It was not that long ago that most Americans only had access to a few broadband options. But today, most of us have to deal with the ups and downs of an abundance of choice. If you're in a metro area, chances are good that you'll have a lot of ISPs to choose from when you search for "internet service in my area." And if you live or work in a more remote location, your choices will probably still include multiple providers offering satellite broadband and cellular broadband packages.
That's good news, considering that your choice of internet delivery type and internet service provider will determine whether the time you spend online is productive and fun or perpetually frustrating.
The bad news is that finding the right ISP for your needs means doing more than Googling "internet providers in my area" and choosing the first result. You'll need to dig a little deeper into the pros and cons of the different types of internet service in your area and into the ISPs providing it. Sites like BroadbandSearch make finding and comparing ISPs easier by showing you what's available in your area and how your options stack up. From there, you can research packages, promotions, and the add-ons that ISPs sometimes throw in to sweeten their deals.
What's the Available Internet Service in My Area?
Your broadband internet options will usually be determined by your location. That means that whether you're moving to a new city or you're just ready to switch to a new ISP, the steps you'll need to take are the same. While there's nothing wrong with searching for "internet providers in my area," it's important to consider that the results you receive will be heavily weighted in favor of the providers with the largest marketing budgets and the most recent promotions. In some cases, you may click on what looks like a good option only to discover they don't actually service your neighborhood.
So as you check out the ISPs in your area, look for real data instead of sales pitches, and make sure you're only comparing and contrasting the internet service providers that are available in your area. Why? So you don't inadvertently fall in love with one ISP or broadband type only to discover you can't get it where you live.
It happens more often than people realize! Too many of us have been tempted by ads for FiOS, which offers the fastest speeds of any delivery type, before finding out that there are only a few locations in the US with the infrastructure necessary to deliver it.
For most customers, cable internet or DSL will be the fastest, most reliable, always-on options - and the most common way to access the internet. But if you're in a rural area, living somewhere with unreliable coverage, or traveling in a boat or RV, satellite broadband may be your only option other than relying on your cellular plan.
Choosing the Best Internet Service in My Area
Once you know which companies operate in your neighborhood, you can begin researching those internet providers' pricing, bundles and packages, reliability, and speeds to narrow down your list of potential ISPs.
Understanding the different types of internet service in your area and their quirks can also help you decide between ISPs. For example, some cities have a faster tier of DSL because of the infrastructure, but cable broadband is generally the fastest option. Except, that is, at peak times when customers on the same street or in the same neighborhood share all the available bandwidth. Satellite broadband is available anywhere but depending on how you use the internet, you may be frustrated by noticeable lag. And as noted above, a lot of us would like to try FiOS but can't.
Additionally, best is subjective. When your options are limited, what's best is always the option that is available. When you work from home or do a lot of streaming, the best option might be the fastest one regardless of price. Talk to your friends and family about their experiences with different ISPs, but remember that the best option for them might not be the best option for you.
Ready to start comparing and contrasting the available internet service in your area? Find internet providers near you.