How do I Choose the Best Local ISP?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Choosing the best local Internet service provider (ISP) often means comparing several different companies. First, you may need to decide between broadband service and dial-up Internet, which may help you narrow your list. Then, you may need to compare local ISPs based on the connection speeds they offer. Price is likely to be an important consideration as well. Ultimately, you may make your final choice by choosing the local ISP that offers the type of service you want, the highest possible speeds, and the lowest prices.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

The first step in choosing the best local ISP may be learning the types of Internet service that are available to you. Depending on where you live, you may have a range of options for obtaining Internet service. For example, you may have dial-up service in your area as well as broadband Internet offered by cable, digital subscriber line (DSL), and satellite providers. Once you’ve determined what is available locally, you may then go on to choose the type of service you’d prefer.

In general, most people prefer broadband Internet to dial-up service, as broadband service provides an always-there Internet connection. Often, getting on the Internet with broadband service is as simple as opening a web browser. With dial-up service, however, a person must have a local access number and allow his computer modem to dial it to connect to the Internet. This may only take a few minutes, but it may seem too long if you want the instant connection available with broadband. Additionally, you can typically use the Internet and talk on the phone at the same time when you have broadband service.

Speed is an additional consideration when you choose a local ISP. Generally, broadband service provides the fastest Internet speeds, but speed may vary from service to service. As such, you may do well to compare speeds offered by local service providers who offer the type of service you prefer. Dial-up Internet is usually significantly slower than broadband service. If you only use the Internet occasionally, however, or you’re not particularly concerned with speed, you may still decide that dial-up service meets your needs.

Local ISPs may also vary in terms of the prices they offer for service. Dial-up Internet is often cheaper than broadband. If you shop around and compare local dial-up providers, you may be able to secure dial-up service for a monthly rate that is only a fraction of the average broadband rate. You may, however, also find competitive prices among local broadband providers. Often, a local ISP will also provide an introductory offer that makes broadband service more affordable. Remember to look at regular monthly rates, however, as the introductory price only will apply for a brief period of time.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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