June 21, 2024


Sapiens Digital

Business Choice Awards 2020: Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

4 min read

If you can find a business that doesn’t need a rock-solid
internet connection these days, you should also buy a lottery ticket stat, and maybe
go hunting for an actual unicorn, too. It’s that rare, especially in this epoch where face-to-face meetings are all

In our annual survey of PCMag readers
about their ISPs, we always
ask those in charge of office ISP services to weigh in, too.
This year, we’re changing things up a bit to put a real spotlight on small and medium-sized business ISPs where the staff is anywhere from two to 99 people,
and the so-called “small-enterprises” of 100+ people. (If you’re curious
about those one-person outfits working at home, check out the results of this
year’s Readers’ Choice


Small or Medium-Sized Business ISP: Grande Communications

Users who want the best small-biz ISP should move to Texas, the home of this year’s winner when it comes to solid, easy internet
that makes office managers, workers, and IT all happy.  


Small Enterprise ISP: Spectrum Business

You all know Spectrum, the amalgamation of several ISPs under the control of
Charter, rebranded into a mega-ISP to take on the mega-competition. Turns out
that when it comes to large offices, that competition doesn’t hold a candle to
what Spectrum Business provides, particularly when it comes to ease of
use and reliability.

In the last five years of covering Business Choice ISPs, the winners have tended to mimic what we see in the home, but we modified
some questions this year to narrow in on the SMB and small-enterprise sized
guys rather than just
fall back on the same-old sole proprietors using a home connection to get work
done—not that there is anything wrong
with that! Without those connections, you wouldn’t be reading PCMag.com while
the whole staff is stuck at home.

Our first winner, Grande Communications, certainly
does plenty of at-home connections in Texas, the only state where it has
service, but it was singled out by users of its business class with a high overall satisfaction
rating of 8.6 (out of 10 as the highest). In fact, with only one exception, Grande had the
highest rating across every measure, including setup (9.1), reliability (8.6), ease
of use (8.9), and the likelihood to be recommended (8.6). 

The only time Grande wasn’t on top was for cost/value, where
its sister company,
RCN Business, was ahead by a smidgen, at 8.3 to Grande’s 8.1. They also tied
for 8.4 under satisfaction with technical support. In third was Wave Broadband
with an 8.1 overall, right after RCN’s 8.4. Note that the three top companies
are all related, as they have one parent company, which apparently put the word
out to users to take our survey. We couldn’t find any evidence of any monkey business
beyond that.

The three of them were able to push Verizon Fios down to fourth place, even when
it comes to offices of two to 99. Fios has won four out of the
five previous years we’ve covered business ISPs—but still wins for home use in Readers’ Choice. And obviously, the three runners-up are what you
should look for if you’re not in Texas. The four mentioned above are also the only
business ISPs that were capable of getting a positive number when it came to
their Net Promoter Scores.

What ISP should you lean into when you’ve got a much bigger
business? We only had four ISPs that made the cut when asking people who managed big
office internet service for their thoughts. While the numbers are far from impressive
when you compare them to smaller offices or home setups—people don’t always like
their work internet when it is thrust upon them—it’s clear the only ISP worth considering is
Spectrum Business. It had the highest or tied marks for every single
measurement we asked about.

Spectrum scored very well for reliability at 7.7 and astronomically well (in this
context) for ease of use (8.3), a must-have for office internet. Its only deficiency is
price, but even the 6.8 it scored there was well ahead of the competition from
Comcast, CenturyLink, and AT&T Fiber. None of the above had good enough recommendation
scores to pull their respective Net Promoter Scores out of the negative
numbers, however.

Below is the full table of results for Business Choice
2020: ISPs.

Business Choice 2020 ISPs Full Table

The PCMag Business Choice survey for ISPs was in the
field from April 20, 2020, through March 11, 2020. For more information on how
the survey is conducted, read the survey methodology.

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