HomeInternetISP IQ: How to Find the Best Internet Provider

    ISP IQ: How to Find the Best Internet Provider

    Are you trying to figure out how to find the best internet provider in your area?

    You may have thought you found one and realized that they have shoddy service and their customer service is horrible.

    You’re not alone. It turns out that many Americans dislike their ISP, ranking them the lowest of all telecommunications companies in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

    That can make finding a good ISP, let alone the best internet service provider, quite a challenge. Read on to learn how you can have a chance at finding the best ISP in your area.

    Where Do You Live?

    The first thing that comes into consideration when choosing an internet service provider is where you live.

    Where you live dictates the number of choices you have available. For people in a rural area, they’re lucky to get internet access at all. Only 39% of people in rural areas have broadband internet.

    For those that have access, the choices are very limited, with only one or two providers.

    If you’re in an urban area, you have plenty of broadband options available. You might think that there are too many to choose from.

    That’s the first step in knowing what options you have. You’ll find that some providers cover a small area of your city or town. Other providers offer services across a wide area.

    Would you like to find an easy way to find internet service providers in your area? Check out this page to “find internet service in my area.” Enter your address and you’ll find a list of providers that you can easily compare to narrow down your choices.

    What Do You Go Online For?

    Once you find some providers who serve your location, you’ll need to assess your internet needs. Take a little bit of time to think about what you use the internet for. That will help you find the right plan and right speed for your internet needs.

    Heavy gamers or TV streamers will need a lot of bandwidth and high-speed internet. Your needs will be much different if you’re online so the kids can do homework, you do a little bit of web surfing and check email.

    How Many Devices Will be Hooked up at the Same Time?

    This is pretty important to know. Back in the days of dial-up internet, you could only have one computer on at a time, and you couldn’t make or receive phone calls. People would just get a busy signal if they tried to call you.

    There’s one thing that you need to know about and that’s bandwidth. Think of the internet as a pipe. The wider the pipe, the more information that can go through the pipe. That’s called high-bandwidth.

    Speeds are faster and more devices can connect at the same time and you won’t notice a drop in speed.

    Low bandwidth is just the opposite. It’s a smaller pipe, so not a lot of information can pass through the pipe at once. If your bandwidth is low, you’ll notice a drop in speed when multiple devices are connected at the same time.

    Types of Internet Connections

    As you’re doing your research on the best internet providers, you’re likely to find that there are different types of internet service. The most common ones are:

    • Cable
    • DSL
    • Fiber
    • Satellite

    You’ll find that cable will be the most common service in most areas. The satellite will be common in rural areas. All offer generally high speeds, but it depends on the type of service you sign up for.

    For example, Verizon Fios offers different level plans between download speeds of 300mpbs to 1gbps.

    Pricing Internet Service Providers

    As you’re comparing providers, you’re sure to find great deals. Be wary of these deals and read the fine print.

    Most of these good deals lock in a price for 12 months, but only if you commit to two years. Your first year might be a special price of $39.99 a month for the top service. You could see the price double or triple with no way to lower the price or back out of the contract.

    If you do try to back out of the contract, expect to pay a cancellation fee of at least $200.

    The best internet service providers are upfront about their pricing structure. There are no gimmicks, and no fine print to wade through.

    What’s the Customer Service Like?

    You can get a sense of the reliability of a company by testing their customer service. Call them up, email them and use the chat box their website.

    Ask questions and see if the customer service reps are knowledgeable, friendly and willing to help.

    Speed of Service

    When you sign up for a service that offers a speed of 300mbps, it’s fair to expect that speed when you sign up.

    However, if you read the fine print of your contract, you’ll see that it says “up to” the speed that you sign up for. For Verizon’s 1gbps service, the fine print says “Actual speeds vary due to device limits, network, and other factors. Avg. speeds btw. 750-940 Mbps download / 750-880 upload.”

    ISPs don’t offer a trial period, so there’s no way to know if the service is doing to work or not when you sign up.

    That’s why you need to know how much time you have before you cancel your account before paying a cancellation fee.

    When you sign up with a provider, test your speeds at different times of the day. Notice if there are any drops in service, like in the evening when everyone is streaming Netflix.

    Finding the Best Internet Provider

    Finding the best internet provider in your area takes work. You know that if you don’t choose the right one, you could be stuck in a contract for years. You could back out, but you’d have to pay a hefty cancellation fee.

    All it takes to find the right provider is knowing what you need and doing a good amount of research to compare providers in your area.

    Want some more great tips? Check out these how-to articles today.

    Editor's Pick

    Notify of

    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments