Internet in the home was a novelty just twenty years ago, but now it is a necessity in most homes. If there is a power outage, chances are that after lamenting the loss of electricity to power the fridge, HVAC and lights, there is likely to be a panic over the loss of power from the modem. Since internet is so crucial to daily tasks from shopping to checking the news and streaming movies, your home internet service should suit your family’s online needs. Think about what your family uses the internet for and whether you need the cheapest plan that may lack some cutting-edge features or whether you need premium service.
What to Look for in an Internet Service
Not all internet services are alike, even if a competing service provider encourages you to switch providers because they offer more for less. Always look at the details before switching services and also consider that there are often fees for service termination. If you want to evaluate your current service to see if it is the best one for you, or are researching alternatives, there are a number of things to look for.
Internet speed is a crucial indication of what kind of service you may need. If you find yourself feeling frustrated by slow internet to the point where it seriously gets on your nerves, paying for faster internet may be worth it, especially if your family depends on streaming movies for entertainment. Not everyone needs to have high-speed internet, so consider saving money and choosing a lower speed if it isn’t important to you. Cable connections tend to be slower because they are shared and when everyone is using them, they are less efficient. Be careful of advertised speeds for certain services because they could be slower in reality.
The type of connection you have largely determines your internet service speed. Fiber is valued for high-speed internet at dizzying speeds such as 50 Mbps. The fiber option is not available everywhere nor is it cheap. Satellite is obtainable and is often the choice for people who live in rural areas. Cable is the most popular type of connection and is an easy way to enjoy internet and TV bundle plans. DSL internet sounds old fashioned, but its 15Mbps rate is deemed acceptable for most home use. Many people decide to save money by using DSL, which provides basic service.
A great way to lower your monthly internet bill is to bundle your internet service with cable television or landline phone capability. Do some comparison shopping and see whether this is worthwhile for you. If you hardly use cable television or a landline, it may not be worth investing in if it is more expensive than a simple internet service. Also, consider if you need additional features such as extra security or parental controls so you can keep tabs on what your kids are seeing on the internet.
Selecting a Provider
The kind of internet provider you choose may partly depend on initial research you do on the internet. Keep in mind the prices and services quoted on a website may not be exactly those that are available in your area. There are often special offers and short-term deals that are designed to attract new customers or lure people into switching services, but it is better not to do impulse buying when it comes to choosing an internet provider, because you have to think carefully about what kind of internet you need and how to pay less for what you get.
Often looking into local providers may be a better option than choosing a provider that is large and far away from you. Large companies may advertise special deals, but they often recoup their discounts with hidden charges. Working with a local company may mean more personalized attention and better customer service. If you have a relationship with a local provider, they may be willing to give you information on special deals.
Be scrupulous in investigating all of the charges on your bill, including installation. Don’t let the money you think you saved on a promotional plan be lost through extra charges you were not aware of when you signed up. Since switching is expensive, ask for details on all of the charges before you purchase the internet service.
Image credit from Lifehacker.