Internet Provider Checklist

Now that practically everyone owns a cell phone, more and more people feel that an internet connection is more important than the traditional landline. However, many find that choosing a satisfactory phone company is much easier than finding the best internet provider. To make that important task less difficult, here is a checklist of things to look into.

A good track record.

Before signing on the dotted line, find out how satisfactory the ISP’s services have been. If you have a list of the ISPs in your area, ask your friends if they subscribe to any of them and inquire about their level of satisfaction. Look for websites that rate ISPs and go through customers’ comments if these are available.

How the ISP connects to the internet.

As a rule of the thumb, you get the best connectivity and speed from ISPs that connect through cable and T3. If you do not use the internet for surfing media-rich websites or downloading and uploading video then even a T1 server would be sufficient for your needs. ISPs that connect to the internet with ISDN, 56k, or 28.8K will be quite slow.

Reliable Technical Support.

Make sure that they have technical support 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week. Ask if they have a help desk and an 800 number for the times when you have no connectivity and need to get in touch. If there is an 800 number then try calling it at three different times using different numbers. When you get busy signal after busy signal or get shunted off from one operator to the other then strike that ISP off your list.


ISPs have different rated for different speeds.

Find out what kind of speed you need for the work you do online then compare the rated of the different ISPS on your list according to Mbps. Light users can manage fine on 1.5 to 3 Mbps; moderate users need from 10 Mbps to 25 Mbps. If you like to watch movies, download and upload large, media rich files or play games online, you may need 50 Mbps or more.

Charges and hidden costs.

Look through your ISP prospects and find out if they charge a fee for installation or if it comes for free. Likewise, look into any upload and download ceilings or usage quotas they might set. Some ISPs charge you for going over set limits. Look for other possible hidden costs that some ISPs neglect to inform you about when they make their sales pitch.


Check the ISP’s capability for upgrade should you need these in the future. See if this will work well with their current infrastructure and see how much an upgrade will cost you.

Own backbone.

Get an ISP that has its own network backbone – not one that relies on another ISP. This backbone refers to the principal data routes hosted by commercial, government, academic and other high-capacity network centers. In this aspect, a big ISP may be the best internet provider.

Lock-in term.

How quickly can you terminate your subscription and move to another ISP? Are there charges for this?

Patiently going through this checklist before you deciding will help assure you that you have the best internet provider. This will take time and effort but it will save you a lot of grief later.

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