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5 Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best ISP for Your Business

December 22nd, 2020 [UPDATED]
Originally Published May 31st, 2019

How do you choose the best business Internet Service Provider?

With the proliferation of cloud services, and day-to-day business operations becoming increasingly reliant on the Internet, choosing the right business Internet Service Provider (ISP) is more important than ever. Businesses located in markets with many broadband providers, such as in Los Angeles or Orange County, have plenty of options. We’ve prepared a guide to help you find the right provider for your needs.

Understanding the business Internet options available to you upfront can help you get the most from our guide and land on the right ISP. Practical evaluation starts with the type of Internet service itself, which can inform your ISP selection.

Types of Internet Connections for Business

  • Cable Internet – Cable is a widely available Internet service that uses coaxial cable lines (the same that deliver cable TV) to provide a broadband Internet connection to your business.
  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet – DSL is another widely available Internet connection because it uses standard phone lines to deliver broadband access.
  • Fixed Wireless Internet Fixed Wireless Internet delivers broadband access using a tower, antenna, and an express line of sight (LoS), and a fiber-optic backbone. Towers broadcast a wireless signal (via radio waves) to the antenna at the business location.
  • Fiber Optic Internet – Fiber service connections use fiber optic cables that run directly from the ISP to the business location.
  • Satellite Internet – Satellite delivers broadband access via an Internet signal to a satellite in space that’s passed to a dish at the business location.

These Internet options vary by availability, performance, reliability and cost. Evaluating your business needs on these criteria is vital to selecting the right Internet service for your business.

5 Factors for Choosing Your Next ISP

1. Reputation

One reliable way to vet a new provider is through reputation research. Whether this consists of reading through online reviews posted on Yelp or Google, or speaking directly with neighboring businesses, understanding an ISP’s reputation is a sound method of narrowing your options.

TIP: Many providers offer both residential and business services, which have different needs and expectations for uptime, quality-of-service (QoS), and more. Be conscious of the type of customer when evaluating reviews.

2. Service Level Agreements (SLA)

A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contractual commitment between an Internet service provider and a customer. An ISP’s SLA should provide guaranteed service metrics such as uptime, latency, jitter, packet loss, and response/repair time. For example, GeoLinks’ SLA offers the following service targets:

  • Response Priority: Critical: 4hrs or less
  • Network Quality of Service
  • Network Availability: Target of at least 99.999% uptime
  • Round Trip Latency Under 40ms
  • Jitter under 10ms
  • Packet loss target < 0.1%

Note that some Internet providers don’t offer guaranteed service levels at all. In fact, a variety of providers avoid service-level commitments altogether with language like this:

“X company does not warrant that the service will be uninterrupted or error-free nor make any warranty as to the results obtained from the use of the service. X company does not guarantee connectivity at any time, for any length of time or at any particular speed.”

Make sure you carefully research an ISP’s SLA before sourcing that provider for your services.

 
Best Internet Service Provider Customer Support
 

3. Customer Support

In an ideal world, you’d never have to engage with your ISP following service installation. That’s simply not the case.

Whether you have billing questions, experience service issues, need technical support, have upgrade inquiries or product add-ons, at some point or another, you’ll need to engage with your ISP’s customer support team. Research the quality of support the company offers before signing up.

Giant ISPs make you sit through automated phone menus, place you on lengthy holds, and may eventually transfer you to a contracted party outside of the U.S. You can do better—even from companies with cutting-edge technology. GeoLinks, for example, offers 24/7 in-house customer support, and customers can even ask for support reps by name.

And don’t overlook responsiveness. If your business does experience a technical issue, how long does it take your provider to respond and address the problem? Time is money, so whether it’s hours wasted on hold or weeks waiting on a repair, how your ISP handles customer relations directly affects your company’s line.

4. Agility and Flexibility

As a business grows and changes, its overall telecom needs will as well. For example, a law firm hiring ten new associates is likely to need a bandwidth upgrade. The scope of services you need may change over time as well, and some providers offer business phone and Internet bundles to streamline telecom – and billing – needs with a single provider.

Some ISPs offer additional services such as VoIP and SD-WAN, while others do not. When selecting your ISP, you need to make sure you explore their entire product suite and service offerings. All of this can become time-consuming and burdensome.

Choosing an aggregator (an ISP that is capable of reselling multiple ISP products and services) such as GeoLinks, ensures that no matter the growth or changes in your business, you can rely on a single provider to upgrade and adapt to your evolving business needs.

 
Business Internet Bandwidth Requirements
 

5. Bandwidth Availability

If you don’t know how much Internet bandwidth your company needs, check out “Your Guide to Determining Bandwidth Requirements.” Understanding your bandwidth needs is essential to ensuring that you’re sourcing an ISP that can provide the speeds your company needs.

Bandwidth availability may fluctuate from carrier to carrier based on your location and the type of Internet access you are looking for (i.e., Fiber vs. Fixed Wireless vs. DSL, etc.). Furthermore, if it does appear the ISP offers what you are looking for, make sure you understand whether you’d be getting a dedicated or shared circuit, as this factor also will impact the reliability and consistency of speeds.

Is GeoLinks the right ISP for your business?

Chat with one of our in-house experts to see if one of GeoLinks’ business Internet services is right for your business.

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TC3 SPONSOR SERIES: Meet GeoLinks CEO, Skyler Ditchfield

BY   · PUBLISHED  · UPDATED 

Born in Ojai, California, Skyler Ditchfield first dove into the world of technology at the age of 13 when he set up a bulletin board system (BBS) to service 200 members of his local community with dial-up Internet. Directly after high school, Ditchfield accepted a Network Engineer job in Silicon Valley servicing high-level clients such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Quotron, Reuters, and more. Eventually, he returned to Ojai where he proceeded to build a network business from scratch with $550 in startup capital. Within 4 years, in a town of only 8000 people, Ditchfield grew his small I.T. company to nearly 3M in revenue before selling his shares and moving on. During this venture, Ditchfield simultaneously won a six-figure government RFP, beating out a number of incumbent I.T. providers. In 2010, Ditchfield purchased a 50% share of an outside I.T. company where he quickly reworked operating procedures to maximize efficiency. With newly allotted time, Ditchfield was able to officially start GeoLinks in 2011.

Ditchfield currently serves as the CEO of GeoLinks, the fastest growing B2B Internet Service Provider in California, and Inc. Magazine’s 2017 Inc. 5000 NO. 5 Fastest Growing Telecommunications Company in America. GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Layer 2 Transport, Hosted Voice, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for businesses and Anchor Institutions nationwide. Under his leadership, Ditchfield has led the company to record more than 100% growth for six years straight, and is on track for a seventh, finishing the last three-years sales growth at 748%. In 2017, Ditchfield spearheaded GeoLinks’ efforts in obtaining its status as a California Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) public utility, and launched the company into the national marketplace.

With a clear passion and dedication to providing affordable broadband to Anchor Institutions across the country, Skyler was invited to speak at the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition’s 7th Annual National Convention in June of 2017. He took the stage addressing how and why GeoLinks’ fixed wireless technology, ClearFiber™, is a viable solution when looking to close the digital divide in United States’ rural communities. Following his address, GeoLinks was officially inducted into SHLB membership where Ditchfield currently sits on the fundraising council. Further recognizing him as an industry thought-leader in the country’s evolving broadband discussion, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai formally appointed Ditchfield to the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group in August of 2017.

With recent induction into these elevated platforms, Skyler plans to help close the digital divide by shaping policy on a state and national level. How? By shaping policy, working on plans for more affordable broadband, and working to free up more wireless spectrum to close the digital divide.

Ditchfield is passionate about GeoLinks’ Mission Statement — “Always put the customer first, by serving them in the same way that everyone wants to be treated.” His innovative ideas have revolutionized the way data is transferred from global data centers to its final delivery destination. Ditchfield is committed to developing state-of-the-art advancements through the IT marketplace so the GeoLinks’ culture may one day be available to everyone.

About GeoLinks:
Founded in 2011 by CEO, Skyler Ditchfield, and CTO, Ryan Hauf, GeoLinks is the fastest growing Internet Service Provider in California, and Inc. Magazine’s 2017 Inc. 5000 NO. 5 Fastest Growing Telecommunications Company in America. Delivering Enterprise-Grade Internet, Layer 2 Transport, Hosted Voice, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for businesses and Anchor Institutions nationwide, GeoLinks officially became a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility in 2017. As a CLEC, GeoLinks is able to actively participate in the California Teleconnect Fund (CTF), expanding the company’s ability to service non-profits state-wide.

A proud member of the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, GeoLinks was the largest construction grant winner for California K-12 schools and libraries in both 2016 and 2017. Recognizing CEO Skyler Ditchfield as an industry thought-leader in the country’s evolving broadband discussion, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai formally appointed GeoLinks to serve on the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group in August of 2017.

GeoLinks’ accelerated success is largely due to its flagship product, ClearFiber™, which offers customers fixed wireless on the most resilient and scalable network ever built. From land procurement, to construction, to permitting, and more, GeoLinks is the country’s only ISP that does everything in-house, expediting installation periods nationwide. Boasting ultra-low latency, 99.999% uptime, sub 10ms jitter, and a 4-hour max response time, GeoLinks prides itself on delivering the industry’s best Service Level Agreement backed by round-the-clock US based customer support.

GeoLinks acquires One Stop VoIP, furthers national strategy

by Sean Buckley |

GeoLinks acquires One Stop VoIP, furthers national strategy

GeoLinks, an emerging hybrid wireline-wireless service provider focused on business customers, has purchased cloud-based provider One Stop VoIP, signaling the next step toward becoming a larger national service provider.

By acquiring One Stop VoIP, GeoLinks will be able to add Hosted Voice to its growing cadre of data services. Under the terms of the deal, which is GeoLink’s first, the service provider will migrate all of One Stop VoIP’s key staff, existing customers, Unified Communications capabilities, and IT infrastructure.

Now that it has finalized the acquisition, GeoLinks said that it plans to launch a full set of hosted voice services by the end of the third quarter of 2017.

To ensure the transition into becoming a voice provider, GeoLinks named One Stop VoIP CEO Dexter Allen as senior director of VoIP business development. Paul Kasavets, COO and co-owner of One Stop VoIP, will join GeoLinks as senior director of VoIP operations. Allen and Kasavets will join the GeoLinks team in their headquarters on July 12, 2017. GeoLinks said that all One Stop VoIP customers will continue to receive consistent service coverage during the transfer, while GeoLinks’ clients can expect new Hosted Voice deployment by the beginning of September.

GeoLinks CEO Skyler Ditchfield told FierceTelecom that One Stop VoIP products and services align well with the company and its fixed wireless product, ClearFiber.

“We’ll be adding a new offering, which is VoIP, to our product set in the next 45 days,” Ditchfield said.

The acquisition follows the company’s effort to rebrand itself from California Internet LP to GeoLinks as well as its launch into the national market, induction as a competitive local exchange carrier public utility and headquarter relocation.

Besides offering new VoIP capabilities, the service provider is expanding its federal government capabilities as part of its national expansion effort.

“We’re really expanding the government division and it represents about a quarter of our business so it is taking off rapidly,” Ditchfield said. “We’re going to be using that to pull us into new opportunities on a national scale over the next year or two.”

California Internet Announces National Launch And Name Change

CEO Skyler Ditchfield’s Interview with SuperbCrew.com

Founded in 2011, GeoLinks is the fastest growing B2B fixed wireless ISP in California. The company recently rebranded from California Internet to GeoLinks coinciding with its launch into the national market. GeoLinks offers unmatched speed to delivery and a wide range of internet solutions for businesses at competitive prices.

Below is our recent interview with Skyler Ditchfield, CEO of GeoLinks:

Q: Skyler, could you tell us something more about the company and your history?

A: I started California Internet, L.P. DBA GeoLinks out of my weight room in Ojai, California with my cousin and business partner Ryan Hauf in 2011. We decided early on that we were going to build our Internet Service Provider (ISP) business model to compete head to head with all the big guys—which is very untraditional for a small ISP provider. We decided that to be successful and to make our goal of becoming a major national carrier a reality, we needed to penetrate the most competitive markets. So, where did we head first? The dense Los Angeles metro area.

Over the past six years, our innovative flagship product, ClearFiber™, our superior customer service, and our industry-leading Service Agreement has led us to become the fastest growing business to business (B2B) ISP in the state, servicing more coverage area than any other single provider. Due to demand, I am ecstatic to say that we officially became a CLEC and launched into the national market this June 2017.

Q: How did you achieve such accelerated growth and expansion?

A: From the very beginning we started with asking the question, “Why does a customer choose an ISP?” We found that it comes down to competitive pricing, speed to delivery and ease of interaction. Speed to delivery has become a huge one for us because we can deliver circuits in a matter of days where larger ISPs can make businesses wait for months on end. Additionally, we excel at customer service. We’ve developed what we call “The GeoLinks Difference.” It starts with our Golden Rule: We treat you like we want to be treated. It’s a simple idea yet it’s the very foundation of our business. We are friendly, knowledgeable, efficient, and always available. Finally, we are obsessive innovators. Our team knows how things work inside and out, and we never stop looking for ways to improve our network and technology.

These are all the same reasons that contribute to why we have excelled in the wholesale market. We start by asking providers how we can align our processes in-house to best service their needs. Ultimately, we have defined all of the industry’s pain points—from both a customer and IT perspective—and are addressing them full force.

Q: Can you give us more insights into your products?

A: Anyone can visit our website and see an overview of our services. What I would like to focus on is our flagship product, ClearFiber™. There is a large misconception in the market about fixed wireless. People still think it’s not a reliable technology, when in reality, that’s just not true. It is an ongoing challenge for our company to re-educate the market that the problem doesn’t lie in the technology itself. In fact, the technology has been around since the 60’s and is actively utilized by large companies in the New York Stock Exchange and Militaries around the world. The real problem falls with improper installation. That’s why, at GeoLinks, we decided to bring everything in-house. We’re general contractors, and from land procurement, to building the actual towers, to customizing network configurations, our team ensures that the technology is deployed properly. When deployed correctly, ClearFiber™ is the most effective and superior solution available on the market.

Q: You’ve recently announced the company’s rebranding; tell us something more?

A: We’ve reached a pivotal moment in our company’s history—overwhelming demand has pulled our company outside of state borders. Wanting a name that isn’t geographically correlated, we ultimately decided to rebrand as GeoLinks—“Geo” meaning Earth in Latin and “Links” because we are linking the world with the most advanced connectivity available today.

Looking at our company timeline, I am amazed to say that this company started with humble beginnings, then moved to a 110 sqaure feet office, then to 800 sq. ft. We’re currently in a 6,000 sq. ft. office and are officially getting ready to move our headquarters into an incredible 38,000 sq ft office building this July. Featuring a fully-equipped employee gym, basketball court, spacious kitchen, game room, and much more, this new office is a direct representation of our cutting-edge company culture and accelerated growth.

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Q: What are your plans for next 6-9 months?

A: Aside from our exciting move and introduction into the national market, we’re officially beginning to build out our 5G Network. In fact, we hit the go button this past week. We are forecasting to reach 50% deployment within the next three months and complete deployment by the end of the year. This means we’ll be able to offer up to 10G capacity over our fixed wireless networks in the greater Los Angeles area. We’re just about ready to launch Hosted Voice as well.

Finally, we are continually working to close the digital divide by providing internet to rural anchor institutions and actively lobbying in Washington, D.C. for the FCC to make more spectrum available to smaller and mid-sized ISP’s.

Q: What’s the best thing about GeoLinks that people might not know about?

A: We’re way more than just your typical ISP. From land procurement, to construction, to contract negotiation, to permitting, to building our own solar powered towers from the ground up, we do everything in-house. This allows us to go into areas that no other provider can reach—especially in areas that would typically require grid power.

Also, we focus heavily on company culture. I am very aware of the fact that we spend more than one-third of our lives at work these days, so it’s important to me to give back to my team by creating a fun work environment that makes them eager to come to work every day.