Until recently, cable-based broadband Internet service was considered mostly a residential option. Availability of cable Internet service is much higher in homes than in businesses, and businesses remain more likely to get their broadband Internet service through one of several flavors of DSL or a T1 line. But cable Internet's mix of low cost and high performance is beginning to push it into the small business mainstream, and is worth a look for cost-conscious companies. Keep in mind:
- Cable Internet service is supplied through the same lines that carry cable television. It is managed by cable Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that have cut deals to use the lines. Cable Internet service delivers fewer ISP choices to a given address than does DSL.
- Although cable Internet is, in theory, faster than DSL, in practice cable Internet performance can vary widely throughout the day, depending upon the amount of traffic carried by all subscribers on the line.
- Even if your business address can receive cable TV, it may not be able to receive cable Internet. Your local cable company can tell you.
- Rate plans differ in the number of email addresses supplied, default speed, additional services (Web hosting, managed storage, etc.) and the number of IP addresses a cable Internet provider will assign to your company. In most cases, the number of IP addresses doesn't matter, although it can simplify management of your Web site or email.
Discover which cable Internet service provider can serve your company's addressYour vendor choices will be limited to those cable Internet service providers who have made a deal with your local cable company.
Compare rates and servicesCompare broadband Internet providers’ rates and services
broadband Internet provider rates and services.
Don't ignore other broadband Internet optionsT1 lines are widely considered the most reliable broadband Internet service for business but also the most costly. DSL comes in a variety of speeds and configurations that make it easier to balance your access broadband Internet needs and your budget.
broadband internet providers.
- Buy more bandwidth than you need from your broadband Internet provider now so that you're ready for company growth.
- If you can, lease equipment rather than buying it. Make maintenance the broadband Internet provider's problem.
- Get the shortest broadband Internet service contract you can. Rates drop, so you don't want to be locked into a higher rate for too long. And if you're unhappy with your broadband Internet provider, you don't want to be stuck — there are stiff penalties for terminating a contract early.
- You'll typically find DSL and T1 options on broadband Internet providers' "business" Web sites; cable Internet service info is available under the residential pages. Home vs. business doesn't really matter, except that the business broadband Internet providers may offer more email addresses, IP addresses and other goodies.