How To Choose The Best Internet Service For Your Family
Choosing a new internet service provider can be confusing. While shopping for new service you'll have to do research; decide between internet plans, sift through reviews, review lengthy service details, understand fine print and more. Even after all that you still might make the wrong choice for your family.
However, finding a new internet service provider doesn't have to be confusing and it won't as long as you remember what's important to your family. To help you choose a new internet provider that's truly best for your family, we've put together the most important aspects you'll need to decide on while shopping for internet service.
Assess Your Family's Needs
To ensure you choose an internet plan that your family will be happy with, you'll need to assess your family's internet needs. Here are some questions you'll need to ask yourself and your family:
● How does each person in your household plan on using their internet? Online activities like streaming TV, online multiplayer gaming, working from home and remote classes need faster internet speeds, more bandwidth, lower ping times and high to no data caps to perform at its best. Online activities like web surfing, checking emails, and social media require much less from your next internet service provider.
● How many internet enabled devices will be running simultaneously? The more devices you have on your home Wi-Fi network, the better internet service you'll need to ensure everyone has equal quality access to your connection.
● Are you in a contract with your current internet provider? If yes, you will face early termination fees if you cancel early. However, that's not necessarily a deal breaker if your current service is unbearably slow or unreliable. Plus, some internet providers now have contract buyout programs that can ease any extra costs you accumulate to switch to their service.
Consult With The Family Budget
Your internet speeds are just as important as the monthly cost of service to your family. Before researching what internet providers are available in your neighborhood, crunch some numbers in the family budget to find out how much your family can comfortably spend on internet service every month. The cost of internet service varies wildly in most areas, so we recommend coming up with a range and sticking to it. Paying more for internet service than you can really afford will leave you wishing for a different internet provider and plan every month even if the service is great.
How Much Does Internet Service Cost?
Internet service costs from $20 a month to $300 a month depending on what internet provider and internet plan you choose. However, the average cost of internet in the United States is $60 a month and in some areas with faster internet speeds or less densely populated areas can be much higher, up to $150 or more a month for select internet plans.
If internet service is too expensive for your family budget, don't give up hope just yet. There are low-cost internet options available to households that qualify for them and most internet providers have an option available to those in need. Unfortunately, most are not well advertised so it may take extra time out of your busy day to track them down.
Search For Internet Providers In The Area
Now that you've assessed your family's internet needs and consulted with the family budget to find out what you can comfortably afford, now you're ready to search for internet providers in your area.
Before you get excited by what your friends pay for across town, find out what internet providers serve your neighborhood and serve your address. Not all internet providers are available nationwide or even statewide and what internet plans, promotions, and new customer deals vary by location. Same with any package deals you're interested in; internet speeds and TV channels aren't available everywhere. Be prepared to pay more or less than you anticipated when you search by your address or move to a new city.
We recommend completing this step only after you've assessed your own situation to look at what internet providers and plans are available in your area objectively without bias regarding price or internet speeds.
Compare Internet Plans, Prices & Features
After you've done all your research, now it's time to sort through the information you've gathered. You'll want to choose an internet plan that gives you the speeds you need at prices you can afford every month. There are also internet providers that also offer bundles like TV streaming services like Netflix, Dish Network, Amazon, HBO and Hulu. Each internet provider has their own pros and cons to their service, but here are the biggest issues you'll need to consider before crossing them off your list or calling to order service:
● Internet plans and monthly costs: What internet plans are available at your address, what do you get with them and how much does each one cost?
● Speeds: What internet speeds are available at your address and which speeds are adequate for your family? The internet speeds you choose will determine whether or not you'll overpay for internet service or be unsatisfied with the service you receive later.
● Data limits: Are there data limits or caps with internet service? If yes, data limits will vary per internet plan so choose wisely. If a data limit is something you don't want to worry about, it may be in your best interest to choose an internet plan without data caps.
● Contracts: Is there a service contract required with service? If yes, is a contract right for your family? If you plan on moving soon, it might be in your best interest to hold off on switching internet providers. With contracts, if you decide to leave early, you could face hefty early termination fees that equal up to hundreds of dollars.
● Installation: What is the installation process and when can you have service installed? You may have more than one option; professional installation or self installation.
● Customer satisfaction ratings and reviews: It's an unfortunate reality that nearly all internet providers have terrible reviews. It's human nature to complain first instead of going out of your way to leave a positive review. However, if there's a ton of complaints about unreliable service, numerous outages or underperforming service; proceed with caution.