Internet Service Providers Buyers Guide
These days, it’s almost impossible to go without Internet, even at home. Everything from our jobs, our favorite TV shows, and our music, to our friends and family, our hobbies, and our education is accessed online. There are even vital businesses and services that must be accessed via the Internet in order to use their services. With all these needs in mind, choosing the right Internet service provider is important.Users want to be able to get reliable, fast Internet service; but they also want to be sure that they get an affordable rate and other helpful features. How do you know what services you need, or what they are worth? There are many things to consider before choosing the right Internet service provider.
Types of Internet Service
There are several ways to connect to the Internet, all or some of which may be available in your area. DSL, or digital subscriber line, is Internet that is accessed through a phone line. A company that offers DSL Internet may require that you have a phone service plan with them. Cable Internet is accessed via cable service. (Broadband, by the way, is an umbrella term that describes any Internet connection that isn’t dial-up.)
Satellite Internet is accessed via satellite, and fiber-optic Internet (or FiOS) is Internet that is provided through fiber-optics cables. This is one of the fastest types of Internet available. The best options for speed are usually DSL and FiOS; if you have a local option that offers these services, they would be great choices to investigate further.
What is Available?
Many Americans are limited to what Internet providers operate in their areas. If you live near a major city, or on either coast, you likely have multiple options to choose from. However, if you live in the Southeast or the Midwest, especially in a more rural area, you are probably going to have to choose from two or three providers. You may have better luck getting more reliable Internet through your phone or TV provider in these areas.
For the most part, even if you can access a major provider, it’s usually better to work with local providers, because their systems tend to be more reliable, and because they can fix issues faster than a larger company that doesn’t have a local office. And with less customers to serve, a local company can offer higher data allowances, even during peak hours.
When you’ve narrowed down your choices based on type and availability, it’s time to start comparing features. The speed is usually the first thing that most users look at. Download speeds can range from a turtle-like 3 Mbps to a whopping 105 Mbps. Generally, you want to find a service that provides no less than 10 Mbps, in order to stream HD videos without lag. Gamers need much higher speeds to support their media rich gaming experiences.
If you can, always choose a company that doesn’t require a contract. Those that do tend to require expensive early cancellation fees, and it can be tough to contest by walking away if they raise prices or limit data. Finally, be sure you choose the company that fits your budget best, including equipment leasing, installation fees, and fees for exceeding data limits.
By comparing these three things, you’ll be able to find the right Internet service provider for your home, but don’t expect to get it right the first time. You may have to go through more than a few companies before you find the perfect provider. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of any 30-day money back guarantees if you can tell right away that an Internet service provider just isn’t for you.