Yes, you DO have a choice!
As Internet professionals (ahem, geeks) we enjoy fully answering, in as much detail as you may want, what your choices are in the area that you are in. There are several choices out there, from the local companies like Mokan Dial, Century Link, Consolidated Communications (Fairpoint), Peoples Telecommunications (Peoples Services), Midwest Connections, MiCoKs, KwiKom, or Pixius to the Internet goliaths like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint, or satellite wireless like Dish, DirecTV, HughesNet or Viasat (Exede). Pros and cons to each are discussed. We’re upfront and consult on each individual situation, and then the final choice is yours.
What may help future seekers of high speed Internet connections is actually knowing the factors and what questions to ask. If you know what you want the Internet to do for you, then you will choose the right company and plan.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 questions you may want to ask yourself, as well as your current/new provider, to help you make this decision.
The bottom line is: it is about you and what you want.
(Remember that *Mbps – Megabits per second – is the standard measure of broadband speed. It refers to the speed with which information packets are downloaded from, or uploaded to, the Internet.)
Ten Questions When Choosing
an Internet Provider
1. How many devices that are Internet enabled do I have in my household? Use this to determine how much bandwidth you need (phones – they talk both ways on the internet, video gaming consoles, computers, tablets, TV’s, security cameras, thermostats, etc)
2. What do I use them for? If you are interested in just web browsing and simple email then your bandwidth will not need to be as large as people who want to stream music, videos or HD video. Also consider how often you send information up to the Internet (like pictures to Facebook or by email), or video through Skype and FaceTime, or use security cameras or VoIP.
There are ways professionals calculate bandwidth down to a knats eyelash, but for consumers you may want to use this neat bandwidth calculator to give you an idea of what you may be needing: http://bandwidthpool.com/bandwidth-calculator/
3. Am I satisfied with my current Internet provider? Think about the times when your Internet does not work or runs slow, or if you don’t use everything in your “bundle,” or you are paying for things you don’t need like a phone line, video programming that you never watch, or 56 channels of music that you don’t listen to.
4. Is the Internet service available when I want to use it? Sure, your speed test may run great a 3:00 a.m., but you might want to check it between the peak usage hours of 4:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and see how it performs.
5. Are there Usage Limits, or Data Caps? You may have heard that the ‘Unlimited’ must be a better plan, however, if the highway is only stop-and-go because of too much traffic, the” Unlimited” speed and data doesn’t apply. There are many of the cell phone providers that have good speed, but limit you with 10, 20 or 30 GB caps and charge you $120 a month.
6. What happens when I go over my Data Cap? Sometimes Internet providers “throttle” their customers (slow them down) or simply cut them off. Others provide email alerts when you start reaching your limit.
7. How do I want/like my customer service? Telecommunications companies are a dime a half dozen these days, and many times they are poorly managed monopolies resulting in some very bad customer service ratings. Did you know that Internet Service Providers are the lowest rated customer service companies? http://bandwidthpool.com/bad-internet-service-providers/428/
8. How do I want my Internet service? On the other side of the spectrum are the companies who are not set up to handle a large number of people using more and more bandwidth. (Their highway may not be as wide.) Do you have an existing provider and notice that there are some portions of the day when your Internet is “slower” than another? That is because it is now “rush hour” on your portion of the Internet highway and it’s not constructed to handle this much traffic. This is known as “contention” in “geek speak.”
9. What is your upload speed? As we have determined with our years of experience, upload speed is critical in the communications between the Internet and your device. Do you keep upgrading your Internet to a “faster” speed, only to find out that it will still not do what you want it to do? For example, when you are streaming an HD movie and notice jitter or latency, it is because you truly need a minimum 2 Mbps up speed connection to continually talk to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc. Many Internet providers do not have that built into their infrastructure. It really is a two way communication.
10. Do I want to support a locally owned and operated company? This is important for some people, and GoBrolly® is founded, locally owned and operated by long-time residents of our area.