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Internet Access Buyer's Guide - Contracts

Internet Access Buyer's Guide - Contracts

Published: 04/17/2011

» Business Services
»» Internet Access



It definitely pays to read the fine print when it comes time to sign a contract for broadband Internet access. The contract you sign should be comprehensive, with no unwanted surprises or hidden fees – detailing all costs, length of service, and the SLA.



The standard contract length for broadband Internet access is three years. In most cases, this will include all setup fees (including the wiring for your phone connection to the phone company’s central office, known as “local loop” charges), installation costs, and equipment rental. Shorter‐term contracts may require you to pay additional fees. We don’t recommend signing contracts longer than three years because prices could fall, leaving you locked into paying a higher price for the duration.



Also keep in mind that there are severe penalties for breaking a contract before it expires – it can cost your company anywhere from several hundred dollars to the entire balance of the contract left on the contract.



Find out how long an ISP has been in business before you sign any binding contract. Companies new to the business may not have the experience to deliver the quality of services you need. Also, make sure that the ISP you use is financially sound. The last thing you want is to find your broadband Internet access – and ultimately, your business – was compromised because a provider was in fiscal trouble.





Getting set up


Once you sign a contract, the vendor will arrange an installation time. A telecommunications contractor will come to your office to set up and test the necessary circuits. Then, the broker will install the routers and connect your LAN. They also configure your IP addresses and firewall security, as well as any other equipment noted on the contract.



Once the broker works out the best deal for you, it takes the service provider 30‐45 days from the day the client signed the contract to setup up your office for access. Plan accordingly.