Don’t Regret Your Choice of High Speed Internet Service!

Aug 29, 2012 bundles, cable internet, dsl, 7 Comments
Choosing the right high speed Internet service can be confusing!


Once you determine you’re going to get High Speed Internet service, the choices of what kind of connection you use are a little overwhelming. Your decision to leave dial-up was straightforward, but now you’ve unearthed a treasure trove of speeds, deals and incentives. Here is how to evaluate which service is best for you.

Which High Speed Internet service is right for you?

First, understand there are really three different types of services you’ll be investigating.  High Speed Internet providers include companies with satellite, phone (in the form of “Digital Subscriber Line” or DSL) and cable connections.

Second, realize that the information overload here results from the fact that just because you have Cable TV doesn’t mean you have to go with the cable company’s High Speed Internet service. Likewise, many phone companies also offer various options and you can generally mix and match. However, if you have cable television, you won’t be selecting satellite service, and vice versa. But you could obviously select the phone company’s service regardless of your television setup.

Third, and finally, know your budget and get a grasp of what each service includes. Remember, price isn’t the only factor.

4 High Speed Internet factors to consider

Overall, there are a few factors to consider when choosing a High Speed Internet provider:

1. Availability: In many markets, there are still limited offerings. You may not have much of a choice depending on where you live. If you have options, the next step is to go here and check out the plans each provider offers at your street address.

2. Buy what you need: Go into this decision knowing what you need — don’t settle for less, but don’t buy what you do not need. Few people actually need the top speeds offered, but you should note both of the download and upload speeds. If you’re a shutterbug, with lots of pictures to upload, you’ll need and want faster upload times.

3. Check out the bundles of multiple services. Once you know how fast a connection you’ll want to purchase, investigate the bundles offered. It may make sense to get a digital voice phone deal, or perhaps the phone company offers an unlimited calling plan that is more reasonably priced.

4. How satisfied are your neighbors with their service? Finally, investigate the company’s reputation. Are customers generally happy? Try to find customer satisfaction surveys. Customer care can be particularly important if you’re planning on installing equipment yourself. And there’s no better time to find out how providers treat their customers than before you become one.

Summary Chart of Features


Dial-up
Cable DSL FIOS Satellite
Typical upload speeds (kbps) 20-50 3,000 – 30,000 768 – 3,000 3,000 -71,000 100 – 256
Typical download speeds (kbps) 20-50 3,000 – 30,000 768 – 3,000 3,000 – 71,000 512 – 1500
Shared bandwidth? No Yes No No No
Typical monthly costs $25 $40 $30 $60 $60
Advantages ·Inexpensive· Easy to use Easy to setup Modems include security features Faster than cable Available almost anywhere
Disadvantages · Slow· Can’t easily share phone line · Modems aren’t very secure· Shared bandwidth Slower than cable, speed varies according to home location ·Expensive, limited availability · Weather can interrupt service· Bulk downloads are limited· Higher latency not good for digital voice or gaming

Satellite connections

Certain sparsely populated areas of the country have limited choices for Internet connection. Some remote locales have no cable television because it’s far too costly to run cable. So, the choice for High Speed Internet in those areas is between the phone company and the satellite provider(s). DSL is not available everywhere either.

Ironically, many areas that are mountainous only offer satellite Internet because they are so remote and sparsely populated, although mountains can block your signal if the receiver (dish) is not correctly positioned. In areas that do offer cable, some people choose satellite TV mainly for the diversity of programming (you can just about watch anything at any time). When there is a choice, however, bear in mind that satellite connections are affected by cloud cover, weather and geography.

DSL

Your phone company may offer up to two different High Speed Internet technologies, called DSL and fiber optic service or FIOS. You can get a DSL hookup for about what you pay for dial-up service. The good thing about DSL is that you can install it anywhere in your home where you have a phone jack.

However, since DSL runs along phone lines (though it does not interfere with making phone calls, like dial-up does), it is slower than cable.

Fiber optics (FiOS)

The phone companies also offer High Speed Internet services over fiber optic cable, called FiOS by Verizon. The FiOS service, if available, is the fastest service, but it is also more expensive than DSL. You have to replace the copper wiring connection from your home to the street with fiber optics. It is only available in a limited number of areas.

Cable

High Speed Internet serviceCable companies seemingly invented the “triple play,” which usually means three products, like TV, Internet and Phone, combined together for one discounted price. Prices vary widely from area to area. Frequently, promotional rates start as a low monthly rate. But those increase — often doubling — after the introductory period ends. Be sure to understand how long your contract is and for how long the promotion is in effect.

Also, some rates are for new customers only, so if you have cable TV with them already, you may not be considered “new.” Further, you may have to agree to install the cable modem yourself for the low rate. Like the phone companies, email and storage are provided with the service; in general, they are simply benefits of joining and are unlikely to make or break a deal.

Theoretically, cable is faster than DSL. In fact, the Optimum Online service offered through Cablevision boasts download speeds of 15 Mbps – five times faster than a fast DSL connection. So why say “theoretically” faster? Because cable slows down when many people in a neighborhood are online at once, whereas DSL offers consistency.

The good news is that cable companies are currently working with new technologies to resolve the issue of “slowdowns” due to heavy usage. If you already have Cable TV, many cable providers will offer discounted packages or ‘bundles” combining your TV, Internet and even your telephone service to encourage you to utilize them for combined services. This means paying just one bill for all of those services and calling just one company for help when any of those things go wrong.

Final word on speed

Your High Speed Internet service provider may offer a variety of speeds at different price points. Whichever speed is right for you will vary depending upon your usage and your expectations.

The good news is no additional equipment or changes to your computer are necessary to upgrade your speed (if offered) from your provider. A simple phone call is all it takes and the change to your service (and your bill) typically takes effect within 24 hours. If you do feel the need to search elsewhere for High Speed Internet, click here and let Digital Landing show you the providers in your area, with the services and rates they offer.


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The Digital Landing editorial staff has been helping people stay connected to their digital lifestyles for several years. This staff consists of people with telecommunications backgrounds, as well as writers from Cable TV and Satellite TV industries.

7 Comments

  • Roy

    Thank you! I thought your explanations on DSL and Cable Internet Service was excellent!

    • David Gonos

      Thanks, Roy! We’re glad we could help. Technology is moving fast, so a person can’t be expected to keep up with everything without a little help.

  • Jennifer M

    Thank you so much for your explanation! I was considering upgrading our speed but was afraid that I was paying more and getting no more . . . That it was all just a ruse. Your explanation gives me the confidence that there really are different levels of speed offered by providers! Thanks!

    • David Gonos

      Glad you enjoyed it, Jennifer! Internet speeds can be tricky, so hopefully, you can figure out what you are paying for and what you should be getting. Good luck!

  • Beth F

    Thank you for explaining “Because cable slows down when many people in a neighborhood are online at once, whereas DSL offers consistency.” I’ve been arguing with my cable company for a few months about the reliability of their internet and I’ve been told many times that it must be my computer or where my router is placed in the house. I have an ethernet cord running to my 5 month old computer.
    This site has given me the ability to talk to these people in their own language. Thank you!

  • John

    Thanks so much for an explanation in low-tech English. Very much appreciated and easily understood.

  • Gloria

    This was so helpful: common sense not techno-speak. My new computer just tested at 659 Kbps while I’m told by my phone company that it’s 768 Kbps service that I have. Even though I have the least expensive and slowest rated service, should it still be able to play a video and not always be “loading” and “loading”? I just bought a new computer last month and I see no improvement in the speed or quality of the DSL service which kind of has me puzzled.

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