Friday, July 29, 2005

 

Internet Service Provider or ISP is a company that provides access to the Internet.


Before choosing an ISP, it is important to assess your company's business and marketing goals. You should find out what your organization will be using the Internet for. Once you've determined this, you can contact ISPs that serve your geographic area and ask them about their services. Those questions below will help you better understand that your local ISP offers.


Technical Questions About Reliability


1. Does the connection work at all hours of the day?


2. When are you busiest?


3. Does the connection support the speeds/types of hardware/software you want to use? Have specific questions to ask them. Know your operating system and the software that you need to use. Does the provider support 56K? Does it use the U.S. Robotics' x2 or Rockwell/Lucent's K56flex standard or both of them?


Technical Support and Troubleshooting


1. Is support part of normal service or an added cost?


2. What are the hours of coverage for network operations?


3. Is telephone support available via a local call, 800 number, or long distance?


4. Is there technical help available via e-mail? If yes who answers the questions and how soon?


5. Is there help and/or manuals available online?


6. Is there a user-friendly interface to Internet resources?


7. What software is provided and/or required?


8. Are the Internet tools that you need (such as e-mail, telnet, FTP, Usenet/News, Gopher, WAIS, WWW, or Lynx) available?


Business Arrangements and References


1. Are free trial connections available?


2. What local and 800 phone numbers are available for you to use?


3. Can multiple users access the same billing account simultaneously?


4. Can multiple user IDs/mailboxes use the same billing account?


5. Are there surcharges for any types of connections or particular hours of the day?


6. What kind of contract or services agreement is required?


7. What options are available for billing and payments? Discounts for pre-payments?


8. Are there refunds for early termination or if service is not satisfactory?


9. Are there any options that will reduce (or increase) your costs?


10. Are group discounts available? (Start your own group!)


11. After placing an order, how long does it take to make the connection active?


12. Are there charges for file storage?


13. Is space for Web pages included?


14. If you travel and want to access the Internet while you are on the road, ask about accessing your ISP from the cities you visit.


15. How long has the provider been in business?


16. Can you get answers to your questions in writing?


17. Ask for names of two to three similar users and check with them regarding their experience.


Written by Helen Peshkova, RichTrack.com.


http://www.RichTrack.com is one of the first business oriented education portals. It's the leading online business information network for millionaires. The goal of RichTrack.com is to present business content in a professional, helpful and practical format that helps you getting rich.