Access to high-speed internet has become a norm in our lives, regardless of our professional and personal affiliations. If you are searching for a new service provider, it can often become challenging to pick just one out of a pool of several as they might all look similar at first glance. Your initial response would be to go with an ISP that offers high-speed internet and falls within your available budget. But you will be surprised to know that price alone is not the only defining criteria; the key to selecting an ideal internet provider is to look beyond speed and price. It is advisable to indulge in some initial research before committing to any particular ISP.
Research usually can, and does take up quite some time, but it will all be worthwhile in the long run. However, for starters, we have undertaken a recent study to compare available internet service providers so you can gain valuable insights and select one that meets your daily internet connectivity requirements.
Comparing Internet Providers
Available Internet Providers
The first step in comparing different providers is to have an idea about all the available internet providers in your area. Your location plays a key role in determining the available options and the types of internet connections available.
Type of Internet Connection
Once you have an idea about all the ISPs operating in your area, the next step is to look at what they can offer. You’ll need to determine the type of connection best suitable for your daily internet operations and the perks you will get with that connection.
There are five types of internet connections namely DSL, cable, fiber, wireless, and satellite internet, and your location determines their availability. If you live in an urban area, then you’ll have the option of all five internet connections, but if you live in a sparsely populated or remote area, your options can be limited to DSL and sometimes just a satellite connection.
Once you have a list of all the ISPs available in your area and the type of connections they offer, the next step is to determine your speed requirements. Internet speed requirements depend on your preferred daily activities and the number of people who will use the network. You can have an idea about your internet speed requirements by looking at the speeds required for your daily internet activities and compiling them all to get a rough picture. Use that speed as a threshold to compare offered speeds by different providers.
Also, pay attention to whether the providers are providing the advertised speeds in your area. As internet speeds vary from location to location, you don’t want to be stuck with a plan with insufficient internet speeds. The key to finding an ideal internet plan is to find a middle ground between your required high-speed internet and affordable pricing.
The next thing you should compare is the data limits. Some providers offer unlimited data, while some offer plans with data restrictions. If you live in a remote area, then satellite internet can sometimes be your only option. Data caps are an unfortunate aspect of this type of internet connection. The key is to determine your data usage before comparing different plans and providers to select a suitable internet plan with enough data allowances, that is also within your budget.
Most of the ISPs offer special perks with their internet plans like free modem, free security software, and so on. But these perks aren’t always special, especially if you have to pay extra for them. Some ISPs charge extra money for these perks, so pay close attention to them. Compare the additional features offered by different ISPs and see whether they are necessary or not before making your decision.
Price is also an important factor to consider. You want to make sure that you are being charged the right price. Most internet service providers offer plans with promotional prices for 1 to 2 years, after which the prices get revised and updated to the standard costs. Don’t be hasty in your decision and carefully go through all the plans by different providers. Compare the prices of different providers for the same internet plans and always inquire about the standard prices after the promotional period before choosing a plan.
Before choosing a plan, make sure that whether your chosen provider enforces a contract or not. Although “no-contract” internet plans are a more common sight these days, some ISPs still require you to commit to a contract. If there is a contract involved, then pay attention to its length and the repercussions of breaking it.
Some ISPs enforce contracts because they want to keep their customers for a long time and switching a provider requires you to pay a hefty Early Termination Fee (ETF). Meanwhile, some providers like Spectrum, offer contract buyout services to help you switch over to them. If ISP with contracts is your best choice, then make sure to read the contract terms before signing up with them.
Many ISPs offer bundles, and if you love watching TV and staying connected with your loved ones through phone, you can always bundle your services to save some money. If you are keen on bundling, then find the best bundle deals offered by ISPs in your area and compare factors like features, price, and value. Most ISPs let you customize your bundles, so make sure to inquire about everything regarding such services.
Hidden costs are another factor to compare. Some ISPs require you to rent or buy equipment, and they also charge you for installing it at your homes, but very few list them in their upfront pricing. Always make sure to ask about equipment and installation fees before signing up with an ISP. Again, don’t assume the offered services' costs as fixed prices and inquire about their standard prices.
Customer Service & Reviews
The last thing to consider is the reliability of a provider. Customer service should be available to you all the time. While comparing different ISPs, search for those who are known for providing 24/7 customer service and have easy-to-navigate support pages.
It is also important to know whether the ISP is reliable or not. Reading customer reviews might help with this aspect but remember that they are not always unbiased. Make sure to check the source before reading the reviews and consult with your neighbors if you can about their experience with a particular service provider.
With some research, you can find the best available provider for yourself. We have further made things easier for you. You can also check the BestCableTV Comparison Tool as a one-stop-shop to compare the best plans of different providers. This interactive tool simplifies the entire process, and all you have to do is to select your preferred ISPs in your area and use filters to compare their best plans and services.