Internet Access

Internet Access

Cheap DSL Service for Your Small Business

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If your small business needs access to high-speed data that runs over your standard phone lines, you may be a prime candidate for business-level digital subscriber line (DSL) service. While it's easy to find cheap DSL service, the downsides may outweigh the advantages.

DSL service advantages

Cheap DSL service can be found for as little as $30 per month with little to no setup fees, as long as your business is located close to the provider's central offices, and you don't need much bandwidth. This monthly fee will include connection speeds ranging from 1Mbps download/384 Kbps upload intended for single person/home business use.

Dedicated ADSL Internet can offer greater speeds from 1.5x.384 Mbps to 20x1 Mbps at close to $59 per month. Some providers may offer bundled DSL services for businesses to include antivirus, anti-spyware, nationwide dial-up, firewall, email services, and web space with free equipment and activation, quoted as low as $119 per month.

For starters, business-level DSL is a good solution for very small companies with 30 employees or less, including:

DSL service downsides

As you move further from the phone company's central offices, DSL service quickly becomes an expensive - and ineffective - solution. If you are more than three miles from the central office, your service slows considerably, and you'll pay as much as $250 to $300 per month plus setup fees. Exceed your allotted bandwidth, and you could be liable for additional charges known as bursting fees.

Because of distance limitations of less than 18,000 feet, DSL isn't an economical solution for large towns. Your business should also avoid purchasing any DSL equipment until you have confirmation that you are close enough to the central office to lock in affordable monthly rates for service.

Moreover, DSL for business is only a short-term solution. As your company grows, it will slow down your connection speeds and make it difficult to work. Even if your provider can expand your DSL bandwidth, it will add to your costs and you might end up paying as much as you would for a T1 connection.

Most businesses won't find DSL cost-effective over the long-term since it may not be available in different locations. As an example, if a business plans to move offices or open a branch in another city, their DSL provider may not offer service in their new area. Businesses in rural areas may not have access to DSL service whatsoever.

Another downside to cheap DSL services is the connection isn't very reliable. Providers can't guarantee how often your connection will be up and running. Also, you may be sharing a lot of your bandwidth with neighboring businesses and residents. This will mean excessively slower connection speeds during the time when you'd need your connection the most.

Before you buy cheap DSL service consider:

If you want to check if your business is a candidate for DSL service, you can find out if you are within range for DSL by calling your local ISP or looking up your location online. There are many Internet sites that allow you to check if your area can get DSL and how fast a connection you qualify for.

In addition, with Internet access providers constantly dropping prices, DSL companies are working to make the service more palatable to small businesses. Make sure to hear proposals from multiple providers and learn what kind of work they're doing to improve the quality of business-level DSL for the future before making a final buying decision.

Steps to Finding DSL Providers

Option 1: Contact an Internet access broker

An Internet access broker can connect you to multiple DSL service providers to find you the best combination of price and services. The primary purpose of an Internet access broker is to offer their expertise in comparing multiple Internet providers for your business. Best of all, this is a completely free service from the broker as the DSL service provider pays the commissions.

A skilled broker will stand out in their knowledge of the industry. A broker should be able to clearly explain what services DSL providers can offer your business, customer service and support expectations for each provider, and average Internet package prices.

When you work with a broker to find a DSL service provider, make sure you get plenty of attention. If the provider follows up with you and asks good questions rather than simply throwing price quotes out, it is a positive sign that they care about your satisfaction above their bottom line.

Here are criteria to consider before working with an Internet access broker:

  1. Never work with a broker that requests money for their services.
  2. Speak with other businesses a broker has serviced in the past to determine if they provided an unbiased opinion.
  3. Avoid a broker that is unwilling to supply past customer references.
  4. Don't work with a broker that pressures you to buy before you're ready.
  5. Find out how long a broker has had relationships with various Internet providers.

Option 2: Contact DSL service providers directly

If you feel confident in your ability to comparison shop, you can go it alone to compare business service packages and prices from multiple DSL providers. Although working with a broker may be a convenient option, comparing prices on your own will ensure that you have a full scope of market prices before agreeing to a monthly service package.

In order to determine the total price you will pay for business DSL service, take into account:

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