Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing an Internet Service Provider
You use the internet for just about everything, right?
Whether it is sending an important business email, or binge-watching your favorite series on Netflix, the presence of a smooth and stable internet connection in your life is almost pivotal. And it should be, given the major convenience that the digital world of the web brings into your daily routine.
Interactions that took days before the invention of the internet are now carried out within seconds. Information, which wasn’t as easily accessible before, is now at your literal fingertips. And, let’s not even talk about the avenues of entertainment that have been opened by the commercialization of cloud.
Such is the importance of the internet in today’s world.
However, the real problem comes when you have to shop for an internet connection. The high-speed offerings of big or small internet service providers in the market can easily overwhelm and confuse anyone. To make sense of the clamor and to compare the internet service providers based on a proper standard is what’s really needed.
Lucky for you, this post highlights the top factors that you can use to narrow down your options and carve your decision. After all, you owe it to yourself to select an ISP you will be actually happy within 2020. If that’s the case, read on.
Connection Type & Coverage
Internet service providers use several ways to deliver broadband to your residence. Broadband refers to a high-speed internet connection that is ‘always on’, in contrast to dial-up. Now, each method of transmission comes with its own pros and cons. All you have to figure out is which one has the greatest coverage in your area and whether it suits your needs the best or not.
Here are the most common connection types, along with their top service providers:
- Digital Subscriber Line – Uses the existing telephone lines in your community to transfer internet signals, has a 90% coverage rate in America, and is cheap but slow. Its dedicated providers include AT&T Internet, CenturyLink and Frontier Internet, etc.
- Coaxial Cable – Uses the existing TV lines in your neighborhood to transmit internet signals, has an 89% availability across the U.S. and is faster than DSL. Spectrum Internet, Xfinity internet and Cox internet are some examples of a cable internet connection.
- Fiber-Optic – Uses sophisticated glass-based wires to deploy extremely fast internet to limited areas, has a 25% nationwide coverage rate and is the costliest of all connection types. Verizon FiOS and AT&T Fiber are high-ranking providers here.
- Satellite – Uses a satellite dish to transmit internet signals, particularly among the rural communities where other connection types fail, has a 100% presence in America and is provided majorly by HughesNet® & ViaSat.
Fixed Wireless and mobile internet are up and coming connection types too, which warrant a separate discussion. But, for now, the aforementioned types should suffice, since they are the most common.
Internet Speed & Equipment
The internet speed tier you eventually choose for yourself will come to play a huge role in your overall web experience.
Since no one likes buffering and lagging speeds nor do they prefer paying more for high-end speeds that they might not actually need, a wise move is to go for the mid-tier – something that ranges between 10 – 100 Mbps, unless your requirements say otherwise.
Netflix usually recommends at least 5 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload speed to stream, which is not too costly and can be acquired from any provider in your area, as long as they are reliable.
Coming to the internet equipment, you need to know what kind of modem generation your chosen ISP supports. The latest is DOCSIS 3.1 for cable internet, which delivers extremely fast speeds. You can either rent the equipment from your ISP and pay the monthly fee or better, purchase the router/modem combo once and for all, given that it’s compatible with the speeds you’ve subscribed to. Just make sure that the router has good range and the right security standards.
Customer Service & Credibility Score
The best companies know how important it is for them to earn your trust and gain your satisfaction. That is why they strive to offer the best customer support they can to the subscribers –support, which comes handy especially during a service outage, or when you have queries or requests regarding your internet plans. Some companies like Charter even go the extra mile to integrate ‘live chat’ on their website, so you can talk to a Spectrum customer service agent instantly without even having to pick up the phone.
On the other hand, telecommunication companies that have a terrible customer service reputation often face backlash from their customers, who leave to look for better prospects.
So, when you are on the quest to find an internet service provider, do test their customer care platform and also how transparently they convey their pricing and plans. Some internet providers might offer you price-locked contracts, while others may not.
The Bottom Line
By acquainting yourself with the aforementioned factors, you will be at a much better advantage to sort the internet providers in your area, negotiate with them and get the most ideal plan for your residence.