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Research is the best way to ensure you are getting the right internet plan for your household’s needs. Before you commit to a provider or plan, make sure all of your questions are answered and you know exactly what you will be paying for.
What type of internet service is available in my area and which one is best?
The three main types of internet service are DSL, cable and fiber optic. Unfortunately, you don’t always have a choice about your internet service since some regions only provide one of these three options. Few areas provide all three, but if you do have an option, choose fiber optic. DSL is generally the slowest option and fiber optic tends to be the most cost-efficient and reliable option.
What are all the internet plans available in my area?
Most internet providers offer a range of speeds to accommodate the needs of all types of internet users and family sizes. Even if you determined your preferred internet plan before speaking to a salesperson, you should still ask about different plan options. Internet plans often vary based on location and there could be other options available that you aren’t aware of. Also make sure to ask about both upload and download speeds as the advertised speed is usually just the download speed.
How do I know what speed I need for internet?
Internet plans are designed to accommodate certain needs, so when you are asking about speed options, ask what each speed is best for. Allconnect also offers insight on what speed you may need. For instance, Allconnect’s sales team suggests:
- 3-5 Mbps per device for streaming
- Above 25 Mbps for working from home
- 100 Mbps for gaming
Are there data limits? If there are, what is the penalty for going over?
Internet providers vary considerably on their data limit policies. Make sure you know how much data you get with each package and what happens if you go over that limit. Additionally, even if your prospective service provider advertises unlimited data, ask if there is the potential for your internet speed to ever be throttled. Sometimes, even if you have unlimited data, providers slow your internet toward the end of the month if you are using it disproportionately more than others in your neighborhood and the network is congested. There may even be soft data limits that your provider doesn’t advertise.
Are there price increases? If so, by how much and when?
Unless a provider specifically labels a plan as “price for life,” the advertised price is most likely a promotional price. Therefore, your bill will likely increase significantly after 12 months. Make sure you ask what the regular rate is for each internet plan before you decide which package is the best deal.
Is there a contract?
Internet providers vary significantly on their contract policies. Some providers don’t require contracts, others require as long as a two-year contract and some give you an option to choose your contract length. If a provider gives you an option for the contract length, the prices will likely differ based on which contract length you choose, with the longest contract offering the lowest price. Therefore, consider how long you will likely require internet for your current location before you choose a provider and a plan. If you are opting for a contract, ask if there is an early termination fee and if there is a grace period before that termination fee kicks in.
Are the advertised internet speeds guaranteed?
Most providers do not guarantee the speeds they advertise, but you should ask what your prospective provider’s policy is just in case you run into problems with your speeds. Providers should be able to offer speeds at least within 80% of advertised speeds, according to data from the Federal Communications Commission. To find out the speed of your current internet plan, take our test below.
Need more for the price?
Try these helpful hacks to improve your internet speed. Or if you just want more bang for your buck, check out providers near you with more speed for the price. Either way, we’ll help you find what you need.View providers near me
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Pro Tip: For best results, use an Ethernet cord to connect your router or modem directly to your device before you run the test.
What additional fees can I expect?
The advertised price for an internet plan is only one of several fees you can expect to see on your bill. Typical fees for internet service include:
- Monthly equipment fees (modem and router)
- One-time installation fee
- One-time activation fee
Ask if there are ways to waive the installation fee as some providers will waive it if you purchase your internet online. If you can’t get the professional installation fee waived, you likely have the option to self-install, which is often free or at least significantly less expensive.
Other potential fees could stem from data overages, late payments or early terminations. However, as long as you remain in your contract and keep track of your data usage, you will be able to avoid these charges.
Can I provide my own equipment?
If you want to save money, purchasing your own modem and router separately is often more cost-efficient than renting from your internet provider. However, not all providers offer this option and some providers include the modem and router with select packages.
The main downside of buying your own equipment is if you have issues with your equipment (which is not uncommon), you likely won’t have access to your provider’s tech support.
Will I save money if I bundle my internet and TV service?
While not all providers offer discounts for bundling internet and TV services together, a lot do. Customers are often able to save money bundling because they do not have additional surcharges on their bill by separating their services.
Therefore, if you are looking to purchase both internet and TV service, try to find a provider that offers great bundle discounts. For instance, Cox, Optimum and Suddenlink offer some of the best bundle deals, saving you $34 to $50/mo.
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Written by:Ari Howard
Associate Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content
Ari is an Associate Writer for the Allconnect team, focusing on broadband and wireless news, as well as broadband and TV provider deals. She recently graduated from Davidson College with a bachelor’s degree in… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband & Wireless Content
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