The average monthly cost for internet in the US is $66.17. If you’re paying more than this, you can cut your costs by using another internet service provider.
But selecting the right service provider isn’t easy. How do you know if you can trust their speed claims? What’s the difference between a national and a local service provider?
This post will provide you with eight things you need to consider when comparing internet service providers. After digesting the information in this post, you should know how to find the right service provider for your needs.
1. What Do You Need the Internet For?
Perhaps the most significant factor that’ll determine your choice of service provider is what you’re using the internet for.
If you’re only using the internet to send emails and do some simple web browsing, your requirements aren’t going to be huge. You’ll find that the basic packages of around 5-10 Mbps will meet your needs.
But if you need the internet to watch 4K movies on your smart TV, you’ll need a package that can deliver at least 20MBPs of data.
It’s also worth thinking about how many people are going to be using the internet connection. For instance, if everyone in your house is watching Netflix on their “own screen,” it’s going to take up a lot of data. Thus, you’ll probably need a package that provides at least 50MBPs of data.
2. What’s Their Past Reputation?
Internet service providers are notorious for promising one thing but delivering something else. So, if you see an internet service provider making a promise on their website, take it with a grain of salt.
You can develop a true sense of the service provided by an internet provider by reading their reviews, and sites like Trustpilot can help you do this.
There’s a chance that the people leaving bad reviews are fringe cases that don’t represent a typical experience. But if you notice a common issue, it’s likely the problem will affect you, should you become a customer.
3. Are There Any Hidden Charges?
Upon first glance, the price of an internet connection can look appealing. But once you read the fine print, you may learn about some hidden charges that’ll increase your costs.
The most common hidden charge is the setup fee. The service provider may need to send someone to your house to set up the wiring and equipment. In some cases, you may need to pay for the equipment, on top of the setup fee. You may also experience a hidden charge if you choose to cancel your service.
Though this doesn’t exactly represent a hidden charge, it’s vital that you read how long a certain price is going to last.
For instance, a service provider may promote an offer that says the connection is going to cost you $40 per month.
But if you read the fine print, you may discover that this is only going to last for six months. At the end of this period, the price of the internet may increase to $60 per month. You’ll be forced to pay this price for the remainder of the contract.
4. How Do You Feel About Security?
With data breaches becoming more common, it’s reasonable for you to be concerned about the security of your internet connection.
If a company claims that their internet connection is secure, treat their claims with a certain level of scrutiny. That’s because ultimately, the security of your internet connection comes down to you.
If the ISP provides you with a router, make sure that it can provide WPA2 encryption. If the ISP is unable to do this, you’ll need to invest in another router that can do this. If you want to mask your internet activity, you’ll need to invest in a VPN.
5. What Are Their Support Agreements?
For one reason or another, your internet connection is going to fail you at some point. Make sure your service provider has a solid support agreement in place so that you don’t experience a lot of downtime if your connection takes a hit.
Some companies might promise that they’ll send out an engineer within 24 hours. Others might provide you with a means of accessing 4G internet if your hardline is no longer working.
As mentioned earlier, though, you need to treat these promises with a level of scrutiny. If reviews suggest that ISPs are unable to deliver on these promises, then you should consider finding another ISP.
6. Where Are You Located?
Unfortunately, your location can have a significant impact on the kinds of companies you can use. If you’re in a relatively remote area, you may not be able to make use of a provider that can offer you with a high-speed fiber connection.
If you find yourself in such a situation, it helps to consider non-traditional options. Instead of using an ISP that provides a wired connection, satellite internet service providers might be a better option.
7. Can You Take Advantage of Any Bundles?
If you have a cable TV connection, it’s worth checking out if that same company can provide you with an internet connection too.
Investing in a ‘bundle’ package can help you reduce the overall cost you’re paying for both TV and internet. You might also want to check if your cell phone provider can offer you an internet connection bundle.
8. Local or National?
When checking out various service providers, you’ll notice that some companies are local and some are national. There’s no hard and fast rule that states which one is the better option.
Some people find local companies offer better service because they’re less likely to be overstretched. But, national providers may put more money into infrastructure, meaning they can provide faster speeds.
Ready to Compare Internet Service Providers?
A slow internet connection can be incredibly frustrating. A slow, expensive, internet connection is enough to drive you mad. By choosing another internet service provider, though, you should be able to find a connection that’s both fast and affordable.
In this post, we’ve examined eight things you need to consider when you’re comparing internet service providers. Be sure to look out for hidden fees and potential increases in costs after a certain amount of time. You’ll also want to find out if you can take advantage of any bundles.
It’s fair to say that you’ll need to do a lot of upfront research. But if you do the hard work now, you’ll be able to massively improve the odds of finding a service provider that’ll keep disappointments to a minimum.
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