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How to Find an Internet Service Provider

How to Find an Internet Service Provider
By Andy Mangano

With bills, communication, and work being done online now, it’s essential that you have an internet connection; however, choosing the right Internet service provider (or ISP) can be a chore. Between bundles, contracts and monthly rates, it’s enough to make your head spin. Still, there are several things to look for when choosing the right Internet connection for your household.

First, try to find reviews about potential service providers, especially local reviews. Internet service providers have different rules and standards for each area that they support, so while a company may have done a fantastic job in your previous location, they may be terrible in your current location. Talk to neighbors, and look for customer testimonials online. No matter how good the deal is, saving a ton of money isn’t worth having a service that is slow or constantly down.

Next, try to figure out what speed of internet you need. Any Internet service provider you call is likely to tell you that you need their fastest – and of course, most expensive – Internet connection. If you only have one or two computers, and you use the internet mainly for email and paying bills, you will likely do fine with the least expensive basic high-speed broadband connection offered. On the other hand, if you have multiple computers and gaming systems you want to get online with, you’ll probably want to go with one of the fastest connections available.

Now that you know what you need and have a general idea of the quality of service you will receive, you can start looking for an Internet service provider. There are several types of Internet connections: DSL, cable, and FiOS. DSL requires you to have phone service because it runs over phone lines, but you can still talk on the phone while you are on the Internet. Cable does not require anything more than a cable connection and a modem. FiOS, or Fiber Optic Service, represents some of the newest broadband technology, and it operates on fiber optic cables. Because FiOS is a newer service it is not available in all areas, whereas DSL and Cable are available nearly everywhere.

When you are looking at price, you’ll find that there are all kinds of installation specials and low introductory offers. Find out what your normal monthly rate will be. Most of these specials end between six months and a year, and the monthly cost can double at that time. Don’t be swayed by low initial sign up pricing. Additionally, if at all possible, avoid buying your own equipment and contracts. Equipment is very expensive, and it can tether you to an Internet service provider because you do not want to feel you wasted money by investing in equipment. Contracts, of course, make it extremely costly to change service providers, even if you are not satisfied with your price or service. If you are unable to avoid a contract, try to make sure there is a clause that states you can get out of the contract, should the service become unreliable.

If you follow these suggestions, you’ll find a reliable Internet service provider that meets your needs and won’t surprise you with grossly increased pricing down the road.

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