Quality broadband service can be hard to find, so it pays to shop around carefully before you sign up for a plan. Many plans come with minimum contract commitments and costly termination fees, making it that much more difficult to get rid of slow service for something better.
It is much better to do your homework up front. Spending a few days or even weeks researching the various options available in your area can save you a lot of grief and hassle down the road. Understanding the factors that should go into your broadband internet decision can make all the difference in the world.
Monthly Cost of Service
The monthly cost of your service plan is obviously an important factor. You need to find a service plan that fits not only your needs but your budget as well. If you are on a tight budget, a basic DSL plan may be able to give you everything you need. If you need faster download speeds and the ability to work with large quantities of data, a high-speed cable or fiber optic plan may be a better value. The key is to look at your specific circumstances and think about what you need from your broadband internet plan.
Contract Length and Termination Fees
This is a very important factor, since it could end up costing you a great deal of money in the long run. Before you sign up for any type of broadband service, it is important to look at the fine print and determine what kind of termination fees you might be subject to. Be sure you understand how long you are required to keep the service – some plans require a commitment of a year or even two. If the company is offering a low rate for new customers, be sure to find out how long that rate is good. You might find that your low rate is good for only six months, leaving you to pay the higher rate for the remainder of the term.
Quality of Service
Quality of service is obviously an important factor. You want to know that you will be able to access the information you need, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, from any computer in the house. Ask for recommendations and try to assess the quality of service you can expect to receive before signing up. Ask if there is a trial period available for you to test the service for a few months before signing up for a longer plan. The more you can do to check out the service ahead of time the better off you will be.
When broadband companies advertise their services, they often highlight their download speeds, but it is important to take that number with a grain of salt. That advertised speed is typically the maximum download speed, and the actual connection speeds you see may vary quite a bit. It is important to read the fine print and look for information on typical download speeds. Once you have the service up and running, it is a good idea to download some sort of speed monitor. This will allow you to see how fast your connection really is. If your speeds are much less than advertised, a call to the service provider would be in order.
beconrad confirms that there are many different providers and broadband packages around as well as the better known like the orange home package and lists some of the main considerations when choosing between them