Best Business Internet Providers: AT&T vs Comcast vs Cox vs Frontier vs Verizon & More

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High Speed (Northeast)
Verizon logo
High Speed (Elsewhere)
AT&T logo
Reliability
Comcast logo
No Contracts
Spectrum logo
Light Usage
Frontier logo

Searching for the best internet provider for your small business can be as daunting, if not more so, than searching for your office space. What do you need to consider when choosing a provider (assuming you have options in your area)? How much bandwidth do you need? We answer these and many other questions to hopefully make the search for this pivotal service for your business a bit less confusing.

Article Overview

Factors To Consider

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you decide upon an internet service provider (ISP) for your small business.

What’s Available In My Area?

In this article, we’ve included ISPs with some of the most widespread coverage in the U.S. But depending on where your business is located, you may not have many options. With all of the ISPs we review here, you can go to their websites and enter your zip code to determine availability.

How Much Bandwidth Does My Business Need?

If you only have a few employees and devices, you could operate sufficiently with 50 Mbps (megabits per second) speeds. Ten or more employees using the internet regularly will probably increase your speed needs to 100 Mbps or more.

But the number of users you have is only one factor to consider when choosing the speeds you’ll need. You also have to consider the types of internet activities your business uses. A lower bandwidth is fine if all you need is email and web browsing. But you’ll need to bump up your bandwidth if you have large file downloads, use web conferencing or cloud-based applications.

Do I Want To Bundle Internet & Phone?

All of the ISPs in this article offer bundled packages for business phone and internet service. In many cases, this can save you some big bucks. A bundle lets you streamline all network and calling needs without the hassle of multiple installations. It also allows you to manage your services from one account and have only one company to contact for support.

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Best Business Internet Providers

We chose our top picks based on several factors, including coverage/availability, speeds, variety of plans, reliable uptime, pricing, customer support and more.

High Speeds (Northeast): Verizon FiOS Review

Verizon logo

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While Verizon offers basic broadband internet service in 40+ states across the country, speeds are limited to 15 Mbps, and many companies will require more juice. If you’re in the Northeast, however, you can enjoy high-speed internet via their fiber optic (branded FiOS) services. FiOS, with fairly equal download and upload speeds, is optimal for companies requiring a lot of video conferencing, transactions and online data backup.

Their FiOS plans start at $69/month for 100 Mbps for a 1-year contract (and you can add one digital voice line for $25/month). But if you go with a 2-year contract, you can save even more and get some perks, like no activation fees, prepaid Visa cards and excellent discounts on internet and voice bundles.

Verizon FiOS serves 10 Northeast states with the greatest coverage in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They also offer DSL coverage in 11 states along the East coast.

We switched to FiOS for our home office internet service after having Comcast and we’re so glad we did! Comcast had constant outages and spotty connections in our area (not to mention terrible customer service) but we’ve never had any issues with FiOS speed or service in more than two years. The technicians who helped set everything up were very friendly and the process overall was very pleasant.  – Sadie, Marketing at We Rock Your Web

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive pricing
  • Flexible plan terms, including month-to-month option
  • Reliable uptime
  • FiOS speeds up to 940 Mbps download and 880 Mbps upload
  • Highest JD Power customer support ratings in industry
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Best deals require a 2-year contract
  • Early termination fee of 35% of your remaining balance (much better than Comcast and AT&T, though)
  • Limited fiber coverage

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Verizon FIOS.

High Speeds (Elsewhere): AT&T Review

AT&T logo

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AT&T offers a wide variety of fiber and DSL internet plans for small businesses, starting at $60/month for 25 Mbps download speed. You can scale your speeds up to 500 Mbps with DSL if you don’t have fiber in your area (and up to 1,000 Mbps with fiber). Their pricing is consistent nationwide, but the cost gets expensive for higher-speed plans compared to other service providers.

All AT&T business internet plans include strong security with anti-spyware, anti-virus and a firewall. They also offer internet and phone bundles for businesses (and DIRECTV packages). AT&T is available in 36 states, with the most widespread coverage in the Southeast and Midsouth (13 states).

Pros

Cons

  • Wide variety of plans
  • Reliable uptime
  • DSL speeds up to 500 Mbps and up to 1,000 Mbps fiber speeds
  • Transparent pricing & fees
  • Security suite included
  • Static IP address available (added fee)
  • Requires 2-year contract
  • Early cancellation fee of 75% of your remaining balance
  • Limited fiber optic coverage
  • Customer support can be spotty

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Verizon FIOS.

Reliable Connections: Comcast Business Review

Comcast Business logo

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Comcast, the well-known residential cable and internet provider, has several business plans with high, reliable speeds. Their coverage is widespread and pricing is competitive compared to other big players like Verizon and AT&T. Their plans start at $69.95/month for 35 Mbps, but their best deal is $99.95/month for 300 Mbps.

Comcast is available in 39 states with the greatest coverage in the Mid Atlantic, North Pacific, California, Florida and Illinois.

Pros

Cons

  • Reliable uptime guarantee
  • High speeds for fiber up to 1,000 Mbps
  • Higher-speed packages include a phone line
  • Automatic 4G LTE internet backup and battery reserve for up to 8 hours (add-on fee)
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Best pricing requires a 3-year contract
  • Early termination fee of 75% of your remaining balance
  • Limited fiber optic coverage
  • Added security like malware, antivirus, etc. are only included in higher-priced plans
  • Poor customer service reputation

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Comcast Business.

No Contracts: Spectrum Business Review

Spectrum Business logo

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If you don’t want to be locked into a long-term contract, Spectrum Business, a division of Charter Communications, is the only business ISP in our review that offers month-to-month plans with no early cancellation fees.

Spectrum is also a great value — their lowest-priced plan is $59.99 for cable internet speeds of 200 Mbps. And you can save even more if you bundle it with voice (but bundles require long-term contracts). Spectrum Business serves 44 states with the most widespread coverage in Ohio, New York and North Carolina.

Pros

Cons

  • No contract required and no cancellation fees
  • Competitive pricing for the speeds you get
  • Cable internet speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Will buy you out of existing contracts with other ISPs
  • All plans include free email, modem, a domain name and security suite
  • Static IP address available (added fee)
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Extremely limited fiber coverage
  • Upload speeds are slower than some competitors
  • Less than stellar customer service user feedback

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Spectrum Business.

Low-Usage Plans: Frontier Business Review

Frontier Business logo

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Frontier is a great option for small businesses that don’t need a lot of juice, with DSL pricing starting at $34.99 for 12 Mbps. But their DSL speeds max out at a mere 25 Mbps. They also offer fairly affordable plans using some of Verizon’s fiber-optic network, starting at $49.99 for 30 Mbps.

Unfortunately, the company is notorious for poor customer service. Frontier is available in 35+ states with the most widespread coverage in the Great Lakes states, West Virginia, Texas and the West.

Pros

Cons

  • Good budget-friendly DSL plans and competitive fiber plans
  • Competitively priced business internet and phone bundles
  • Fiber optic speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Static IP available (added fee)
  • DSL speeds only up to 25 Mbps
  • Limited fiber optic coverage
  • Requires a 1-year contract with early termination fees
  • Security suite not included
  • Poor customer service reputation

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Frontier Business.

Other Providers To Consider

Be sure to read our reviews of these other popular business ISP’s that may provide service in your area.

CenturyLink | Cox | Viasat Exede

CenturyLink Review

CenturyLink logo

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One of the country’s largest residential internet providers, CenturyLink offers widespread DSL coverage for small businesses, but speeds max out at 140 Mbps. And pricing is higher than average, starting at $65/month. However, unlike many other ISPs, you can opt for a month-to-month plan.

CenturyLink also offers fiber in a few select areas with speeds up to 940 Mbps, but the pricing is high compared to other companies. They serve 39 states with the most widespread coverage in the West and Pacific Northwest.

Pros

Cons

  • Month-to-month plans available
  • No early cancellation fees
  • Transparent pricing & fees
  • Widespread national coverage
  • Static IP address available (added fee)
  • DSL speeds only up to 140 Mbps
  • Higher than average pricing
  • Limited fiber coverage
  • Internet+phone bundles are pricier than competitors
  • Security suite not included
  • Mediocre customer support

Cox Business Review

Cox Business logo

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Cox offers cable broadband and limited fiber-optic plans for businesses. Pricing depends on where you live, with plans starting around $100 for 25 Mbps — much higher than average. But you do get some perks.

All plans include a free static IP address, online backup and strong security with anti-spyware, anti-virus and a firewall. Cox only serves 18 states with the most widespread coverage in Arizona, California, Kansas and Virginia.

Pros

Cons

  • Cable and fiber download speeds up to 1,000 Mbps
  • Reliable, fast upload speeds
  • Plans include a free static IP address, a security suite
  • Generally good customer support
  • Limited national coverage compared to others we review here
  • High pricing
  • Requires 1-year contract, which auto-renews

Viasat Exede Review

Viasat Exede logo

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Viasat Exede is the country’s second-largest satellite internet service provider and a good option for small rural companies that don’t have access to other ISPs. They offer speeds up to 100 Mbps, but these can vary depending on your location. And all plans have data caps (even their “unlimited” plans have soft caps, meaning once you use up your allotted data, you may experience slower speeds).

Their cheapest metered business internet plan is $50/month for 1GB data and 35 Mbps download speeds. And their cheapest “unlimited” plan is $175/month for 35 Mbps with a soft cap of 75GB. If you have access to other ISPs, you can likely find more affordable options elsewhere.

Pros

Cons

  • Widespread national coverage, especially in rural areas
  • Reliable uptime with low latency (for satellite internet)
  • Speeds up to 100 Mbps (good for satellite)
  • All plans have data caps
  • “Unlimited” data plans are expensive
  • Requires a 2-year contract with early termination fees
  • Customer support can be spotty

Internet Delivery Methods Compared: DSL vs Cable vs Fiber vs Satellite

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): DSL delivers internet via copper phone lines and has widespread coverage nationwide. It has higher latency and lower bandwidth than cable. DSL is typically the only wired internet option in rural areas.

Cable Broadband: Cable delivers internet via copper coaxial television cables and has widespread coverage nationwide. It’s faster and has lower latency than DS,L but speeds can slow during peak usage times because the bandwidth is shared with neighboring users.

Fiber Optic: Delivers internet via fiber-optic cables. It’s by far the fastest and most reliable delivery method. However, it only has 25% coverage nationwide, largely in major metropolitan locations.

Satellite: The only non-wired internet delivery system, satellite is often the only option for extremely remote, rural areas. It’s typically not as fast or reliable as DSL or cable.

Need VOIP Or Added Security?

If you’re not sure you want to bundle internet and phone, be sure to read our article about the best VOIP services, which includes optimal options for small businesses. And even though some of our top ISP picks in this article include security software, you always want to make sure you’re taking extra precautions. So check out our article on the best VPN services for small businesses to learn more.

Is your business looking to switch (or get new) internet service?

About The Author:

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations in the late 1990s, Sally began a long career researching and writing about business, technical and scientific topics.

Her decades of experience as well as a passion to stay on top of the latest online tools and resources combine to help small businesses (and freelancers like herself) flourish.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

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