We recently left our old internet company due to inflated prices. Every month it seemed like our bill was getting slightly higher - for the same exact service! We would call the company and ask them about our bill and why there’s an “extra” fee or surcharge and what exactly that “surcharge” was for/ Every single time, the call ended with some variation of, “Where so sorry! It seems there was a mistake on your bill!” So at the end of last year, we were feed up!
Luckily, there’s a ton of choices across Los Angeles and you’re not limited to the mega internet providers. This time, I did some research into how to find the best internet providers without wasting time and money.
Choosing the right high-speed internet provider can be complicated, with multiple choices in plans and benefits. If you’ve been in the throes of moving or some form of transition, having more choices isn’t always welcome. This is particularly true of internet service providers. The variables in speeds, features, packages, and bundles can become complex.
A good place to begin is the FCC broadband map. You can enter your address and find out what providers are available in your area. With your list of providers, ask some neighbors in your area if they like their providers to narrow down the list to three or four providers. This discussion of key internet service criteria may inform the questions you will ask when you speak to provider sales associates.
You will have many choices for internet speed of various processes. Unless you upload a high number of videos, download speed is the number to focus on. It is the most important factor affecting how fast your computer will operate on the internet. Keep in mind that your location’s distance from the provider may affect the speeds they quote to you. Close by providers may be the better choice. Download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second, or Mbps, are sufficient for the internet needs of most families. Higher speeds of up to 100 Mbps are available for more specialized uses of the internet.
Many providers have limits to how much data you can download. Companies with no limits are preferable, especially if you use streaming services, such as Netflix. Non-video internet use will generally not come close to the limit, but video can push up against data caps quickly.
For providers who offer it, consider bundling your internet, cable television and phone services with one provider. Bundles can provide more savings than any other single feature. Be aware that if you decide to change providers for any one of your services, your bundle will be affected and your rates could go up significantly.
All too often a consumer, having done good research on basic service features, finds out later that the cost of one or more elements is not included in the package price. The modem or router may add a significant additional monthly rental fee. Depending on the provider, they may have surcharges or special local taxes that affect the overall cost. Make sure to inquire about these hidden costs.
If you are a new customer, the price quoted to you by the sales staff may be an introductory rate. Be aware that the price will generally rise to match the standard rate within a short period of time. You can ask for an estimate of what that increase will entail when it happens. It’s more helpful to compare the non-introductory prices between providers because the introductory rates can be short-lived.
You may be able to get a lower rate by agreeing to a contract for service. This means you pay an agreed-upon amount for a specified amount of time, usually one to two years. You would usually be guaranteed the rate for the length of the contract but then are vulnerable to a rate increase once the contract ends. You would also be unable to take advantage of special package deals until your contract expired. Penalties usually apply if you terminate your contract before the full term.
Customer ratings are available online for various providers. This is a helpful route for learning other customers’ experiences with provider services and quality. When you have several services bundled under one plan, you want to be confident that any problems you incur will be handled professionally and promptly.
It’s generally helpful to resist the temptation to take the first great deal offered to you. Internet services and pricing can vary widely, and it’s important to research several providers before deciding. The size of your city will determine how extensive your research will be. If you are looking for internet service in Los Angeles, you may be researching many providers, whereas a smaller city may only have two or three choices.
Once you have a shortlist of internet providers based on what’s available in your area and your neighbor’s recommendations, you can begin contacting them. In no time, you will be able to narrow down your list to the best options for you and your family.