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Whether we want to connect with our loves ones via a live video call, watch the latest TV shows and movies while out and about, conduct business conferences with teams halfway across the world, get a degree from a university in a foreign country, keep track of our health vitals, or even do something as simple as finding a recipe—the onset of the internet with its pervasive ability to connect us has turned fantasy into a reality.

Our heavy dependence on high-speed internet to get tasks done has been directly proportional to the cutting-edge and innovative infrastructures erected by internet service providers. Therefore, internet service providers hold quite leverage over their subscribers, especially when they manage to lock their customers in a long-term contract. But worry not, the market for the fastest internet service is highly competitive as multiple providers flock at one address, vying for the same potential customer, with tempting and affordable internet packages.

There are 2500 internet service providers in the U.S., with 1,300 offering fiber-optic service, 1,500 with fixed wireless on the menu, 880 with DSL internet service, 445 with cable connectivity, 230 with a copper network infrastructure, and 4 delivering satellite internet across the country.

So there must be a provider with the right mix of offerings to make you a satisfied customer. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case in most instances.

As all that variety tends to leave one dizzy and confused, especially when one doesn’t have enough knowledge that enables to adequately gauge the right service provider to fulfill a given set of requirements. So, here are some pointers to keep in mind as you look for a new internet service provider with the best internet bundles.

Is the Service Available in Your Area?

There may be over 2.5k providers in the U.S, but not all of them service your address. Because there are very few internet service providers with network capacity big enough to service a vast number of states—there are few like Spectrum which reaches 44 states, and HughesNet which covers 50 states. Most providers aren’t huge in the scale of their coverage, and service only certain regions.

It’s likely that your area may only have 1 to 2 providers available. The provider’s availability and even services and packages can vary from location to location. In densely populated urban centers, you may be spoiled for choices with 3 to 8 providers available at your ZIP code, but in a rural setting with limited options, you may have to make do with what’s available. Also, less competition means higher prices and it may be difficult for you to wring out a lucrative internet deal.

You can search with queries like ‘new internet service providers near me’ or ‘new ISP in my area’ via a search engine, and you will get a list of ISPs in your wider area. Even better, if you consult a retail site like BuyTVInternetPhone, you will not only find the list of available providers by your ZIP code, but details on their pricing and service features.

A couple of clicks will find you all the information you need to sift at a glance. Plus, these sites gather the latest discounts and promotions from each provider so you may just land a lucrative deal.

Moreover, if you wish you can talk to a customer care representative at 1-855-349-9328. The staff is well-versed in the comings and goings of the top internet service providers in the U.S., and will cater well to any question you may have. What’s more, you can even order a provider’s services directly.

Which Broadband Connection Type to Go for?

There is a multitude of wired and wireless broadband connection types. The type of connection you utilize really affects the performance of your internet and your experience. For instance, wired broadband is by default more stable and fast, whereas wireless is a good option in the absence of wired internet in a rural setting because it is more accessible.

Cable, DSL, and Fiber-Optic are the three main wired broadband varieties. Cable is one of the most economical and fast connection types, especially since ingenious ISPs like Spectrum and Mediacom began powering their cable network infrastructure with fiber-optic lines. Since then Spectrum and Mediacom have been able to offer fiber-powered internet speeds but at the lower price-point of cable broadband. The only thing this hybrid connection doesn’t offer is symmetrical upload and download speeds, which can be only delivered by the superfast pure fiber-optic connection.

However, 100% fiber internet is mainly offered to business customers by most ISPs—with the exception of providers like AT&T, Frontier Communications, and CenturyLink which are able to deliver the fastest internet service to select residential neighborhoods through their fiber-optic network.

DSL is the oldest and slowest of the three wired connection types but is widely available across the U.S. AT&T DSL internet is a much better alternative for rural residents. Even in urban or suburban neighborhoods, where AT&T brings high-speed DSL boosted by Fiber in the Loop, speeds up to 100 Mbps are available which works great for standard household usage.

For wireless connection type, satellite broadband is the latest bleeding-edge option. Currently, there are four satellite internet providers in the U.S. with HughesNet offering 100% coverage across 50 states. It offers many times faster internet speeds than the outdated dial-up internet, which some far-flung areas are still plagued with. But, satellite internet can be expensive due to its space-age technology.

Lastly, fixed wireless and mobile broadband are other wireless broadband alternatives for rural residents. AT&T fixed wireless is an affordable alternative that works better in suburban and rural settings—with fixed wireless internet coverage in 18 states, 1.1 million more locations are expected to receive the service by the end of 2020.

What is the Right Internet Speed?

Internet speeds may differ as per each broadband type, but internet service providers also vary in their speed offerings and policies. Most providers such as Spectrum , Mediacom , and Cox offer internet services divided across multiple speed tiers. Similarly, the likes of RCN, Grande Communications, Wave , and WOW! also have a variety of speed tiers on offer, and at more competitive prices, albeit their network coverage is limited to fewer states. Anyhow, all these cable providers allow customers to choose the speed they needwithin their budget constraints.

With these providers, you will see speed tiers starting around 50 Mbps—lower speeds like 10 Mbps and 25 Mbps are also available at some locations—and it is these lower speed tiers which make for the cheapest and most affordable internet packages. As speeds increase from one tier to another, there is a jump in price too. The most expensive tier is likely to offer gigabit speeds.

On the other hand, providers like AT&T and CenturyLink would offer you the fastest internet service their infrastructure is capable of delivering at your location, but at a homogenous price. It can be beneficial and economical for those where the top-notch network is delivering super fast internet speeds, but not for those receiving internet speeds below 20 Mbps or so. That however is usually the case in rural areas where the infrastructure is old, and the only faster alternative available.

Are Long-term Contracts Feasible?

Beware of the providers with long-term contracts as they will lock you in one for 1 to 2 years, and if you are dissatisfied with their service during that time, you can only leave if you pay an Early Termination Fee (ETF). The ETFs are usually charged on a pro-rated basis, which means the earlier you leave, the more you pay.

It’s better to steer clear of these long-term contracts. Look for the no-contract internet service providers like Spectrum, which allows you to cancel the service any time without any monetary repercussions. And that’s not all, the provider even offers up to $500 to get you out of a contract with an annoying provider, provided you fulfill eligibility criteria.

With that said, we would advise you to read through the fine print that accompanies offers with term agreements from most providers. They may bind you in a contract that could translate into a monetary loss if you choose to cancel your service, however, if a no-contract option is not available it would be wise to judge the overall value of a contract based offer before you say no to it.

Can We Live with Data Caps?

In a world where all our devices are continuously plugged into the internet, where video streaming and unlimited downloading is a norm, a limit on internet data allowance can really throw a wrench in one’s smooth surfing, streaming, and downloading plans.

So depending on how much internet you use, you may or may not have a problem with data caps. Some providers like Meddiacomand Wave place data limits based on their speed tiers—the lower the speed, the lower the data cap— as the speed increases, the data allowance goes up too.

On the other hand, providers like Cox, CenturyLink and AT&T offer around 1TB monthly data, which is not easy to run out of. Some like Spectrum , Windstream ,RCN, Grande Communications, and WOW! offer unlimited internet data every month—while almost all providers, which have Gigabit internet on offer, also allow unlimited data with pure fiber-optic connections.

Wrapping Up

These are some of the key aspects you need to keep in mind while looking for an internet service provider with the best internet bundle for you. There may be plenty of providers flocking in your area, but not all of them can deliver what you want so it’s better to conduct a thorough search of providers available to you and make an informed decision.