You would think, in 2020, choosing an ISP would be easy. But in truth, there’s so much out there to choose from that it’s easy to end up with a package that does not suit you.
Here’s how to decide what you need.
Check Your Regional Providers
Not all ISPs offer services in every region. First off, you are going to have to find out which ISPs operate in your area. If you live in the US, then the best way to find out which providers are available to you is by using a zip code finder tool like this one from Broadband Now.
Decide On The Speed Of Service You Want
Quality and speed of service vary greatly depending on where you live.
Broadband speed is measured in Mbps - mega bits per second. This is a measure of how much information can be downloaded at once. In essence, if data was water, this number tells you how big the water pipe is.
The bigger the pipe, the more water, or data you can download. Makes sense right?
The Federal Communications Commission have a handy guide that defines minimum requirements for a range of internet usage.
These days, even an average household is going to have multiple devices that could well be all in use at the same time.
The service speed is going to depend heavily on how you use these devices.
If all your family is doing is light internet surfing, emails and the occasional YouTube video, then in many cases you will be able to get away with less than 10Mbps speed.
However, if each member of the family will be streaming video, video conferencing or gaming, then your needs will be much higher.
Use the guide above as a reference and see if you can make an estimate based on your current usage.
High Demand Use
If you regularly stream video, such as YouTube or Netflix, then you will definitely want to consider a higher speed service, certainly 25Mbps or higher.
If you have a 4K high definition TV, then you will certainly need much higher speeds. The data requirements for these types of video service are much higher than regular streaming needs.
Contingency And All-In-One Packages
When deciding, make sure you have taken into account the situation when each device in the household is in use at the same time.
If not, you could find yourself in a situation when the speed you purchased is just not enough for your needs.
No-one wants laggy video or web pages that don’t load, but you’ll need to offset this against the cost of service.
You may find that once you have calculated your needs, purchasing an all-in-one internet, TV and land-line telephone service package from your ISP may be the best way to go.
For larger families these packages include discounts and benefits that make them cheaper in the long run.
Extras and Catches
When you are comparing providers, make sure that you also include in your calculations possible extras.
Many ISPs will charge for installation and equipment, and these costs will vary by ISP and region.
Also make sure you read your contract carefully, and make sure you understand what your ISP’s data limits are, and what fees you would have to pay if you exceeded these limits.