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Top 5 Questions to Ask your Internet Service Provider

Feb 11 2013

Internet Access Here Sign

Internet Access Here Sign (Photo credit: Steve Rhode)

Top 5 Questions to Ask your Internet Service Provider

Switching Internet services providers can be a difficult decision for many people. We are bombarded with advertisements for numerous plans from a variety of companies, each claiming to be the best for one reason or another. You are probably paying a lot for your Internet access, and you want to make sure you get the best possible deal out of it.

It seems like many of the companies involved don't have great service or like to hide details in the fine points of contracts that allow them to provide a lower quality Internet connection than you expected. Here are some questions you can ask a potential service provider to make sure you really understand what you would get with their service.

What are the prices and speeds offered with each package?
This will probably be the most basic question you'll ask, but it's also one of the most important. Internet speed can really affect your browsing experience, and raw speed is one of the best ways to compare one package with another in terms of price and value.

What kind of service do I actually need?
This is also a question you'll want to research yourself. Knowing your Internet usage habits will allow you to get a good enough connection that you won't be constantly bothered by problems, without paying too much for extra speed you don't really need.

What download & upload speeds are guaranteed?
Many companies offer downloads "up to" a certain speed, but don't guarantee that rate constantly. You want to know what kinds of speeds you'll actually see on a consistent basis, not an occasional lucky day.

Are there any limits to bandwidth?
For the most part, bandwidth limits are only a factor in mobile data usage. Those limits are generally quite low and have to be watched carefully. Although most people don't have much trouble with bandwidth caps on home or office Internet access, some companies have put limits in place. You'll want to know if there are any, and what the penalty is for going over the limit.

What kind of contract is required?
Lastly, make sure you now the full details of you contract, including how long it will last, how often you will be billed, what your options are for changing the terms of service, and any penalties for canceling the contract. Also research and read reviews so you know what kind of service you can expect from the company.

Knowing these things will help you be more educated about your service contract, and will prevent any unnecessary surprises. You don't want bad service, and there's no reason you should have to put up with it. So next time you're in the market for a new Internet service provider, keep these things in mind.

Aubrey Phelps is a writer for Fiber.net, a leading Utah Internet Provider. In her spare time, she studies SEO and loves to spend time with her husband and nieces.

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