Providers of alternative forms of business broadband, many of which rely on less-expensive wireless access technologies to connect their customers, are pushing their services with no-nonsense, low-cost approaches that appeal to business owners' frugality.
"People are saying, 'I don't need AT&T to sell me a zero or a one if I can get the same thing for less from someone else,'" says Towerstream CEO Jeff Thompson. Towerstream's broadband service targets businesses with 50 to 249 employees. The company's network relies on broadband wireless WiMAX technology to deliver fat pipes to customers in 10 major U.S. cities. Thompson says its "5 for 5" service--a 5Mbps managed Ethernet connection for $500 per month--is popular with business customers.
As for business customers' perceptions about the reliability of a wireless-based network for business services, Thompson says Towerstream addresses that by letting customers speak to each other about their experience with the service. "We confront reliability issues less and less because we have so many reference customers."