Last Updated on October 8, 2018 by Larious
The best business internet offers reliable connectivity, excellent customer service, and the right bandwidth for your work volume. Provider availability and plans will vary depending on your location, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the options, we’re here to make things clearer.
Setting up your office can be an exciting if overwhelming task. One of the first things you’re likely to do is to arrange for internet service to be installed. However, it’s easy to make a poor decision in the rush so you should be researching which internet service provider (ISP) to connect your office with well before you move in. Then, once you’ve found a few providers, compare their plans, prices, and contracts.
When we started researching business internet service providers (ISPs), we were overwhelmed. It left us feeling like small-business owners have a tough road ahead of them when choosing an internet provider.
But after analyzing the data, we found that a few providers stand out for different reasons. We’re confident that our picks for best ISPs.
5 Cheap Internet Service Providers For Small Businesses
Comparing speed, pricing, and reliability
|Brand||Max advertised speed
The right combination of fast and reliable speeds, competitive pricing, and positive customer service earned Verizon the number-one spot for the best small-business internet. The best internet service to fuel your small business is with a Verizon Fios fiber-optic connection. Verizon has the most reliable fiber speeds available for businesses, which the FCC clocks at over 100% of advertised speeds.
Verizon’s fastest plan, Fios Gigabit Connection, has advertised speeds of 940 download and 880 upload. Speeds this fast enable your business to do data-demanding activities like downloading and sharing huge files, holding HD video conferences, and processing complex point-of-sale and cloud-computing software.
Starting at $214.99 per month, Fios Gigabit Connection isn’t cheap, but for the speed, it’s one of the most affordable plans in its class. Unfortunately, the plan isn’t widely available. Still, Verizon offers several other Fios plans ranging between 75 and 500 Mbps—each with symmetric speeds, which means download and upload speeds match.
We’re also impressed that Verizon guarantees 99.95% uptime. With that kind of reliability, your connection would only be down 0.05% of a given month—translating to about 22 minutes.
If you experience more downtime than that, Verizon will give you a bill credit.
Verizon also receives relatively positive marks for customer service in an industry that’s generally ranked poorly by the public. In 2016 and 2017, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) ranked Verizon Fios first place in its annual survey of ISP customers.
In addition to limited fiber availability, we found some weaknesses that you should consider before settling on Verizon.
Verizon’s DSL plans are slow, ranging from 1 to 15 Mbps in download speeds. And the prices for these sluggish plans can be expensive when compared to other ISPs. For example, Verizon’s Business Internet 1 Mbps DSL plan is $39.99 per month, while Frontier’s same-speed plan starts at just $20.
To get the best customer service and technical support for your small-business internet, we recommend AT&T. If having spectacular customer service is your number one priority, we recommend AT&T. With this provider, you can choose from a wide range of both DSL and fiber plans to get the speed and price that works for your business.
At the low-end of the spectrum is AT&T’s DSL plans, starting at $60 per month for a 25 Mbps download speed. In some areas, you can also choose the $60 Business Fiber 25 plan that has matching 25 Mbps download and upload speeds.
We think these plans are best for the newest small businesses because they’re a good price-per-speed value for offices that need basic online functionality like web browsing, email, and business communication.
Alternatively, AT&T offers gigabit connections for businesses that need a ton of internet power. The Business Fiber 1,000 plan is pricey but packs a serious punch if you need to connect a dozen or more devices at a time for heavy, collaborative internet use.
Where AT&T shines the most is customer service and technical support. Although Verizon ranked a bit higher in customer satisfaction by ACSI, we gave AT&T more points for providing free, 24-hour technical support for its small-business customers. You have to pay extra to get that kind of service from Verizon.
If you need a fast, affordable, and no-contract option for business internet, Spectrum is your best bet.
Spectrum (a Charter Communications brand) provides business cable internet with no contracts and a 12-month price guarantee. These details are great if you don’t want to lock yourself into a lengthy contract and a price that may not fit your long-term budget.
You don’t get the widest array of internet speeds with Spectrum—100, 200, or 300 Mbps downloads are your only options. But these three plans represent some of the best-priced options for moderate speeds.
There’s even more to like about Spectrum business internet, especially if your business needs to keep your customers or guests entertained with in-house TV.
For instance, Spectrum’s Triple Play internet, TV, and phone package gives you fast internet speeds, dozens of HD TV channels, and a solid phone service for just under $100 per month.
We also love all the technology upgrades Spectrum bakes into its internet plans. Cloud backups up to 100GB, 25 custom email addresses, a free leased modem, a unique Wi-Fi network, and 5GB of web hosting compose just some of the perks you can use to tailor your internet to your businesses needs. Plus, your data will stay protected from hackers and spammers with Spectrum’s proprietary security software.
Businesses in rural areas may not have many options for connecting their office to the internet—but when it’s an option, HughesNet is the best.
HughesNet is one of only two US satellite internet providers, its competitor being ViaSat (formerly known as Exede). When we compared the two companies—by price, speed, data limits, and more—HughesNet eked out a decisive win.
HughesNet offers business customers satellite download speeds up to 25 Mbps on each plan, with upload speeds up to 3 Mbps. ViaSat, on the other hand, can deliver downloads only up to 15 Mbps.
No matter the provider, satellite internet’s limitations include higher latency, slower speeds, and less data use allowances than many land-based connections. But HughesNet lets you choose from a range of plans that give you the data limits—from 35 to 250GB total—that work for your business.
These data limits are split between “Daytime Data,” or data you use between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., and “Anytime Data,” which is everything else. More expensive plans give you more data in both categories.
What happens if you go over the limit? Fortunately, HughesNet won’t charge you more or shut off your service.
Instead, your speeds are slowed (throttled) to anemic speeds between 1 and 3 Mbps.
Although both business satellite ISPs offer comparable customer service, our research shows that HughesNet beats ViaSat in one key area: online chat. If you have a problem you need to have addressed right away, you can hop online and contact a HughesNet representative.
One more standout feature for HughesNet is its technology. Your service includes free professional installation of your receiver, a business-ready Wi-Fi modem, and other equipment.
Frontier has the cheapest fiber plan and an impressive integrated VoIP solution for small businesses. Frontier offers the cheapest introductory fiber internet plan we could find. For only $19.99 per month, you can get fiber speeds up to 15 Mbps. That’s fast enough for small offices with just a few employees who use the internet frequently. They can do online research, share and download files, and run basic cloud services with relative ease.
If that’s not enough for your data demands, you can purchase fiber plans up to 150 Mbps to satisfy your internet-hungry operations. Most Frontier plans come with a 36-month price guarantee—one of the best we found.
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is an alternative to traditional phone services that uses your internet connection. With most Frontier internet plans, you can add Anywhere VoIP service as an impressively comprehensive solution for handling employee, customer, and conference calls.
Frontier Communications doesn’t have the best reputation, even in an industry that tends to have dismal customer ratings overall.
From its below-average ACSI rating to its F grade from the Better Business Bureau, Frontier has a lot to work on.
But you may not have many options when choosing between small-business internet providers. And customer service ratings may not be your first priority—price, reliability, or technology may be more important, for example. So if that sounds like you, we think you should consider Frontier a worthwhile choice.