Why Is It Important to Compare Internet Plans?

Mohammed Emran /
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Choosing an Internet service provider (ISP) is not something a lot of people give thought to. With all the competition between providers, there are a lot of ads for deals with prices that seem to be low. Many consumers take what looks good or is readily available, only to have low customer satisfaction once they have been using the service for a while.

It is important to examine what plans are available in your area so you can compare them. It’s even a good idea to do this regularly, because rates, plans, and availability all change over time. When comparing Internet plans, however, what are you really comparing? Why is an Internet service provider an important decision? 

How Much Broadband Does Your Home Use?

The Internet functions because it exchanges data between your computer and your ISP’s servers. Bandwidth is how much data can pass through a connection, but it is often referred to as “speed” because the more data can be transferred, the faster your web pages load. When ISPs call their service “high-speed Internet,” what they really mean is that they can move data quickly.

What Do You Do Online?

Data that is being received by your Internet is downloaded, while data being sent from your connection is being uploaded. Usually homes do more downloading than uploading, so residential Internet is often advertised in download speeds. This is a factor to consider if you have a lot of devices connected to your Internet, especially if they are being used for high-volume transfers. 

The more you use the Internet to do these things, the more bandwidth you will need:

  • WiFi and wireless devices like laptops, tablets and accessories all use a tiny bit of data.
  • Online gaming often requires fast Internet because it requires reflexes and reaction time.
  • Some gaming consoles plug into the Internet so players can download content, connect to one another, and play console games together.
  • Video streaming has become a popular way to watch shows and movies in a digital format, but the sharper the image, the more bandwidth it requires.
  • Video conferencing allows people all over the world to see one another on camera, bringing families closer together.
  • Smart devices such as light bulbs, thermometers, and doorbell cameras are becoming more popular as they make our lives more convenient.

What Plans Are Available in Your Area?

Once you have an idea how much bandwidth you need, it’s also important to know if it’s available in your area. Different types of Internet require different levels of infrastructure, which means areas that are more developed will probably have more options. When choosing an Internet connection type, a factor you should consider is whether or not your area is equipped with it.

Types of Internet

There are many types of Internet access in the United States, depending on where you are.

  • Dialup is not high-speed Internet. It moves at kilobytes per second, and our high-speed world requires at least megabytes per second. It relied on copper telephone wires, both inside the home and outside on poles.
  • DSL is a type of high-speed Internet that uses the home’s copper telephone wiring with outside wires to transfer megabytes per second (Mbps) of data.
  • Cable companies also offer Internet options that connect high-speed wiring to a home’s cable wiring. Cable connections can offer in the hundreds of Mbps speeds.
  • Fiber Internet uses fiber optic cables to deliver speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps. It is offered by both telephone providers and cable Internet companies.
  • Satellite Internet transfers data using radio waves that are sent into space directly from a user’s home.

Bundles and Packages

Since there are so many types of companies that offer multiple services, many of them bundle all their offerings into one deal that can often save money. Checking your telephone, cell phone, and cable providers for their Internet deals could be a convenient way to combine your services in one bill. It could also cost you more money than going with another service, so it still pays to check around.

Data Caps

Some Internet providers have limits on how much data you can transfer each month during peak hours when Internet traffic is at its densest. When you exceed your data cap, your download and upload speeds are usually slowed unless you purchase more data. If the providers available to you have data caps, it’s important to look at how much extra data costs. Examine deals that offer “unlimited data” closely for any exceptions.

Customer Reviews

As with any business, word of mouth is a great way to get to know an ISP. Learning what other subscribers have to say about an ISP can give you an idea of how good their customer service is. When you know how they treat their other customers, you have an idea how you will be treated. 

The Right Internet for the Right Price

The most important reason to compare Internet plans is to get the best Internet deal for your money. While having the fastest speeds available might be nice, they won’t be very fast if they don’t fit into your budget. Speeds that are too slow for your needs might come in attractive packages that limit your data usage to certain amounts or times of day. Sometimes, your dream speed may just not be available in your area, which means reconsidering your Internet intentions.

Comparing plans and prices means going in prepared when you make a decision about your ISP. It means knowing what you want and need, and how you can get it at an affordable price. Now that you know why it’s important and how to do it, you can compare Internet plans and prices in your area by putting your zip code here or calling 1-833-933-2468.