Broadband access for small businesses varies tremendously based on location. Close proximity to a fiber connection is integral to a company’s ability to access leading broadband technology. For example, large companies typically check fiber maps to see where fiber lines are situated when selecting a new office location.
There are urban areas where fiber to your office building is affordable and easily available but in rural areas it may be difficult to find a broadband solution that really works well. In areas where fiber is unavailable, many small businesses have taken the Business DSL offering from their phone provider without investigating the alternatives. DSL works well for many people, but others find that there are problems with performance and stability.
Issues with broadband access can be very localized. The quality of the line plant, the distance from the exchange, the number of other users in the vicinity and the network planning policies of the supplier all affect the performance.
DSL uses high frequencies on the copper phone line, alongside the basic voice service, which is a bit like having VHF radio on the airwaves alongside medium wavelengths. In many locations, copper line facilities were in place long before DSL was invented and their age affects performance. Speed and reliability can be reduced either by corroded terminals or by two wires sitting next to those of a simultaneous broadband user in the bundle going back to the central office. At the central office, your broadband is combined with the traffic from all the other users in your area and that, in combination with the amount of capacity the telecom carrier allows for each user on the link to the Internet, will affect the speeds that your business receives.
Cable modems run over networks designed for broadcast TV, with capacity shared between users in your neighborhood. Because of the move to digital TV, the TV network is likely to have been comprehensively upgraded including fiber being brought very close to your building.
So although with cable service you are sharing the broadband capacity right from your premises, not just from the central office, in many places businesses will find that they get much better performance than with DSL. Additionally, cable service pricing is very competitive. If your DSL is causing problems, it is worth checking out cable.