Table of Contents
- Find the providers offering plans in your area
- Define how much internet speed you need
- Browsing the internet & social media
- Video conferencing & multiple devices
- Gaming & streaming HD movies
- Internet Connection Types
- Direct Subscriber Line (DSL)
- Internet pricing
- Promotions, Discounts, or Bundles
- FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program
- Other things to consider
- Data caps & overage charges
- Annual commitments
- Helpful Tech support
- Bundle with another service
- Final Thoughts
An internet connection is one of the most important choices that you will make for your household. It offers us a way to remain connected to our families and friends, allows employees to work from home, and enables students to study from the comfort of their homes. With an internet connection, you can also entertain yourself by streaming videos, listening to music, and playing games online.
When you are searching for an internet service provider, there are a variety of features listed underneath each plan. All of this information may seem overwhelming if you don’t understand all of the jargon. To understand if the internet plan being advertised is suitable for your needs, we have created this guide. When you have gone through it, you will begin to understand some of the factors that are crucial for you to consider when making your choice.
Find the Providers Offering Plans in Your Area
Not all internet service providers may be offering internet plans in your area. Before you can begin looking for a suitable internet plan, you need to narrow down your list to the providers near you. If you live in a rural or underserved area, your choices may be narrowed considerably. However, you can still find a suitable provider with a little bit of research.
You can also visit BuyTVInternetPhone and enter your zip code to find the best internet deals, internet bundles, and a list of providers in your area.
Define How Much Internet Speed You Need
Now that you know which providers are available in your area, you can move on to the next important aspect of an internet plan, the download speeds. Generally, the higher the download speed being offered, the higher the cost of the internet plan. You can also conduct a speed test online to find out the speed of your current plan to decide if you need something faster.
Many buyers think that opting for the highest speed is the best answer, but that’s not right. There are additional factors that can help you decide what download speed is perfect to meet all your online needs. If you choose the fastest download speed, you may be paying for speeds that you don’t need and don’t use. Similarly, opting for the cheapest option is also not a sensible decision, as you may be unable to perform basic tasks easily and face a lot of issues.
What you need to do is make the decision based on your activities on the internet. Most users need the internet to check their email, scroll through social media apps, and stream videos on Netflix, Prime Video, or Disney Plus. Some people also need high–speed internet to take part in online gaming. You also need to consider the number of people in your family or household. We have explained the speed requirements below in more detail.
Browsing the Internet & Social Media
If you plan to use the internet for browsing the web, checking your mail, and using social media apps, all you need is the most basic plan. Internet plans that offer download speeds of 5 to 10 Mbps are fast enough to help you with what you require.
For low bandwidth users or single-person households, low download speeds are enough. With 10 Mbps, you can also stream videos to some extent. According to Netflix, you can even stream HD videos with download speeds of almost 5Mbps.
Video Conferencing & Multiple Devices
If there are more users in your household and they all use the internet connection for their devices, you would need a faster internet connection. If you work from home and require the internet to conduct video conferences, you would also need something faster.
In either of these cases, you may need download speeds somewhere between 15 to 25Mbps. With AT&T Internet, you can find download speeds of 25Mbps with 1Tb of data allowance, which is more than enough for you.
You also need to keep an eye on the upload speeds offered by the internet provider. If you will be conducting video conferences frequently or participating in online gaming, you will require sufficient upload speeds. In these cases, you can also consider a fiber-optic connection, which offers you symmetrical download and upload speeds to the households.
Gaming & Streaming HD Movies
Heavy internet users are classified as people who use the internet for streaming videos and movies in high definition. If you have members in your house that stream videos in 4K or Ultra HD or spend a lot of time playing online games, you need a faster internet connection. In this case, you can opt for internet plans offered by Mediacom internet with speeds varying from 100Mbps to 1000Mbps. You could also opt for Optimum internet which offers speeds varying between 300Mbps to 1Gbps.
With these high speeds, all members of your household will be able to use the internet without any lags or disturbances. Your children can play online games and you can stream HD videos without any buffering issues.
Internet Connection Types
Before you can choose between the internet providers, you need to have a look at the types of internet connections available in the market. In suburban and urban areas you may be able to access cable connections or fiber-optic connections that offer reliable and high-speed internet connections. If you live in underserved areas, you may be able to find DSL connections or satellite internet. Have a look at the types of connections to learn a little bit about them.
Direct Subscriber Line (DSL)
A DSL connection uses previously installed phone lines to offer internet connections to households. This connection type is still being used to offer internet services to people in rural areas, but not so much in urban areas. In rural areas, where the connections can be unreliable, a DSL connection can offer reliable and fast speeds. With this connection, you don’t have to worry about having a direct line of sight or disruptions caused by bad weather.
Another option available to people all over the US is satellite connections. This is particularly beneficial to people who are living far away from communities and still require an internet connection. The provider needs to install a satellite dish on your roof, you can establish a connection if you have a clear view of the southern sky. These connections are more expensive than other types and can be slower as well, with limited data allowances. However, if you have no other choice, this may be the only viable option available for you.
Cable internet is one of the most common internet connection types in the country. This is because the internet providers use the same coaxial cables that are used for TV connections, to also offer internet. With cable connections, households are able to take advantage of reliable internet connections that can offer them very high download speeds ranging between 100Mbps to 1000Mbps.
The actual speeds available to your household will depend on your location. If you are living in an urban area, high speeds will be easily available to you.
Fiber-optic internet connections are gradually becoming the most popular type of internet connection in the country. As you can tell, the internet connection is offered to households with the aid of fiber-optic cables that are as wide as a strand of hair. The signals travel at 70% of the speed of light, in the form of light pulses, and offer a reliable internet connection.
In addition, fiber-optic connections offer symmetrical upload and download speeds. So, if you are being offered a 300Mbps download speed, you would also be offered 300Mbps upload speeds. This not only allows you to download content at high speeds but also upload content to the internet at high speeds.
Price is a major factor that can help you decide whether an internet provider’s plan is suitable for you. The most appropriate plan would balance out the various features of the plan and price it accordingly. You should keep in mind that the price of any internet plan would depend on your location. So, before you make up your mind, talk to the internet service provider to find out the actual cost of the internet plan.
Promotions, Discounts, or Bundles
Once you have an idea about the internet service providers in your area, you can compare the offers. Find out if there are any discounts or promotions available with the providers that could help you save money. Some providers also offer multiple services in bundles at lower prices that you can take advantage of when it is available.
You should be careful about the promotions that choose. In many cases, you may have to begin paying a higher price to the provider after a few months. This information isn’t advertised, so you should find out if there would be any sudden hikes in the price at a later stage.
FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program
The Federal Communications Commission started the Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers households the ability to afford an internet connection necessary to browse the internet. With this program, the household can get a discount of up to $30 on their internet expenses. Households on Tribal lands can get a discount of up to $75.
To find out if you are eligible for the program, you can visit the FCC website and find out more. Not all internet providers participate in this program, so you also need to check if your chosen provider is participating.
Other Things to Consider
There is still a lot more that you need to consider apart from the internet provider’s coverage areas, and the monthly costs. Some of those additional factors have been discussed below.
Data Caps & Overage Charges
Not all internet providers offer unlimited data with their internet plans. If you sign up for AT&T high-speed internet, you will be offered a monthly data allowance of 1TB. But, if you sign up for their fiber-optic internet plan, you would be able to enjoy unlimited data, which is necessary if you plan to stream videos and play games.
Most providers require you to sign a contract that binds you to their services for a year or two. If you plan to change the provider, you would be required to pay a hefty cancellation fee. So, before you sign a contract, find out how long the contract would last to avoid any issues later.
Helpful Tech support
A good customer service department is crucial in case you face any issues with payments, subscriptions, and even technical issues. Have a look at some review sites to learn more about how helpful the customer service department is. This should give you a good indication of the help you would receive in case you faced any issues too.
Bundle with Another Service
In a lot of cases, you can bundle your internet service with a TV subscription or a landline phone connection. Some providers can offer you all the services in a bundle, at discounted rates. You may be able to enjoy more services for a lower price.
Once you understand your households’ needs, it can get very easy to make a choice. Try to keep in mind all the factors listed above, such as the number of users and devices in the household, the apps you use when connected to the internet, the deals you can pay for, and the type of connection that is available in your area. Once you have figured this out, you will be able to make an informed decision and choose the right internet plan for yourself.