Choosing an Internet Service Provider
FACTORS TO CONSIDER IN CHOOSING AN INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER
Choosing an internet service provider should be easy, Often, though, it’s not. With several providers competing for your business, all offering several different plans with sharply different prices, you have a lot to consider. Choosing the best service at a price you can afford will be easier if you bear a few things in mind:
How do you use the internet? If you want only e-mail and light web-surfing on one device, you won’t need more than moderate speed. Two or three megabits per second (MB/S) should be enough; there’s no sense in paying more for higher speed if you won’t use it. DSL or the most basic tier of cable or satellite internet service will work for you. If you intend to download videos, play interactive games, or keep two or three devices connected to the web at once, then 12 to 20 MB/S would be better. If your household will have multiple devices connected at once, if you play multiplayer interactive games, if you run a business online, or if you often need to download large files, then you may need 50 MB/S or more.
What’s available in your neighborhood? A few internet service providers, such as AT&T, Verizon, and Google, advertise extreme speeds: 300 MB/S, 500 MB/S, even 1000 MB/S in some neighborhoods in a few cities. The fastest services, though, are available only in a few urban areas. Find out what’s available where you live, by visiting an independent website such as Bundle Deals.
What can you afford? Don’t overextend yourself. Establish a budget, and stick with it. No matter how much you may want the premier internet service,your peace of mind will suffer if you pay more than you can afford.
What is required to install the system? This can be the wild card in your search for internet service. Some providers charging low rates for service may charge several hundred dollars for installation, so the low monthly rate may not be a bargain. Also, even highly rated internet service providers often use independent contractors to install home systems, and these contractors are not always certified. Installations can often take hours, and may require multiple visits. How much is your time worth? How much is your peace of mind worth? How do you feel about strangers coming into your house? If you’re concerned about this, a wireless system you install yourself may be a wise choice, even though wireless internet is usually slower than wired internet.
What is the price after the promotions end? Some internet service providers offer extremely low rates for new customers. Look closely at the fine print in your contract, though. You may find that the standard rate for your internet service doubles or even triples once the promotional period ends. Before signing any agreement, make sure you understand all charges.
What are the data caps? If you are a heavy user of bandwidth, your internet service provider may impose monthly data caps on you. If you exceed the caps, your service may be slowed, or you may have to pay overage fees. You may even be disconnected for a while. To keep this from happening to you, track your monthly data usage, and select an internet service with caps high enough to accommodate you.
If you do your homework, you are likely to find an internet service that meets your needs at a price you can afford.
(Editor’s Note: In choosing an internet service provider, shop with Bundle Deals. Compare all providers and plans available in your neighborhood, then order any service with one phone call.)