Internet access Overview
The internet is arguably the most important communication tool of the 21st century. Public opinion research routinely indicates that people understand the internet’s importance, with one 2015 national survey showing that 58% of individuals polled agreed that “Internet access is essential, and everyone needs it in the 21st century economy.” While there seems to be strong agreement about the internet’s importance, this critical resource is not distributed evenly. Roughly 30% of households across America lack broadband internet access. Research suggests that Baltimore lags behind many cities when it comes to the number of households with home internet connections, with the U.S. According to this same source, an estimated 74,116 households in Baltimore have no internet access.
Internet access is the process of connecting to the internet using personal computers, laptops or mobile devices by users or enterprises. Internet access is subject to data signaling rates and users could be connected at different internet speeds. The speed, cost, reliability and availability of internet access depends on the region, internet service provider and type of connection. Internet access enables individuals or organizations to avail internet services/web-based services and is often provided at home, schools, public places, libraries, business offices, and other locations.
Importance of Internet Service Provider
If you want to access the internet, you’ll need an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and a router to connect to the ISP. ISPs often provide a router with their service. This means more than one computer or device in your house or office can use the broadband connection at the same time. An Internet service provider (ISP) is an organization that provides a myriad of services for accessing, using, or participating in the Internet. Internet services typically provided by ISPs can include Internet access, Internet transit, domain name registration, web hosting, Usenet service, and colocation. An ISP typically serves as the access point or the gateway that provides a user with an access to everything available on the Internet.
The ability to access information quickly and easily is a major benefit for businesses. The internet has just about every fact and piece of information immediately available that a business could need. The internet improves internal communications through email, connected calendars and chat services specifically designed to improve business communications. Automation is a major internet driven trend in the business world. The ability to automate tasks that traditionally required a workforce ultimately saves businesses money and makes their operations simpler and more efficient. Everything from basic accounting practices to customer service has some automation abilities depending on the business model and requirements.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that reliable internet access is now part of our social safety net. With large portions of society driven to cyberspace, new attention and urgency has come to gaps in Americans’ internet connectivity. Those on the wrong side of the digital divide are left out during a national crisis that in many ways necessitates online connectivity for accessing education, unemployment benefits, grocery delivery, and health care services. Small businesses often face more challenges for business internet connectivity. Many times, business owners and IT managers are overwhelmed by trying to understand the key questions around what type of internet service they need. Business connectivity has come a long way, but there are still several options available to companies in the Baltimore: DSL (Digital Subscriber Line, internet transmitted through your building’s copper telephone lines, Cable (the most common form of “business high-speed internet,” this is internet transmitted over coax cabling technology), and Fiber (the transmission of data using light through glass strands and currently the most reliable and fast business internet option). Most surprisingly, fiber-optic internet connectivity is probably the long-term cheapest option for your business.
There are many options for small business internet connectivity for SMBs in Baltimore and the surrounding metro area. These include everything from locally owned-and-operated companies to multinational telecommunications corporations. Many small businesses are overwhelmed by factors like bandwidth and cost when it comes to internet shopping. While these are important details to consider, they’re not the only things you should take into account when reading reviews of your options. Do they offer local, expert customer service? Are they responsive when customers have problems? It’s the details that make the difference. What does everyone need from their ISP to be a happy customer, regardless of industry or any other factor? Generally, in addition to factors of bandwidth and cost, here are some things to think about when you’re researching your options: great security; shorter installation times; accessible, local support; fast, accurate troubleshooting; a future-oriented mindset; reliable speeds/service-level agreements; and routing.
Cyber security should be of utmost importance for your business, particularly if you are in possession of sensitive data—such as employees’ or clients’ personal information, financial data etc. One way to improve your security is by using dedicated internet access. By avoiding sharing your internet connection with those outside of your organization, you will strengthen your overall cyber security and insulate your network against breaches.
No matter where you are operating from, business internet access needs should not be underestimated. Depending on your company, symmetrical upload and download speeds provided via a managed internet service provider — can be absolutely essential to your success.