Location, Location, Location

When you start to shop for internet and voice services for your company, location is probably the number one factor concerning what is available to you. Even in major cities there are areas that are just underserved, and, on the other hand, you may find that your address—even if it’s somewhat off the beaten path—gives you tons of options. So here’s why:

Traditional telephone providers—think everyone that provides wired internet except cable providers—built or purchased space inside big locked-down buildings to house all their telephone equipment (and internet equipment); that building is called a Central Office. In a city, there may be lots of these. More rural areas may have just a few. From out of those central offices run all the copper and fiber optic cables over the poles and through the tunnels and attach to all those buildings, and phone booths, and traffic cameras, and whatever else may need dial tone or an internet connection. As the signal travels down those wires it starts to slow down and get weaker until eventually there’s nothing left. At that point, you’ll find another Central Office, or rarely a weather-proof box of equipment to amplify the signal, or sometimes they just stop. If your office window happens to look out at that last pole, you’re just not going to have many options—and none of them are likely to be stellar high-speed internet.

If you happen to look out your window and see a big building with the name of a telephone company plastered across the top then you may be in great shape, but keep in mind, it’s the length of the cable, not just the physical distance. If it has to run across a bridge a mile away, there may not be much signal left for you to use. It’s also possible that the particular building you’re looking at just does not have the high speed stuff installed in it.
Alternatively, cable providers have traditionally installed weather-proof boxes in different neighborhoods to provide service. The benefit of doing things in that way is the blistering speeds that many cable companies can offer—primarily for residences. The drawback is sharing that speed with everyone else on your block. Sometimes that’s not a problem, and sometimes it is.

Wireless providers transmit through the air, so it often does not take too long for signal strength to disperse into the atmosphere. But if you’re close to the tower or rooftop they’re transmitting from, some can provide excellent options.
Satellite internet providers (used primarily in rural areas) have some of the same issues as wireless providers, imagine how strong a signal must be to come to you from space. And of course, amplifying a signal that much and maintaining a satellite in orbit is pretty expensive.

If you start to search for connectivity and you find that speeds or services that you need just are not available, take a look at some of the alternatives, you may find you’re in precisely the right location to get what you want another way. And if you’re in a downtown metropolitan area, you may find that you’re so close to the Central Office that you can find great deals and speeds far beyond what you might consider if you were farther away, but you may have to dig a little to find them.