4 Questions to ask your Internet Service Provider

By February 1, 2017 8 Comments

In today’s business environment, the Internet is crucial to your day-to-day operations. A reliable, fast, secure connection is a must-have. That’s why it’s important to take a careful approach when evaluating a new Internet Service Provider (ISP). We created this list of 4 questions to ask your Internet Service Provider to help you vet your options.

What written Service Level Agreement (SLA) do they offer?

I believe this is most important aspect of any service that a customer pays for. A customer needs to know in writing the scope of service for what they are paying for. Many times promises can be made by providers vocally but not in writing. The term “best effort” is thrown around a lot in the industry and essential mean that they will do everything they can to ensure their services are online 99.9% or 100% of the time, however they do not make any specific guarantees in writing. In the case of your internet service provider, the customer needs to know exactly what level of service is guaranteed in writing. This is a value driven question that asks, “Will the ISP being paying me for the downtime they are responsible for?” If the answer is no, then you are looking at a “best effort” SLA.

How long have they been in the area?

This one is an important question to ask if the ISP is new to an area. Building a network and laying lines is time consuming and costly process. If the ISP is unable to support and maintain its newly positioned network it may have to sell or lease its lines out to a competitor. As a well established local business owner, you want to be sure that you ISP is going to be invested in you and your community. If they divest from their network it could leave you with an unknown service provider. This could potential leave you in hot water with long service contracts.

How long is my contract?

Technology is changing rapidly and so are business technology needs. Being locked into a contract over 3 years can potentially hinder business growth and ability to adapt to more efficient technologies. Also if the ISP leaves or divests in its network, then you as the customer may be stuck with questionable service and an unknown provider for the remainder of the contract.

Is my connection dedicated or shared?

The differences in the dedicated and shared internet are just like they sound. Dedicated is a dedicated internet access with line direct to your building. You will be guaranteed the bandwidth that you are paying for. Shared on the other hand is a connection that is shared with surrounding businesses. This will, in turn, cause slower speeds during peak usage times for your business. Internet data requirements are increasing with business moving a majority of their IT infrastructure to cloud data centers. The benefits of increased bandwidth and reliable Internet access is no longer a nice to have but now becoming a need to have to maintain a competitive edge.

Today’s market is providing more and more options for business internet service. It is important to have a trusted IT advisor to help you vet and decide what service is best for your business. If you have more questions about internet service for your business please feel free to contact us at 229-671-1513.

Managed Internet Services from Nexxtep


  • Kylie Dotts says:

    It’s interesting how you said that being locked into a long contract could actually hinder some business growth. I think it makes a lot of sense to go with shorter-term contracts with your internet service provider to be able to make any necessary updates to the technology between contracts. That way you can stay up to date and they can keep their client!

  • Thanks for the great queries to ask internet service providers! I’m glad you mentioned about, under “How long is my contract?”, that it’s wise to have an internet service provider that is able to adapt to more efficient technologies. Additionally, it’s better to have a dedicated internet access since it guarantees the bandwidth you are paying for. I’d be sure to remember your tips, especially on looking into what SLA they offer. My family is moving soon so we are looking for a new internet service provider. Our aim might not be for business purposes but your tips will surely help a lot.

  • Deb Pearl says:

    I just moved to a new town and I need to find a new service provider for internet. That is a good idea to ask how long the service has been in an area. If they have been in the area a longer period of time they would be well established and will be invested in the community. Thank you for the tips!

  • Thanks for your comment on how your internet service provider should let you know the extent of your contract with them. I like how you said that you should know about the type of connection they offer so that you can choose whether or not you want to pay for faster or slower speeds. My husband and I are considering internet service providers that have quick connections.

  • I like that you mention asking how long they’ve been in the area to give you an idea of how many people in the community use them. That can also let you know how well that internet provider is liked and what their service is like. I just moved to a new area so this is a helpful post of things to remember while I look for an internet provider.

  • I like how you mentioned that for businesses it would be important for them to know how long their contract with the service providers is to make sure that they won’t be locked in a service they aren’t satisfied with anymore since the technology is rapidly changing every day. That should be very helpful for companies who are in the customer service since a fast and reliable internet would be needed for them to produce top-notch service. Personally, I would also keep this in mind so that I can make sure that I am not bound to one service provider in our home. Thanks!

  • These are some pretty great questions; after all, considering how much we rely on the internet nowadays, it is important to know everything you can about your internet service provider. I particularly like that one of the questions that you ask is about how long your contract is. That way you know when you will need to renew by in order to keep the rates that you want to keep.

  • Joy Butler says:

    Hi Taylor, you did a great job of explaining these things concerning the internet service provider. I agree with what you’ve said that SLA is the most important factor in service that we are paying. Without its proper understanding, there is no way for us to determine what we’ll intend to pay!

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