Trying to compare broadband ISPs using a company’s advertisements alone is tough. Broadband providers often create marketing materials that showcase hot short-term deals, a wide range of possible speeds and internet delivery types that might not actually be available in your area. And it’s precisely because figuring out what makes one company better than another takes so much time and effort that you may be tempted to go with the first provider that pops into your head.
But wait! Most of us use the internet not only to work and play, but also to stay connected with the important people in our lives. That means your choice of ISP can have a big impact on your daily life and your relationships. Taking the time to compare internet providers is not only worth it, but also less complicated than it might seem.
Here are six easy ways to compare broadband internet service providers so you can make an informed decision and get reliable internet delivery at a price you can afford.
Know what you’re paying for.
You should have a basic understanding of how broadband types differ if you live in an area where lots of choices are available. DSL is sometimes faster in cities because of available infrastructure, while cable can be slower in highly populated areas during peak hours because cable internet users share bandwidth. Satellite broadband works anywhere, but will be noticeably slower for some users, and FiOS is lightning-fast but only available in a few areas.
Look for the right speed for your needs.
When you compare broadband providers, don’t assume you need to pay for top speeds. Casual internet users usually don’t need more than 1-10 Mbps. But if you’re a hardcore gamer or frequently log working hours from home, look for providers offering at least 20 Mbps.
Read the fine print.
That amazing price that got your attention may be a limited time deal. Always ask potential ISPs if the price they’re offering is a short-term promotion or the price you’ll be paying for the duration of your time with that company.
Be aware of data caps and hidden fees.
Some broadband providers still have data caps, and if you reach the cap you either end up paying more or your broadband speeds are throttled for the remainder of the month. And to get some types of broadband service you may need to pay for special equipment or equipment installation. Always compare internet providers’ one-time charges and hidden fees.
Research bundles carefully with your household habits in mind.
At first, bundles can seem like the most amazing way to get the internet but if you don’t need a landline and you don’t watch cable TV, why pay for the privilege of having it? Many providers now offer internet-only packages, even if they don’t advertise them, which means it never hurts to ask about them.
Get help from unbiased sources.
Sites like BroadbandSearch make it easier to compare broadband providers by showing you what ISPs actually deliver internet where you live, plus how their speeds and plans stack up. Once you’ve chosen a provider, you can even schedule your service through the site.
Clearly, there are lots of ways to compare broadband providers, but searching for "internet service in my area" is the first step. Are you ready to start comparing and contrasting the ISPs in your neighborhood? Start your search on BroadbandSearch!