Mar 28 2023

How Small Businesses Should Pick an ISP

Small-business owners have more factors to consider — and more options than they might think.

Comcast, Verizon or AT&T? When it comes to selecting an ISP, many small-business owners are under the impression that their choices are limited to the big telecommunications companies, and that all they must do is decide between them.

But while those companies certainly are options — and perfectly good ones for many businesses — the reality is that small businesses usually have a larger menu of ISPs to choose from. It’s important that they make a selection with their eyes open because service levels, pricing and other factors differ. Put simply, it’s a more nuanced decision than just determining which providers cover your area and who does so at the lowest cost.

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Key Questions to Ask When Considering Connectivity Options

When we talk to customers about connectivity, we need to make a few determinations up front. First, does the business need to lease a public connectivity option such as dedicated internet access, which provides an exclusive highway to the web?

Next, we have to understand their throughput need, which depends on the number of users they have and the applications they use. Will the business need any managed equipment, such as routers or firewalls? What service term length does the business require?

Service terms generally run from one to three years. Because monthly costs decrease as the term length increases, it makes sense in most cases to go for a longer service term, as long as the business expects to remain in the same place. This is one reason it’s important for a business to ensure its ISP service is right for its needs.

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Should Small Businesses Use an ISP Aggregator?

In the ISP space, an aggregator is a company that can source various underlying internet transport from providers, then service them back to the customer under a single bill and account number. The aggregator then becomes the point of contact for the end-user business.

At CDW, we work with service providers and aggregators, helping businesses understand exactly what type of service they need, which service providers are the best fit and how to receive those services at the best price.

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For example, we can look at a business’s locations and quickly determine which providers have fiber-optic cabling nearby, helping the business understand not just which providers cover its area but also where the providers’ fiber lines are located, which can be a factor in service quality.

For small businesses, determining the right approach to internet access is a lot more complex than simply deciding between well-known providers. That’s not just because there are more ISPs from which to choose but also because many other factors are at play: the number and geography of the business’s locations, the nature of its network and its specific needs. CDW is there to help businesses work through it all, then make the best choice for them.

This article is part of BizTech's AgilITy blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter.


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