As IT consultants, we’re often in a position to advise clients about lots of things, one of which is their choice of internet provider. Sometimes they will consult us before a purchase, and sometimes they won’t. We hope this article will serve to educate you on the potential pitfalls of cable internet services.


As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” This is especially true when it comes to choosing who will provide the Internet connection for your business. As many businesses transition to cloud services and voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephone systems, the speed and reliability of your Internet connection is more important than ever.

Many times, cable company sales reps will swoop in and offer very attractive pricing for what seems like a very high bandwidth option. Pricing can be as much as 50% less than other providers, so it’s very attractive to business owners who are merely looking for the lowest cost option.



In our opinion, in order for an Internet service to be called “business class,” it should meet three criteria:

  1. The service should have dedicated bandwidth, not shared
  2. The service should be built on an infrastructure designed for the demands of business, not residential customers
  3. The service should offer business-class service level agreements (SLAs) that ensure delivery of true business-class performance and features

Unfortunately, virtually all cable providers (like Time Warner Cable here in the Dallas area) fall short of all three of these requirements.

fig. 1: Shared Bandwidth


Cable service is a shared bandwidth service. All available bandwidth is shared among multiple customers (see figure 1). For example, a 10Mbps cable service in your neighborhood could be split among as many as 100 users. This means that the amount of bandwidth available to your business can vary greatly during the day, depending on the moment-to-moment traffic levels generated by other customers.


fig. 2: Dedicated Bandwidth

A much better option is a dedicated bandwidth service, such as that offered by Ethernet, fiber or even T-1 service (see figure 2). In this scenario, the total bandwidth of your circuit is all yours, all the time.

Cable service was designed for residential customers, using asymmetrical connections that deliver “best effort” service. It was never designed for business-critical applications like cloud services or VoIP.

Cable providers do not offer SLAs for uptime, guaranteed bandwidth, latency, jitter or even repair times. If you use a cable provider for your primary/sole connection and there is an outage in your area, you could easily be offline for hours, sometimes days – and they are under no obligation to refund you, or repair the issue within a reasonable timeframe. Furthermore, since the bandwidth they promise is more of a ‘guideline’ than a ‘guarantee’, any service degradation you may experience will often go unresolved.

Now, we’re not bashing the cable companies at all. There are scenarios where you might want to use their services, such as:

  • A secondary Internet connection when you need business continuity
  • In locations where superior technology like Ethernet or fiber are not available


BBTech can help you find and select the right Internet service for your business needs. We will advise you every step of the way to make sure your business remains productive and has the right services in place to enable you to take advantage of the newest trends like VoIP and cloud computing.

Interested in learning more?

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