuring for customers that AT&T isn’t charging higher rates in their area compared to other areas.
This is helpful for businesses with:
- High bandwidth requirements and locations in multiple states (like businesses using demanding online calling such as VoIP or video conferencing to communicate between local offices,.or sales firms video or voice chat to connect with clients)
- SaaS or cloud-based software products and services (like tech companies offering CRM systems or outsourced HR.
Not having to manage different plans for each location makes financial planning easier, while all locations benefit from the efficiency that comes with gigabit internet.
AT&T business internet plans and pricing
AT&T business DSL plans
- Internet 25 – $60/mo – 25 mbps download speed
- Internet 50 – $85/mo – 60 mbps download speed
- Internet 100 – $115/mo – 100 mbps download speed
- Internet 500 – $250/mo – 500 mbps download speed
AT&T fiber internet plans
- Business Fiber 25 – $60/mo – 25 mbps download speed
- Business Fiber 50 – $85/mo – 50 mbps download speed
- Business Fiber 100 – $140/mo – 100 mbps download speed
- Business Fiber 500 – $300/mo – 500 mbps download speed
- Business Fiber 1,000 – $500/mo – 1,000 mbps download speed (gigabit internet)
See the full review of AT&T here.