The truth is that in most areas you only have a few choices when it comes to high-speed internet service providers. It requires a major investment for ISPs to expand into a new area and purchase or add cable, fiber optic lines or other infrastructure, so often only a handful of companies will be accessible in a given area. Nevertheless, in most cases you will have a few choices, and choosing wisely can save you tons of hassle and frustration. There are several things you can do to find the best internet providers in my area:
Determine internet needs and internet speed
Though many people nowadays use internet for streaming movies and music, playing games, viewing video, uploading pictures and social media, others are casual users who only get online to check email or read news articles. Here is a basic guideline of the speeds you may want to look for:
- 1M ~ 3M: For light internet users who simply check email, read articles and visit non-media-rich sites from one computer. This speed is usually the entry-level or economy package that ISPs offer, or you can also obtain these speeds by satellite, DSL or mobile phone. If the websites you go to are primarily sites like The New York Times, Huffington Post, BBC News, Amazon or Digg and you do not watch video, this will suit for you.
- 10M ~ 25M: This range is ideal for those who view media, stream music and view images online with one or more computers. This speed is not ideal for more than one computer steaming media or uploading large volumes of videos or images at the same time. If you access the websites frequently like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Fox News or Pandora this level will suit for you.
- 25M ~ 50M: Suitable for those who stream movies, upload pictures to social media sites or visit media-rich websites from one computer or more. If you regularly view media from sites like NetFlix, Hulu, ESPN3, Flickr or Vimeo and do not do a lot of uploading, this speed range will suit for you.
- > 50M: Higher-speed plans also come with a more upload allowance, this is fitting for those who upload volumes of video or images to storage, P2P sites or torrent sites. This range is also ideal for those who intend to have more than one computer actively engaged with the internet at the same time. This speed is not available in all areas, but some services offer speeds of over 100Mbps to residential customers.
Find the best Internet Providers in my area
There are a few ways you can find out what service providers are available in my area. One way is get a list of providers and possible speeds offered is to visit Broadbandmap.gov. This National Broadband Map site has a search tool that will let you enter your zip code and view a list of possible providers in my area. At this point, you should have a list of a few providers so you know what your choices are.
Consult your neighbors
Internet Providers vary by area: every area has its own infrastructure to maintain, different call centers and its own field technicians. Talk to a few of your neighbors who have had experiences with several of your choices before you sign up. Odds are if they continue to have problems with intermittent internet or lower than promised speeds or problems with technicians, you might also experience the same problems. When it comes down to it, finding a provider that can provide consistent, predictable internet speeds will ultimately make you a happy customer. In short, to find the best Internet Providers in my area figure out what you want, find out who can provide it and research their service reputation.