Best High-Speed Internet Providers for Small Businesses of 2020
Nearly 30% of businesses say they need internet faster than 50 Mbps.1 With download speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps, these are your best business broadband bets for high-speed internet.
Best OverallSymmetric fiber speedsAffordable near-gigabit plan
Best for BudgetsAffordable high-speed options36-month price guarantee
Best for Pure SpeedDownloads up to 1,000 MbpsSuperior customer service
Most ReliableReliable connectionsCompetitive pricing
Most Rural-FriendlyFast satellite internetLarge ranges of speeds
Cox is offering one free month of their Connect 2 Compete low-income internet program until May 12, 2020, in addition to providing free phone and remote desktop support.
Comcast Xfinity is offering two free months of their Internet Essentials package to new customers and increased internet speeds to all existing subscribers.
Also, anybody can use an Xfinity hotspot for free, and subscribers get unlimited data use for 60 days.
The fastest animal is the peregrine falcon. The fastest car is the Hennessey Venom F5. The fastest business internet provider is . . . well, that’s what we set out to uncover.
Speed is a top concern for businesses that frequently need to download files, run sales software, or stream video and audio. But you may be considering more factors—like price or reliability guarantees—to help you choose a business internet service provider.
We researched the top providers of high-speed business internet services to find out how they compare. From maximum download speeds to costs and more, find out which internet cheetah can carry your business the furthest.
“Broadband” and “high-speed internet” are somewhat murky terms that not everyone defines equally. But here’s what we use: in 2015, the FCC defined broadband service as any connection that provides customers with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps.
|Provider||Download speeds||Learn more|
|Verizon Fios Business||100 to 940 Mbps||View Plans|
|AT&T Small Business||25 to 1,000 Mbps||View Plans|
|Comcast Business Internet||25 to 1,000 Mbps||View Plans|
|Frontier Business||100 to 1000 Mbps||View Plans|
|Viasat Business||35 to 100 Mbps||View Plans|
|Spectrum Business||100 to 940 Mbps||View Plans|
Here’s how we arrived at the list above. We included only plans with download speeds of 25 Mbps or more to match FCC guidelines for broadband internet. We also left out any plans that were extraordinarily expensive for the download speeds they provide—they’re just not worth the money.
In the end, our list of best broadband service providers includes several major companies with cable, digital subscriber line (DSL), and fiber-optic plans.
Overall best for high-speed business internet: Verizon
- Symmetric download/upload speeds up to 500 Mbps
- Reliable near-gigabit fiber connection
- Excellent customer service for business customers
- No true 1,000 Mbps plan
- 24-month contract with auto-renewal
Verizon serves up the best combination of business internet speeds, reliability, and support.
Although Verizon sells a few business DSL plans, none have speeds at 25 Mbps or more. For truly fast speeds, fiber is hard to beat. Verizon’s fiber plans, branded Fios, offer you a chance at near-gigabit connections.
What do we mean by “near gigabit”? Verizon’s fastest plan—Fios Gigabit Connection—gives you maximum download speeds of 940 Mbps with upload speeds up to 880 Mbps. That’s lightning fast by today’s standards, but it doesn’t quite reach 1,000 Mbps, the true definition of gigabit speed. Yet with fiber plans that consistently meet the speeds Verizon advertises, and then some,2 we’ll let that bit of fudging slide.
Another feather in Verizon’s cap is its customer service. We understand that most internet providers have poor reputations. But the fact that industry-rating juggernaut J.D. Power gave Verizon first place for customer satisfaction among small to medium-sized businesses should give you warmer feelings.³
|Plan||Starting monthly price*||Learn more|
|Fios Gig Connection||$249||View Plans|
|Fios 300M||$129||View Plans|
|Fios 100M||$69||View Plans|
Verizon’s fastest plan is priced at about $215 per month. That may be a bit expensive for some very small businesses, but it’s far better than the nearly $500 that Comcast charges for gigabit speeds.
Many Verizon plans offer symmetric speeds, which means you get the same speed for downloads and uploads. Fast upload speeds can significantly improve activities that require sending data from your device, including videoconferencing in real time and uploading large files to cloud storage.
One gripe: contracts. While some ISPs—like Spectrum and AT&T—offer contract-free plans, Verizon uses a 24-month agreement that renews automatically. If you need more freedom than a long contract allows, you can pay an extra $5 to $15 for a no-contract plan with Verizon. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s something you should know in advance.
The bottom line: Verizon Fios offers an impressive array of high-speed internet plans to fit businesses of just about any size.
Best budget-friendly option: Frontier
- Affordable high-speed plans
- Fiber plans with symmetric speeds
- 3-year price guarantee
- Poor customer service reputation
- Limited access to fiber plans
If you saw the plan prices for our picks above, you may be worried that an affordable high-speed internet connection is beyond reach. With plans priced at the hundreds of dollars per month, budget-conscious businesses need an alternative.
Enter Frontier Communications. Frontier offers a suite of business internet plans that are fast but won’t break the bank. And thanks to its recent purchase of certain Verizon Fios networks, Frontier now offers high-speed, symmetric-speed fiber plans throughout the country. Plus, there’s one DSL plan that makes the cut too.
What’s more, the Frontier AnyWhere VoIP service offers a comprehensive, integrated voice system solution for businesses that want to avoid telephone landline connections.
|Plan||Starting monthly price*||Learn more|
|Frontier FiOS 1G||$239.99||View Plans|
|Frontier FiOS 500M||$89.99||View Plans|
|Frontier FiOS 100M||$49.99||View Plans|
All of Frontier’s high-speed internet plans come in under $250 per month. And each fiber plan includes free installation, which can save you a bit of up-front cash. We also love that most Frontier business plans are price guaranteed for 36 months, so you don’t have to worry about surprise cost spikes in your bill.
Now for Frontier’s major shortcomings. Frontier’s customers lodge a lot of complaints against the internet service provider. One common grievance is high latency. Latency, which refers to data transfer delay time, can cause serious headaches for businesses that require fast and reliable connections. Activities like video streaming are at risk of disruption from high latency.
Despite customer service and reliability concerns, you should consider Frontier if getting a low price for high-speed plans is your number-one priority.
Best for pure speed: AT&T
- Symmetric-speed gigabit connection
- Contract-free fiber plans
- Wide range of high-speed fiber and DSL plans
- Too pricey for some businesses
- Limited fiber availability
If you’re focused on finding the fastest business internet plans possible, we recommend AT&T. Business plans from AT&T soar all the way up to 1,000 Mbps download and upload speeds, offering you true gigabit connection potential.
But it’s not just its fiber plans that are fast—AT&T has some seriously speedy DSL plans too. Small businesses can get DSL plans with up to 500 Mbps download speeds. So if fiber isn’t available in your area, you may still have a chance at some of AT&T’s top-speed plans.
AT&T fiber plans come contract-free, while DSL plans require a 12-month agreement. Several fiber plans give you the option of symmetric speeds—but at a lofty price. If your business is a frequent user of upload-heavy applications and real-time communication software, you should consider one of these plans with symmetric speeds.
|Plan||Starting monthly price||Learn more|
|AT&T Business DSL 50||$60||View Plans|
|AT&T Business Fiber 50||$85||View Plans|
|AT&T Business DSL 100||$115||View Plans|
|AT&T Business Fiber 100||$140||View Plans|
|AT&T Business DSL 500||$250||View Plans|
|AT&T Business Fiber 500||$300||View Plans|
|AT&T Business Fiber 500s||$450||View Plans|
|AT&T Business Fiber 1000||$500||View Plans|
|AT&T Business Fiber 1000s||$650||View Plans|
Pure, unadulterated internet speeds do come at a cost: AT&T charges a premium for its fastest plans. Prices for symmetric fiber plans can run you upward of $650 per month—out of range for many budget-sensitive businesses.
However, AT&T partially makes up for its high pricing in great customer service rankings. AT&T is currently our top pick for great internet service, and J.D. Power agrees: in 2019, AT&T ranked first for customer satisfaction in the large enterprise category and second in the very small business and small/medium business categories.4
Most reliable high-speed internet ISP: Comcast
- Supremely reliable connections
- Symmetric fiber speeds
- Competitive business plan pricing
- Limited fiber plan access
- Mixed customer reviews
Comcast business internet is undeniably reliable. The company offers the strongest uptime guarantee—99.998%—of any business ISP we surveyed.*
But why should you care? High uptime translates to low downtime. In other words, you can expect your internet to be up and running year-round nearly 100% of the time. Small and medium-sized businesses that rely on constant, data-heavy connections should consider Comcast’s top-of-the-class uptime guarantee a potential lifesaver.
There’s more to like about Comcast, including fiber plans with symmetric speeds up to 1 Gbps. And its pricing, while not the cheapest, is competitively matched against other providers like Verizon and AT&T.
Plus, Comcast plans come with zero-cost installation, a 30-day trial period, and access to tons of extra apps, software, and tools for Wi-Fi, security, and more.
|Plan||Starting monthly price*||Learn more|
|Business Internet 1G||$499.95||View Plans|
|Business Internet 500||$399.95||View Plans|
|Business Internet 300||$349.95||View Plans|
|Business Internet 150||$249.95||View Plans|
|Business Internet 75||$149.95||View Plans|
|Starter Internet||$69.95||View Plans|
But we couldn’t talk about Comcast without mentioning its dreadful reputation with residential customers. However, Comcast business customers don’t rate their ISP nearly as harshly as their home-based counterparts.
We breathed a bit easier when we realized that Comcast truly does offer a solid internet option that’s super reliable and super fast.
Best for rural businesses: Viasat
- High satellite speeds
- Large range of speeds
- No hard caps on data usage
- Low upload speeds typical of satellite
- Speed throttling once
As the only satellite internet provider on this list, Viasat’s widespread availability makes it the best for rural businesses. Even if you operate out of locations that other ISPs don’t touch, you can almost certainly get Viasat’s satellite internet service.
Unlike the satellite internet providers of the past, Viasat offers both availability and speed. Its business internet plans, with download speeds ranging from 35 Mbps to 100 Mbps, can compete with most other broadband providers.
Plus, Viasat’s state-of-the-art satellite technology minimizes other rural internet issues, such as latency, so you can keep your business up and running—no matter where you operate.
|Plan||Starting monthly price*||Learn more|
|Viasat Business Unlimited 100||$500||View Plans|
|Viasat Business Unlimited 60||$300||View Plans|
|Viasat Business 50 GB||$150||View Plans|
|Viasat Business 20 GB||$100||View Plans|
Even with its improved technology, Viasat does still have data limits. It doesn’t use hard data caps—that is, Viasat won’t simply switch off your internet after you use all your data—but it will throttle (slow) your internet if you use more than your allotted daily data. If this poses a problem, you can always upgrade to a plan with more data.
Now, we still don’t recommend satellite internet for everyone. If you have other ISPs in your area, you can probably get the same speeds for a lower cost from a different provider. But if you’ve got a business high in the mountains or out on the plains, then Viasat provides a solid option (even if it’s the only one).
Honorable mention for no-contract cable: Spectrum
- No monthly contracts
- Low-priced high-speed plans
- Bar and restaurant special bundles
- Hard-to-get fiber access
- Sluggish uploads
- Low business customer satisfaction
Want high-speed internet for your office but feel squeamish about signing a long-term contract? Spectrum will connect you to cable internet speeds up to 940 Mbps totally contract-free.
Spectrum, a Charter Communications brand, provides cable internet to US businesses. The upside to cable internet is that you access it through the same cable modems used to deliver cable TV, which makes this internet widely available. Spectrum provides fiber connections in some areas, but the service is so limited that we haven’t included the plans here.
Spectrum offers three high-speed cable options to business customers: 100, 300/400, and 940. Each plan denotes the download speed you can expect from your connection in megabits per second.
|Plan||Starting monthly price*||Learn more|
|Spectrum Internet Gig||$249.99||View Plans|
|Spectrum Internet Ultra||$109.99||View Plans|
|Spectrum Internet||$59.99||View Plans|
Where Spectrum falters is its upload speeds. Cable technology limits how much upstream heft you can get, and Spectrum’s plans can get you up to only 20 Mbps upstream.
Another trouble spot is customer service. Spectrum has been embroiled in legal troubles for the last few years, especially in the state of New York, where they failed to follow through on service promises made with their acquisition of Time Warner Cable. We’re keeping an eye on the situation—poor customer satisfaction could knock Spectrum down in our books.5
But if you’re outside of New York or less bothered by poor customer service ratings, Spectrum cable internet appears as a rosy alternative to expensive DSL and fiber providers that lock you into lengthy contracts.
High-speed internet FAQs
What is high-speed internet?
There’s no indisputable definition of high-speed internet. In fact, internet service providers attach the term to just about any plan, regardless of speed.
What’s more, the terms broadband internet and high-speed internet are often used interchangeably, further confusing things.
But why the confusion? Well, consider how the technology has evolved. Even the slowest plans featured in this article would have been considered blazingly fast in 2008—and much more so in 1998. So even if everyone did sit down and agree to a singular definition of high-speed internet, that definition would have to change every few years.
With that in mind, look for internet that’s fast enough for your needs rather than just high-speed internet. We’ll look at speeds in-depth in a minute.
High-speed internet vs. broadband internet: How do they differ?
Broadband more appropriately refers to any internet type that isn’t a dial-up connection. Essentially, broadband’s debut marks the age at which most of us moved on from the days of modems that tied up our phone lines to dial into internet provider companies like AOL. And what an age that was (we still hear the screeching modem sounds in our dreams).
Today, broadband internet generally includes any “always on” cable, DSL, fiber-optic, and even high-speed satellite internet connection. But not every plan operates at truly high speeds. So to compare internet providers, we decided to use the FCC’s 2015 guidelines on broadband internet speeds, which set the minimum at a 25 Mbps downstream.6
Most small to midsize businesses can operate well at 25 Mbps or more. Of course, as speeds get faster, even this current definition will start to seem slow. And the FCC may change its mind on minimum broadband standards. We’ll update you as necessary.
What types of high-speed internet are available?
High-speed broadband internet connections encompass plans from a variety of service providers and connection types. Depending on your area, you may have access to several of these or just one.
- Cable: This connection uses the same modems and coaxial cables that deliver cable TV, so cable internet is widely available in most well-populated areas.
- Digital subscriber line (DSL): These may be sent via phone lines, but DSL connections are faster and more reliable than the phone-based dial-up internet of yesteryear.
- Fiber: Fiber-optic networks beam light through glass or plastic bundles of wires—each wire the size of a human hair— and these connections offer some of the fastest internet speeds on the planet.
- Satellite: For rural businesses without access to land-based broadband, satellite internet is like an internet angel sent to earth by planet-orbiting stations.
- Wireless: Whether through hotspots, cellular signals, or fixed radio towers, wireless internet provides options for remote and traveling businesses.
Learn more about the difference between internet types with our detailed comparison.
Speed and bandwidth: How much do you need?
Speed and bandwidth are another two more ambiguously used terms in internet parlance. But we can define them a bit clearer than broadband internet and high-speed internet.
- Speed is the rate at which an internet connection transmits data from one end to the other. Measured in bits per second, most modern high-speed internet speeds range between 25 megabits (about 1 million bits) and 1 gigabit (about 1,000 megabits) per second.
- Bandwidth refers to the maximum capacity of a connection to carry internet data. Although ISPs often use speed to market their plans, they’re actually selling bandwidth. For example, a 100 Mbps plan has the capacity to deliver data at 100 megabits per second. But beware—you may not actually experience the advertised speed all the time.
Now back to the question: How much speed or bandwidth do you actually need? The answer depends on the type and frequency of internet activity your business engages in on a day-to-day basis.
While guidelines on speed use vary, here’s our recommendation for the speed you’ll need to run your business smoothly.
|Internet speed (download)||Number of connected users/devices||What you can do|
|25 Mbps||3 to 5||Large-file downloading, basic Wi-Fi, business communication|
|75 Mbps||5 to 10||Video streaming, frequent file sharing, numerous POS transactions|
|150 Mbps||10 to 15||Frequent cloud computing, videoconferencing, and online backups|
|250 Mbps||15 to 20||Server hosting, seamless streaming and conferencing|
|500 Mbps||20 to 30||Multiple-server hosting, constant cloud-based computing, heavy online backups|
|1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps)||30+||Extreme-speed operating for enterprise-ready offices with near-zero interruptions|
What else should you consider when choosing business internet providers?
Price and speed. That’s what matters when it comes to choosing a business internet provider, right?
Well, not entirely. The truth is that unless you have an unlimited budget (who does?) or run a supremely data-heavy business (not likely), you’ll have other factors to consider. Here are the ones we focus on.
- Connection type: Depending on your business’s location, connection type may be a key consideration. Some areas may have only a few internet connection choices—or even just one.
- Customer and industry ratings: Customer reviews of internet providers tend toward the hellish. But remember that businesses often have different experiences than residential customers. Make sure you understand how a potential ISP handles business customer complaints and concerns.
- Fees: Your customers hate hidden fees, and so should you. Check to see if you’ll be paying your provider extra for things like installation, static IPs, or early termination.
- Bundles: Most internet providers offer special deals for packaging more than one service under the same roof. Whether phone or VoIP or TV, consider bundles as a way to shave off some extra cost when you need several services.
- Data caps: You’ll run into limits on the amount of data you can use most often with satellite and wireless providers. It can be costly or disruptive to exceed these caps, so ensure you pick an internet plan that can accommodate your data needs.
- Cloud, security, and software services: From backing up your precious business data to running email, accounting, and e-commerce applications, many ISPs include or offer special rates on software and cloud-based services.
- Hardware: Each internet type requires a unique set of equipment to get up and running. Some setups are simple—just a modem connected to an office cable line. But others, like satellite internet, may require hefty hardware—and hefty costs too.
But others, like satellite internet, may require hefty hardware—and hefty costs too.
Verizon is our pick for the best overall high-speed business internet provider. But just because the ISP is our number one choice doesn’t mean it’s the right one for your business. Consider the factors important to you—cost, contracts, customer service—and then choose the one that best fits your business’s demands.
Make sure you can get the ISP you want—find business internet providers near you.
*Uptime guarantees confirmed from online chat conversations with internet service provider representatives.
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. Small Business Administration, “The Impact of Broadband Speed and Price on Small Business”
2. FCC, “Measuring Fixed Broadband Report—2016”
3. J.D. Power, “Satisfaction Gap Between Large and Small Business Wireline Customers Increases, J.D. Power Finds”
4. J.D. Power, “Satisfaction Gap Between Large and Small Business Wireline Customers Increases, J.D. Power Find”
5. Better Business Bureau, “Charter Spectrum”
6. FCC, “2015 Broadband Progress Report and Notice of Inquiry on Immediate Action to Accelerate Deployment”