Choosing an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for your business can be daunting – there are so many different providers out there offering a range of plans.

This task is especially problematic for small and midsize businesses that are often targeted by providers’ marketing and don’t have the resources to research in-depth the differences between business broadband plans.

To simplify this task, there are a number of key questions that you can ask which will help you identify the best internet provider for your business.

When will you be using the internet?

Some ISPs offer different rates for peak and off-peak hours. If you are going to use the internet during the night or on weekends, look for an ISP that offers a cheaper rate for off-peak usage.

How frequently will you use the internet?

Providers charge depending on the amount of time you spend using the internet or the amount of data you consume. Most businesses will be using the internet for a good portion of each day; therefore selecting a plan with a flat monthly fee will be most appropriate. However, if you use the internet more sporadically, you may choose to take a plan that charges for the amount of data you use or number of hours you spend online.

How much technical support is necessary?

Do you need technical support 24/7 or just during regular business hours. Different ISPs offer different levels of customer support and different fees for accessing this support. Decide on the level you need and then consider the different prices offered for this support.

What bandwidth speed does the ISP offer?

Check the bandwidth speed that different ISPs offer – this will be a key difference between plans and generally impacts directly on the price you pay. If you use data hungry programmes like streaming video, you’ll need greater bandwidth than simply browsing the web or sending email. Check also if there is a data cap on your broadband usage since this means the ISP could slow your speed to dial-up levels.

What are the equipment and installation fees?

Different ISPs will offer a variety of hardware options – from basic modems to Wi-Fi routers with security features. Decide which is best for your business and consider also the installation fees – see if these can be waived when you take up a contract.

What about the terms and conditions?

Make sure you fully understand the ISP’s contract before you sign it. Generally the ISP will have a service level agreement (SLA) that outlines the performance and support terms for the service you sign up to. This will include guarantees for up-time and support availability as well as compensation should the ISP fail to meet its contractual obligations – make sure you are completely comfortable with these conditions before signing.

Although choosing an ISP can seem daunting at first, asking these questions while you are researching different options for your business will simplify the process greatly.

These tips have been provided by Woosh Business. If you’re looking for some advice on broadband and internet plans for your business, please feel free to contact Hemal at htailor@woosh.com or call on 09-941-2585.

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