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The Complete Guide to Choosing a Business Internet Provider

In today’s interconnected world, fast and reliable Internet is a necessity for every business. It’s very frustrating when you’re in the middle of a video conference call and the network is slow, or you’re sending a file to a client and it takes forever. Time is money and getting the amount of bandwidth and speed you need is crucial for business success.

You need an Internet service that is reliable during bursts of activity on busy days and when a higher number of employees are accessing the Internet simultaneously.

But how do you choose a business Internet Service Provider (ISP)? What questions should you ask and how much does it cost? The answers will help you make the most informed choice when exploring your organization’s options.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

What is the difference between home and business internet?

5 tips for choosing a business internet provider

How much is business internet?

What Is Business Internet

Business internet is an Internet connection specifically provided to businesses. It typically includes faster upload and download speeds, symmetrical bandwidth, reliable fiber infrastructure, Committed Bandwidth, no oversubscription of the network, robust customer service, technical support, and other features to help your business operate more efficiently.

What Is the Difference Between Home and Business Internet?

Your residential internet connection is ideal if you’re relaxing at home and only want to stream your favorite movies and TV shows. However, if you have a business premise, you need a business internet.

Here are a few ways that a business internet is better than residential internet

Lightning Speed

In most scenarios, business internet tends to be faster than residential broadband. This means that there is no lag when several employees are on video conferences, sending large files, or working collaboratively.

Dedicated Customer Support

With residential internet, tech and customer support may be slower. Business internet users have 24/7/365 access to expert support.

Static IP

Business internet usually includes static Internet Protocol (IP) or fixed address assigned by your Internet service provider (ISP). It’s great for hosting your email service or website from your preferred location and improving the reliability and security of your connection.

Service Level Agreement (SLAs)

This is basically an agreement guaranteeing that you get what you pay for. It includes around the clock support, low latency, and near-perfect uptime.

The peace of mind of having an SLA is worth it for business owners who require speedy internet to conduct business. If your ISP defaults, they will compensate you with credits, discount, or early contract termination.

5 Tips for choosing a business internet provider

Understand What Type of Internet Connections Are Available

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

DSL uses standard phone lines to deliver broadband access. In the past, DSL was considered a major upgrade on dial-up connections, but faster options have since emerged.


A satellite connection uses a satellite dish to receive internet signals. It’s ideal for people living in rural areas where traditional internet services aren’t available. However, when compared to high-speed internet options like fiber, it can be slow with speeds of around 3 Mbps compared to business internet of up to 1Gbps or higher.

Cable Internet

Cable internet refers to internet services provided by a cable company. While cable companies have come a long way in upgrading their networks to fiber, they primarily still transmit data through coaxial cable, which was great when it rolled out in the late 90s but isn’t as reliable today. It is greatly impeded when nearby homes and businesses are online at the same time due to the nature of the network architecture.

Fiber Optics

The very foundation of the internet was built on fiber, making it the oldest connection out there. If you desire speed and reliable internet, then fiber optics is a great choice.

Fiber uses pulses of light through plastic strands or microscopic glass to provide the fastest internet. It’s harder to hack into and you don’t lose signal even during bad weather conditions.

What Are Your Business Internet Speed Needs?

One of the most important questions to ask when shopping for a business ISP is to first determine as a business “What do I need the Internet for?” Are their certain applications that will be utilizing the bandwidth or is it only for email? Is it critical that the Internet connection is up 24/7? What are my bandwidth requirements? Then you can find the vendor that offers the bandwidth, speed and level of reliability you need.

Each business is unique in terms of the number of employees, levels of customer support, the transmission of data, and to what extent your operations rely on the internet.

Even a small business with a handful of employees would have significant speed needs if they transferred large files between clients and engaged in numerous video conferences throughout the day.

Determining your business internet needs ensures you’re only paying for what you need. Options include multiple tiers of bandwidth, SLAs, and redundancy.

If you’re a rapidly growing business with increased data usage and double-digit employee count, fiber optic internet is ideal.

With DQE communications, you get high-speed business internet with unrestricted symmetrical upload and download speed of up to 10 Gbps.

Choose a Local ISP

Consider your location when choosing an internet provider. Not all ISPs have equal transmissions in the same area so speed may vary. Some national providers do not work well, or even offer internet services in certain locations.

A few reasons to choose a local ISP over a national provider include:

  • Local ISPs know your business. You spend less time explaining problems before they get solved.
  • Faster access to support because of the higher level of attention on customer service.
  • Guaranteed bandwidth is usually more consistent with a local ISP since there is no oversubscription of the network.

DQE provides internet connectivity to businesses located in parts of Pittsburgh, Central PA, West Virginia and Ohio. You can view our entire network map here.

What Questions Should You Be Asking?

How Scalable and Flexible Are Your Business Internet Solutions?

Even the most tech-savvy IT personnel could have difficulty choosing the right bandwidth for a business. It’s important for growing businesses to choose an ISP that offers flexible solutions that scale alongside your business.

What Is the Average Downtime?

According to Statista, the average hourly cost of downtime is between $301,000 – $400,000. Downtime prevents your team from working and clients from reaching you.

Don’t work with a company that doesn’t guarantee a minimum of 99.99% uptime in writing. That’s less than 10 minutes of downtime per year

This is where an SLA comes in handy. It holds the ISP accountable in terms of monitoring, service levels, and pricing. Your SLA should include:

  • Guaranteed timeline to resolve technical issues that occur
  • Guidelines for uptime and security
  • A track record of swift customer support and 24/7 technical support

Can I Rely on Your Customer Service and Technical Support?

Customer support is the cornerstone of a reliable ISP. From technical support, to service issues, product add-ons, and upgrade inquiries, you’ll need to engage with the customer support team at some point.

Business internet companies like DQE prioritize customer care. When you experience a technical issue, we’ll deploy a service team to fix it immediately.

What do I Need in addition to a Business Internet Connection?

DDoS Mitigation

Not all traffic is good traffic. Sometimes an uptick in visitors could represent bad bots, hacking attempts or malware.

Hackers use Distributed Denial of Service to send attack traffic to a network resource, server or website. Overloads slows down services and makes your business website vulnerable. It’s easier to steal sensitive information such as financial data, customer information and business records.

With DDos mitigation service you quickly detect malicious traffic and mitigate problems to ensure optimal network availability.

Wireless Backup

Downtime is expensive for businesses. A 2016 study revealed that the average cost of downtime across businesses was $260,000 per hour. Each moment you’re offline, you’re losing traffic from potential customers who want to work with you.

Wireless backup for businesses ensures there are no network interruptions during a flood, power outage, natural disaster or any of the events that lead to downtime. There’s an automatic failover to wireless backup after a major disaster and quick return to your primary connection when it’s back online

Wireless backup allows you to maintain productivity, ensure maximum uptime, and enjoy peace of mind during disruption to your primary internet connection.

Cloud Storage

It only takes one disaster to lose all your physical hard drives and documents. Cloud computing is great for storing documents online, collaborating with remote users, and improving file security.

DQE’s business cloud solutions provide private and direct networking connectivity to cloud service providers like Microsoft Office 365 and Amazon Web Services.

Your business benefits from fast and secure data performance with scalable bandwidth options to meet your business demands.

Colocation Services

Colocation enables you to save money by housing servers in a third-party facility. This facility provides the physical security and infrastructure to keep your organization operational and safe.

Colocation service is ideal for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses have access to the infrastructures of a large IT department without the associated cost. Mid to large-sized companies can expand their existing infrastructure without paying a dime for construction or facility leasing.

Colocation also offers the following benefits for businesses:

  • Protects server from power outages with a combination of generators, power grids, battery backup systems, and excellent maintenance practices.
  • Provides a safe environment to house data with humidity control, video monitoring, and fire protection.
  • Improved network security with the latest firewalls and IDS system to prevent unauthorized access to your systems.

How Much Does Business Internet Cost?

The cost of business internet depends on factors such as:

Add-ons: If you require extra software, hardware, and other services, they’ll increase the total amount you pay for bandwidth.

Internet speed: The faster the internet, the higher the price.

Type of internet connection: The type of internet connection you choose usually affects pricing for business internet.

Installation cost: Existing network configuration, proximity to existing internet lines, and other associated costs will be factored into business internet cost.

Look Beyond Price to Efficiency When Choosing an Internet Provider

When choosing an internet provider for your business, It’s important to look beyond price and focus on the essentials that benefit your business.

Ask questions about speed, uptime guarantees, customer support and service level agreement. Read reviews online from other customers they’ve worked with to get a feel of how the ISP operates.

DQE offers reliable internet services for all your business applications. We provide a range of fiber-based internet services to fit businesses of all sizes. You also have access to a user-friendly portal to monitor network performance, bandwidth usage, and downtime.

Frequently Asked Questions about Choosing a Business Internet Provider

What Is the Best Internet Type for a Business?

The best internet for businesses depends on your needs. How many employees will use the internet at the same time? Will you be engaging in video conferencing, file sharing, and cloud computing? Fiber optic is ideal for businesses that require perfect or near-perfect uptime.

Can I Use Home Internet for Business?

We advise you not to use home internet for business operations. The major advantage of business internet over home internet is speed. Business internet is faster, more reliable, and includes superior customer satisfaction.

What Is the Difference Between Home and Business Internet?

Business internet has more benefits and features than residential such as:

  • Symmetrical upload and download speed
  • Higher bandwidth caps
  • 24/7 access to technical support and customer care
  • Service level agreement that holds the ISP accountable