Fortunately, in this internet 101 piece, we’ll look at how you can pick the best internet provider from the pack. That way, you can make a more informed decision when out looking for an ISP, and you can also be more confident about your decision.
The US boasts about 2600 internet service providers, so you’re never short of options when you need one. The problem is picking out one from the bunch, and the best one at that. With all the enticing packages, unbeatable prices, and ridiculous speeds, ISPs have to offer, choosing the best internet provider becomes a bit tricky.
If you want to pick the best internet service provider, then you should consider the following.
The first thing you should consider when in the hunt for an ISP is the internet speed. Internet speeds are a selling point for ISPs, so they’ll inform you of the speeds they have to offer. Sometimes ISPs exaggerate their internet speeds but very rarely do they undercut them.
Everyone wants ridiculous internet speeds, but you have to first ask yourself whether you really need them. There’s no need for a super-fast internet when all you do with it is send and receive a couple of emails. However, if you’re streaming content or playing video games online, then you need super-fast internet.
While it’s hard to pin down on the exact internet speed, your ISP gives you an approximate value. Typically, the closer you are to the central office, the faster your internet speeds will be. Try to find out where the CO of your ISP is, to know whether it’s close or far away from your residence or business.
Even the highest internet speeds are useless if you can’t access the internet when you want. So your priority part from the internet speed should be the reliability. The only way you can know how reliable an internet provider is through checking out online reviews or asking people who use the same internet provider.
However, you shouldn’t trust online reviews too much, because some of the reviews might be from the company itself. No company ever writes a bad review for itself, that’s why you should be careful with the reviews that you read online.
Some ISPs have introductory prices, which is what customers pay for the installation and the first month of service. After one or a few months, the customer can start making regular monthly payments.
Your ISP should always be clear about this introductory payment and how the cost of service changes after the installation. In some cases, the pricing may change drastically after the introductory payment, sometimes to unaffordable rates. Therefore, make sure your ISP is clear about the pricing, including any introductory payments and the monthly rates after.
Don’t be surprised when you no longer have an internet connection even though you paid the subscription fee. You’ll later find out that you haven’t paid a couple of additional costs that you most likely had no idea about. Some companies are experts at hiding additional costs forcing customers to pay more than they had initially agreed.
These costs are usually hidden, so make a point of asking the company before signing for anything. Sometimes these costs might be for additional features, which you might be interested in.
Does the ISP put a cap on the amount of data you can use each month, if so, is the cap unreasonably low? Some services have caps on the amount of data you can download, and this can be especially annoying for heavy internet users. Find out whether the ISP you settle for has data caps and if it does, where it caps at.
Is the ISP a Local Company
Lots of people prefer settling for local ISPs, and for the right reasons. As mentioned earlier, the closer your home or business is to the CO, the faster your internet is likely to be. Also, it’s easier for a local company to serve you should you experience any issue with your internet connectivity.
That said, not every local internet provider is the best choice for you. For starters, if the cables in your region are no good, then you shouldn’t expect very fast and reliable internet. Plus, other non-local internet providers might have better offers than the local ones
It’s a good idea to settle for local internet providers, but not all the time. Make sure you explore both the local and non-local options and settle for the one with the better offers.
Some internet providers may throw in some extra goodies with your internet subscription. These may be a free antivirus, a WiFi booster, or a firewall. In most cases, you don’t have to pay for these extras, think of them as incentives.
However, it’s not uncommon for internet providers to charge a small fee for these extras, typically in the form of hidden costs. So while you should look for internet providers with excellent additional goodies, make sure the company is clear about whether you have to pay for them.
Now it’s hard to know about a company’s customer care without actually subscribing to their services. However, you can check testimonials and online reviews from previous or current customers. You can also learn about the credibility and reputation of the company on BBB, which is more credible than online reviews.
Terms of Service
Make sure you read through the terms of service to know exactly what you’re paying for. It’s from reading the terms of service that you can learn about any hidden costs, data caps, and the rest. Some internet providers may restrict access to certain sites, and they’ll make this clear in their terms of service.
What Are the Types of Internet Services Available Today?
The first step to picking the best internet provider is to know the types of internet services available today. ISPs utilize a wide range of technologies at their disposal to connect customers to the internet.
Here are the major types of internet services available today.
If you’re looking for high-speed and reliable internet, then cable internet is your go-to choice. However, just because you have cable internet, doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get ultra-fast internet. The speed and reliability of your internet depend on the package you choose and the ISP.
With cable internet, the ISP connects customers to the network using a cabled connection. This cable, typically a coaxial cable, connects to your modem or router to give you an internet connection. You don’t have to connect the cable to your device; you can connect the cable to your WiFi router for wireless internet.
DSL abbreviates digital subscriber line and is one of the most common internet services available today. Just like cable internet, ISPs connect customers to the internet via cables, but with DSL, it’s a different type of cable. DSL connections use copper telephone lines instead of coaxial cables, that’s why it’s also known as dial-up internet.
ISPs with satellite internet provide internet connections via satellites in space, so there’s no need for cables. Satellite internet is very flexible and is available in more locations than cabled and DSL internet.
The internet service provider will install a satellite dish in your home that receives the internet signal. This dish then conveys the signal back to the router or modem at home, which you can then use to connect to the internet.
You probably have an internet-enabled phone which you use for your social media, emails, and online shopping. The internet you get from mobile carriers like T-Mobile, Mint Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint is what is known as mobile internet.
With mobile internet, you can either use your smartphone as a WiFi hotspot or buy a mobile hotspot to achieve the same purpose. Mobile internet is the cheapest and most cost-effective internet option for household needs with a small number of internet users. The downside with mobile internet is that it limits the number of users and is relatively slower than the other internet service options.
With This Internet 101 Guide, You’re Ready to Pick an Internet Service Provider
Hopefully, our internet 101 piece has been of great help to you in finding the best internet service provider. Before you finally settle for an ISP, make sure you explore all your options first.
Most ISPs have special packages for businesses, which offer better speeds and can accommodate more users than home connections. As such, if you need the internet for your business, make sure you make it clear to the ISP that they’ll be servicing a business. That way, you can get yourself a good deal and maybe even get better speeds.