When you move into a new place, you probably assume utilities like power and water are flowing into the building. With the world’s growing reliance on the internet, it is just as important as those two utilities, but you can’t assume it’s available in your new home.
Serviceability is a fickle thing in the internet world. Your neighbor can have service from one internet service provider (ISP) like Verizon, but it might not be available in your house right across the street.
ArsTechnica published a story of a Seattle couple who bought a home in an established neighborhood, assuming they would have the same ISP as their neighbors. Unfortunately, their property wasn’t connected, and it came with a nearly $30,000 price tag to do so.
Performing due diligence is a must when moving into a new rental property or purchasing a home. Having a checklist is a good way to keep track of everything you need to know.
If you rely on the internet for work, school or entertainment, there are questions to ask before you move in, as well as questions to ask before you buy internet service.
Before committing to a property:
- Verify with your real estate agent via the sellers that an ISP is available.
- Talk to your prospective neighbors to see if they have service, with whom and if they’ve had any pain points.
- To make sure, check your new address with Allconnect and see your choice(s) of ISPs.
- Research the provider to see which plan would best suit your needs.
Before signing up for internet services, make sure you ask your internet provider about data caps, contracts, early termination fees, equipment rental fees and other items that could inflate your monthly bill.
What if internet isn’t available?
If you’ve discovered your new home doesn’t have cable or fiber internet access, satellite, mobile hotspots and 5G home internet service may be viable options.
Keep in mind that T-Mobile and Verizon’s 5G home internet services are in the expansion phases, so coverage isn’t yet widely available.
Mobile hotspots can get pricey, so ensure you find an unlimited data plan. Something to keep in mind when using a mobile hotspot is that the provider can slow down your service during high-traffic times.
Some cell phone service providers offer a plan to use a MiFi, which is a portable router that you take anywhere to keep connected. For example, Verizon charges $20/mo. for its MiFi with unlimited data. The catch here is the devices themselves can be hundreds of dollars.
Satellite internet services like HughesNet and Starlink are home internet options, especially when there are no other ISP choices available at your address.
You have internet, but it’s not right for your needs
If you’ve moved into your new space, connected your internet service through the local provider and then realized it isn’t working as you’d hoped, you may have options – but solutions could be pricey. For example, equipment set-up costs can run hundreds of dollars like with Starlink which is at $599.
“My family and I have been very unhappy with our internet service provider,” shared Sarah D. of Charlotte, NC. “The connection is absolutely terrible, and sometimes we experience random outages that are the most frustrating thing ever. Our internet service provider is the only one in our area and charges way too much for their awful internet. We wish we could switch so badly!”
Unfortunately for Sarah’s family, they are “stuck” with their provider for now. No 5G home internet services are available, and they feel satellite isn’t right for them.
Rob M., also of North Carolina, finds himself in a similar situation, “My internet drops for about five minutes once a day randomly before coming back on its own.” Rob, though, has the option of trying out T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet service and is strongly considering the move.
Making the switch
Michelle M. of New York knew she had to switch ISPs when her family of four heavy-internet users realized there were “severe dead spots” in their home.
“Despite living in a big city, there are parts of my home that just have seriously weak signals and service, and thus we are limited in the rooms we can work from,” shared Michelle.
Her family members are avid consumers of cable, streaming and other subscription-based entertainment platforms and used cable internet as part of an internet and phone bundle.
“I work from home part of the week, my husband does a lot of prep and admin work as a teacher, and our kids are college commuters and gamers. They are both in the arts and use things like Creative Cloud and songwriting and music apps and platforms.”
The family switched from cable to a provider with 1G service with whole-home Wi-Fi. A speed test confirmed they receive the provider’s optimal speed and load times of up to 940/880 Mbps.
“We are definitely getting faster, stronger internet speeds, streaming loads way faster and fewer incidents with dead spots. For example, my bedroom and our upstairs living spaces were notoriously hard to keep a Wi-Fi signal going. However, we no longer have that issue,” said Michelle.
The bottom line
Internet access is a must-have for us to work, learn and play from home. Before you move into a new space, never assume there is internet access. Confirm that through the landlord, realtor, local providers, former occupants and/or neighbors.
If the service isn’t quite right for your needs, start your search to switch today with Allconnect.
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Written by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
Robin Layton is an editor with Allconnect. She works closely with the content team writers to ensure consumers get a fair and balanced reporting of the state of broadband services to help them understand the pro… Read more
Edited by:Camryn Smith
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