Moving to a new neighborhood can disrupt your life in so many ways, and the to-do list associated with your move can feel endless. You might be tempted to leave the line item "Find cable providers in my area" until the very last minute given all of the other tasks on your plate, but it actually makes sense to tackle this task before you pack a single box!
As soon as you know your new address, you can start researching the internet providers in your area, the packages they offer, and the pros and cons of each. Looking at sites like BroadbandSearch for unbiased information about different cable and internet providers will help you make an informed decision before your move. And this guide can help you decide whether it makes more sense to transfer your existing ISP package to your new home or to transition to another provider that offers more services at a better price.
In either case, you'll be able to cross off a to-do and get back to packing those boxes.
Find the Cable Providers in My Area
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether cable is even one of your options. Cable internet uses cable lines to deliver internet to customers, and that means it's only available in areas where cable TV is, too. Where cable is available, some neighborhoods may only be serviced by a single provider, and if that's your situation, you won't be deciding between cable providers but rather between cable, satellite, FiOS, and DSL.
But if there are multiple cable internet providers in your area, you should look carefully at what they're offering. Comparing rates is only the first step. From there, you'll need to dig deep into factors like speed, reliability, and contract terms.
Is Cable Internet the Right Choice for Me?
Assuming cable internet is available in your new neighborhood and you've been happy with it in the past, you should still look at the alternatives.
DSL, which uses existing phone lines to deliver the internet to your home, can sometimes be a less expensive and more reliable option for families that don't need TV service. DSL's main strength is that it won't get laggy during prime times.
Satellite internet, which doesn't rely on wired infrastructure to deliver internet and TV service, can sometimes be the more reliable, easier-to-obtain option in rural or less populated areas.
FiOS uses fiber optic cables to deliver ultra-fast, reliable internet speeds, but is only available in select cities.
Looking at alternative options may seem like a waste of time, but consider this: as you're working to answer the question "Who are the cable providers in my area?", you may discover that there are great ISP options in your new city that you never would have explored otherwise. Since you're moving anyway, it's a smart time to explore ALL your options.
Should I Stay with My Current Cable Provider?
Let's say you have been nothing but satisfied with your current cable ISP. Check BroadbandSearch to see if they're available at your new address and whether the plan you have now is offered there, because transferring your existing service can involve less work than closing one account and opening a new one. Chances are good you'll be able to take your current equipment with you and get the internet up and running more quickly if you're transferring your account from one address to another.
Do I Really Need that Bundle?
Most cable providers will offer packages that include both internet and TV, and some will even have packages with phone and mobile options. There are two very good reasons to check these out. First, you can sometimes get bundle deals that give you everything you want at a price that's a lot less expensive than getting services separately. And second, having internet, TV, and phone service all on one bill can make life simpler post-move.
Just make sure you ask potential ISPs whether that amazing bundle price is a limited-time promotion so you're not surprised to find your bill bumped after six months or a year.
How Do I Compare and Contrast Cable Providers in My Area?
The cable internet providers in your area may look nearly identical at first, but if you ask the right questions you'll start to get a sense of what makes them different. Here's an example list of what you should ask as you're comparing.
Questions to ask my current provider:
- Is coverage available at my new address?
- How do the plans offered there differ from my current plan?
- Am I still in the minimum contract period?
- Can you waive any termination fees?
- How does transferring service work?
- Can you waive setup and installation fees?
- Are there new bundle options I don't know about?
- Are there incentives you can give me for keeping my service?
Questions to ask new cable providers in my area:
- Can you create a plan better than what I have now?
- Will this rate go up after a certain date?
- Is there a minimum contract period?
- Is there a period in which I can cancel without a penalty?
- How is installation and setup handled?
- Is there an equipment fee?
- When will my service be switched on?
- Are there incentives you can give me for switching?
- What additional taxes and fees can I expect?
But don't stop there! These questions are just suggestions to help you get started. The more questions you ask, the more opportunities you'll have to get the best deals from the cable providers in your area.
Approaching Neighbors or Community Association
If you can, schedule some time to chat with your new neighbors or the community association in your neighborhood. It's a great way to make some friends before you move and to scope out which ISPs (and other utilities) deliver on their promises and which let their customers down. Apartment dwellers and condo owners should double-check whether their rent or fees includes a free internet connection, if any providers give discounts to building residents, and if there are exclusive providers servicing the building.
Transferring Internet Service to My New Home
Moving won't necessarily mean switching cable providers, and some ISPs have moving specialists on staff to help you navigate the process of transferring service from one home to another. How complicated transferring service will be may depend on whether you're moving from city to city or between states. In some cases, you'll have to pay a moving fee that covers the cost of the installation at your new home.
Note that this is a great time to see if you can score a sweeter deal from your cable provider. New customers often get better deals or access to promotions that are exclusive to new account holders, but if you're moving you may be able to convince a rep to give you the same promotional rates. Let the rep know you're thinking about switching to a new provider and they may try to entice you into transferring service instead with a discounted package price.
Breaking My Existing Internet Contract
If you're moving into an area your old cable company doesn't cover or you feel motivated to switch companies, you may have to pay for the privilege of canceling your account if your plan's contract terms include penalties for early termination. The payment can take the form of a flat cancellation fee or a bill for however many months are left in your contract — with the latter usually being more expensive.
Optimizing My Move After I've Chosen a Cable Provider in My Area
Your goal should be to get connected before your move or as soon as you can after it, so treat cable like any other utility and allow plenty of time for paperwork to go through and for the installation. Working with a professional relocation concierge can save you time because they'll be managing your cable transfer or sign up once you've decided on an ISP. They can also set up other utilities, coordinate moving day, help you with your change of address, and even get you settled into your new home. That leaves you free to focus your attention on helping kids and pets adjust to the move or on your new job if you relocated for professional reasons.
Ultimately, moving can increase your cable internet options or limit your choices considerably, but with some research you'll be able to find a provider that can give you the services you're looking for at a price that makes sense.
Ready to start to preparing for your move? Find internet providers in your area.