Though some Americans have limited options when it comes to their internet provider, it’s still an important decision that can take some time to make.
Luckily, we’re here to help you learn how to choose an internet provider. You’re going to want a provider that offers fast speeds and fair pricing, and you’ll want to ensure that their customer service is up to snuff.
How many options you have is going to depend on the area you live in, but there are still a few other things you need to know before getting started. Read on to learn everything you need to know.
1. Whose in Your Area?
Depending on the area you live in, you might not have a lot of options for internet service providers. If you’re unsure, however, it’s important to double-check before you just go with the first provider you can think of.
A lot of providers have simple search tools you can access online to find out whether or not they service your area. From there, you can start comparing services, reading online reviews, and working to make a decision about which provider might be best for you.
2. Who Has the Best Deals Right Now?
Your next step should be to analyze different deals that each provider, like CenturyLink Internet, is offering for their services.
Whether you’re looking for deals on just the internet, or you’re interested in bundling, a lot of providers will offer deals on contracts or bundles that can make your monthly payment a lot cheaper.
If you are looking for a deal, however, it’s still important to ensure your provider can give you the speed you need — especially if you game often or work from home.
3. Compare Plans and Speeds
Whether you’re looking for a deal or not, you’re going to want to get online and compare a few things between providers:
- Plans and pricing
- Installation and equipment costs
- Customer reviews
- Data caps and overage fees
Some providers offer ultrafast speeds at a steep price, while others offer more straightforward plans that are a bit easier on your wallet. Some also have data caps, but others offer unlimited data.
Depending on certain deals you find, you might have to sign a contract. There are plenty of services, however, that you don’t have to sign anything with. This makes it easier, because then you can switch whenever you need to, and you’re not going to pay any early termination fees.
4. Do You Have a Data Cap?
When you’re looking for a new internet provider, it’s important to make sure you know the answer to these questions:
- Do you have a data limit?
- What is your data limit?
- What happens if you exceed that limit?
Not all internet providers state clearly what the data limits are, so it’s important to conduct your own research before making any hard and fast decisions. You can start with reading the terms and conditions, and then speak with a sales representative to either confirm what you’ve read or to ask more questions.
Typically, there are two kinds of data caps from service providers: hard and soft.
The hard data caps come with direct fines and internet shutoffs if you hit an overage. Soft caps come with fines for the amount you go over.
These caps might sound harsh, but they happen because there isonly so much data and bandwidth to go around each month. It’s smart to simply stay under your data cap and to ensure you can pay any fines if you do have to go over.
5. Should You Buy or Rent Your Modem?
Nowadays, most internet providers are simply going to loan out a modem whenever you sign up for service with them. If and when you ever cancel service with them, you simply have to return the modem.
While some providers do have you rent your modem for a monthly fee and they do send out a technician for installation, a lot of them simply don’t anymore. When the pandemic hit, a lot started sending out self-service kits that allow you to do everything yourself.
6. How Long Is Your Contract?
Sometimes, to get the best deal, you’re going to have to sign a contract. Before you put your pen to paper, however, be sure that you’re aware of any and all fees that are associated with it.
Things like early termination fees and price increases can have an effect on your overall plan, and it’s important to ensure you understand every aspect of your contract before you sign anything.
If in the middle of your plan, you notice an unexpected price increase, it’s best to simply call your internet provider. Often, they want to keep your business and will be willing to work with you to bring the price back down.
In the case of early termination fees, if you move or decide to switch providers in the middle of your contract, you’re going to want to make sure you’re aware of every single fee associated with terminating your contract early.
Surprise fees are really easy to miss but are all too common to encounter — especially in the case of internet providers.
Read carefully before you decide to sign anything.
Remember These Steps for How to Choose an Internet Provider
When it comes to learning how to choose an internet provider, the process is simple, but there’s also a lot that goes into it. Whether it’s your first time choosing your own internet or your tenth, it’s important to choose what works best for you and your budget.
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