“What are the best internet service providers near me?”
That is one of the most highly-searched questions about the topic in virtually all parts of the globe. Consider yourself lucky if you live in an area where there’s a variety of internet service providers. Not a whole lot of consumers have multiple options, particularly those who live in the countryside.
But, having different choices for ISPs in your area can be a bit tricky. The aggressive advertising of these providers doesn’t really provide much help. When comparing the internet service providers near you, ignore the marketed speed. Instead, look at the data yourself because sometimes, the faster the speed is, the lesser options you’ll have.
High-Speed Internet Services You Can Choose in Your Area
Before choosing the best ISP near you, it’s important that you understand the internet services up for grabs. There are three primary types of high-speed internet in the market today: DSL, cable, and fiber optic. They are all broadband services, which basically means they are exceptionally faster than conventional dial-up.
Digital Subscriber Line Internet
DSL utilizes a local phone line that taps on a separate frequency to provide high-speed internet. The download speeds for a typical DSL bundle is about 1 Mbps. This is a relatively good speed for casual data use like browsing the web and checking emails. The speed can be boosted up to 7 Mbps, which is enough for standard audio/video streaming. Some ISPs offer DSL speed bundles as high as 20 Mbps.
A cable internet service utilizes cable wires to provide high-speed internet. It delivers faster internet speeds than DSL. It tends to be more reliable as well. The highest download speed tier for cable internet is around 100 Mbps to 300 Mbps. For most households, 100 Mbps is enough even when there are multiple devices connected to the web.
Fiber Optic Internet
As of the moment, fiber optic is the fastest high-speed internet service. Its standard download speed tier is 25 Mbps to 75 Mbps, which is almost parallel with cable internet. However, its upload speed is the fastest with 5 Mbps (compared to cable with 1 Mbps or less, and DSL with only 0.5 Mbps).
Fiber optic internet is not as widely available as DSL and cable services since it doesn’t use phone lines and cables.
In most places in Canada, the best ISPs offer reliable speeds for DSL and cable services. Some ISPs offer fiber optic internet, but it’s a less common choice.
The Internet Services Available Where You Live
Now that you have an idea about what internet service options you have, it’s time to find the best internet provider near you. To shop for what’s around your place, we recommend that you key in your postal code at CompareMyRates.ca. Upon keying in your code, the site will list down the internet service providers near your area.
The Internet Speed that You Need
Nobody wants a slow internet connection. However, most high-speed services are rarely cheap. You’ll want to find that sweet spot between slow but cheap and fast but expensive service. One of the ways to do so is to understand bandwidth. In simple terms, bandwidth is the optimum rate of which you’re able to download internet data to your computer.
A good analogy for bandwidth is a water hose. Imagine you’re to fill a 50-gallon tank with water. If the hose you have can only transfer 2 gallons of water per minute, you’ll have to wait for 25 minutes to fill up the tank. However, if you have a huge hose that can put a gallon of water per second, the tank will be filled in a minute or so. The size of the water hose is your bandwidth. The bigger it is, the more data you can download in a short amount of time.
So, how much bandwidth do you need?
That depends on how you – and the household – use the internet. Internet service providers provide a bandwidth that is to be shared among all devices connected to the web. Video streaming generally eats up a lot of bandwidth. If your household tends to stream movies, videos, and music all the time, you need a high-speed service, preferably an unlimited one.
Online games don’t need much bandwidth to play with. But because most of the online video games are huge files, they can take a lot of bandwidth when downloaded. But, if you only use the internet for general web surfing, occasional social media engagement, and email checking, you don’t need a large one. In fact, 1 Mbps is enough for these actions.
Take note that the speed you sign up for from an internet service provider isn’t the speed you always get. Aside from the number of users on your connection, other variables can affect your internet speed. One is your hardware. Another is your location.
If you live in the city, there’s a high probability you can find internet service providers that offer high-speed connection. You can even find a fiber optic service in some parts of Canada. However, for those in rural areas, a satellite link is typically the only choice.
Shop Around for Reliable Internet Service Providers Near You
Before giving in to the temptation of a great ISP advertisement, it’s wise to compare internet service providers near your area. CompareMyRates.ca provides valuable comparisons between ISPs based on your zip code. You’ll have to decide based on several factors. Here are some of them you need to prioritize:
This is arguably the most important factor you need to think about. All internet service providers emphasize the speed they offer. The thing you need to be concerned about is the ISP’s download speed – that is, if you don’t need the internet for uploading purposes. It’s also important to check the speed covered for cable services. Unlike DSL and fiber optic services, cable service tends to vary depending on the time of the day.
It’s impossible to accurately pinpoint how fast the speed will be every minute of the day. But in general, if the internet service provider is near your home, you’ll likely get a high-speed connection.
Some ISPs put a monthly “cap” on the data a consumer can use. This is to ensure that everybody gets a fair share of the bandwidth. Regular Netflix and YouTube viewers often eat up a lot of data. For connections with data caps, your speed slows down to a crawl or stops completely when the cap is reached.
Now, if you only surf the web and check emails, there’s a huge chance you won’t even reach the data cap your ISP has set.
If you already have an existing phone service, cable service, or perhaps, a satellite service, check if the provider offers internet services as well. Most of the time, you can get a better rate through bundled services. You may also do it the other way around. Check with internet service providers in your area if they offer the other services too, then ask for the bundled rate.
Additional Factors to Consider
- Introductory Rates
- Service Add-ons (ex. antivirus software)
- Customer Service
- “Local” Offerings
Comparing ISPs is an important step you shouldn’t neglect. You don’t have to suffer when deciding what the best internet provider in your area is. Through CompareMyRates.ca, you can have all the info you need to make sound decisions. A bit of research goes a long