Small businesses pay their ISPs only slightly more than home users do: Roughly 60 percent of business respondents pay less than $49 per month, whereas about 83 percent of home users pay less than $49 per month.
What do business owners want from an ISP? "Best value for the money" and "Fast upload/download speed" were the most popular replies in our survey. Business use of the Internet doesn't vary greatly from home use: The most popular applications are Web browsing, e-mail, and IM, followed by downloading and uploading files. Interestingly, only 15 percent of our business respondents said they use online backup, and a mere 11 percent operate a Web-based store.
In addition, for small businesses reliability is very important--and 68 percent of respondents reported being satisfied with this aspect of their ISP.
"I'm an Avon representative and I do about 90 percent of my business online," says Cox subscriber Falconer. "Mostly I need a dependable connection. It doesn't have to be superfast." She doesn't know the exact speed of her service, but she says it's fast enough. "I wish it were cheaper, but you get what you pay for," says Falconer, who pays $45 a month. "I figure, if they do a good job, you pay for it."