Radio and television commercials always are touting companies promoting the fastest Internet. They throw out language that the average consumer really don’t understand, which makes them want to talk to a representative. Then, the sales representative finds them the right package for their needs.
How can you determine the fastest Internet service provider in your local area?
You can follow these tips.
#1. Know your options
You have many more choices than the television ads would have you believe. For example, AT&T offers U-verse through its many phone and cable lines for $15 a month. With U-verse, AT&T can give you speeds up to 24 million bits per second and comes with wireless connections and expert-grade firewall. However, U-verse is not available in all 50 states. DirecTV offers Internet that is just as fast as other providers. Comcast’s Xfinity is available in 38 states, but it is mostly in metropolitan areas. Time Warner can give you Road Runner, Earthlink or a hybrid cross between cable and fiber optics. Each of them reach speeds of 10 to 30 Mbps. Verizon Fios can deliver speeds of up to 300 Mbps. Not everyone needs the super speeds. Decide what is fast enough for you and choose that option.
#2. Start with the government
Every city is different. For example, some have provided licenses to Verizon’s Fios, but the company has opted not to pursue Fios in the area, which means you can choose cable or digital service line. You can begin your search for the fastest Internet provider by using the National Broadband Map, a government-run site that compares options. You will want to put in your address and click on “show wired.” Although you will not be more specific than census blocks, you will get an idea of what is available to you.
#3. Compare prices and services
When you find the local providers, you will want to look at the prices. Make sure you compare comparable services. Some providers give you more, and some give you less. For example, you would see one price if you bundle television, phone and Internet and another price if you want Internet only. In some cases, you might not live near enough to a central office for faster DSL service.
#4. Check with reviews, Netflix and Google
Before you decide the right Internet provider, you will want to check out the reviews at Consumer Reports or PC Magazine. Netflix and Google keep a database that shows service providers distribute their videos. You will notice that some providers are faster with its streaming of videos than others. This is a good way to determine what provider to pick.
#5. Test your speed
If you sign on with a provider for a trial period, you can test your Internet speed by visiting speedtest.net. The site allows you to compare speeds among countries, counties, cities and regions. You can look at the rankings of upload speeds, connection quality, value for price and real speeds versus promised speeds.
#6. Choose a provider
It’s time to choose the provider by picking the one that is the fastest for you in your region that fits your budget and needs. If you decide you aren’t happy with your choice, you can switch to a competitor. They often offer special deals to have people switch. Just make sure you read your contract. Some providers require a two- or three-year commitment or require you to pay a hefty fine if you leave.
It’s clear that choosing an Internet service provider based on speeds is not difficult if you know the steps you need to take.