Spectrum Business provides internet service to businesses of all sizes. The company serves more than 9,000 ZIP codes in 43 states across the country. It operates in some of the largest metro areas in the U.S., including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Antonio. Spectrum provides high-speed internet service for small businesses and enterprise organizations. The company offers both cable and fiber optic connections. Small businesses can get service plans with download internet speeds of 100 to 940 Mbps. Small business service plans include features like web hosting, a domain name, email accounts, Wi-Fi for customers, online security, cloud backup and a modem.
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Spectrum Business allows small businesses to bundle high-speed internet with its telephone and television services. Doing so cuts costs on a per-service basis.
For enterprise organizations, Spectrum provides dedicated fiber internet access with speeds that can scale from 25 Mbps to 10 Gbps. They also offer Ethernet services, managed router services, managed Wi-Fi and high bandwidth solutions for data-intensive voice and video transfer. Cloud services and voice and TV solutions are also available to large organizations.
For small businesses, Spectrum Business offers three different service plans that vary by speed and price. Plans range in download speeds of between 100 and 940 Mbps. Spectrum's starting speed of 100 Mbps was at least four times as fast as many of the other internet service providers we examined.
The three plans small businesses have to choose from are:
- Internet: This plan has download speeds of 100 Mbps and upload speeds of 10 Mbps.
- Internet Ultra: This plan has download speeds of 400 Mbps and upload speeds of 20 Mbps.
- Internet Gig: This plan has download speeds of 940 Mbps and upload speeds of 35 Mbps.
All plans include a number of valuable features, including:
- Web hosting: Spectrum Business features the SiteBuilder application that is used to create a customized website for your business. It also includes disk storage and FTP accounts or MySQL databases.
- Domain name: Each account includes domain name management. You can register your domain name or transfer an existing domain and assign it to your website and email service.
- Email accounts: Included in each service plan are 25 email addresses connected to your domain name.
- Internet security: Spectrum's internet security suite is provided to all users. It includes virus and spy protection, an internet shield designed to prevent intrusion from hackers and other internet-based threats and spam control. The security solution supports both Windows and Mac operating systems.
- Cloud backup: All of Spectrum's small business service plans include free cloud backup. The cloud backup features a web-based administrative console for centralized management, military-grade encryption to ensure secure transmission of files and automatic or scheduled backups. This service provides 24/7 phone support.
- Wi-Fi: All of Spectrum's small business service plans include free Wi-Fi for customers. This allows for unlimited connectivity for Spectrum and Spectrum Business Internet customers. Non-Spectrum customers can access a free trial of the Wi-Fi for 30 minutes every 30 days per device. Internet Gig plan users also have access to Spectrum's Business Wi-Fi feature. This allows businesses to create a private internal Wi-Fi for employees. No additional equipment is needed for this
Unlike other ISPs we evaluated, Spectrum doesn't lock customers into long-term commitments. When you sign up for service, the prices you are quoted are guaranteed for the first year. Prices start at $60 per month for internet service. However, that can drop by $15 per month if you bundle the high-speed internet service with Spectrum's television or telephone service. Spectrum's advanced voice service includes unlimited calling and 30 calling features. The company also offers three different television packages designed specifically for businesses.
In addition to its small business services, Spectrum offers fiber internet services for enterprises. The fiber connection allows for fast and dedicated internet access, with speeds ranging from 25 Mbps to 10 Gbps.
Spectrum Enterprise also offers a range of other network related services, including Ethernet services, managed router services, managed Wi-Fi and Wavelengths, a high-bandwidth solution for data-intensive apps, voice and video transfers.
Spectrum's Enterprise services serve both single and multi-location organizations.
Pros and Cons
Spectrum Business and Spectrum Enterprise have a lot to offer businesses searching for high-speed internet service. One benefit of its small business services are the features included for free in each package. Domain names, email addresses, web hosting cloud backup, an online security suite and Wi-Fi are all included with every small business service plan at no additional cost. For some small businesses, being able to launch a website and get associated email addresses for their employees for free could be big cost savings.
Another positive with Spectrum Business is that they never make customers sign a contract. Other internet service providers we examined charged significantly higher prices if you didn't commit to the service for at least one year.
Another plus with Spectrum's small business internet service is the high starting speeds. The smallest service plan available with Spectrum includes download speeds of 100 Mbps – considerably higher than many other ISPs we looked into. Some offered starting speeds with just 1 Mbps, while most had starting download speeds of 25 Mbps.
While some businesses may not need that much speed and bandwidth, the costs are in line with what other providers are charging for their starter plans. This means you are getting much faster speeds for about the same price as what other ISPs are charging for a quarter of the speed.
One downside to Spectrum is that it charges extra for a static IP address. Most businesses need at least one static IP address. Businesses that run a website or offer remote employees the opportunity to connect to their systems via a VPN require a static IP address. Other services we looked into included at least one static IP address in their small business service plans.
Another negative is that businesses have to pay extra for employee Wi-Fi access if they aren't on the Internet Gig service plan. While Spectrum offers customer Wi-Fi to all users, the Wi-Fi business plan, which allows employers to create private Wi-Fi access for employees costs extra. This allows your staff to connect all of their devices – laptop computers, mobile phone and tablets – to your internet service.
We were also disappointed with Spectrum's standing with the Better Business Bureau. Spectrum's parent company, Charter Spectrum, is not accredited with the BBB and has no rating. The BBB acknowledges that many of the complaints they have received are from former Time Warner customers. Overall, Charter Spectrum has had more than 17,000 complaints filed against it with the BBB over the past three years.
Different Internet Types Offered
Spectrum utilizes two types of internet connections. For small business service plans, Spectrum Business uses a coaxial cable connection. For larger organizations, Spectrum Enterprise offers fiber optic connections. Both provide high-speed internet access; however, the fiber connections support significantly faster speeds.
Cox's coaxial cable utilizes the same wires to provide cable television services. This type of connection sends television and internet service through the cable simultaneously.
Spectrum's coaxial cable has a four-layer design to insulate the data from interference and frequency loss. The coaxial cable runs directly from the wall of your business to your modem. Spectrum's coaxial cables can support download speeds of up to 940 Mbps.
Spectrum's fiber optic connection is available to enterprise organizations in its service area. Spectrum's fiber connections are offered in 32 metro areas across the country.
Fiber optic connections are built around a glass or silica core. The lines are smaller than a strand of hair and convert electrical signals that carry data into light. The light is what is sent back and forth through the lines. Fiber optic cables accommodate several wavelengths, which allows it to handle increased data requirements.
Spectrum's fiber optic network allows businesses to scale its internet speeds and bandwidth. It can support speeds between 25 Mbps and 10 Gbps. According to Spectrum, fiber is ideal for large businesses requiring more bandwidth to support uploading or downloading large files, streaming video, and bandwidth intensive apps. One example of a business with these needs is a hotel.
Spectrum's fiber optic internet service has a service level agreement that guarantees uptime. This ensures that downtime is never of a concern for your business.
Overall, we were satisfied with the level of service we received from Spectrum Business. To test the level of support, we contacted the company by phone posing as a business owner interested in internet service.
Initially, we were unhappy with how long it took to connect with a representative. The main number the company promotes on its web page is for current customers. Many prompts offered didn't provide options for new customers. When we finally connected with a representative, they couldn't help us. We then had to be connected again to someone else.
Once we did speak with a new customer representative, we were very happy with the service received. The representative first checked to ensure Spectrum offered high-speed internet service in our area. He then immediately asked what questions he could answer for us. We talked about service plans, speeds, the included features, installation time, customer support options, IP addresses and Wi-Fi.
We were also pleased with how he helped us to determine the right level of internet speed for us. He asked us questions about what we would be using the internet for and how many employees we had. He then made recommendations based on our answers. We were also happy how he walked us through a few ways to save money on the service.
In the end, Spectrum's agent didn't try to sell us on signing up for the service immediately. He understood that we weren't looking to make a decision right away and didn't try to put a hard sell on us. He followed up with an email and encouraged us to reach out with any additional questions we may have.
Spectrum Business offers customers phone support 24/7/365 days a year. In addition, the Spectrum support website is filled with valuable resources, including how-to guides for getting started and more information on equipment, IP addresses, security and Wi-Fi. Should you need a support technician to come to your business for a repair, the Spectrum service agreement states that it will happen within 24 hours.