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Service Level Agreement

What is an SLA?

A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contractual guarantee provided by an ISP which specifies a set of performance metrics its circuits must meet, such as service availability, bandwidth, data delivery, latency, and jitter.

The existence of an SLA is one of the primary reasons your business should consider a fiber optic Internet circuit over a cable or DSL based circuit. The SLA guarantees that the ISP has allocated sufficient resources to keep their enterprise class circuits up all the time with performance that adheres to tight standards. If a telco fails to meet their SLA during some period, then the customer is entitled to either a partial or full credit of charges for that period.

For example, Bitstream partner fiber provider ACC AT&T Business offers a site uptime availability of 100% and issues the following credits based on the length of a service outage:

Outage Length Credit on Monthly Invoice
≥ 1 minute 3.3%
≥ 2 hours 10.0%
≥ 4 hours 25.0%
≥ 8 hours 50.0%
≥ 16 hours 100.0%

When comparing offerings for Internet service, make sure to first determine whether your business needs a circuit with an SLA. If an outage that could last an entire day is unacceptable, then the answer is probably yes.