Internet services have become more affordable and accessible owing to advancements in technology over the past few decades. As a result, homes and businesses can select from the variety of internet services being offered by the different providers. The services range from the traditional dial-up connections, to the more modern high-speed connections such as DSL, Cable broadband, Satellite and FiOS. However, one has to consider several factors to ensure that they select not only an ideal service, but also a provider that will adequately cater to their needs.
Factors to consider when searching for a high speed internet service provider :
1. Location/ Availability
Internet service providers offer a wide range of products and services, with the aim of accommodating the needs of various clients. However, providers usually offer different services at, and even within, the different locations that they operate in. Sometimes, providers may advertise in areas that they don’t actually offer their internet services, or may only offer certain services among those being advertised. For this reason, the first step for anyone searching for high speed internet services should be to find out which providers are available within their locality, as well as the actual service availability.
Bandwidth defines the speed of an internet service. As such, it is an important aspect for providers when they are designing their packages or “bouquets”, as well as pricing tiers. Every user has unique bandwidth requirements, depending on how and what they use their internet for. On the other hand, providers offer the different “bouquets” and pricing plans to accommodate the various needs of their users. Therefore, a user must take into account his/her individual usage needs, i.e. both upload and download speeds, to ensure that they match with what he/she pays for.
Users should ask the following questions to help them determine their required bandwidth:
• Why do they need high speed Internet services? If one needs to just check their email, then a basic high speed internet connection can serve the purpose. On the other hand, heavy internet users such as those that need to frequently stream videos, host file servers, or download huge files will need to evaluate their choices more carefully.
• How many concurrent users need to use the internet service at any given time? Bandwidth requirements usually increase as the number of concurrent users increases.
3. Pricing and Deals
The availability of different internet service providers in the market, with each of them offering almost similar services is good news for users. The high competition forces providers to price their services more competitively, offer discounts, or come up with innovative deals to attract customers.
Pricing is normally affected by factors such as:
• Equipment: Does the customer pay for the equipment or is it provided free by the ISP?
• Installation: Does the provider charge for installation?
• Bundles: Does the provider offer “bundled” packages with the internet service, which may include phone and TV?
• Add-ons: Does the provider offer any special features or add-ons that may or may not necessarily add value? These may include free or subsidized web hosting services, branded email addresses, Wi-Fi hotspot access, and antivirus subscriptions, among others.
For this reason, users should run a comparison between the various companies and what they have to offer. The idea is to identify an ideal “bouquet”, and then compare the various pricing options, special discounts and deals that each of the providers may be offering on that package. Users must ensure that they only compare similar or almost similar products in order to determine the provider that offers the best prices.
4. Customer support
Reliability is a crucial aspect of any internet service. However, in as much as providers may try to avoid service outages, equipment malfunctions and other related problems, it is impossible to prevent them altogether. For this reason, users must ensure that they find providers who have dedicated sufficient resources for their customer and technical support. To do this, users should consider:
• How easy is it to access customer support for each of the providers? When the need arises, users need not waste their time trying to contact support.
• What communication channels are available for contacting the service provider? Some of the common channels include phone, chat, email, or social media.
• Does the provider offer round-the-clock support? An ideal ISP should be available 24/7 to handle customer issues.
• How efficient is the customer support in handling issues? It is possible to have personnel receiving support requests at any given time, but they may not have the skills or desire to solve the issues.
Overall, the location/availability play a crucial role in identifying the providers that one can actually buy their internet services from. A comparison of the various companies, with regard to their pricing and various other factors will then help to narrow down on the most suitable provider that matches the individual needs of users.