Networking

Navigating and Negotiating Small Business Service


Our business normally sees three to four simultaneous clients for several hours per day during peak times. Since the pandemic, this has caused all clients to be virtual video calls. We've always struggled with internet problems, but this really has disrupted the perceived quality of the business due to disconnections, troubleshooting network when file transfers fail, and poor video/audio quality.

Our current copper service from ATT should be a 25 mbps dedicated line to the office, but all our video qualities are bad. We spoke with Comcast about their fiber option, but they quoted twice the price for a 30 mbps line. Neither contract has any SLA for upload. Everywhere I look for guidance on how to navigate comparing these plans, I see nonsense marketing like this "comparison" which quotes inconsistent prices and unrelated "rankings" between ATT and Comcast, or this ridiculous "DSL" fact sheet that doesn't even make sense.

The ATT technician says they don't have a better line coming to our building. The comcast sales rep claims "his entire office of engineers and staff uses all their mobile devices simultaneously and never touches 100mbps" and refutes the ATT claim that our current service is a dedicated line without even visiting.

How do small business owners do it? We can't afford huge contracts, but we need better service. The service providers are all just trying to outsell eachother with no valuable resources and bullshit SLAs that aren't even a priority for us. They insist on selling "managed" solutions that cost a fortune, but I certainly don't trust them to know what will actually work for us. Meanwhile, our home service is a consistent 900+ mbps symmetric connection for less than $60/month.

Apologies if this feels like a rant (it sort of is), but we really need a better service for our business and can't figure out how to get it without doubling our budget for some meaningless marketing "guarantees" about a managed solution. If anyone has insights or stories of how they setup their service, please share!

submitted by /u/denim_magnet
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