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The Internet is tied to almost every part of our lives, which makes finding a reliable service provider vital for both homes and businesses.
A good Internet provider should offer consistently fast speeds that allow schoolwork to be completed on time, greater opportunities for job searching and submitting applications, online banking and bill payments, home office usage, keeping up with friends and family on social media, as well as streaming entertainment.
That's why choosing the right Internet service provider has never been more crucial.
Whether you are moving into a new home or dissatisfied with your current service, keep in mind these factors when choosing an Internet service provider.
PURPOSE OF CONNECTION
First, consider what you and your family will use the Internet for, as well as how many devices you may need to connect to the Internet at the same time. Most providers offer a variety of download/upload speeds, including in-home WiFi, to help you choose the plan that fits your needs.
If your household is into online gaming, likes to stream movies, uploads large files, studies online or telecommutes, you will need the fastest connection possible.
However, if you simply want access to email, download music, or surf the Web, you might be able to settle for a slower service.
Determining the purpose of your connection now will prevent you from being disappointed in the service or your bill later on.
TYPE OF CONNECTION
Types of connections play an important role in selecting an Internet service provider.
Broadband connections are the most popular types of connectivity. They allow you to receive a broadband connection by using a USB modem, mobile phone or a coaxial cable. Today broadband connections offer the fastest download speeds available.
DSL is another kind of connection that uses a landline phone and is typically offered by your local telephone company. The quality and speed of DSL service depends on distance. The farther away you are from the provider's central office, the slower and less reliable your connection. DSL speeds aren't as fast as broadband types yet.
Finally, there is dial-up connection. While it was very popular years ago, only a few companies still have dial-up services available. Dial-up speeds are very slow by today's standards, but these connections may be the only option in some rural areas.
One of the most critical factors in doing business with any company is customer service.
Read reviews of each company. Ask your friends and family about their Internet experience.
How often do outages occur? If you call for assistance, how long will you be on hold? Are the employees polite and responsive? Does the company fix problems on a timely basis? How do they handle defective equipment? Are they keeping up with today’s technology?
A thorough review of each company will ensure that you will have no surprises after signing up for service. Once you have conducted the proper research, you will have a better idea of which company will meet your needs.
Cost is an important consideration when selecting a provider. Most companies will bill you monthly for service, so decide what price range best fits your budget. Some companies may also charge for the initial installation of service. You should also understand if you will be under a contract for a certain amount of time. If so, you may be charged early termination fees should you cancel your service prior to the end of the contract.
Faster service will cost more money. Compare prices for similar plans from several different providers to get the best deal. You should know the upload and download speeds for each price point. The higher the speed, the faster the service you receive.
Be sure to understand what is included in your plan. Does equipment cost extra, or is it included in the monthly rate? Will you receive in-home WiFi? Is anti-virus software offered? Do they offer free WiFi hotspots when you’re away from home?
If possible, sign up for a provider on a trial basis. Some companies may offer a money-back guarantee. If you are unsatisfied with the service, connection or products, you can cancel it without paying a penalty.