Today’s business environment has become exponentially more dependent upon bandwidth than it was just few years ago. While the early 2000’s saw DSL and then Dedicated Internet Access(DIA) as the dominant sources of Bandwidth used to deliver the Internet to the business community, the current trend might suggest that the cable companies entry into the business market could become a significant source in the coming years. After working through the seemingly endless efforts to deliver consistency of service, the cable companies in general have found their feet relative to business Internet service.
In most major markets, business customers can receive broadband from the premier cable companies such as Time Warner, Comcast and Charter communications are leading the way offering bandwidth that far exceeds the traditional Internet speeds at a fraction of the cost. As an example there are markets where businesses can access 20 MB x 5 MB for nearly half the cost of a 1.5MB DIA circuit from the phone companies.
To be fair the service levels are characterized as best effort or “up to speeds”, while the DIA services have definitive guarantees of minimum speeds. Still, the value and performance of the Cable services has been a favorable trade- off for the potential downside of the cable service.
Another consideration when it comes to cable companies versus the traditional telephone companies is the level of customer service. While not necessarily known for the greatest in customer care, the phone companies have typically had a good record of managing delivery of service particularly in the business market. The same cannot be said for the cable companies. Although the level of service does not typically resemble the consumer market “customer no service” as consumer advocate Clark Howard might say, it still lags behind the standards of expectation that business demand. For that reason it is not unusual for companies to utilize a back-up or secondary Internet service. Whether keeping a DSL or sharing bandwidth from a voice circuit, the cost and security of such can ease the fears of losing service or experiencing outages with the less time tested cable broadband services.
A final note when considering the challenges of dealing with the cable companies is their limited areas of service. While they are aggressively marketing services, it often takes weeks of time and trouble before service availability can be determined. It is also not uncommon to find the cable company willing to deliver the service only if the building owner will permit and the customer is willing to pay a substantial construction fee.