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Business Internet Service: Everything You Need to Know

Internet is the lifeblood of contemporary business. Your organization needs business Internet connectivity that's fast, reliable, and high-quality, at a cost you can afford.


The Value of Reliable Business Internet Connectivity

Today's organizations rely on Internet connectivity to communicate internally with employees and externally with customers and partners. Without a reliable data connection, your entire business can come to a hard stop--including your sales, customer relationship management, and business profits.

Did you know that researchers estimate that a single hour of technical downtime costs 98% of businesses at least $100,000? According to one study, 60 percent of businesses lose access to their data at least once per year, and 40 percent of outages last four hours or more! Your organization definitely can't afford to spend hours waiting for your connection to be restored.

As modern organizations pursue digital transformation, quality business Internet connectivity only matters more. Data connectivity is crucial for every omnichannel customer experience, personalized mobile app, and Internet of things (IoT) connected device you're relying on.

As the business world surpasses"cloud tipping point," adequate data connectivity has never mattered more. If you're among the  88 percent of businesses moving your data, applications, and communications tools to the cloud, your business will depend more than ever on your Internet connection.

The fact is, business Internet is a technological cornerstone of modern business. Data connectivity powers your communications, collaboration, data, profitability, and reputation. Read on to discover how to navigate the types of business Internet service and providers available to your organization, transitioning your communications to the cloud, and how to unlock the most value possible as you shop for connectivity solutions.


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The Types of Business Internet Service

Can you imagine a day at the office without data connectivity?

Can you imagine a day at the office without data connectivity? There would be no video conferences, file downloads, or remote employee training. If your organization is using cloud communication tools, such as Internet phone service or VoIP, your ability to help your customers would also disappear.

Whether you're an entrepreneur who works alone or a large global enterprise with offices in many different countries, there's no room for unreliable or slow Internet connectivity. Business Internet service you can't trust translates to lost profits and profitability.

It's incredibly easy to sign up for the first business Internet offer you come across. There's no shortage of choice with tens of thousands of Internet Service Providers in the U.S. However, smart business owners and technologists understand that not all ISPs offer the same service, and getting the right deal for your organization requires a few key considerations.

How to Optimize Your Business Internet Service:

  • Secure sufficient bandwidth
  • Select wisely between fiber, cable, and copper connectivity
  • Sign with a secure ISP to mitigate cyber risks
  • Find a provider with reasonable installation timelines
  • Consider ISP troubleshooting response and customer service
  • Prioritize an ISP with reliable upload and download speeds
  • Select a future-oriented business Internet provider

To learn more about how to evaluate ISPs for quality and service, check out 7 Things Companies Require from Their Business Internet Access Providers.

washington dc business internet service

Residential vs. Commercial Internet Service: What's the Difference?

Why does business Internet service cost more than residential service packages?

Unless you're in the industry, the pricing differences between fiber connectivity for business and the home or commercial vs. residential high-speed Internet can be puzzling. After all, it's the same technology and bandwidth, right? Not necessarily.

There are several key differences between residential and commercial Internet service, which contribute to the fact that business Internet service packages cost more than service for residential users. These differences are:

  • Difference #1: Business Service Should Offer Guaranteed Uptime, Availability, and Bandwidth
  • Difference #2: Business Internet is More Flexible in Configurations
  • Difference #3: Business Internet Offers Access to Data Center and Cloud Services

Other Differences Between Residential vs. Business Internet Service

Details can vary slightly between vendors, but business users should be able to expect some advantages to their agreement with an ISP over what's offered to residential customers.

Depending on your provider, you may be able to:

  • Use your own router and equipment
  • Use static IP allocation service to create a secure, virtual private network (VPN)
  • Unlock bandwidth guarantees with ISP contention rations
  • Achieve the ability to quickly scale up bandwidth, speed, or cloud communication services
  • Obtain the piece of mind associated with an ISP service-level agreement (SLA)

For more insights on each of these key factors, read into What's the Difference Between Residential and Business Fiber Internet?

washington dc business internet service

Local vs. Nationwide Business Internet Providers: Which is Best?

A quick search for Internet options is likely to reveal many different choices, including international or national telecommunications companies, and locally-owned and operated Internet providers. Does the size of your ISP impact experience? How does this factor impact the cost and quality of your service?

While this is a factor that business Internet shoppers should take into account, it's not the only factor that impacts experience. Regardless of whether you sign with a small or large provider or someone who's local vs. international, your experience will be shaped by factors such as:

  • Provider experience
  • Faceless vs. personalized service
  • Customer relationships and trust

In other words, yes--there is some value in considering how a national vs. local ISP will impact your experience. However, the biggest ways the provider's business model impacts your customer experience have more to do with their culture and values than size.

Scale and Resources

National ISPs may have more extensive networks and resources. However, local providers may have more knowledgeable staff and personalized service. Evaluate how a provider's scale could impact your business by researching their customer service reputation and asking about their service timelines.

Network and Coverage

Some national or international companies can benefit from the sprawling coverage and infrastructure of national ISPs. However, locally based firms may find that a local provider's coverage is sufficient. Ask whether providers have coverage in your area.

Service and Expertise

There are experts at companies of any size, but signing with a provider doesn't guarantee that you'll be a priority for their on-staff experts. If you call with a troubleshooting question, will you be routed to a call center or to a local expert who can offer direct assistance?

Company Structure

The way a prospective ISP runs their business isn't necessarily related to their size or geographic presence, but it definitely impacts experience. Ask if they outsource technical support or offer account management.

Learn more about how to evaluate how international vs. regional ISPs run their business in Local vs. Nationwide Internet Service Providers: Which is Best for Business?

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Choosing the Right Business Internet: Fiber vs. Cable. vs. DSL

Your business Internet service needs to be fast and reliable.

Your business Internet service needs to be fast and reliable. However, chances are that you're wondering whether fiber-optic Internet connectivity, cable Internet, or DSL is the best choice for your business. Decoding business Internet deals that are advertised as "high-speed" isn't always simple, especially if you're struggling to understand whether fiber is really beneficial for your use cases or if it's even available in your area.

The 3 Types of Business Internet Connections

Ethernet over Copper 

Also known as DSL (digital subscriber line). This is the oldest among Internet technologies. It's the most affordable, but it carries the downside of being the least reliable. Ethernet/DSL uses local telephone lines for data transmission and is noticeably slower when users are further from the telephone line.


While fiber is growing quickly in adoption, cable is among the most popular choices for high-speed business Internet. Run on standard coax cable lines designed for television service, cable offers better reliability and speed than Ethernet/DSL. However, users may find Internet speed slows during hours of peak demand since cable bandwidth is shared among local users.


Fiber-optic Internet connectivity offers equal upload and download bandwidth and superior scalability, allowing organizations to multiply their speed instantaneously on a day-to-day basis. It also offers the best reliability and speed options for business Internet.

business internet service

Which Type of Business Internet is Best for My Business?

While fiber-optic Internet is growing quickly, not all businesses have access to fiber Internet. When you're evaluating your options, a key consideration should be your building's proximity to a fiber ring which can impact the cost of installation. Before making any final decisions, check how close you are to fiber Internet resources.

While fiber offers benefits for most businesses, no two organizations are the same.

If you are evaluating fiber vs. copper vs. DSL, consider the following factors in addition to fiber availability:

  1. Speed and bandwidth requirements
  2. Reliability and uptime needs
  3. Technological compatibility: Proximity, wiring, hardware, and equipment
  4. Cost and budget

Now that you know the three types of business Internet, learn how to select the best connectivity choice for your needs in Fiber, Cable or DSL: Which Type of High-Speed Internet is Best for Your Business?

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The Benefits of Business Fiber Internet Service

There's a lot of hype surrounding fiber-optic Internet connectivity. Separating hype from reality is always wise when it comes to investing in emerging technologies for your business.

There's a lot of hype surrounding fiber-optic Internet connectivity. Separating hype from reality is always wise when it comes to investing in emerging technologies for your business. Is fiber-optic Internet for business worth the investment? More importantly, is the cost difference between fiber business Internet vs. alternatives really worth it?

Could Fiber Business Internet Be a Competitive Advantage?

Technology is an advantage in today's business climate, especially for organizations who achieve the technical agility to innovate quickly and pivot their businesses. If your competitors adopt fiber and you're still relying on copper Internet, could you get left behind?

Here are a few competitive advantages associated with fiber Internet for business:

  1. Faster access to cloud apps and services, creating the potential for lower IT infrastructure costs
  2. Better internal collaboration and customer engagement with support for video conferencing and other multimedia communications
  3. Deeper video conferencing adoption with fiber-optic connectivity can reduce business travel costs
  4. Business agility and rapid expansion by opening up global partnerships, services, and resources
  5. Personalized customer experiences become possible, with new data-driven powerful apps and services powered by big data and fiber.

Uncover more insights in What Your Business is Missing When Competitors Have Fiber Connectivity.

business internet service

Fiber vs. High-Speed Business Internet Service: What are the Differences?

Fiber-optic Internet for business has become the gold standard for communications. Per the FCC, fiber ISPS consistently deliver 117% of advertised speed, even during times of peak demand. While most businesses understand that fiber Internet is faster, is the speed worth the investment?

Adopting any newer technology can seem like a risk, especially since Internet connectivity is the lifeblood of collaboration, productivity, and customer communications for modern businesses. When evaluating fiber vs. high-speed copper Internet, it's wise to consider all of the benefits of fiber over copper Internet.

8 Benefits of Fiber vs. Copper Internet:

  1. Significantly higher bandwidth
  2. Equal upload download/speeds
  3. Superior signal distance
  4. Stronger data security
  5. Better reliability
  6. Lighter and smaller cable technology
  7. Lower long-term costs with fiber
  8. Sturdier cable technology

For data on how fiber stacks up to copper cable-based Internet connectivity in terms of bandwidth potential, signal distance and other key factors, read 8 Advantages of Fiber-Optic Internet vs. Copper Cable.

business internet service

Upgrading to Fiber May Offer Business Benefits

In addition to the technical advantages of fiber vs. copper, upgrading to fiber can offer enormous business benefits beyond factors like lower long-term maintenance costs. Organizations who make the switch away from copper high-speed business Internet absorb fewer hacking-related risks of cyber-crime since fiber is more secure. Company-wide productivity improves, thanks to no data bottlenecks and lower latency. Innovation and agility also increase.

Learn how fiber can benefit your employees and business in 11 Huge Business Benefits of Fiber Internet Connectivity.

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Getting the Right Business Internet Service Package

Over the past several decades in the telecommunications industry, business communications and technology have evolved significantly. Plenty of technologies have disappeared and become obsolete. The advent of cloud-based apps and services has boosted productivity and disrupted the way businesses communicate. One thing hasn't changed, however--businesses continue to need more and more bandwidth.

Selecting the right business Internet service should involve the question of whether your communications infrastructure is able to handle bandwidth-taxing technologies. Analytics, sensors, mobility, VR, and other cutting-edge tech will all put a premium on your business bandwidth.

How Much Bandwidth Do You Need?

Selecting the right ISP and business Internet service should involve a long, hard look at your current ways of doing business. Here's how to tell How Much Bandwidth You Need for Your Business, based on your current tech portfolio and approaches to collaboration.

Just as importantly, organizations should consider their 3-year tech roadmap. Chances are, you'll be adopting new apps, technologies, and infrastructure approaches. The most important bandwidth-related question you can ask is how much you'll need in 3 years. Ask yourself: can a prospective ISP meet your needs?

Making the Right Choices Around Speed vs. Bandwidth

How do you tell how your plans for digital transformation impact your short and long-term bandwidth needs?

Each of the following technologies and innovations can cause your speed and data needs to skyrocket:

  1. Mobile app development
  2. Streaming
  3. Video-conferencing
  4. File-sharing & collaboration
  5. Augmented and Virtual reality
  6. Internet of Things (IoT)
  7. Customer Personalization
  8. Real-time or In-Stream Analytics

Get more insight into how to future-proof your bandwidth allotment in Can Your Infrastructure Handle Emerging Bandwidth-Taxing Technologies?

business internet service

Don't Forget to Evaluate Business Internet Backups & Risks

Speed, bandwidth, customer service quality, and cost are critical considerations when selecting business Internet service. However, many organizations forget one more crucial factor that matters just as much as the points of evaluation previously mentioned: business continuity management, also known as uptime and backup connectivity.

Up to 70% of small and mid-sized businesses that lose data in a major incident are forced to shut down within a year--including very common incidents such as information security attacks or technological failures. The solution to protecting against downtime and risks is backup connectivity.

How to Achieve an Automated Backup Wireless Solution

Backup wireless connectivity shouldn't be hard. The best business Internet service providers can help clients put it in place seamlessly, and protect against outages and technical failures. If your primary connection goes down, the secondary option should begin working without disrupting your business.

At Atlantech Online, this process starts with a site survey to establish equipment placement in a spot that's protected and accessible with strong signal availability. Next, our solutions experts create customized backup plans according to client's needs, risks, and other individualized factors. Once the planning stage is complete, on-site equipment installation takes place with solutions that are designed to protect against failure.

Benefits of a Backup Business Internet Connection

Backup connectivity is generally cheaper than many organizations think. In addition, the small cost of putting a solution for backup business Internet in place offers immense benefits in terms of risk and connectivity:

  1. Protection against lost revenue and productivity
  2. Lower risk of reputational damage
  3. Continuous connectivity through failures and other events
  4. Remote site solutions for incident-related outages
  5. Peace of mind and confidence in business Internet reliability

Learn more in Business Continuity Management: Why You Need Backup Wireless Internet.

business internet service

Making the Most of Your Business Internet Service

Understanding Business Internet vs Unified Communications: What's the Difference?

The right solution for your business may not be "just" an upgraded business Internet solution. It may be consolidating your voice and Internet networks by adopting single-provider data and voice-over-IP (VoIP) Internet phone service or making the leap to Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).

Organizations are switching to UCaaS to solve some key challenges associated with a multi-vendor communications network. Consolidation means an end to multiple bills, challenging troubleshooting, difficulty scaling, and hard-to-solve performance issues, all of which can cause your business’s digital transformation to lag.

Here are some key benefits of bundling your Internet and voice services with one provider and adopting cloud-based communication tools delivered through the cloud:

  1. Lower Costs
  2. Simpler Billing
  3. Easier Support
  4. Improved Network Performance
  5. Fast Access to New Technologies via the Cloud

More insights on the benefits of consolidation are offered in Why Washington D.C. Companies are Finally Combining Their Voice and Data Networks

Adopting Business Internet and the Cloud

If your business invests in technologies such as apps, databases, or other services over the next year, there’s a very good chance your technological upgrades will be in the cloud. A recent survey of tech leaders indicated that over half (52%) of future tech investments will be in cloud-related apps and services.

Cloud connectivity is a powerful solution for IT teams who are struggling to meet high expectations on a tight budget. In addition to these competing priorities, businesses need high-quality, secure technical solutions. If you’re struggling to consolidate and deepen your cloud investment while maintaining fast connectivity and security, you may be a candidate for direct cloud connect through the Equinix Cloud Exchange.

With Atlantech, direct connectivity to the ECX is achieved through the installation of a single port. This direct connection offers affordable, secure access to Equinix’s massive marketplace of vendors for cloud apps and services, which can be delivered instantaneously through your port connection. As your cloud adoption scales up, it’s also possible to scale up your bandwidth to maintain uninterrupted, seamless connectivity.

Benefits of Direct-Connecting Your Business to the Cloud

  • Service Level Agreements, including 99.9999% uptime guarantees
  • Flexible connectivity from 100 Mbps-10 Gbps;
  • On-demand access to 3,000+ cloud vendors
  • Superior data security

Get more info on the ECX in What is the Best Way to Connect to the Equinix Cloud Exchange? 

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How to Get the Best Business Internet Service at the Best Price?

Cost is always a consideration. Maximizing your business’s Internet service involves careful consideration of factors such as quality, bandwidth, and reliability, but you can’t upgrade your connection unless you can afford the provider’s packages.

No one wants to overpay for products or services, and unfortunately, cost doesn’t always equal quality in the world of commercial Internet service.

The key to getting the best Internet at a price your business can afford is having some basic understanding of your needs and how costs can vary among providers.

  1. Understand your service needs
  2. Does your business need enterprise-class Internet or business Internet service? Enterprise solutions are, generally speaking, designed for superior interoperability, highly customizable, scalable, and offer strong service-level agreements.
  3. Gather several quotes
  4. Your organization should collect at least three quotes, and prioritize conversations with providers who have proximity to your location to keep installation costs low.
  5. Bundle services
  6. Consolidating your business data and phone services can save money, as can a switch to cloud-based Unified Communication tools.

Get more Tips to Find the Best Commercial Internet Service at the Best Price.

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