How to choose an internet service provider


  1. 1 Establish whether you want a connection for a computer or your entire network. You may need a faster connection if it is to be shared.
  2. 2 Evaluate how much data you need to upload. Cloud computing and remote access services often require good upload speeds, but cheaper connections are designed mainly for downloads.
  3. 3 Determine what type of connection you require: standard broadband or a faster fibre optic connection (if available near you). If fibre is available, it’s a much quicker, more reliable option.
  4. 4 Steer clear of rock-bottom packages. These are rarely a good deal for business purposes, as they have strict speed and download limits and limited flexibility.
  5. 5 Decide whether to get a business package. These usually provide a higher level of service than consumer packages and are the better option for all but the smallest companies.
  6. 6 Check providers and connection options in your area. You can use a website like Think Broadband to see what’s available to you.
  7. 7 Consider how your internet needs may change in future. For instance, if your company grows, you may need to upgrade to a faster connection.
  8. 8 Investigate ISPs' reputations for speed and reliability. Read reviews online from sites like Broadband Choices.
  9. 9 Compare the cost of different packages. Many ISPs offer introductory deals, so check what their prices will rise to. Watch for extra charges for things like line rental, too.
  10. 10 Check the contract carefully. A year’s contract is common, but some providers will sign you up for 18 months. Make sure you can upgrade during this period if you think your requirements will change.
  11. 11 Decide whether you need a service level agreement (SLA). This guarantees you a certain level of broadband reliability. Packages with an SLA usually cost more, but provide greater reliability.
  12. 12 Check what support you will get. Most ISPs offer telephone support, but the quality can vary.
  13. 13 Check what security measures they provide to protect your company from viruses, emails and hacking. Some packages come with free security software.
  14. 14 Get ISP recommendations from your IT supplier, advisers and contacts. Broadband performance sometimes varies by area, so it can be a good idea to check with businesses nearby.

Cardinal rules


  • look at your requirements before considering suppliers
  • choose an ISP likely to meet your future needs
  • assess costs based on how you will use the internet
  • consider paying extra for fibre, if available


  • assume all ISPs offer good service
  • cut corners by buying a rock-bottom package