Not All Internet Is Created Equal – Choosing An ISP

Internet broadband

Why it’s important to choose the right ISP

The Internet has become an important component of many businesses. It’s used for a number of daily tasks, from checking business emails from clients to downloading shared documents from the cloud. What is certain is that with such a strong reliance on the internet, many would now definitely struggle to work effectively without it.

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However, don’t expect the internet to be the same for everyone. The internet can vary between suppliers, not only in price, but also in terms of the service that is provided. For a business, it is therefore very important to make sure you don’t jump into a contract with an internet service provider (ISP), without considering all of your options.

Once you’re locked into a contract, it can difficult to switch internet plans. It can also be quite costly. Therefore, take the time to make sure you choose the right ISP for your business, the first time. There are a number of broadband comparison sites that you can take a look at online. Researching a company’s reputation and their reliability will make sure you will get the service you need for your business to perform effectively.

What to consider when choosing an ISP

There are a number of areas that you should consider when choosing the ISP for your business, from its costs to the service, as well as finer details such as the cancellation policy in place.

To help you make a more informed decision, we have pulled together a list of our top 12 questions. Ask your ISP these questions before you make your decision:

  • What is the contract length?
  • What are the setup costs?
  • Are there any charges for exceeding data limits?
  • Does it provide fast download and upload for voice/video calls or conferences?
  • Does it provide a fast enough download speed for streaming content?
  • Does it provide bandwidth which is suitable for multi-device and BYOD usage?
  • What security features will be put in place?
  • Is there the flexibility to allow for business growth in the future?
  • How reliable is the service and can you guarantee minimal down-time?
  • Is it worth buying a bundled package with your phone connection?
  • What customer service is provided and what is their reputation like for support services?
  • What is the cancellation policy?

Another important area to consider is the contention ratio, which is also sometimes known as the subscription ratio. A contention ratio basically describes the number of users sharing the same bandwidth at any one time. The lower the contention ratio is, the better service you will receive and vice versa. It’s important to understand this so you can ask your ISP about it and choose the right option for your business.

A cheaper plan will often provide a high contention ratio which is a good way to save money. However, it can often leave you with an inconsistent internet speed and quality, due to a high number of people sharing the data. Therefore, for some businesses, for better reliability, it may be worth paying for higher quality, such as an enterprise level ratio. This guarantees a much lower contention ratio. The average contention ratio for home use is 50:1, compared to around 20:1 or less for business use.

Making your decision

After answering all of the above questions and deciding what contention ratio will be best for your business, make sure you follow these final tips:

  • Check the details – Make sure you look at all of the details in the plan before choosing it. Although the data allowance and price is important, you should drill down into the finer detail, to make sure that you understand what to expect from your ISP.
  • Check the reviews – Take a look at online reviews. You could also ask other people about what their experience is with certain ISP’s too, to work out what the best option is for you.
  • Plan for the future – Make sure that what you will receive from your ISP takes into account the specific needs of your own business. This is a long-term decision so make sure it takes into account your long-term business objectives too.