AT&T vs. Comcast: Which Internet Provider Is Best for Small Businesses?

A better gigabit solution and no-contract fiber plans make one of these high-speed internet providers the clear winner for small businesses.
Winner
AT&T Business
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Contract-free fiber internet
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Best customer ratings
Runner-up
Comcast Business
3 out of 5 stars
3.0
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Zero-cost fiber installation
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Stellar reliability guarantee
Globe Approach
8

Brands considered

Magnifying Glass Approach
40

Hours of research

Analysis Approach
100

Spreadsheet cells analyzed

Coffee Approach
20

Cups of coffee drunk

Although it’s a pretty close match, if you’re caught choosing between AT&T and Comcast—like many small-business owners are—we recommend AT&T.

AT&T offers the better business internet experience

The right provider and plan for your business will depend on which internet factors matter the most to you. But when it comes to affordability, fast speeds, and customer service, AT&T is the better choice.

Compare AT&T business internet and Comcast business internet

FeaturesAT&TComcast
Lowest-priced plan$50.00/mo.$69.95/mo.**
Fastest download plan1,000 Mbps1,000 Mbps
Contract length12 mos.Fiber: 24 months, HFC: 2 or 3 years
Early termination feeVaries$200
30-day free trialIcon Check  DarkIcon Check  Dark
Dedicated internet optionIcon Check  DarkIcon Check  Dark
Rural fixed wireless optionIcon Check  DarkIcon No  Dark
24/7 technical supportIcon Check  DarkIcon Check  Dark
Free installationIcon No  DarkIcon Check  Dark
Get started

Data as of 12/12/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*12-mo.agmt for Internet req'd. Early term fee may apply
**w/ 2-year agreement

AT&T business internet overview

Strengths
Pro Bullet $50 monthly starter plan
Pro Bullet No-contract fiber plans
Pro Bullet Positive customer ratings
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Expensive higher speed plans
Con Bullet $99 fiber installation fee

AT&T is a national provider of phone, TV, and high-speed internet access. Formerly known as AT&T U-verse, the suite of AT&T internet plans offered to US businesses come in two connection types: fiber-optic network and DSL.

Read more in our AT&T business internet review.

Comcast business internet overview

Strengths
Pro Bullet Fast upload speeds
Pro Bullet Free installation
Pro Bullet 99.998% uptime guarantee
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Poor corporate reputation
Con Bullet $200 early termination fee

Comcast is best known as a residential TV and cable internet service provider (under the name Xfinity). But the massive media company, which counts companies like Universal Pictures and NBC as assets, also provides internet plans to millions of US residential and business customers. Comcast business internet plans use either pure fiber-optic internet or hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) connections.

See our Comcast business internet review to learn more.

Find the best internet providers in your area.

AT&T offers more affordable basic plans than Comcast

AT&T business internet plans and pricing

Fiber plan
Starting price
Download/upload speed
Contract length
Internet 25

$50.00/mo.*

25 Mbps/5 Mbps 12 months
Internet 50

$50.00/mo.*

50 Mbps/10 Mbps 12 months
Internet 100

$60.00/mo.*

100 Mbps/20 Mbps12 months
Internet 200

$200.00/mo.*

200 Mbps/40 Mbps12 months

Data as of 12/12/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*12-mo.agmt for Internet req'd. Early term fee may apply

AT&T business plans come with a one-year contract and price guarantee.

Comcast business HFC internet plans and pricing

HFC plan
Starting price
Download speed
Contract length
Starter Internet

$69.95/mo.*

35 Mbps2-year term
Business Internet 100

$109.90/mo.*

100 Mbps2-year term
Business Internet 200

$134.90/mo.*

200 Mbps2-year term
Business Internet 1 Gig

$499.95/mo.*

1,000 Mbps2-year term

Data as of 12/12/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*w/ 2 year agmt.

Comcast plans all come with annual contract requirements. Fiber plan agreements are 24 months, while HFC plans can be either two or three years, depending on what’s available in your area.

However, both AT&T and Comcast offer a 30-day trial, allowing you to get your money back if you cancel within the first month. The trial may ease the worry of risking your budget with either provider.

"Both AT&T and Comcast offer a 30-day trial, allowing you to get your money back if you cancel within the first month."

When it comes to fees, Comcast has one edge. AT&T charges $99 to install a fiber connection. We found Comcast offers free professional installation with every plan, saving you some significant up-front costs.

What about early termination fees (ETFs)? Depending on your AT&T fiber plan, you could pay $20 or $25 per month left on your contract. Comcast charges a flat $200 ETF on any plan, so make sure you’re happy with your service before that 30-day trial ends!

AT&T offers faster upload speeds

Are you looking for extremely high-speed internet service for your business? AT&T and Comcast offer some of the fastest commercially available internet plans around. In some areas, both internet service providers sell gigabit connections, which give you download speeds up to 1,000 megabits per second.

Download speeds that fast make it a breeze for dozens of employees to browse the internet, download large files, and stream audio and video.

AT&T sells a gigabit fiber plan with symmetric speeds, which means you get 1,000 Mbps downstream and upstream. If you and your employees frequently use videoconferencing and complex data sharing services, the AT&T plan is your best bet.

However, these plans do come at a premium. You’ll pay at least $300 a month to max out your business internet speeds.

AT&T Business

AT&T

For $300 per month, you can get blazing speeds up to 1 Gbps download and upload for complex cloud computing, VoIP calling, and large file uploading.

Compare AT&T and Comcast business internet reliability

Comcast beats AT&T in reliability

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Comcast includes the strongest uptime guarantee we’ve found from any business internet provider. At 99.998% for its fiber plans, you can count on your internet connection to be up and running nearly every minute of the year.

AT&T guarantees 99.95% uptime for fiber connections. That’s not too shabby, but over the course of an entire year, the fractional difference adds up.

Comcast and AT&T offer similar extras. However, some services—like data backups and security packages—are a bit cheaper with AT&T.

Comcast loses the customer service round

Do any digging around online for “Comcast” and “customer service,” and you’re bound to end up worried. The mega-corporation has a downright terrible reputation with the general public, which would give any decision maker pause.

Does AT&T fare any better? We looked at a few markers for customer and technical support, and while Comcast Business customers tend to be satisfied with their internet service, AT&T seems to be the safer choice.

One key indicator of AT&T’s edge in customer satisfaction is the results of a 2019 J.D. Power study of business internet customers.1 While AT&T didn’t rank as well as some competitors—like Verizon and Cox—it beat Comcast in two of the three business markets J.D. Power surveyed.

J.D. Power bases its customer satisfaction rankings on six factors: “performance and reliability; cost of service; communications; sales representatives and account executives; billing; and customer service.”

J.D. Power customer service satisfaction rankings for AT&T and Comcast

Segment
AT&T ranking
Comcast ranking
Very Small Business4th3rd
Small/Midsize Business2nd7th
Large Enterprise1st6th

If you’re a small-business owner, you may want to remember this illuminating quote from the J.D. Power study press release: “Smaller business customers may be less profitable, but if wireline companies can address the opportunities in very small business customer service, they will see an increase in satisfaction and, ultimately, retention.”1

Considering the malice that many Comcast residential customers show for the provider, we’re comfortable giving AT&T the win for this category.

How to compare business internet providers

In talking to business decision makers, three factors emerged as the most important when choosing an internet service provider: speed, price, and reliability.

Bandwidth and speed

Choosing an internet plan usually starts with deciding how much speed you need. In other words, how fast do you want your internet connection to work?

Although the words bandwidth and speed have technically distinct meanings, internet providers often use the terms loosely. When comparing internet plans from different service providers, the number accompanying the plan name usually denotes its bandwidth. For example, AT&T’s Business Fiber 100 plan is capable of delivering 100 Mbps of download data.

Business internet download speed recommendations

Speed
What it means
1 to 4 MbpsAllows one to three users to do light web surfing, email, online computing, and standard-definition video streaming and conferencing.
5 to 19 MbpsConnects a few employees and adds the ability to easily transfer files, run ecommerce services, and stream and conference in high definition.
20 to 49 MbpsSeveral employees can download big files and stream and communicate online with little interruption. You can also set up well-functioning Wi-Fi for employees and customers at this level.
50 to 99 MbpsAbout a dozen employees can work, conference, and collaborate in real time. File sharing is easier, and downloads and backups are faster. Hi-def streaming and conferencing are clear.
100 to 499 MbpsSuits internet-heavy business operations with many users who access applications and files on the cloud. Supports website services with lots of online traffic and activity.
500 Mbps to 1 Gbps

The fastest business internet available. As you approach 1,000 Mbps, all the previous activity and more become near-instantaneous, and you rarely wait for any service to function.

Uploads are the other side of internet speed. Frequently uploading files to the internet and making audio or video calls requires faster upload speeds. So consider plans that offer high upload speeds—or equal upload speeds, as with some AT&T business fiber plans.

One more thing: consider what the future holds for your business needs. Do you expect substantial growth? Adding more employees could mean heavier internet use, which can bog down slower internet plans. As a growing business, you should choose a plan that works for you now and in the future.

The takeaway

Although Comcast has a few good features—like free installation and an unmatched reliability guarantee—AT&T offers more affordable, faster plans and better customer experience.

Comcast Business isn’t a terrible choice—especially if you want to save on installation fees or need near-perfect connection uptime. Yet, AT&T customers are decidedly more satisfied with their business internet plans, which are often more affordable and faster than the competition.

Want to dig deeper into your internet options? Read through our Comcast review to get more in-depth information before making a decision.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources
1. J.D. Power, "Satisfaction Gap Between Large and Small Business Wireline Customers Increases, J.D. Power Finds," July 11, 2019. Accessed December 12, 2020.

Business.org Staff Writer
Written by
Business.org Staff Writer
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