Figuring out which internet provider is best for you and your home can seem like an overwhelming task, especially with the number of providers available to those who live in large metropolitan areas with so many options. Even if your rural home only has two options, figuring out exactly what you need can be confusing. Company promises don’t always seem to mean exactly what they say, and that can be even more frustrating. Below, we’ve broken down the key factors to determine which internet provider is right for you.
The first step is to determine which providers offer Internet service in your area. While some regions and major cities will have a plethora of options, more rural locations may have only a few or even just one. Also consider that while satellite and DSL (digital subscriber line) Internet services can be available virtually anywhere, they are much slower than cable or fiber optic services.
The best way to determine which providers offer coverage in your area is to use websites such as Broadbandnow.com where you can enter a zip code and find a list of available providers. You can also ask your neighbors or landlord to see which providers already have lines connected to your home or building, as this can save you installation costs later.
Packages and prices
These days, every internet package you consider bills itself as “high-speed internet,” but that certainly comes at a cost. According to the most recent Broadband Price Index Reportthe average monthly cost of Internet service is $36.33. You can expect a basic internet connection with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps at this price. But you’ll pay a bit more for the higher speeds, with averages closer to $58.12according to the report.
But internet plans and prices can vary greatly depending on several factors. That’s why it’s essential to understand what speeds you can expect from your internet plan before you buy.
Once you’ve determined a list of providers in your area, it’s time to compare the plans, speeds, and prices offered by each ISP. First of all, you need to determine the speed you need for your fireplace.
A great way to gauge your internet speed needs is to test your current internet speed and compare it to available options. Presumably, you know if you’re happy or disappointed with your current internet, so use an internet speed test, such as speedtest.net. If you’re still unsure, a good rule of thumb is that 50-100 Mbps allows for 4K video streaming on two to three devices, some online gaming, and fast downloads. Speeds clocked around 100-500 Mbps will give you 4K streaming on four to five devices, multiplayer online gaming, and the ability to run many smart devices. Speeds between 500 and 1000 Mbps or more will give you virtually no internet slowdown no matter what you’re trying to run. If you regularly upload files to the cloud, host streams, or attend Zoom meetings, you’ll also need to pay attention to your upload speeds.
Nothing is worse than opening an internet browser to see a “no connection” message. A reliable internet connection is essential in any home or property, but especially if you depend on the internet for business purposes. Therefore, when selecting an ISP, you should be sure to do your research by reading reviews on websites such as DSLReports. Or get a feel for customer service by calling a potential ISP and discussing your rating with a representative.
Promotions, discounts and bundles
Once you’ve determined your optimal internet speed and selected a plan from a few providers, the final comparison to make is between the promotions, discounts, or bundled services your chosen providers may offer. If you’re looking for a TV subscription, a landline, or home security, internet service providers often bundle these with internet packages. Additionally, many ISPs offer sign-up promotions or discounts, sometimes in the form of free subscriptions to popular streaming sites or prepaid Visa gift cards.