7 Best Washington, D.C. Internet Providers
High-speed, reliable Internet connectivity is a must for your business or any government agency.
Every department of your business, from sales to marketing to operations relies on an Internet connection in some way. And if your business Internet service provider can't deliver, your company could face significant problems in each branch's daily duties.
Imagine you just started a web meeting with international clients and your Internet service cuts out or degrades significantly. Or, the warehouse dropped service and lost the ability to track orders as they arrive or leave.
These problems are real and happen all the time when companies don't invest in the right provider for their needs. In Washington, D.C., there's no shortage of ISPs, and that can make finding the right option overwhelming.
To reduce the paralysis by analysis, we've compiled a list of the top companies and the reasons you may want to work with them.
7 Washington, D.C. Internet Service Providers
The quickest way to decide which ISP will best meet your needs is to break down your requirements based on this list:
- Speed and connection type
- Contracts and pricing
- Reputation and reliability
- Add-ons and extras
- Customer support
- Coverage area
All of these points are critical to which provider you select but will differ based on your industry or the size of your company. If you use these points as a guide, determining the best fit for your company will become simple. You'll also want to check out our free guide: 10 Questions To Ask Before You Buy Fiber Connectivity For Your Business.
These six companies are the best commercial Internet services in the Washington, D.C. metro area. While not each will be right for your company, at least one is sure to meet your service needs.
1. Allied Telecom
Allied Telecom is a local ISP that provides telecom services and is an excellent option for small to medium-sized businesses.
Allied provides fiber, copper, cable, fixed wireless, and DSL to customers in the Washington, D.C. area, reaching speeds as fast as 10 Gbps. These speeds are incredibly beneficial if you also take part in their Unified Communications services, managing meetings and video conferences with low latency.
2. Comcast Business
Comcast is one of the nation's largest Gig-speed networks. In D.C., they're the most common service we come up against in the marketplace and serve as a well-known low-cost entry point for ISP services. Their competitive rates are due in part to the ability to generate other revenue from advertising, TV service and also selling customer data. These are all revenue streams as they monetize the data that transports over their network. .
With Comcast, you'll find no data caps, speeds starting at 25 Mbps, and 24/7 customer support. They also offer a variety of services in bundles to homeowners and small businesses in the D.C. area, including phone, Internet, and cable tv service.
Verizon is the ILEC in the region and therefore is another common carrier that Atlantech Online competes with. Many companies are attracted to Verizon because of their ability to provide services nearly anywhere in the region. For a company planning to expand, this can save a lot of leg work in finding an additional provider.
For Washington, D.C., Verizon offers its FiOS Internet, which is capable of delivery GigE connectivity to their customers. You can also add additional packages for cable tv and phone service, reducing your overall bill. However, if you prefer more support and more straightforward billing, other providers may be a better fit for your company.
Zayo is a comprehensive fiber, data center and colocation, and cloud connectivity solution. While mainly US-based, Zayo also reaches into the European market, making it a possible contender for international businesses looking to partner.
Zayo's "Pro" service provides exceptional data and connectivity for businesses of any size. They do not offer phone services, however. So, for companies looking for a single-source provider, Zayo might not be the best fit.
Customers can also add cable or phone to their packages and find better deals for bundling. RCN is also known for its exceptional customer service.
While they are a great provider, they, unfortunately, don't offer 100% regional coverage. When considering RCN, ensure they can provide services to your location before spending too much time reviewing their offerings.
GTT is a provider of global recognition. With over 600 Points of Presence around the world, they're ranked as one of the top Tier 1 IP networks.
In the DC area, GTT provides Fiber and ethernet to its customers and guarantees the performance, reliability, and security you pay for. GTT's service is best suited for companies spread across multiple countries looking for a single provider, although it does provide options for smaller offices.
7. Atlantech Online
The list wouldn't be complete if we didn't mention our own services.
Atlantech provides fiber Internet to the Washington DC area, reaching speeds of up to 100 Gbps. What sets us apart, though, is that we're locally based. This means our techs, customer service, and offices are all located near you, enabling us to deliver faster support.
We also provide direct connectivity, own and operate our own certified data centers, deliver fantastic customer service, and offer unified communications packages that fit your needs. Add that to our already exceptional coverage, security, and reliability, and you have another powerhouse to explore.
Atlantech currently services over 3,600 commercial buildings in Washington, D.C. Check to see if your building is already connected here. If your building isn't already connected to our fiber network, we can provide telecom services within 30 days.
“As a Federal IT service provider, we contracted our internal Internet connectivity and telephone services to Atlantech Online. They provided a smooth transition from our previous Internet/ Phone provider. Reliability is crucial in our line of work, and the quality of their performance has consistently met and exceeded our expectations.” - Rodney G. Hawkins, President, Washington Technology Group, Inc.
How to Evaluate Internet Providers
While your company's perception of what's valuable will differ depending on your needs, assessing the total package will help you make more reasonable assessments on your options.
For example, if you need lightning fast internet, you may be willing to pay more for those speeds. Another company, however, may produce slightly slower speeds, but a higher uptime and impressive customer service. The second company's overall package may be the better buy, even if it costs more.
Ultimately, you need to look at the total offering to ensure you're getting what you pay for. However, you should also understand that your Internet is an investment, and sometimes paying higher prices is completely worth it for a better service.
Fiber vs. Copper vs. Coax
First, are you looking at fiber plans or copper or coax cable Internet-based plans on an ISP’s website? There are many differences between these service types, and fiber generally offers speed, bandwidth, security, reliability, and long-term cost savings advantages.
If you want fiber, understand whether it is indeed available at your location. It’s important to note that some providers advertise high-speed commercial Internet solutions that appear to be fiber, but aren’t.
Check Both Speed and Bandwidth
What are your bandwidth requirements and how fast do you need the connection to be? It’s okay if you don’t have an exact answer, but you can estimate this factor by talking with an expert or based on typical use:
- Number of users (people concurrently using access to the Internet... don't forget inbound access, too)
- Number of devices (computers, wifi access points, printers, mobile users)
- Light, Moderate or Heavy Usage: Apps, file sizes, and the types of data you transmit can influence how much bandwidth and speed you need. If you serve up multimedia data, this can push you into “moderate” or “heavy” usage. Using cloud services for payroll, training, CRM and procurement drive heavy usage, too.
- Concurrent Heavy Usage: Note if you have many users who transfer large data files at the same time, such as multiple video conferences going on simultaneously.
Check Reliability and Guarantees
Can you tolerate downtime? Probably not, but some organizations and industries--such as healthcare or public education--consider 100% uptime to be mandatory. Even if you’re not in these industries, organizations who use cloud apps or databases can absorb high costs from poor reliability.
Learn more in How Much Does Fiber Internet Cost in Washington D.C.
There’s much more that goes into choosing the right business Internet access provider. If your organization requires enterprise-class connectivity and a full-suite of unified-communications-as-a-service, you’ll likely need to get personalized quotes from vendors.
For any organization shopping for an ISP, you should evaluate reviews and expertise. Check whether they offer 24/7 live, expert support. However, the factors above are a good starting point for narrowing down service plans.
Is the Provider Local?
There are distinct benefits to a national company, like more pricing options and a more extensive network of technicians that can service your business. These can also be disadvantages depending on your needs. The different pricing options may contain hidden fees and come with a billing statement that's difficult to read. Additionally, their techs may be under-trained or junior employees who don't have the experience to handle your needs, adding time and frustration before the problem is resolved.
With a local office, the company is more invested in your success. They're in the same community you are, and they have a stake in its success. Technicians are generally better trained or paired with someone more experienced so they can learn the ropes. Reputation matters far more to a local company, and you'll find them going further out of their way to ensure you're taken care of.
Also, pricing is generally simplified with a local provider. While you may not have as wide a range of pricing options, you can rest assured, knowing you'll get what you pay for. And, if you do have an issue, their office is local, so you'll always know where to go for customer support.
We serve as one of the local options with our office located just outside D.C. at 1010 Wayne Avenue in Silver Spring, MD.
Check for Uptime
High uptime is critical to your business. When your internet fails, you lose efficiency, and worse, your customers aren't taken care of. To reduce the risk of your internet failing, you should look for a company that offers redundant systems and peering relationships.
Redundant systems include services like wireless back-up or generators at their Points-of-Presence (PoPs). They reduce downtime by kicking on when your initial system fails. Most providers today will include these systems, free of charge, as part of your service, but it's important to know to what extent they reach.
For example, at Atlantech, we provide multiple entrance paths for fiber and a "mesh" configuration that eliminates any point-to-point fiber link failures. This dramatically reduces downtime, packet loss, and latency.
Peering relationships are a way for providers to work together to ensure their clients have continued access to the services they pay for. The fine details can get complicated, but an ISP with a large number of peering relationships will generally provide you with a higher uptime because they can rely on other providers to keep your service intact.
Look for a Reliable Partner
While selecting an internet service provider is far more important than where you're going for dinner, you'll want to check the ratings and reviews in the same manner.
A lot of companies may claim to provide fast service speeds and high uptime, but in reality, their services are sub-par. This will never be apparent from studying their website, but with sites like Yelp, you can learn more about their reputation. Sometimes, however, not all reviews are honest, and a disgruntled client may publish harsher feedback than necessary.
We recommend talking to the company about these problems to find out how they corrected them or what plan they have if it occurs again. Sometimes things can't be controlled, but if you can find a provider who is actively trying to reduce the chance for these surprises, you can bet they're more likely to provide you with consistent, reliable services.
Another way you can learn about a company's reliability is by asking them for the contact information of some of their clients. If available, you can then ask the people who are already using their services what issues they've faced and how the ISP actually performs.
Prioritize an Extensive Local Network
Something to keep in mind is that not all Gigabit Internet providers in Washington, D.C. cover the entire region. Because of this, if you're looking to expand or move locations, you may not have coverage in the area you're moving to. This means you'll need to invest time in finding a new provider and allowing them to install their equipment.
A great way to check where a company provides is to look at their network map. This will give you a visual idea of how far their services reach. But then, you'll want to take it a step further, looking up the WiredScore of the buildings they provide service for. This score will illustrate the quality of their services in each building, since they may only have the capacity to work in a small area.
You can check to see if your building is lit for fiber by checking our tool. If it is, you'll save a lot of time and money on installation, and you'll find speeds up to one Gbps.
Choosing the Best Internet Service Provider
While we recommend evaluating multiple providers to find the best fit, we want to be on your list of potential vendors. Few D.C. internet providers can deliver the specialized treatment we do because they're spread too thin across the nation. We're the local solution that answers all your ISP needs.
Contact us today and let us get to know your business, fiber, and voice requirements.