The Best Fiber Internet Service Providers for Business of 2018
Fiber-optic business internet offers the speeds to fly a small business into the future—but which is right for you? We break down four of the fastest in the fiber game.
Fiber is the newest innovation in internet service—it’s also the oldest. The core of the internet was built on fiber-optic lines, which have been connecting cities, countries, and continents for decades.
You’ve only heard about it more in recent years because internet service providers (or ISPs) are answering increased consumer demand for faster, more reliable connections by bridging what’s called “the last mile,” or the gap between the fiber-optic backbone of the internet and homes and businesses. That gap has typically been filled by the aging copper infrastructures of phone lines and coaxial cables, which is like jamming lightning through an AA battery—you’re only experiencing a fraction of the internet’s potential power and speed.
Our favorite fiber internet service providers for business, based on our research:
The best fiber internet providers for business
|Product||Starting monthly price||Learn more|
|Verizon Fios Business||$84.99||View Plans|
|AT&T Business||$60||View Plans|
|Comcast Business||$69.95||View Plans|
|Frontier Business||$19.99||View Plans|
Data effective 02/22/18. At publishing time, pricing and speeds are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
The core of the internet was built on fiber-optic lines, which have been connecting cities, countries, and continents for decades.
Fiber-optic cables transmit data as pulses of light, not electricity, at high frequencies capable of handling large capacities through hair-thin glass or plastic strands with far less electromagnetic interference. They’re also scalable, meaning they can sustain the future speed and capacity growth of the internet itself; copper lines can’t and won’t. Matching the fiber transmission of the internet with a like-designed “last mile” bridge to your residence or office is literally the fastest internet service connection currently possible (ruling out mind-to-mind telekinesis, sci-fi enthusiasts).1
Not sure which option will help you grow?
Verizon Fios Business: Best overall service
- Supremely fast downloads and uploads
- 99.99% fiber uptime guarantee
- Superior customer service for businesses
- Complaints about latency
- Availability limited to select northeastern areas
Another big advantage of fiber internet that we haven’t yet mentioned is symmetrical download and upload speeds—meaning, if you’re downloading at 100 Mbps, you’re uploading at nearly or exactly 100 Mbps. If your business’s internet needs stop at web-surfing and emailing, this is no big deal. If you’re spending hours transferring large files or dropping important video conferences, however, you’ll be wondering where this glorious symmetry has been all of your life.
Not only are Verizon Fios Business’s upload and download internet speeds 100% guaranteed, its upload speeds have tested even faster by a few points (with the exception of the 940 Mbps plan, which rates “only” 880 Mbps for uploads). For a business moving heavy amounts of data and accommodating a dozen or more employees, Verizon would be a workhorse; for a smaller shop looking to grow, it might be worth the extra bucks.
There is, however, a minor downside to Verizon Fios Business internet: it’s not the cheapest service out there. But its above-average customer service reputation and reasonable bundling packages (add a digital phone line for $5; TV service for $10) are tempting incentives to pry open the company wallet.2
Verizon Fios Business Internet Plans
|Plan||Starting price (per month)||Learn more|
|Fios Internet 75 Mbps||$84.99||View Plan|
|Fios Internet 150 Mbps||$109.99||View Plan|
|Fios Internet 300 Mbps||$184.99||View Plan|
|Fios Internet 500 Mbps||$214.99||View Plan|
|Fios Gigabit Connection||$214.99||View Plan|
The not-so-minor downside to Verizon: its Fios service is currently available in only 21 states in the northeastern part of the country—you’re out of luck, flyover-staters and west-coasters. Verizon is expanding its fiber-optic network but, at the moment, it lags behind Comcast in total US fiber coverage.
But if your business is in the (geographical) position to get it, we recommend you get it. Verizon Fios Business internet is a verified powerhouse that’s built to grow, with reliable customer support to back it up. This quick, quality service is tough to beat, even if it costs a little more.
AT&T Business: Best for small shops
- Good value for bare-bones plans
- No contract required for fiber plans
- Unlimited data usage and cloud storage
- Free internet security software and support
- Expensive high-speed plans
- Limited fiber availability
- Falling customer satisfaction ratings
Now for the disadvantage of fiber internet: it’s not available everywhere. The rollout of new fiber-optic infrastructures is expensive and slow; depending on where you’re located, you could be waiting a while for the sweet speeds we’ve been dangling in front of you here (sorry).
Fortunately, some companies are filling in the regional fiber network gaps. Whereas Verizon is concentrated in the Northeast, AT&T Business covers the Midwest and the Southeast, as well as a good chunk of the West Coast. Also, some of AT&T’s business plans are slightly less pricey than Verizon’s, while their customer service ratings are nearly on par.3 With fiber internet, the deciding factors will ultimately come down to pricing and service, and AT&T Business offers some attractive (small) plans.
For small shops, AT&T Business’s Internet 25 plan (speeds up to 25 Mbps) works well for web usage, sharing files, and allowing Wi-Fi access for employees and customers at $100 a month, and the more substantial Internet 50 plan (50 Mbps) offers twice the speed and capacity for $100 more. If your business is growing quickly, AT&T’s Internet 500 tier (500 Mbps) can handle as many web-active employees and fat files as you can throw at it for $450, but if you’re upping your spending to this level, the Internet 1000 (1 Gbps) at $650 a month might be worth a look, or a wince.
If you’re trying to keep a relatively tiny team productive and bustling, AT&T Business’s lower-level plans will do the trick for fewer bucks—their smaller plans start cheap but balloon into some of the most expensive on the fiber market as the speeds and capacities climb. Also, consider AT&T’s bundling options, which offer what the others don’t—access to the world’s largest phone service provider (AT&T, of course) and the leading satellite TV service provider (DIRECTV, owned by AT&T).
Comcast Business: Best fast fiber hookup
- 24/7 local support
- Free installation, 30-day trial
- Symmetrical upload/download speeds
- No data caps or throttling
- Wi-Fi services included
- Limited fiber-optic availability
- Extra charge for static IPs
- Higher prices than similar networks
- $200 early termination fee
- Mixed customer reviews
Comcast Business is fast and likely to be available in your area. No, not the cable company—that’s Xfinity . . . which used to be Comcast, hence some confusion. The coaxial-cable residential TV and internet side of Comcast was split off as Xfinity in 2010; these days, Comcast Business is a (mostly) fiber-optic juggernaut servicing professionals. As with their home services, Comcast’s business reach is far and wide, with a fiber infrastructure that spans 39 states and counting.
If you’re located outside of a fiber coverage area we’ve mentioned so far, Comcast Business internet is probably nearby—but this doesn’t mean you’d be “stuck with” an inferior service. To the contrary, Comcast’s customer service ratings are nearly as impressive as Verizon’s (remember, this is the business side; Comcast’s legendarily negative consumer ratings stem from their now-Xfinity residential side).
If you’re trying to keep a relatively tiny team productive and bustling, AT&T Business’s lower-level plans will do the trick for fewer bucks.
Comcast also guarantees that their internet connections will be up and running 99.998% of the time, a reassuring stat for any small business that depends on internet stability.
Further strengthening Comcast’s “built for business” case: free installation; a 30-day, money-back guaranteed trial period; 24/7 local support; no data caps or throttling; and included Wi-Fi services to cover both employees and customers. In the minus column, there’s a $200 early-termination fee should you decide to bail on Comcast Business’s two-year contract, and their packages aren’t exactly priced competitively (where there’s actual fiber competition, at least).
But those packages are fast and furious, ranging from the power-user Deluxe Internet 150 plan (150 Mbps, good for 10 employees and up, with capacity for heavy data traffic and site hosting for $259.95 a month) all the way down to the minimalistic Starter Internet plan (25 Mbps, adequate for a two-person operation conducting standard internet activity for $69.95), with practically stepped 50, 75, and 100 Mbps plans in between. More so than their fiber rivals, Comcast Business’s internet packages seem thoughtfully constructed, even before phone and TV bundling options are factored in.
Frontier Business: Best budget deal
- Low-cost basic plans
- Symmetric fiber speeds
- 36-month price guarantees
- Premier VoIP solutions
- No speeds faster than 150 Mbps
- Limited fiber availability
- No trial period or money-back guarantee
- Disappointing customer ratings
If it seems like we keep coming back to fiber availability, it’s because we keep coming back to fiber availability—aside from pricing and customer-service ratings, it’s the biggest differentiating factor between these ISPs. Which is good news on at least one front for Frontier Fios business internet: it’s the most inexpensive.
Unfortunately, even though the company has recently purchased fiber lines from Verizon (the stipulation for “Fios” in the name), it’s not as widely available as the other providers profiled here, as it’s limited to portions of California, Florida, Indiana, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. As for Frontier’s customer-service numbers . . . well, they’re not pretty. Let’s focus on the positive first.
Fios Business’s basic Fios 15/5 plan starts at a dirt-cheap $19.99 per month, which one or two employees could get by with as long as they stick to web browsing and email. Next up the plan chain, Fios 30/30 (30 Mbps down and up) offers more power and flexibility for just $49.99, increasing with Fios 50/50 at $59.99, Fios 75/75 at $84.99, and topping out with Fios 150/150 at $194.99. For fiber internet plans, they’re all bargains. Frustratingly, not every one of them is available even within Frontier’s own service areas.
Wherever you are, you’ll want to research business.frontier.com closely.
Frontier’s contracts are relatively short at 12 months, and installation is included free with those contracts. But their phone and TV combos aren’t quite as attractively priced as other ISP’s bundles. Also, the company’s 24/7 tech support promise is outweighed by across-the-board customer satisfaction ratings that make Comcast look like the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Frontier’s contracts are relatively short at 12 months, and installation is included free with those contracts.
Frontier Business internet is definitely a mixed bag, which can be expected of a growing company, but their lowball pricing on symmetrical fiber internet speeds should be enough to make any small business take notice. Just proceed with caution.
What to consider when choosing a fiber provider
How much speed is needed?
Not sure of the best numbers for your business? Here’s what to know.
|Speed range||Best for|
|15–50 Mbps||One or two employees, Basic web browsing and email|
|50–75 Mbps||Up to five employees, Large-file transfers and point-of-sale transactions|
|75–150 Mbps||Up to seven employees, Video calls and data backups|
|150–500 Mbps||Ten or more employees, Website hosting and heavy Wi-Fi traffic|
|500 Mbps–1 Gbps||All of the employees, All of the above and then some|
To bundle or not to bundle?
In most cases, your business is going to need phone service—sometimes TV as well. Bundling these with your internet service can simplify the billing process and cut down on costs. Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Frontier all offer internet, phone, and TV bundles—some better than others. If customers will be spending any idle time at your business (waiting room, restaurant, bar, etc.), TV service is almost a must. Likewise, some businesses can’t get by without a phone line, even in 2018. However, if your operation is the smallest definition of “small business” (you and maybe another person) conducting transactions strictly online, don’t bother with a bundle, no matter how cheap they come.
What if fiber internet isn’t available in my area?
When will fiber arrive in your area? The short answer: “Eventually.” The real answer: “Not soon enough.” Fiber-optic lines are the future, but they still have to navigate the local politics of infrastructure and the provider’s realities of cost—they’re expensive to build out and demand has to be there (which it is, and there is more every year).4 If you’re currently running, or starting up, a small business and fiber internet isn’t yet available in your neighborhood, look into coaxial cable or DSL options, and avoid signing any lengthy contracts. Some are fast and stable enough to sustain a small business, but you don’t want to be locked into it when fiber internet does finally arrive.
The speed, price, and customer satisfaction that comes with Verizon Fios Business is a persuasive combo for small businesses—any in its eastern service area, that is. Fortunately, there are at least a couple of viable fiber alternatives across the country, even though the potentially market-transforming fiber singularity of full continental coverage is still a few years away.
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.
1. BroadbandNow, “Fiber-Optic Internet in the United States”
2. J.D. Power, “U.S. Business Wireline Satisfaction Study 2017”
3. J.D. Power, “U.S. Business Wireline Satisfaction Study 2016”
4. Broadband Communities, “Broadband Forecasts for 2017”