Customers have a lot of options these days as far as internet service providers (ISPs) go. But while it is nice to not be stuck with a specific provider, it can be a challenge to know which service provider is best for what you need as well as which provider has the best value for your money. There are ways to find out which provider makes the most sense for your needs.
Types of Service
To begin with, it is important to understand that there are still different types of internet out there. While dial-up is what people may remember from the beginning of the internet, it is still very much around and a service some people pay for. Unless dial-up internet is the only kind of service near you, it is better to go with a broadband internet connection.
Broadband is kind of a blanket term that covers internet that is not dial-up. This includes DSL, cable, and fiber optic service. All of these service types can be high-speed, especially compared to dial-up. They also have a constant connection, meaning you do not need to turn on the internet or connect to it when you are ready to use it, because you are always connected.
DSL (digital subscriber line)
DSL works over a regular phone line and is usually the cheapest internet service. It can have high speeds such as 25 megabits per second, but the quality really depends on how close you are to the provider’s office. If you are far away, your speed will be slower.
Cable operates through television providers. It works over TV wires and has a wide range of speeds going from 3 megabits per second( Mbps) to 100 Mbps. The biggest issue here is that you often have to share signal with neighbors who are also using the same cable provider. The more users, the slower it is. The price is often higher than DSL, unless you are getting a discount by subscribing to cable TV as well.
Fibre Optic is the fastest of the types of internet, it is just not as accessible as the other forms of internet. They travel over an optic line. The speeds can go all the way up to 300 Mbps. If this is near you, it will be the fastest internet out there.
After you know the type of service you would like to pick, you need to take in a few other factors including:
· Cost: Some providers offer bundle deals if you are already receiving another type of service from them. Others will charge you to rent their specific modem monthly, adding in another cost. Some providers have an entry price that will increase the next year. Always read the fine print.
· Details: There is a risk that your provider has a “Data cap.” Just like with cellphones, they will add on fees for how much you are using the internet a month. Streaming videos takes the most data so really make sure this is not in your internet contract.
· Speed: If you are just using internet to check email and stream Netflix once in a while, you are not going to need the highest speed out there, whereas someone running more uploads and downloads will need a higher speed to keep things running.
The best thing you can do is ask questions of any provider and make sure you understand where add-on costs could be added in. This will also help you know how accessible customer service is and whether they will help when you really need it.