7 Things to Consider When Choosing Between Internet Service Providers

Internet Service Provider or ISP as Concept

Did you know that Singapore has the fastest internet in the world at 60.39 Mbps? The U.S. ranks at number 20 on the list, with speeds of 25.86 Mbps.

Don’t worry though, that’s plenty fast enough for playing games, watching movies, and surfing the web. The real challenge is finding the right internet service provider for your needs and your budget.

If you want to feel confident you are making the right decision, be sure to consider the factors here.

1. What Type of Home Internet Service Do You want?

When you research internet service providers, you’ll find an array of options. From DSL and broadband to fiber optics and more, all these technical-sounding terms can get confusing.

Here’s a breakdown of the various internet service available for your home. Knowing what these are and what they offer can help you figure out what best suits your needs.

Cable Internet

This is an internet service (as the name implies) that’s delivered by your cable company. The speeds for this service are usually higher than DSL (mentioned below). The biggest drawback of cable internet service is that you are sharing the service with other people in your area, which means it may be slower during busier times.


This is short for Digital Subscriber Line. It is delivered to your home through your phone line. Usually, DSL is going to be the most affordable form of broadband internet that is available.

One of the main drawbacks of DSL service is that it is based on distance. The further you are located from a service provider, the slower your service is going to be.


This type of internet is delivered via a satellite. Compared to the others mentioned, this service is slower but reliable when you use a quality satellite internet provider.

If you live in a rural area, the satellite may be your only option for broadband service.

Fiber Optic

Often called FiOS is available in some areas and spreading quickly. This service functions in a similar way to DSL but is much faster. Keep in mind though, the faster speed also comes with a higher price tag.

2. What’s Available at Your House?

Now that you know about the different internet services, you need to find out what you can get at your house. You can use online services to find out what’s available in the local area, which can help you figure out what’s offered.

Remember though, just because service shows up for your zip code doesn’t always mean that it covers the entire area. But it is a good starting point.

You can also ask others who live nearby what service they use. This helps you get to know the options you can choose from.

3. What Speed Do You Need?

To understand what internet speed (bandwidth) you need, you must know what it means. Bandwidth is usually measured in megabits per second and is the maximum rate that you can download information from the internet to your device.

The more data-intensive your online activities are, and the more devices you use at once, the more bandwidth you need. Find some general guidelines for bandwidth needs here:

  • 1 Mbps needed for web surfing, social media, email, etc.
  • 1 to 3 Mbps needed for online gaming
  • 1 to 4 Mbps needed for video conferencing
  • 3 to 4 Mbps needed for standard-def video streaming
  • 5 to 8 Mbps needed for high def video streaming

Make sure you keep this in mind as you figure out the internet service provider you should use.

4. Are There Any Data Caps?

It’s a good idea to find out if the company you are considering using puts a monthly data cap on what you are allowed to download. There are some services that do this.

For most, this is a negative. It’s even more important if you use YouTube and Netflix regularly. If you just surf the web and check email, the data cap may not be as important, as you will probably never come close to it.

5. Are There Any Additional Costs?

There are some internet service providers that tack on additional costs to their service. For example, they may require that you rent a router or modem from them. Other service providers will just give you this equipment.

Find out about the additional costs upfront to avoid billing surprises.

6. Compare Introductory Offers and Deals

Find out if the price they are offering you on the phone is an introductory price. If it is, it means your costs will go up. Be sure to find out what the “regular” cost of service is compared to the “introductory” costs to figure out if the internet service is going to be a good deal down the road.

7. Consider Your Future Needs

Before deciding, consider if your internet needs will change in the near future. Is it going to be easy to scale your services up and down, or are you stuck in a contract for a certain amount of time?

Finding the Right Internet Service Providers

If you are trying to decide between the available internet service providers, be sure to consider all the factors here. By doing this, you can feel confident you have found a quality company that offers the speed and price you are looking for.

If you are searching for other helpful and informative tech-related information, be sure to check out some of our other blogs. We offer our readers accurate and updated tech-news.