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How Do I Choose the Best Cheap ISP?

An ADSL modem, one of the ways to connect to the Internet.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2014
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Choosing the best inexpensive ISP, or Internet Service Provider, is a goal that many budget-conscious individuals and businesses face on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are plenty of cheap ISP deals available, although some are limited to customers that live within a given geographical location or qualify based on some other criteria. Determining which inexpensive provider is the best option is actually a combination of considering the speed and type of the connection, the resources needed to make the best use of that connection, and the price for the service selected.

While people in metropolitan areas or smaller cities usually have several choices in terms of Internet services, outlying areas may or may not have access to the same choices. For example, if you live in a rural area, your options for cheap ISP service may be limited to dial-up providers or some type of microwave wireless transmission. While dial-up ISP services tend to be very inexpensive, they are also the slowest of all options with Internet connectivity today. If you want low cost, don’t tend to send large files via email, and can live with the slow loading that comes with dial-up options, this may be a good approach. If not, look at other options that are available in the area, and compare speeds, customer support, reliability ratings, and total cost before making a selection.

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One factor that many people tend to overlook is the type of equipment they will use to drive the connection. Most cheap ISP providers do have minimum requirements in terms of the types of operating systems their software can work with, and also the amount of random access memory (RAM) that the receiving device can provide. With dial-up services, the requirements tend to be very basic and very broad, making it possible to successfully use a computer with low RAM and most older types of operating systems. More robust options, such as cable or DSL, will require more RAM and newer operating systems. This is especially true if the desire is for a cheap ISP service that provides wireless connectivity.

Cost is also crucial to choosing the best cheap ISP. It may be a smart move to look at bundled services offered by various telecommunications providers. Rather than going with stand-alone Internet services, consider choosing a package that offers telephone, Internet, and cable services for one reduced package. Depending on the rates offered by the provider, you may find that it is possible to purchase all three services for what you once paid for telephone and cable alone. With this approach, you are essentially obtaining a fast connection for Internet use without any additional out-of-pocket expenses. Talk with local providers about bundled packages, and determine if you do stand to save money with this strategy.

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