How to Choose Your Internet Provider in the Age of ISP Monopolies


Most of us don’t have a real choice when it comes to internet providers, especially in residential areas. There is a dire lack of competition in the broadband market, which means that most Americans are locked into their ISP contracts.

This problem became more relevant in 2020, when almost everyone was sent to work, learn, or play at home. Naturally, we needed internet access for many of these activities. And we needed fast internet—connections that could handle two parents in business video calls and two children learning via Zoom.

When people were complaining about their increasing bills or about the lack of choice, the natural monopoly of internet providers was splashed across the front page. While most individuals and families are at the mercy of whatever ISP is in their market, businesses thankfully have more options. Unfortunately, very few businesses (especially small and local ones) are aware that they do have a choice.

How the ISP Market Is Better for Commercial Properties

Let’s take a quick look at how the ISP industry works. In general, it costs between $1,000 and $5,000 to build fiber into a home (on the lower end in suburbs and the higher end in rural areas). Since internet access is a subscription-based service, usually paid monthly, it takes time for the provider to break even on the initial infrastructure setup (up to six years in some cases, without counting maintenance services). 

Naturally, when an ISP brings fiber (or any level of service) into a neighborhood, they need as many homes on it as possible to break even faster. The prohibitive cost of fiber installation makes potential competitors reluctant to enter areas with existing infrastructure. And, of course, it makes the “pioneers” of a certain area more willing to “fight” to keep all the potential customers to themselves.

While the economic model is the same, commercial properties are different. For one, a business can tie bottom-line results to their internet access—losing big money if there’s an outage or even a slowdown. Commercial properties, like business parks, industrial parks, and office buildings, are densely populated with potential subscribers that are willing to pay more to gain access to the ISP’s top service and top speeds. It can also be easier to get permits and schedule construction for a block of businesses vs. a residential area.

Consequently, this means there is more room for competition and businesses aren’t always stuck with whoever happens to have a line currently buried closest to its property. Even accounting for installation costs, ISPs can break even faster, offer new fiber connections, and compete on things other than access (like customer service).

Right off the bat, you have more options as a business client. And this is just the beginning.

How to Play the Internet Game by Your Own Rules as an Iowa-Based Business

The fact that you can choose between one or two huge ISPs in your area doesn’t really constitute a choice. You can do better than that, but most small businesses have no idea where to start.

For instance, new commercial properties in Iowa can install their own private fiber networks. It’s a trend we see growing for new properties (it’s far easier to install your fiber network in the construction phase), but also for existing properties that want to break free from vendor lock-in.

How does this work exactly?

When you work with a partner like HTDC, you can connect to an existing ISP infrastructure—the same infrastructure the “big guys” use—but build a private fiber line for the “last mile” to your property. This means that your data is far more secure since you won’t be sharing bandwidth with your neighbors. Why should you suffer if the company next to you has to make huge data transfers every day on top of their dozens of simultaneous Zoom calls?

If you work with a local partner for your private fiber network, you can save a lot of money, have more ownership over your infrastructure, and enjoy a truly flexible contract, with no hidden costs or binding clauses.

At HDTC we have helped dozens of Iowa businesses get the internet service that their business really needs, without having to pay for options they don’t use just because they are part of the standard contract. For businesses in Iowa, private fiber means more security and better customer service. As a small company ourselves, we understand the needs of local businesses. We know that quick support and maintenance services are crucial. 

This is why we don’t have an excruciatingly hard to navigate support system. When you call us, we answer. And by “we,” that means a human with the necessary expertise to either solve your problem via phone or to dispatch the right team to your HQ. All without you having to spend twenty minutes on hold or go through a frustrating automated ticketing system.

Want even more control over your internet? You can combine your private fiber network with hosting. Our colocation and storage services are designed to be 100% scalable.

You pay for exactly what you use, with no thresholds and no hidden costs. Plus, you have a dedicated team of engineers and technicians to ensure that your data is always safe and easily accessible, even in case of natural or man-made disasters.

Want to know more about how we can help your Iowa-based business to thrive? Request a tour of our facility or call us for a free consultation!