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Updated Nov 08, 2023

What Is the Best Internet Speed for Your Business?

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Stella Morrison, Contributing Writer

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Every business today is an online business. Whether you’re a corner flower market or a sophisticated digital operation with numerous employees collaborating in real time, you likely need an internet connection to run some aspect of your company. But how fast should your internet be? Connectivity speed is a critical question to ask when buying business internet

When evaluating how fast your internet should be, consider the type of business you run, your data management requirements, how many customers you have and how many employees need access. In this article, we explore the subject of business bandwidth, how fast your internet should be, and what to look for in an internet service provider (ISP)

>> Read Next: How to Start an Online Business, According to ChatGPT

How do you measure internet speed?

Internet speed can be measured in many ways. The most important are bandwidth and upload and download speeds. 

What is bandwidth?

Bandwidth is an internet connection’s maximum capacity over a specific amount of time. Bandwidth is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Eight bits of data equals one byte. 

In theory, the higher the number of megabits per second, the faster the internet speed. 

However, other factors influence internet speed, including the number of people using the network, your office shape and size, and your business’s internet-related activities. Notably, the speed at which you upload and download files will differ (more on this below). 

Bandwidth is calculated assuming that only one device is downloading or uploading files at any given time. For example, if your bandwidth is 300 Mbps but two devices are connected to the network, each device might have a maximum bandwidth of 150 Mbps. That said, some providers prioritize certain applications or devices over others, so this is not always the case.

What are upload and download speeds?

Upload and download speeds are the primary factors businesses should consider when selecting an internet plan.

  • Upload speeds are how long it takes for data, like a file, to be sent from your computer to another location, such as another computer or cloud document storage system. The average recommended upload speed to complete most business tasks, like making calls over the internet, is 5 Mbps. [See our picks for the best document management software.]
  • Download speeds are how long it takes for your computer to receive information. Every online action you take — whether you’re uploading a video or accessing a website — requires fast, stable download capabilities. Your minimum speed requirements depend on your company’s operations. Some tasks need more bandwidth than others, which may require you to work with an ISP that can deliver speeds as high as 25 Mbps.

A strong 4G LTE connection should suffice for most businesses’ uploading and downloading needs, particularly if your team is spread out over multiple locations. However, a more intensive broadband speed — 100 Mbps or higher — may be necessary if your employees download or upload files regularly or conduct other resource-intensive tasks from the same point of connection.

TipBottom line

Visit the FCC Broadband Speed Guide to help determine the download and upload business broadband speeds you need for data-intensive tasks, such as sending and receiving large files.

What are the types of internet connections?

Various internet service types for businesses serve specific purposes and offer different speeds. The type of internet connection you should pursue depends on your area’s infrastructure, your business location and your use cases. 

Here are the four most popular internet categories and what you can expect in terms of speed for each one.

  • DSL: DSL stands for digital subscriber line. A DSL connection runs through your landline business phone system. The average DSL download speed starts at around 6 Mbps, while the average upload speed starts at approximately 1 Mbps.
  • Cable: Cable internet uses the same wiring that delivers cable television to your home. The average download speed for cable internet ranges from 10 Mbps to 500 Mbps, while the upload speeds can range from 5 Mbps to 50 Mbps. If you’re weighing cable versus DSL, note that cable is much faster, but DSL is less expensive.
  • Fiber optic: Fiber-optic business internet uses fiber-optic cables instead of copper wires like its cable equivalent. Fiber-optic cables use light signals to deliver data to and from your devices. Fiber-optic internet can support download and upload speeds between 250 Mbps and 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).
  • Satellite internet: Satellite internet uses radio waves that communicate with satellites in space to deliver internet connections. Download speeds can range from 12 Mbps to 150 Mbps, while upload speeds are typically around 3 Mbps.
Did You Know?Did you know

If you’re debating relying on a mobile hotspot versus satellite internet for remote business connectivity, note that satellite internet is more expensive and isn’t as fast or flexible as a mobile hotspot.

How fast should your business internet be?

The average business requires at least 25 Mbps of download speed and 3 Mbps of upload speed to conduct everyday tasks like emailing, exchanging files, using cloud-based software and videoconferencing. In fact, these speeds are the FCC’s official broadband definition minimums. 

However, business internet speed requirements vary significantly between companies, and your speed needs will likely increase as your enterprise grows and you adopt more data-intensive processes. 

Consider these factors when determining your internet speed requirements. 

  • What type of business do you operate?
  • Do you regularly upload and download large files?
  • Are your internet needs limited to sending emails and communicating with customers?
  • To what extent does your business depend on fast internet speeds?
  • How many employees will use the network at any given time?
FYIDid you know

The FCC uses a 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speed for mobile broadband carried over cellular networks.

How fast should your connection be for different tasks?

Use the following chart to get an idea of the ideal internet speeds based on the number of devices being used and the online tasks you need to perform.


Number of users/devices

Ideal speed

Online browsing, email usage and research


5 Mbps

Downloading large files, business communication like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and basic business Wi-Fi use


25 Mbps

Videoconferencing and streaming, numerous point-of-sale transactions and frequent file-sharing


75 Mbps

Video conferencing, frequent cloud computing and data backups


150 Mbps

Seamless streaming, conferencing and server hosting


250 Mbps

Multiple servers hosted, heavy online backups and constant cloud-based computing


500 Mbps

Extreme speed operations with zero interruptions


1,000 Mbps (1GB)

Consult your ISP if you’re still unsure how much bandwidth your business needs. Many providers offer online calculators to help you better understand your needs and options.

How do you choose a business internet provider?

The first step in choosing a business internet provider is to determine what vendors service your location. To find out what ISPs are available in your area, check out the InMyArea online tool. Input your address or ZIP code to see provider options.

The next step is to evaluate your company’s needs and budget constraints, and to compare those to the plans offered by the ISPs in your area. Consider the following as part of that process.

  • Speed: What is the fastest available speed at a price you can afford? 
  • Customer service: Will the provider help troubleshoot technical issues? Your business depends on your internet uptime, and you can’t afford to be ignored in times of trouble. 
  • Contracts: Will you be locked into a lengthy contract with this provider? A more flexible contact is beneficial if the provider doesn’t deliver top speeds or you find a new provider later that better meets your needs. 

Discuss your options with the available ISPs and see if any vendors will price-match their competitors. Finally, take the time to read customer reviews for the providers you’re weighing — are existing users satisfied with their services? These steps should narrow down the possibilities and ultimately lead you to the right provider choice for your business. 

TipBottom line

Internet speeds may slow over time as the network ages and more people join. Run a regular speed scan on your network to ensure you’re getting the speed you pay for.

What are the best business internet service providers?

The best business internet service providers boast top-quality service with optimal speeds and excellent uptime. If you’re seeking a new provider, consider the following vendors.

  • AT&T: AT&T offers small businesses a wide selection of service plans that vary in speed and price. Options include symmetrical (equal) download and upload speeds, fiber connections, and bundles with phone service. To learn more and see prices, read our in-depth AT&T review.
  • Verizon: Verizon sells extensive service plans for businesses of all sizes, including packages with 5G Business Internet, LTE Business Internet and 5G Ultra Wideband. There are a slew of add-on options, such as a videoconferencing platform. Our full Verizon review has all the details.
  • Comcast Business: Comcast Business has six service plans, all of which include a dynamic IP address and no data caps. Prices typically range from $49 to $224.99 per month, depending on your region. Contract length may also influence your costs. Read our Comcast Business review for more information.
  • Viasat: Viasat’s service is targeted to businesses in rural areas. The vendor offers a range of metered and unlimited internet plans, and provides equipment as part of your monthly fee. For a complete breakdown, read our comprehensive review of Viasat.
  • Spectrum Business: Spectrum serves more than 10,000 ZIP codes in 42 states with three business internet plans that vary in speed and price. Businesses may especially appreciate the option for month-to-month contracts. Our detailed Spectrum Business review contains everything you need to know.

Mark Fairlie and Kimberlee Leonard contributed to this article. 

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Stella Morrison, Contributing Writer
Stella Morrison is an award-winning writer who focuses on marketing for small businesses, including useful tools and best practices that help business owners introduce their products and services to new audiences. She is also a digital marketing professional who has worked with leading brands in the tech industry.
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