So you’ve gone online and found an internet provider that’s offering a great price for service. All that’s left is to sign up and enjoy great discounts, right? Not so fast; signing up with an ISP based solely on price or another feature they’re promoting won’t tell you all you need to know about a company. And not finding out these three things beforehand can leave you a very unhappy customer later on.
No, we’re not talking about what the company will do to you if you don’t pay your bill. An important aspect of any provider research is to find out whether or not they will slow your connection down during times of peak usage. This activity, known as throttling, is a common practice among many ISPs who simply don’t have the network resources to handle high amounts of traffic during times when a lot of people are online.
To find out what a company’s stance is on the practice of throttling, conduct a search using that company’s name and include terms like peak periods or throttling. If the internet provider has had a substantial number of complaints from customers about slow internet during peak times, you may want to reconsider your options. However, one or two disgruntled users doesn’t mean that the internet provider is necessarily a write-off. Make sure you read between the lines. Try to see if you can find more authoritative information from a neutral, third party resource.
Don’t be fooled by internet providers who advertise blazing-fast connections without digging a little big deeper; while you may be able to enjoy HD-quality video and seamless online game play, the amount of data you’re allowed to use could be limited. Usage caps are a hot topic these days, and for good reason: many feel that there is no reason to put a cap on the amount of data your computer sends and receives while online, because the costs incurred by traffic only account for a tiny fraction of an ISP’s costs to provide you with service.
However, a growing number of internet providers are not only putting usage limits on their customers, but are either charging for the amount of data allowance customers exceed, or disconnecting a customer entirely for repeated overages. This can really put a damper on your internet experience and your budget if you are someone who is a Netflix subscriber or chooses to back up their data online with cloud services such as Dropbox.
While this may sound like a common-sense thing to consider, a surprising number of would-be subscribers overlook this aspect of finding the right company. It can be easy to be wooed into service with a provider because of high-speed promises, easy non-technician setup and the perceived reliability of a connection type. But many internet connections are at the mercy of interference from devices either in our outside of the home, the weather, and traffic load from other customers.
As well, that portable device which will allow you to have internet when you’re on the go may only work in very specific areas. To research reliability, find out more about your internet in terms of their track record for things like uptime and dropped connectivity. And check out their team of service technicians; if there seems to be long wait times for repairs, the company may not be as reliable as it looks on the surface.
Ruth Suelemente is a freelance writer who enjoys researching a variety of topics, particularly in the area of technology. Helping customers find the best high speed internet providers is one of the ways she likes to give back.