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Due to continued technological advancement and a paradigm shift towards virtual technologies, the need for the internet has skyrocketed. Internet tech has itself witnessed a sort of revolution in recent years. A variety of ways have been introduced to speed up existing Copper and Coaxial networks, along with an increased focus on the expansion of the pure fiber-optic network to the user’s doorstep.

Cable and DSL providers have thus upgraded network capacity by smart incorporation of a myriad of relevant technologies, and are equipped to meet the rising demand for high-speed internet in the residential market. Parallel to the advancement of wireline services, Fixed Wireless has also emerged as one of the most cost-effective ways to deliver high-speed internet in rural America, giving internet users an alternative to the pricey satellite broadband.  

Is it Your Time to Switch Internet Providers?

With all this occurring, it’d be only logical that you find the internet package, which sufficed your needs even until as recently as last year, is no longer feasible. Because, your household now needs more speed and data to run everyday tasks, and you want higher network reliability to support activities such as working from home and virtual learning. Not to forget fun-time is all the more entwined with boosted internet speeds and lots of data, whether streaming is your thing or you love to relax with online games. So, if you have been sitting on the decision of switching ISPs, and wondering if it is the right time, you must not mull over it further.  

It is understandable, switching your home internet service is not a small change, and you may be apprehensive about how the new service may pan out. But rest assured, if you’ve done your homework, you may as well land yourself a great deal with an ISP you can trust. After all, don’t you switch ISPs when you move? Some users even make a switch once the promo period at discounted rate comes to an end, which means pretty much every 12 months. So, it is not really as daunting. What is important is clarity on your part as to why you need to change your internet service, and what you are looking for in a new plan.   

Today, we’ll talk about considerations you must keep in perspective when you begin the process of switching ISPs. Whether you are switching because you need a faster plan with more data, or because you are relocating and your current ISP does not serve at the new address, either way, you can pick on useful info and put it to work during decision-making.

Assess Your Home Internet Needs

The most essential step on your way to getting the right internet plan is knowing what your home needs. Assess what kind of activities does your family uses the internet for, and how many users/devices are simultaneously connected. These days people are working from home, attending school online, banking and shopping online, streaming TV, and gaming routinely. See which other activities does your family engages in. All this info will help you make a more accurate estimate for your speed and data needs.

  • According to the FCC 25/3 Mbps is the benchmark for broadband internet. And, to be fair, for a small household with standard usage on 2-3 devices connected simultaneously, this speed suffices.
  • A 50-100 Mbps download speed range is good for a family of 3-4 with standard consumption of the internet. Depending on how many devices/users connect at once, this speed range allows you to stream HD, and enjoy online gaming without an issue.
  • For up to 5 people with more extensive usage of the internet than standard, the download speed range of 150-200 Mbps can work well.
  • Bigger families with 5-7 users are better off picking on speed plans that range from 200-500 Mbps in order to accommodate simultaneous usage and bandwidth extensive activities.
  • While Gigabit internet plans are fast becoming more widely available, it is necessary not to get taken in by all that speed, as it may just be an overkill for your needs unless you are a super-connected family living in an ultra-connected smart home, a professional gamer or running a home-based business.

Learn more about what speed do you need.

The data allowance you’d need also correlates to your household usage. Most ISPs, which offer capped plans, allow around 1 TB of data every month. If internet usage is of standard nature, 1 TB can prove to be virtually unlimited. But, if consumption is higher, it may as well be better to look for an unlimited data plan.

Pick the Right Type of Internet Service

Today, there are more internet service types available in the U.S. residential market than ever before. Each comes with inherent characteristics, its unique pros, and cons. While not all internet types may be available in your vicinity because of how concentration, distribution, and market share works in the ISP industry, in urban and suburban regions you are still likely to access multiple wired providers at your address. Knowing about the types of internet services can help you pick the right one for your home, in accordance with the assessment of your speed and data needs.

DSL

    • DSL which utilizes the unused bandwidth of Copper phone lines is available in 90% of the U.S., and is one of the most common types in rural America.
    • While high-speed DSL variants are common in urban and suburban regions and get you download speeds as fast as 100 Mbps, in rural regions traditional DSL speeds can be as slow as 5 Mbps.
    • As for data, you can get an unlimited allowance with high-speed DSL from some ISPs, but most are likely to limit your data consumption.

Cable

    • Like DSL, coaxial cable networks cover an estimated 90% of the U.S., and cable broadband is the most popular type of internet service.
    • Almost all major cable internet providers now deliver services over hybrid networks which are capable of getting you to download speeds up to 1 Gbps. In addition to higher download speeds, cable broadband can also get you up to 50 Mbps upload speed.
    • Albeit, the reach of these hybrid Fiber-Coaxial networks remains limited to urban-suburban neighborhoods, in recent years expansion into rural America has also commenced.
    • While some cable internet providers limit your data allowance, quite a few don’t.

Fiber Optic

    • Fiber optic is the fastest type of internet service out there. The expansion of Fiber to the Home connections has been pretty recent, and pure fiber optic internet is still in the process of spreading its reach across the US. For now, you are likely to find Fiber available in densely populated urban areas, and the more prosperous suburban neighborhoods.
    • Fiber internet connections are able to deliver equal upload and download speeds up to 940 Mbps. And, almost all fiber plans offer unlimited data.
    • With ultra-low latency and plenty of bandwidth, the quality of the internet over an FTTH connection can make for an ideal online experience even for heavy users.

Fixed Wireless

    • Fixed wireless networks depict a larger footprint at 45% relative to fiber optic at 32%. It is being looked upon as a lifesaver internet service type for parts of rural America where wireline services are scarce. And, it is also being tapped into by a significant number of local internet providers, owing to its more cost-effective and quick network deployment.
    • Fixed wireless connections for residential purposes widely deliver up to 50 Mbps download speeds. Albeit higher and lower speed tiers are available depending on the area and the ISP’s network.
    • Fixed wireless depicts lower latency than satellite internet, delivers faster speeds, gets you a healthier data allowance, and is far less costly. So, if you are caught between a rock and a hard place, fixed wireless if available can save the day for you.

Satellite

    • The biggest plus with satellite internet is its coast-to-coast availability, as with HughesNet. This makes satellite broadband the only viable option for people who are beyond the reach of wired services, or whose only choice of a wireline service is the traditionally slow DSL.
    • Satellite internet speeds can be as high as 100 Mbps depending on your location. But, data can be an issue as plans are mostly capped. While unlimited data options are available, it can become really costly.
    • Satellite internet by default suffers from the highest latency level among all internet service types. And while you can play lightweight online games on it, it is not really the internet for gamers.

Additional Things to Consider Before You Switch

Once you decide to switch ISPs, other than your speed and data needs, some other factors must also be taken into account. For instance:

    • If you are canceling your current plan earlier than the end of term, you maybe subject to an Early Termination Fee. While it may not be possible to escape that, you can always look out for ISPs that are ready to help you with a contract buy-out offer. Quite a few ISPs offer to compensate when you incur an ETF by switching to their services.
    • Also, check if the ISPs you are looking at offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. This way you can check out the service during the first month, and if you are not satisfied, you’ll be refunded the monthly service charge.
    • If you’ve previously felt stuck due to a contractual obligation, you can look for a no-contract option to start with. This way no hassle is involved when you choose to cancel the service.

Pick the Best Internet Provider for Yourself!

Now here comes the answer to that nagging question “how do I find internet providers at my address?” Maybe you have already tried running the query “which Wi-Fi service providers are near me?”, but have not yet been able to narrow down to the best available options. In any case, here is a listing of 7 prominent broadband services to help you shape a better idea of what the market has to offer.

Spectrum Internet

    • Spectrum Internet is one of the most desired service options for customers. And, its widespread availability in 40 states makes it all the more desirable.
    • Charter SpectrumTM uses a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network. And offers 3-speed tiers with a starting download speed of 200 Mbps widely available. The best part is all Spectrum plans come with unlimited data.
    • Spectrum offers a contract buy-out up to $500 when you switch to a Spectrum package.
    • Spectrum plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and all plans are on a no-contract basis.

Speak to Spectrum Sales representatives at 1-855-423-0918 to determine offer availability in your area, and place an order.

 

WOW! Internet

    • The WOW! Internet service delivers cable broadband over a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network and has a footprint in 9 states.
    • WOW! offers 4-speed tiers which include download speeds of 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 Mbps. From a small family with standard usage of the internet to a large connected household with extensive consumption, all are covered. The best part is all plans come with unlimited data.
    • WOW! internet service carries a 30-day money-back guarantee and does not require you to sign an annual contract.
    • The best part is WOW! plans are not just competitively priced, but outright affordable.

To check the availability of WOW! The Internet offers in your area and to subscribe, speak to WOW! Customer Service at 1-844-343-1373.

Cox Internet

    • Cox Internet service is available in over 15 states and is delivered over a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network.
    • Cox offers a wide variety of speed tiers starting from the basic 25 Mbps up to 940 Mbps. With 50, 150, and 500 Mbps tiers in-between. All Cox Communications internet plans get you 1.2 TB data (1280 GB) per month.
    • Cox internet service gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee, albeit available plans may not be free of contractual obligation.

For more information on a subscription to Cox Internet plans, contact Cox Customer Service representatives at 1-855-349-9316. Spanish users can visit Cox Servicio al Cliente en Español or call +1-844-520-8979

Xfinity Internet

    • Xfinity Internet is one of the most popular broadband services across the US, and one of the most widely available as well, with an impressive footprint in 35 states.
    • Xfinity from Comcast delivers its internet service primarily over a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network, albeit in select locations Xfinity also gives out FTTH connections for its Gigabit Pro plan.
    • Delivered speeds range from 50 Mbps to 2,000 Mbps, with 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1,200 Mbps plans in-between. All plans except the Gigabit Pro come with a 1.2 TB data allowance.
    • Xfinity plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. And are unique in the sense you get the option to pick one with a term agreement or without. Albeit, the promotional price is applicable only to plans with a 12-month term agreement.

Explore Xfinity from Comcast & Order Online

CenturyLink Internet

    • CenturyLink Internet service is available in 35 states. And it is one of the few providers which have a rather significant presence in rural America as well.
    • CenturyLink delivers 2 types of internet, high-speed DSL and Fiber. While the DSL service is widely available in its service locations, Fiber is more limited albeit fast expanding.
    • CenturyLink DSL plans offer download speeds up to 100 Mbps, while its Fiber service delivers symmetrical speeds up to 940 Mbps. All plans come with unlimited data.
    • All CenturyLink Internet plans come without an annual contract, and also there is no promotional term. Meaning you pay month-to-month, and there is no hike in the price after the first 12 months are over.

Speak to a CenturyLink Customer Service representative at 1-855-349-9310 to check offer availability, and to place an order.

RCN Internet

    • The RCN Internet service has been ranked #1 by PC Magazine as the fastest.
    • While RCN’s network covers a limited market, if you are housed in Boston (MA), Chicago (IL), Philadelphia & Lehigh Valley (PA), New York (NY) and DC Metro areas, you can grab a bargain deal from RCN.
    • The best part about RCN Internet service is it delivers ultra-fast speeds at cheap rates. Although it can become a little confusing since the provider offers a variation of speed at different prices in its service locations. In most regions download speeds range from 50 Mbps to 940 Mbps.
    • All RCN internet plans get you unlimited data and no annual contract is required.

Speak to an RCN Customer Service representative at 1-844-343-1374 to check offer availability and pricing.

TDS Internet

    • TDS is primarily a DSL and Fiber internet provider with a footprint in 24 states. In some service locations, TDS also delivers cable broadband.
    • TDS Internet plans offer a max download speed of up to 100 Mbps over the provider’s DSL network. Fiber plans get you speeds up to 1 Gig. While all fiber internet plans come with unlimited data, DSL plans limit the allowance to 250 GB.
    • TDS internet service plans give you a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there is hardly a risk involved.

Speak to TDS Customer Service representatives at 1-844-343-1172 to determine offer availability and pricing.  

Final Thoughts

Before we close, let’s add before you make your final pick of an ISP, do check out customer reviews, and also talk to others in your neighborhood who may already be subscribed to the service you are looking into. This way you are able to assess the delivered quality of the internet service as well as customer care. And when you make your choice, do ensure to read through the fine print. If you find yourself confused, you can always speak to a representative at the relevant number as listed above.

With that said, we wish to the best of luck with your endeavor to switch ISPs!

FAQs

How can I avoid an early termination fee on my Internet plan?

Well, as it is if you have signed up a term agreement or an annual contract, and you cancel the service before the end of term, you’ll be liable to a pro-rated Early Termination Fee. The only way you can distribute the burden of an ETF is by switching to an ISP like Charter Spectrum which offers you a contract buy-out when you sign up for a Spectrum package.  

What is the best type of internet connection?

There are several wired alternatives in the market ranging from DSL to Cable and Fiber internet connections. DSL and Cable networks cover 90% of the US, while Fiber availability is limited to 32%. Fiber Internet is definitely the best in terms of bandwidth, speed, and data offerings. Cable is the most popular given the range of speeds available, as well as its affordability and widespread availability. While in rural America DSL is the most common type of internet service available, in urban and suburban parts its appeal lessens with other available wired options around. However, with high-speed DSL you can certainly meet standard household needs without having to spend too much.