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All Internet service providers should be up front about so called business level services. Business level Internet access means rock solid connectivity and perhaps dedicated IPs but that usually comes with a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Unless dedicated, your business level access is exactly the same as your neighbors lower cost service.
A business level service was always known as a dedicated connection until media companies got into the business of selling Internet access. To this day, when you buy dedicated Internet services, it means there is an agreement between the two parties.
The agreement guarantees that you will receive what you pay for with the SLA. When there is an SLA in place, it is in the providers best interest to make sure that your connection is exactly as specified otherwise, the contract could become null and you can walk away from your term obligation.
Not so with with cable companies where you have to agree to long term commitments without an SLA, Ask if they offer an SLA and you’ll find yourself talking with another department that handles real business connections. This is because cable companies provide non SLA based services as what is known as Best Effort Delivery.
At that point, you might also end up talking about construction and other costs because true business services usually mean point to point connectivity and the costs associated with dedicating copper and fiber from your location to the providers closest Point of Presence (POP).
What all of the above means is that cable providers cannot offer you proper business services when they are doing so over the same network being used to provide all of your neighbors connectivity. When something goes down in your neighborhood, business level service or not, your service will suffer like everyone else in the area.
Many Echo Networks employees work from home and use business level services because there is no other way to have a dedicated IP from cable operators. We have first hand experience as business consumers. In some locations where we have both traditional SLA and cable company provided connections, the differences are instantly clear.
SLA based connections never go down and when they suffer problems, the provider is on it instantly. When the cable connection goes down, contacting support is usually a frustrating experience of having to prove that something is down. And, if you are able to do so, trying to tell the right person will be just as frustrating.
Cable companies have been offering ‘business’ level services for years now, catching up with real network providers but lacking understanding of what a business level service really is or not caring because it is a good revenue source.
Consumers need to better understand what they are getting into and cable providers need to be more transparent about what they are selling. Business services should come with a Service Level Agreement or properly explained to consumers without the marketing hype.
More importantly, cable providers should work at better supporting business customers, especially those who call in with valuable information and even details about the issues they are suffering. In some cases, this could save the Internet provider some headaches when trying to find problems later on.